Building A Brand
One of things many Irish creators need to get past is not being able to promote themselves. I don’t know if it is necessarily a unique Irish trait but I find a lot of them don’t really know how good they are and this often translates to an inability to market themselves to the public. There are a few creators who, to me, done a really good job of getting their name out there and building a recognisable brand.
(R)EVOLE OR DIE
The first creator I saw using social media to its fullest was Danny McLaughlin (pictured to the right of Karl Rowe in the photo). You only have to look at the last two years of the ICN Awards. I’m not saying he is an undeserving winner, I think he is one of the more talented writers and, along with artist Nathan Donnell, has created Solstice, an impressive and, unusually for Irish comics, is published a consistent schedule. However, through social media, he was able to martial his fanbase and get them to vote. This also translated into a strong vote for Karl O’Rowe, whose comic, Death Sworn, is published by Revolve Comics. That book in particular has shown some marketing skills as you can see from a recent video highlighting the book’s interiors. Revolve Comics has also moved into an area outside of the usual comic publishing, creating a book on diabetes (Diabetes Type 1: Origins Comic) which has received award recognition outside of comics. Danny’s marketing skills have served to highlight the work of both Nathan Donnell and Karl O’Rowe.
A ROGUE REBRANDING
One of the newer publishers on the scene sees Ciarán Marcantonio as co-founder along with writer Wayne Talbot, editor Gillian Dempsey and artist Kevin Keane. They bring to the publisher books like The Broker and Red Sands, which they have rebranded with new variant cover bearing the Rogue Comics label. The new cover is from series artist Cormac Hughes. A sign of a team working for each other sees The Broker getting a tribute cover (shown here) by Colm Griffin, who joined the publisher and debuted their first original title Ocean City. There are no plans to use it as a cover but it is nice to see them supporting each other’s books. Co-founder Kevin Keane is doing Neon Skies with Ciarán. Also joining the publisher is Clare Foley (La Grande Breteche). Although new on the scene, they have stood out by an increasing social media presence, consistent convention appearances and by creating a very snazzy website. A recent Dublin Comic Con Anime Edition saw a panel that highlighted the team. The panel was streamed on Facebook. It also helps that Ciarán sells as well as some of the wrestlers he is a fan of.
GOING MAINSTREAM, A WILL-INGNESS TO GIVE BACK
Nobody has gotten as much mainstream media attention as Will Sliney (picture from the cover of the Irish Examiner’s Sunday magazine). Working on Marvel titles such as Spider-man 2099 and Scarlet Spider-man is definitely a way to get that attention but what I’m focusing on here is how hard Will works to raise the of stock of local Cork creators and the wider Irish comics community. Next Saturday sees the return of the Cork Comic Expo, a wonderful event that is all about the comics. Along with The Big Bang, Will has created an event that brings together big names and those that hope to be names of the future. The event takes place in Mahon Point and includes several art classes for children. Will has also managed to expand in other directions by creating art for his favourite football club Everton FC