Saturday, 1 December 2012

2Dcast Episode 17: Paddy Lynch

2Dcast Episode 17: Paddy Lynch

paddy lynch
In this Intrepid adventure of the 2dcast we have the long overdue oppertunity to speak to Paddy Lynch about the success of the Stray Lines anthology, about internet funding, and his likes and dislikes in comics. Bobby and Ciaran take time to review some comics and also to discuss Thanksgiving tradition , Felix Healy, a festival announcement and the difficulties in securing funding for ego stroking stand up comedy ventures.
Reviewed in this episode:
Iron Man #2
More Than Meets The Eye #11
All New Xmen #1
Red Hood and The Outlaws #14
Indestructible Hulk #1

Links mentioned within:
Buy Stray Lines :
Will Slineys Fearless Defenders:
What is a ” Felix Healey “?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

2Dcast Episode 13: Talking Half Past Danger with Stephen Mooney

Fresh up from his big announcement at last weekends DICE, we are joined on this weeks show by long-time friend of the 2dcast Stephen Mooney , who gives us the low-down on his new deal with IDW who will be publishing his creator owned property Half Past Danger. He also talks us through his comic likes and dislikes , his symbiotic relationship with the irrepressible Declan Shelvey, and much more besides. Back in the “ studio” Bobby and Ciaran talk Ghostbusters comics, more Transformers , Red Dwarf X, Amazing Spiderman ,human sacrifices , dogs and cats living together , MASS HYSTERIA. Plusa mic check with David Campbell containing ACTUAL FESTIVAL NEWS!!!!!!,

As always we welcome your questions plugs or comments .
Email us at
Please follow us on the Twitters :@the2dcast @freebirdswing @misanthrobert

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The 2d Festival Questionnaire is here:

You tube link to that Avengers Special feature Bobby was bleating on about:

Half Past Danger blog:

Newest Episode of The Comic Cast:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Comic Review : Short Sharp Shocks issues 1-3

 The title of Dublin writer and artist Ger Hankey’s ongoing anthology title Short Sharp Shocks seems to be trying to evoke the classic sci-fi excitement of Thargs Future Shocks (in the galaxy’s greatest comic), and while there are such one-off “thrills” to be found here (which, rather than trying to shock, seem more focused on amusing), the nucleus of the title is a pair of recurring characters with strong central ideas.
Hybrid, the story of a superhero who is both man and woman is a nice conceit, but for a character that has such obvious comedic potential it’s played relatively straight for the first three issues. It’s not without humour (which is chiefly wardrobe-based) but hopefully the full potential of the title character’s dual nature will be further explored in future issues, whilst exploring his origins. Speaking of which the second issue’s instalment ends with promises of an explanation of Hybrid’s origin, yet issue three consists of a fight with a robot then a shopping trip. What gives, Hankey?

Hybrid: Dont mess with shim.
Mighty Morgan plays with another interesting notion: that in our current cynical troll-infested society a traditional two-dimensional would-be despot is a beloved antihero (which he hates). This strip in particular put me in mind of some of the humour strips that would appear in the likes of Whizzer and Chips and Buster (in particular the reverse Beverly Hillbillies strip the Bumpkin Billionaires). A nice piece of harmless good-natured fun.

The strongest strips however are those that run without dialogue. In particular, Binbo’s Holiday is a very sweet tale about wanting to better oneself. That the main character is a robotic dustman is incidental. Much like the work of Bob Byrne, Hankey's characters are expressive in the extreme, and we can put it this way: the boy knows how to draw a robot in just about any mood (as his work on Transformers fan projects demonstrates very well indeed).

Short Sharp Shocks’ biggest strength is actually in stark contrast with many other small press publications whose artwork fails to live up to the writing. In Short Sharp Shocks the artwork is stronger than the writing. Which is not to say that the writing is particularly weak but rather that the black and white art is so strong. Having seen some of the work on Ger’s blog I would strongly suggest that issue four would be best served to be in colour (cost permitting I’m sure).The most pleasing aspect of the art is   the subtle changes in style depending on the content of the strip.

Overall the tone is much lighter than, say, 2000AD and really has more in common with publications like the later incarnations of The Eagle, or Wildcat: comics which have a similar theme but a much less cynical tone. Short Sharp Shocks is well written, very well drawn and refreshingly, entirely suitable for children.  Looking forward to issue four immensely.

