For our next Indie Spotlight segment we’ll be featuring the regional talents of Cork, Ireland. Editors James O’Callaghan and Sean Leonard hail from the County Cork and are active members of the local comics community. Through their connections Grayhaven has had the opportunity to work with and engage with several Irish comic creators.  Like Grayhaven focuses on The Gathering anthologies, many of Cork’s local creators have been involved with Turncoat Press, which publishes anthologies featuring regional talent.

Over the next several weeks we’ll chat with many of Cork’s comics professionals, feature their acclaimed anthologies and individual works, and discuss comics outside of America.


GH: Since your creative teams are in a localized region in Ireland, were the creators all in direct contact with one another?

AC: Yes the creators on the Turncoat Press publications are in direct contact with each other. The Cork Comic Creators group meet once a month on the last Monday of each month. These meet ups were set up a few months before the publication of Im Awake, Im Alive.

GH: How do you feel that being able to communicate directly with collaborators impacts the comic creation process?

AC: It helps a great deal. When you meet people regularly you develop friendships and certain level of trust grows. The team moral and comraderie in the Cork Comic Creators group is very strong. The group pushes itself to develop and get stronger, everyone wants each other to succeed.

GH: For your next anthology you put together “The Cork Horror Comic,” which is available free for download on your website. Did focusing on stories in the horror genre change how you approached the anthology?

AC: The horror theme was a natural choice because we were given the opportunity to work with Cork Community Art Link to launch a comic at the Dragon of Shandon Festival at Halloween. The horror theme gave the project a clear focus. Horror stories set in and around Cork would also be of interest to the general public, so it made sense to put this anthology together,

GH: And just recently you put together “The Cork Sci-Fi Comic”, which I believe will also be available on your website soon. How has reception been towards the book so far?

AC: The Cork Sci-Fi Comic, much like the Cork Horror Comic, has been a huge success locally. The Cork World Book Festival were delighted to host our launch event and the creators were given tremendous spotlight in the local media. The print run of the Cork Sci-Fi Comic sold out in less than 24 hours, at the Cork World Book Festival launch and at the Cork Comic Expo the next day in Mahon Point.

GH: Can you give me a rundown of other publications where we might find more material by these creators?

AC: Most of the creators in the Cork Horror Comic and the Cork Sci-Fi Comic were published for the very first time. A small number of creators were previously published with other Irish indie companies like Lightning Strike Comics.

GH: You’ve actually self-published your own graphic novel, The Ghost of Shandon. Can you tell me a bit about it, and where people can buy it?

AC: I wrote, illustrated and did the graphic design for Ghost of Shandon but a local book publishers called Onstream Publishing, actually, published Ghost of Shandon. Onstream Publishing made the book available in all the local book chains like Easons and Vibes & Scribes. You can buy it directly from the Onstream Publishing website,

The book is a children’s graphic novel, set mostly in 18th Century Cork City. Its about a time travelling boy called Ronan that befriends a ghost from Cork’s past. Nobody had ever done a comic set in Cork before so that was my inspiration to create the book.

GH: How different was it working on, and self-publishing your own book compared to working on an anthology?

AC: Well my own books are very time consuming. I have to research historical Cork, write a script that Onstream Publishing are happy with, then pencil and paint the 64 page book. For the Cork Horror Comic and the Cork Sci-Fi Comic I was the Art Editor and helped the book come together from a supervisoral position.

GH: What are your hopes for the future of comics in Ireland?

AC: I want more comics published and more regularly, especially in Cork where we have so much creative talent.

GH: Do you find that there is any difficulty in getting local literary and arts communities to take your work seriously or are the communities supportive?

AC: The local arts and community groups in Cork are very supportive. Cork Community Art Link helped us a lot with the Cork Horror Comic, giving us a platform at the Dragon of Shandon Festival and putting our work out there. Cork City Library also helped us a great deal with the publication of the Cork Sci-Fi Comic at the Cork World Book Festival. The Cork Comic Creators group is beginning to become more respected in the city and county.

GH: Finally, what are the current plans for Turncoat Press? What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

AC: More comics, lots more comics.



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