Home Comics/Books Recap: ComicCity – Comics And Creative Arts Festival
Recap: ComicCity – Comics And Creative Arts Festival

Recap: ComicCity – Comics And Creative Arts Festival



Hosted in the Millennium Forum in Derry, the first year of ComicCity was not only a huge success, it was a genuinely fun weekend that introduced attendees to the exciting and diverse world of comics.

Organised by David Campbell with help from Irish Pubcast members Ciaran Marcantonio, Wayne Talbot and Darren Fahey as well as ComicCity Cast’s Ciaran Flanagan and Bobby Best, the weekend hosted some of the industry’s most sought after talent including colourist Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel, Injection) and artists Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight, Injection) and Stephen Mooney (Half Past Danger, DC’s Grayson and Bombshells).

The event ran from September 12 – 13 and collaborated with Invasion Derry to deliver not only the main Star Wars event itself, but also themed workshops around the popular franchise. There was a Star Wars-themed Minecraft build challenge on the Saturday, as well as a ‘Design a Sith Lord’ workshop which were great choices for children’s entertainment, making it stand out from other conventions that tend to forget their young audience.

One of the best parts about the festival was that some of the guests, many of whom are well respected artists and industry professionals, hosted their own workshops, such as the ‘Digital Painting Masterclass’ with Ryan Brown (responsible for some amazing covers for 2000 AD), the ‘Heroes, Villains, Beauties & Beasties’ comic art workshop led by Irish illustrator Phil Barrett and ‘Make Your Own Mini Comic Book’ with the Comics Lab, hosted by Sarah Bowie and Debbie Jenkinson.

Probably the most enjoyable talk was held on the Sunday; ‘Colour Theories’, which was a talk about the use of colour in comics and illustration by Eisner Award winning colourist Jordie Bellaire. She did a great job of explaining the ins and outs of colour in practice, talking about how the use of colour in cinema (particularly Disney) inspired her to merge her love of film and comics through the art of colouring. Though it can be a daunting topic to discuss, Bellaire involved her audience to deliver one of the best panels that we at The Arcade have attended this year.

#ArtCred Panel, L/R: Maura McHugh, Declan Shalvey, John Allison, Marc Laming

In a similar vein, there was a great #ArtCred panel (pictured) held which included Declan Shalvey, web comic creator John Allison, Planet Hulk artist Marc Laming and writer Maura McHugh. Here, the major irritation of not getting credited for your work as an artist on a comic was laid out and examined, talking about the issues that surround being an artist and making sure your work doesn’t get stolen or your name isn’t swept under the rug with regards to publicity.

The ‘Irish Comics’ panel was also very entertaining, with half the panel wandering in at random times, much to the audience’s amusement. The subject matter was very interesting as well, with some issues of the industry getting quite a heated debate going between the creatives, especially when it came to a discussion on the type of comics that are coming out of Ireland today. The panel featured Marvel colourist Ruth Redmond, Dave Hendrick, Sarah Bowie, John McCrea, Declan Shalvey and PJ Holden as well as Lightning Strike’s managing editor, Ciaran Marcantonio.

Although we had attended the ‘Irish Comics’ panel at DCC this year already, it felt like a totally different talk so make sure you’re not put off by events or panels just because they sound similar to something you’ve already been to; you may be surprised!

The atmosphere at the event was great and, with a free admission price, you’d have to really be looking for flaws to fault this new convention. There was a very relaxed air around the venue, with all guests willing to sign whatever was put in front of them as well as to have a nice chat with fans. Several times we found ourselves just having a lovely chinwag with some of the talent while getting our precious books signed. Most noticeably, at the end of the weekend we felt like we could go again the next day as well, which we found refreshing as sometimes conventions can either bore you to tears or tire you out to the point where you just want to lie in bed binge-flicking Instagram posts.

We picked up some stunning artwork on the last day as well, including a commissioned Joker canvas for only £10 and an unusual Hulk/Bruce Banner A3 poster for just £5 so, even if you only came with a few quid in your wallet, you still would’ve been able to pick up some great pieces. That said, our reading piles all gained some hefty additions too with both collected editions and single issues on sale across the event, from both local and big talent, with prices that couldn’t be turned down!

Wayne Talbot from the Irish Pubcast and co-organiser said, “The festival went down really well. We were so lucky with the guests and exhibitors and the panels and workshops went down a storm with the the attendees. Especially PJ Holden and Stephen Downey‘s ‘Design A Sith Lord’ workshops. The kids loved them. Jordie Bellaire‘s workshop was also a huge success. The panels were varied and extremely informative, covering everything from independent comic book publishing to how the big labels do it.

“The whole organisational team were expertly led by Mr. Dave Campbell, all the kudos for wrangling such a fantastic array of people should lay at his feet. We are already looking to ComicCity Festival 2016, and we are definitely going to try and aim even higher for next year.”

You can follow ComicCity in the run up to next year on Facebook and Twitter, as well as join their community page to keep up with the local talent!

Were you at ComicCity this year? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!