You can buy Short Sharp Shocks here
Feedback, comments or review suggestions are gratefully received.
You can follow me on twitter if you like. But please do I’m desperate for attention

Monday, 1 October 2012

2dcast Episode 12 with special guest Ger Hankey

2dcast Episode 12 with special guest Ger Hankey

Up from the depths, 30 Stories High, Breathing Fire , it Head in the sky......its the monstrous twelfth episode of the 2dcast, and were talking IDW'S GODZILLA , Dredd 3d and it anaemic box office performance, the resolution of The Walking Dead lawsuit and a most unusual trailer for Ant Man . We are joined by our guest Ger Hankey who drops by to tell us a little bit about his Short Sharp Shocks and his work for the Irish Haemophilia society . He also finds time to to tell us his thoughts about Transformers comics , Power Girl and a whole world of comics related goodies.

As always we welcome your questions plugs or comments .
Email us at
Please follow us on the Twitters :@the2dcast @freebirdswing @misanthrobert

Links mentioned on the podcast

Lightning Strike available :

Please like us

Sunday, 23 September 2012

2dcast Episode 11.1 with special Guest Andy Luke

SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE .As a preview to his work on The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory at this weekends TitanCon in Belfast we speak to the one and only Andy Luke. We discuss his work as a comic creator and educator , shoot the breeze about his love of sequential art, and most importantly plug the event this weekend were he Paddy Lynch and PJ Holden will help a group to create a comic in just one afternoon. Details of the event can be found here

Saturday, 22 September 2012

2dcast Episode 11 with special guest Patrick Brown

Coming at ya from the means streets of Hackney and Derry respectively , Ciaran Flanagan and Bobby Best return with a review of the comics event movie of the year. Not Avengers, not Batman, but Dredd 3d. Find out our thoughts on not only this , but also the recent revelations about Wolverines past , the new Thunderbolts line-up , the outcome of Bobby’s recent death defying charity event and much much more. We also have the opportunity to chat with the awesome Paddy Brown ( not lynch as I say during the episode ) about his work , about Tin Tin and the forthcoming Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Have you seen this man?

                                                     Email us at
Please follow us on the Twitters :@the2dcast @freebirdswing @misanthrobert

Links mentioned on the podcast
Paddy Browns website:
Lightning Strike available :

download Here :

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Review: Supernatural Showcase

Supernatural Showcase
Gar Shanley and Cathal Dougan
Review by Ciaran Flanagan

Gar Shanley and Cathal Dougan are two very sick men, and I mean this in the nicest possible way. The team that brought us the top-notch comic satire of Superhero Showcase have teamed up once more to bring us the paranormally-themed Supernatural Showcase, another faux anthology collection from the fine folks at the fictional Windell Comics. And while Superhero Showcase was straight up parody, its successor attempts to go in some different (and more interesting) directions.

 The visuals are presented in stark black and white, which adds to the air of surrealism. Dougan’s artwork, with its shades of LA fanzine artist Raymond Pettibon, is perfect for the (intentional) atmosphere of feeling slightly uncomfortable but not really understanding why. There is a move away from simple parody to the out-and-out grotesque which is delineated clearly in the superb double centre spread (in which we the ever present reader are entreated to colour).
There are several genuinely very funny strips, with “Ghosts! Monsters! Aliens! Robots!” causing me to HOWL with laughter. It’s also fair to say that Supernatural Showcase is not for everyone. I showed it to a couple of like-minded individuals who are very much part of the spandex set , who could barely get past the lack of colour—never mind the David Lynchish black humour. Much like a lot of the sketches in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer (Masterchef) and The League of Gentlemen (Papa Lazaru) it seems that the more surreal elements could be off-putting to some readers. There are also some strips that are unsettling on a whole new level. In particular “Salvos Saturday Car” is one of the most genuinely disturbing things I have ever encountered in any medium. The story of a bizarre kids TV show that the country lives in fear of, it should resonate very strongly with anyone who ever lived ( and suffered ) through an episode of either Fortycoats or Pajos Junk Box (a programme in itself so bizarre, that I am convinced that I dreamed the whole thing up. A knacker punk rat presenting the Muppet Babies from inside a washing machine crate? No sane or rational mind could come up with that surely?)

