INDIE SPOTLIGHT on Chris O’Halloran


Welcome back to Indie Spotlight as we continue our segment 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.

Today we talk to Turncoat Press’ Chris O’Halloran
GH: Tell me a bit about Turncoat Press. What are the company’s goals?

CO: We self publish comics and are based in Cork city. Our books so far have involved local and irish creators and have been anthology books.

I guess our goals break down to putting out good stories and adding to the rising Irish comic book scene.

GH: How was Turncoat Press first conceived and created?

CO: Myself, Colin O’Mahoney and Emmet O’Brien met up and decided to put a book together. We knew a few local artists and found most of the activity in the Irish comic book scene was coming out of Dublin. After attending various shows there and knowing what was involved we thought it was time to do something in Cork. If it wasn’t us, someone else was going to eventually. The interest is growing all the time

GH: I was fortunate to get a copy of Turncoat Press’s first publication, “I’m Awake, I’m Alive.” This anthology’s point of unity is the creative talent rather than story themes. How has that impacted your promotion of the collection?

CO: We were able to say it was a locally produced comic with local creators so that grabbed many peoples attention and allowed them to lend there support to it. Whilst attending shows in Dublin and Belfast it seemed to have the same effect as no one had heard of a comic coming out of Cork before.

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

CO: I’d have to ask and I imagine many did meet up at different stages of development but I also imagine a lot of the discussion took place online too.

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

CO: It certainly helped keep things on track and maintain motivation so it’s certainly a bonus.

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?

CO: To be clear this was done as part of the Cork Comic creators group, which we are all involved in and organise. It’s separate and the aim is to get brand new creators published for the first time, as well as some more established ones. 

I’m not a writer but I drew a story in the Horror comic. I imagine it was difficult for writers to set a horror tale in Cork but every one of them did a great job and it led to some interesting work.

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?

CO: Phenomenal. All the copies were sold out in less than a day between its launch and the Cork Comic Expo that was held the next day. The support has been super and the demand unbelievable. 

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

CO: That there’s more, that the standards continue to improve and more and more creators get professional jobs. They’ve been doing a great job so far.

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?

CO: There’s a lot of support. It’s something people want to see more of.

GH: Does Turncoat have any plans to offer or release their works outside of Ireland?

CO: At the moment we’re selling books at some shows and the new one will be available online too and likely in some Irish stores. Nothing beyond that is planned yet.

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

CO: Well we are launching LIFE SIGNS on June 13th in Cork and will be attending a few shows in Ireland too. It contains four sci-fi stories that we’re really excited about releasing and we’re just really happy that it’s turning out even better than the first book. We should also have one more book by the end of the year at the latest.

The writers on Life SIgns are Emmet O’Brien, Colin O’Mahoney and Shane Ormond. The Artists are Kevin Keane, Charlie Aabo, Podge Daly and myself.

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