Life Beyond The Comic Book

Ever wondered what it takes to break some boundaries, step away from the norm and simply have some fun doing what you want?

Many people would have you believe that the era of the comic book is coming to an end but don’t be fooled. One man is continuing something of a comic book renaissance in Dublin, backed by some of the finest artists around.

I caught up with leading Irish writer Stephen Coffey to get an insight into the commitment and dedication that is required to produce comic books, which represent the fulfillment of a dream for the creator of The Celtic Knights.

Why do you write Comics?

It was one of those happy accidents really… I was writing screenplays because I love movies, and one day I was walking by Forbidden Planet Dublin and there was an ad for a local anthology comic, which I won’t name, and I applied. Then a few years later the story that I wrote appeared in print on a shelf in Forbidden Planet Dublin… and it was the most brilliant feeling that I had felt to that point. Now I write and publish my own comics and I do it now to tell a story, everything is about the story. There is also the fans, comic fans are the best, the most loyal and the best critics, if you want to improve your storytelling then write a comic and get comic Fans to review the book. It’s the fastest harshest lesson you can get.

How Long Have you been writing Comics?

I’ve lost track, I want to say 12 years but it could be longer. Time flies when you are having fun.

How long did it take to put the first edition of Celtic Knights together?

I wrote Celtic Knights (www.facebook.com/thecelticknights) in about 2 weeks, 100 pages of script. At the time I was working with Ger Hankey and the first issue back in 2007 came out within six months. The book sold well but we allowed a silly argument and the financial pressures of the time, along with my own illness to get the better of us and Ger left the project, it’s a regret that I have that we parted with bad feelings but we’ve run into each other at conventions recently and I love the work he does now. Since Ger left there was a few false starts with artists that just lead me on with the promise of work but they didn’t get it done. Then Mike Kennedy (Tulsa OK) came on board and just blew me away with every concept drawing and page he sends in. So now we’re back in full swing and with Mike working a day job we’re about a few months between the issues. We’re in this for the long haul and it is a passion.

What sort of process is involved?

First the writing, which I’m doing at the moment, writing the next volume of stories for the Knights. Mike is still working hard on the first volume of stories. The writing is the easy part, I basically think of a story packed with action and comedy, with fight scenes that are probably hard to draw and pass them to Mike. Mike has the hardest part in the whole process, the art and concept work, and he makes it look so effortless. After the art is done the lettering starts, then it’s back to me and I send all the pages to the printers. The printers usually make one mistake and then we have to correct it, then get it out to the shops.

Describe a typical day during this process.

For me the writing just flows. A movie plays in my head and I write it down. There are times that one scene is just constantly playing in my head and hard to write down, then I watch something and everything just clicks. After you finish writing you re-read everything and make sure it makes sense. There are some days that I write 20 pages and then delete them all, other days I write 1 page and feel like I’ve hit the right spot.

Celtic Knights issue 1 and 2 are now for sale at Dublin City Comics (Bolton St.) and Forbidden Planet Dublin. Or if outside Ireland you can message me  for a copy of the books.

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