Next up on RTE the horror of Kenny Live

Having said all that, this is well written and drawn , pleasingly reminiscent of one of Marvels old collected comics thanks to its glossy cover and it’s fair to say that if you like a bit of David Cronenberg, or you got a kick out of old horror strips like The Thirteenth Floor, you’ll find yourself in safe hands here. Well, I say safe…[1]
[1]You should read that last sentence in a Garth Marenghi voice.

Support The Irish Comics Scene . By Order of Rick Daglass MD

Supernatural Showcase can be purchased from WWW.WINDELLCOMICS.COM or Forbidden Planet, Dublin

Feedback ,comments or review suggestions are gratefully received.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

2dCast Episode Ten : Zombie Special

Things got a bit messy at the 2d Christmas party.
Live from Culture Techs Zombie Night, this episode of the 2dcast is an undead special as Bobby and Ciaran are joined by Kevin Louge and Danny Mc Crossan from Uproar Comics , and local horror writer James Leckey to discuss the finer points of zombie fiction whilst dressed in full zombie make-up as Ving Rhames blows away walking corpses in the background. In celebration of our tenth episode we present two treats . Firstly we have the first of this years 2d Festival panels . Our broadcast colleague Chris Thompson chairs a discussion on Zombie comics featuring Marvels Declan Shalvey , Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard , Chris Ryall of IDW , Team Uproar , and the esteemed Mr Tony Lee. Secondly we have a veritable bounty of undead goodies to give away. In order to win a complete run of Zombies Hi signed by the creative team, a print of the cover Zombies Hi # 6 signed by artist ( and 2d top dog )David Campbell , and a bunch of 2d stuff just answer the ( admittedly lame) question posed during the body of the podcast. Send your answers to

Due to the late evening nature of the recording this is only SEMI SAFE FOR WORK

Big developments afoot for the 2dcast , we thank you for your support and ask you to share this on your social media.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

2dcast Episode 9 : Technical Difficulties with guests Mike Lynch and Hilary Lawlor

Straight off the mean streets of Ennis. Mike lynch represent yo.
2dcast Episode 9 : Technical Difficulties

Due to rank stupidity Ciaran flies solo this episode . No reviews. No news . No features . No plugs. No Bobby. We do however talk to Mike Lynch about his work on Nestor, great 2000ad story lines, Irish language comics and The Walking Dead TV show. We are also joined by Hilary Lawlor who talks us through her career in comics, gives her thoughts on BATTLE OF THE PLANETS , and entertains us with her tales of petty theft.

Its a bird. Its a plane. No , its sausage time.

All feedback gratefully received at

Nestor is available here:

Thursday, 23 August 2012

2dcast Episode 8 : The Curse Of Doctor Octopus.

Former rock and roller, current holy roller: Tommie Kelly
2dcast Episode 8 : The Curse Of Doctor Octopus.

In this episode we discuss The Foo Fighters recent gig, who owns the rights to Marvels characters for the purpose of film making, Australian Kids TV show Round The Twist and the mighty TRIGGERMAN. We review Garth Ennis's work on The Punisher , IDWS' Locke and Key and Rosarch #1. We also speak with Irish Comics News big dog Tommie Kelly about his work on The Holy Numbers, his life before comics, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, his influences , the cult of Grant Morrison and a whole lot more.
We will be back next week with another episode. We are always grateful; to receive feedback criticism thoughts, plugs competition entries or any other damn thing . Please direct these to 2dcast

Links Mentione in this podcast 

Irish Comics News:

Tickets for Bec Hill :

Buy Zombies Hi :

Holy Numbers available @:

The mighty TRIGGERMAN:

Friday, 17 August 2012

Review : Transformers :Last Stand of The Wreckers ( Hardback)

Last Stand of the Wreckers. ( Hardback)
James Roberts and Nick Roche
IDW Publishing

Dont make any plans, rookies!

