US publishers Image, third only to Marvel and DC Comics in their market, announced that it will publish Clare artist Declan Shalvey’s Savage Town next September. The announcement was made at the Emerald City ComicCon in Seattle last week.
Shalvey has worked for all three major publishers, working with Marvel characters including Punisher, Deadpool, and Nick Fury; contributing to a new Batman series for DC last year; and illustrating the ongoing series Injection for Image.
Working as a writer on Savage Town, Shalvey will be joined on the book by Dublin artist, Philip Barrett.
“So much of my career has been superheroes, and while I love superheroes I wanted to make a comic/graphic novel set in Ireland; something original that reflected Ireland in a way that isn’t often seen in comics,” said Shalvey.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have has a lot of industry success so decided to use that in order to make such a book happen. I also love Phil Barrett’s work and really wanted to showcase his work to a larger audience.”
A self-professed fan of crime stories, Shalvey says his book has been inspired by films such as The Snapper and The Guard: “There is so much great stuff like that made in Ireland in film and novels but not in comics, so I wanted to address that.”
Given his own background, Limerick was an obvious choice for the book’s setting.
“Most Irish crime books are set in Dublin, and many are about the IRA, and I wanted to avoid those more obvious elements to my first writing project,” he said.
“I wanted to show a city near and dear to me. Limerick gets a bad rap, so I wanted to show the city in a different light, while taking advantage of its more recent history. I went to art college in LSAD in Limerick and lived there as a struggling comic artist, trying to build up my portfolio and break into comics. I’ve very much broken in now, so I like the idea of making comic set in Limerick.”
He hopes the book might open the world of graphic novels to new audiences who might be under the misconception that medium is all spandex and sci-fi: “Most people think comics are superheroes and, while I love superheroes, it’s frustrating that the general public are unaware just how diverse and challenging the medium can be. I think the authentic Irish feel of the book will stand out to a worldwide audience as unique. I also hope that an Irish audience will embrace it.
“There is a wealth of great talent in the country, but not a lot of avenues for which to get projects made. I’m hoping Savage Town might move the needle somewhat, on how an Irish audience sees the medium, and how the medium can open up for more Irish talent. Irish creators get no support from the Arts Council, so the only way for us to build our careers as creators is to support each other. I hope Savage Town can help with that.”