With the good news of the return of 2D, Northern Ireland's Comics Festival, for its fifth year in the Verbal Arts Centre in Londonderry at the beginning of June, perhaps it is an appropriate time to take a look at what else is happening comics-wise in the Province.
In Derry, 2D has inspired and supported local small pressers who have combined into the 2D Collective. As well as a blog the Collective has published, with the help of the Verbal Arts Centre, two collections of comics, Fear and If Stones Could Speak.
There are more details about the 2D Collective on their blog.
Meanwhile Belfast has already played host this year to the Guardian's political cartoonist Steve Bell who gave a talk at the Out To Lunch Arts Festival in January. Also in Belfast the Crescent Arts Centre is currently running two ten week long courses, an illustration class with David Haughey entitled Visual Narrative which runs on Wednesday evenings and a Cartoon Masterclass with John Farrelly which runs each Saturday.
There are more details of the Crescent Arts Centre courses on their website.
For Ulster otaku the Forbidden Planet International store in Belfast (despite still being called "Talisman" by some locals) has joined in with the rest of the UK stores in arranging manga evenings, including quizzes, cosplay and money off offers with the last one being just this week.
There are more details of their events at the FPI Belfast Facebook page.
Also in Belfast there is a regular meeting of local comics people, both small press and professionals, in the Cloth Ear bar at the Merchant Hotel in Waring Street. They also run a well designed and informative blog under the simple name of Belfast Comics using the Belfast Big Fish as their logo. If that wasn't enough they also sell both their own small press comics and those of other creators from both north and south of the Irish border at the monthly Black Market indoor indie/alternative fair at the Black Box arts venue in Belfast. The next Black Market will be held on Sunday 6 March.
There are more details of the Belfast Comics group on their blog and details of their meetings are listed on their Facebook page.
The downthetubes Comics Events calendar is available for Northern Ireland organisers (as well as those in the rest of the UK) to advertise their events for free, and while tagged as British Comics Events, we are more than happy for organisers in the Republic Of Ireland to use it to promote their events as well.
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