So it turns out that thanks to the wonders of the digital age, nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be. In the before-time (Pre internet )it was quite possible to look back on your beloved childhood favourites with love and fondness saying thing like “ those were the days “, “ things were better back then”, and  “ Those M.A.S.K cartoons were  really good”.  Of course that was total bollocks. It was just childhood memories playing tricks. Those things don’t exist the way you remember. But at the very least you could bask in the memories of how great they were without fear that the source material would come back to bite you in the backside. Sadly thanks to online communities it is entirely possible to have any possible permeation of Film, comic or song In mere moments allowing it to be proven quite decisively that the thing you remembered, and cherished….was a bit shite. The original run on Marvels Transformers comics are a fantastic example of this phenomenon.
I don’t know what it was about the story of a bloody intergalactic civil war that so captured my imagination as a small boy growing up in the perfectly calm totally terrorist atrocity free state of Northern Ireland. But it left an indelible mark on my psyche. When I think back to the stories from the Marvel Transformers comics, I remember a galaxy spanning saga pitting noble heroes against villainous rebels against a backdrop of colourful alien worlds. This  is  actually due to the aforementioned rose tinted glasses effect . The World Wide Web allows me to access these stories with the greatest of  ease , and what the Transformers comics really  amount to  is: a cassette that turns into a flying  rat is  plotting to take over the planet by hypnotising  people using a rock and roll car wash . A dinosaur who wears a crown wants to stop him. A scantily clad paraplegic wants to stop them both. [1]

At least, that was the case for the US. In the UK and Ireland we got additional material written by the likes of Transformers legend ( and Holly out of Red Dwarf look alike ) Simon Furman who took an altogether more adult approach to the comic that essentially  pitted two sets of toys fighting over who was the best toy . Stories like Target: 2006, and Time Wars which, with hindsight were still not quite what I remembered, but still light-years ahead of their American counterparts. It was  these stories that really made their mark on me. And seemingly On Nick Roche and James Roberts  whose Last Stand Of The Wreckers was released in 2010 to much acclaim and has now been collected in a very tasty little hardback edition collecting the limited series  plus  almost 100 pages of additional material.
One of the chief complaints I hear about modern day transformers comics is that there is too much heavy backstory. This may very well be true. Fortunately in this case it is irrelevant as this book works perfectly well as a standalone once you understand the very simple premise
The Wreckers are an elite group of Autobot warriors famed for both their daring missions, and their ludicrously high membership turnover.  A veritable Suicide Squad, LSOTW introduces us to the four latest recruits and sends them off on a mission from which it is likely they will never return. That’s all you need to know. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing here for hard-core fans. Quite the contrary :as well as cover galleries, sketches and  character profiles, the bonus materials rather annoyingly  include a very detailed list of all the Easter eggs , which allows you a momentary sense of self satisfaction for getting all the ones you spotted and which then evaporates as you see all the ones you missed .  The bastards. Still, it contains one of the most obscure Bret Hart references I’ve ever encountered in a mainstream comic and that can’t be  a bad thing.

In the industry we call this “ Fan Service”.

The closest comparison i can make to LSOTW in comics Terms would be to the Giffen /DeMatteias run on Justice League International with which it shares supper sharp witty dialogue, crisp clean artwork and most tellingly, a real sense of camaraderie between the all too real seeming characters that make up the rag tag bunch. [2] There’s a real sense of loss whenever one of the characters inevitably snuff it. In some regards it feels less like a comic and has   it has more in common with a team up movie like the Dirty Dozen. Actually The Expendables might be the best comparison, given that the 4 doomed red shirt robots are based on characters so obscure that their toys were only released in some European countries long after the heyday of the G1 line.

In truth the new recruits in LSOTW are barely concealed author avatars for Roche and Roberts, ascended fan boys who now have the opportunity to walk amongst the giants whom they once watched from afar. However unlike the doomed newbies in their tale Nick Roche and James Roberts have already managed something that their comic’s predecessors have not: Nick Roche and James Roberts make the transformers comics I remember reading when I was a kid. Well played lads.

[1] . This is the actual plot of Issue 31 of The Transformers: Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom, easily one of the dopiest things I have ever read. The mentioned dinosaur and paraplegic do not actually feature in the comic but are part of the overriding story arc. It never hurts to make these things clear.

[2] This was initially speculation on my part. Then I saw the alternative cover to the current on-going “More Than Meets the Eye” series by the same creative team.  That’s one more….for the bad guy.

2dcast Episode 7 ( Gar Shanley Interview)

2dcast Episode : Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Its a day late and a dollar short but the second ( sorta) weekly 2dcast has arrived. This week we discuss the new 2d Festival venue , the death of Joe Kubert, the ( non) death of The Dandy, and why Marvel need to give the company wide crossovers a bloody rest. We also talk to comics creator and screen writer Gar Shanley . We discuss his comics and film work ( including the splendid Supernatural Showcase) , his influences , The Wonderly Wagon, why the X-men movie is not all its cracked up to be and a whole lot more.  This interview was done via skype so please forgive the quality , measures are in place to improve this.
 We are always grateful; to receive feedback criticism thoughts, plugs or any other damn thing . Please direct these to 2dcast

links mentioned in this podcast:

The Millennium Forum ( 2d Festival 2013 venue):

Lew Stringers blog about The Dandy:

Gar Shanleys Blog:

Deirdre de Barra blog:

Tickets for Bec Hill :

Buy Zombies Hi: 

Holy Numbers available @ :

Meanwhile, back at 2dcast HQ.........

Thursday, 9 August 2012

2dcast Number 6

"What do you want?", " Entertainment", "YOU WONT GET IT"
Bobby Best and Ciaran Flanagan return after two months of being held captive by a shadowy government agency in a secret location( Wales) , with a new episode of the NOW WEEKLY 2dcast . Just a short one to get us back into the swing of things, as a full service with guests and interviews and such will kick in next week. In this episode we discuss : the 2012 Festival aftermath, Walking Dead Issue 100 ( sob), The Dark Knight Rises, Optimus and Me , IDW's ongoing transformers series, Bobby’s death defying feats, and a whole lot more. We appreciate any feedback, comments, or plugs . Please like and share this on your social media.

We can be contacted at

Bobby’s Charidee page :

Friday, 8 June 2012


The Boss and The Best



Tell em Hawk

The words of the late great Road Warrior Hawk very accurately sum up the 2012 2D Northern Ireland Comics Festival. Join your genial guides Bobby Best and Ciaran Flanagan as they relive the event in this very special episode of the 2DCast recorded live over the course of the weekend from not only the comics open day at the Verbal Arts Centre, but also post panel discussion from the palatial steps of the Derry driving licence office along with their special guests:

Andy Luke
Bec Hill
Aaron Abernathy
Scott Ferguson
Stephen Mooney
Ger Hankey
Declan Shalvey
Tommie Kelly
Cormac Hughes
Ciaran Marcantonio
Lorcan McGrane
Danny McLaughlin
Peter E Davidson

Topics include the evenings panel discussion, Prometheus, Zwanna Son Of Zulu, ROB SCHNEIDER~!!! Half Past Danger , The new Judge Dredd Movie, Benedict Cumberbatch and his role in the new Star Trek, and a whole lot more. Due to the late night nature of much of the recording this podcast is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Lots of swearing and so forth.

Thanks to all who attended the festival this year, and thank you for your support of the 2DCast.
As always our Email address is

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

2DCAST EPISODE 4 : The Voyage Home


Hours. Minutes . Even Seconds .Tick Tick Tick Yeah Let It Happen!”

Now imagine that in the voice of the late great Macho Man Randy Savage and you may begin to imagine the excitement that Ciaran and Bobby are experiencing in waiting for the 2012 2d Festival. In anticipation of this your intrepid hosts talk about A vs X , Brian Michael Bendis , Dc's new New 52 titles and poke more fun at Alan Moore . We also speak to the Zombies Hi team about the rise of Uproar Comics, and cast our eyes on THE 50 WORST MOVIES OF ALL TIME. Another fun episode that suffered from technical issues we apologise for the loss of sound quality.

Contact us at

Official 2d Festival website is

Uproar comics website is :
Total Films list of bad movies is here:

We look forward to seeing you all at festival time . Bobby and Ciaran will be hosting Dial Q for Quiz at 6.30 pm Saturday evening. See you there.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Insert your own lazy Oasis joke here.

Morning Glories Vol 1 &2

Image Comics

Joe Eisma( Artist) Nick Spencer (Author).

If you don'y have a school uniform fetish before you read this you will afterwards.

For those of you who are soundly of the mind that internet piracy is an evil, I would like both of you to take note of the following true tale. During a recent adventure on the Interpipes , I (completely by accident of course) downloaded an issue of Images Morning Glories, and within ten seconds of having completed it I  went to Amazon and bought the first two graphic novel collections. When the books arrived I read them both in one sitting, and then like some feeble junkie I went crawling back to Amazon to get Vol 3 only to find out that they had JACKED UP THE PRICE. Or, rather, there was no sign of the next collection, and a cursory investigation seemed to suggest the next issue may also be delayed. Just like all good pushers Joe Eisma and Nick Spencer can not be relied upon to deliver their goods when they say they will. That creates a bit of a problem as, to say Morning Glories is Moorish would be a bit like saying Hitler was “a bit of a rascal”. Not since ‘Lost’ first hit the screens have I been so completely engrossed in a narrative to the extent that I HAVE to know what happens next. And the comparisons to Lost don’t end there.

The story is purposely both intriguing and mysterious (like Lost), the characters are all absolutely gorgeous (like Lost); the whole thing is beautifully presented (like Lost). And just (like Lost) if I don’t get some straight answers soon I am GOING TO FUCKING SCREAM. In fact it’s so like Lost , that if I were a cynical man ( and I am), I would suggest that Morning Glories almost reads like a pilot for the next  hit show coming this fall on Showtime or AMC.

Right in the gentlemans teabags.

The central conceit is a simple one: pupils attend a mysterious boarding school.  Happily for us, the story completely avoids giving us the sorts of "golly gosh lets go and have a feast with Hagrid" scenarios that occasionally made the early Harry Potter books unbearable, and goes straight for those old family favourites: insane sexual tension, Machiavellian intrigue and ultra-violence. No real explanations are given for anything, and you are bombarded with unanswered question after unanswered question:   what the hell is this school for? Are the pupils and staff prisoners?  Didn’t she die in the last issue? Are the staff experimenting on pupils? What’s going on in the cavern under the school? Why is this classroom starting to fill up with water?  IT’S INSANE. And it’s brilliantly done. The artwork is absolutely top notch. It has an ethereal almost dream like quality to it, which adds a great deal to the stories “what is real and what isn’t?” vibe. Joe Eisma is destined for great things in the future.

"She makes me feel kinda funny. Like when we used to climb the ropes in gym class"

Writer Nick Spencer could well claim to be the hardest working man in show business (now that James Brown has snuffed it) working on not only his creator owned properties, but also for Marvel and DC. I can’t help but feel that he might be spreading himself a trifle thin in much the same way Kevin Smith did while he was working on Spiderman/ Black Cat.

The bad news for addicts like me is that the erratic nature of the publishing schedule, plus the labyrinthine  nature of the various story arcs suggest that getting through Morning Glories is going to be a very drawn out process indeed. God damn it. I can’t wait for the TV show.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

2DCAST EPISODE 3: Back in Training


Not to be stopped by your puny human “technical difficulties”, Ciaran and Bobby return for another episode of the podcast that melts in your mouth not in your hands. In this episode we discuss recent plot revelations on Garth Ennis's The Boys, who we Hope gets killed off in Marvels A vs X mega event and \we discuss Alan Moore and his recent conflicts with publishers, move moguls, co creators and sanity. Festival director David Campbell joins us to announce our new GUESTS OF HONOUR as well as to give us his thoughts on the latest Hollywood Blockbusters. Were also joined by Dublin based comics artist Stephen Mooney who talks us through his career and gives us his thoughts on TEEN WOLF. A reasonable time can be expected by all.

Stephen Mooneys Half Past Danger blog is

The Eclectic Mick’s website can be found here www.

The new 2d Festival website is now online at

You can email the show with any thoughts, requests views or competition entries at

The crazy interview with Alan Moore is here:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

2dCast Episode 2 : Electric boogaloo

Bobby Best and Ciaran Flanagan return with another episode of the comics podcast described by one listener as “ fine”. In this episode we have none of the promised interviews , a look at this years guest list , and news about changes( and not necessarily for the better) to the panel discussions settings. Bobby gives his thoughts on the Avengers trailer and shares his theory on the GOOSE OF IMPENDING DOOM. We set the wayback machine five years back as we give our thoughts on the greatest moments in festival history . All this plus a whole lot more. And really, sorry that the promised interviews dont appear. Sincerely.

The new 2d Festival website is now online at

you can email the show with any thoughts, requests or views at

Star Trek Season 8 is here!/tng_s8


Monday, 20 February 2012

2d Festival Podcast Episode 1

It's finally here !!!! Join hosts Ciaran Flanagan and Bobby Best as they struggle against technical difficulties , K9 attacks and their own inadequacies as human beings in their quest to find a format. In our d├ębut adventure we discuss DC's New 52 ( and their horrendous new logo) , recent legal difficulties faced by some comics creators , the recent reboot of the X-Men franchise , and most shockingly whether or now the 2d Festival home turf The Verbal Arts Centre recently perished in a towering inferno! In more light-hearted news , we are joined by none other than David Campbell for a natter about his life in comics and the SECRET ORIGIN OF THE 2D FESTIVAL! All This plus a chance to get your mucky paws on a nice hardback copy of All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder by Jim Lee and Frank Miller.

You can contact the podcast team with questions, plugs, enquiries or competition entries at our email address : 2dcast . All feedback is gratefully received

More information about The Comicbook Legal Defence Fund as mentioned during the show can be found @

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


In Derry this week . Despite a weekend in Belfast resulting in herculean booze intake according to Boots Derry, I am 84.6 kg and my mate Jims scales say 85.0 , but theyre bollocksed , so its all going in the right direction. I will return later this weekend with some comics reviews , my school report and  THE 2D FESTIVAL PODCAST

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Watchmen 3 years too late

This is something I wrote for Verbal Magazine on the eve of the film Watchmen being released, never edited or proofed and never used. I think its not too bad. I posted it here back in 2009 when there was actually nobody reading this as opposed to now when virtually no one is reading this . Obviously this is written with the layman in mind. Of everything on this blog I would  appreciate feedback on this most of all. In all honesty I was blown away on first viewing of Watchmen , feeling that they had captured the spirit of the book perfectly. I have yet to re watch it, and as I move further and further away from the first viewing all I can say is that I find the lack of tentacles to be disconcerting, but not as disconcerting as that big blue fellas todger. Anyway.......

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Super hero and comic book movies have always been big business. Ever since Richard Donners Superman made us believe a man could fly in 1977 there has been a seemingly endless stream of films of varying quality , form the brilliant ( A History Of Violence , Road To Perdition,) to the banal (Batman and Robin being a memorable disaster). 2008 seemed to be something of a pinnacle in terms of box office success and quality of content what with the success last year of the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight. Anyone who went to the cinema to see the latter will have seen a trailer for another seemingly run of the mill super hero film called Watchmen. Most people who saw this trailer probably thought “Oh, what’s that? That looks like a good film. I may go and see that. When it comes out. In 2009. Probably” and then went on with their lives. But a select group of people (of which I am a member), probably came very close to wetting themselves at the prospect of this project coming to fruition. Comic fans have known since day one that Watchmen is something special.
Imagine your favourite book, song, and movie all combined into a single package: That’s Watchmen. The type of thing that you finish reading and immediately after the shock has worn off you wish you’d never read it so you can read it again. And then you read it again anyway. It’s that good. The term “greatest” is thrown around these days as if it was so much confetti, but take it from me, Watchmen is the greatest comic book ever. And I know that is a compliment roughly akin to being described as the best dressed man in Ballymena, but it really is something else. It punches above its weight breaking out from the confines of a ‘kids’ medium and making it onto Time magazines list of the top 100 novels of the Twentieth century. With the imminent release of the movie (recent legal issues not withstanding,) it seems like as good a time as any to take a look at this seminal work, and the wizard (literally) that produced it.

Northampton born Alan Moore had made a name for himself on the British comics’ circuit writing for titles such as Doctor Who, Captain Britain and 2000AD. His work on the latter had garnered him several UK based comics awards (voted for by, in Moore’s words, “50 people in anoraks with awful social lives”), which caught the eye of US comics giant DC who offered him the opportunity to write their (failing) Swamp Thing title. Rising to the challenge Moore somehow managed to take a book in which the protagonist was a walking compost heap from selling 15,000 copies to selling more than 100,000 copies.
DC rewarded this success by giving Moore a line of super hero characters from the recently acquired Charlton Comics that he could revamp as he saw fit. Moore felt that if he started the series off with the death of a major character that was well known to the reader then it would let them know they were reading something outside of the norm of the time. Eventually the rights to the Charlton characters were lost, but Moore carried on with characters that he made up himself reasoning that “If I wrote the substitute characters well enough, so that they seemed familiar in certain ways, certain aspects of them brought back a kind of generic super-hero resonance or familiarity to the reader, then it might work”. Taking the premise: what would happen if super heroes existed in the real( or at the very least a more realistic) world, Watchmen along with Frank Millers’ The Dark Knight Returns ushered in the era of grim and gritty comics that led to the creation of Tim Burton’s Batman franchise, and changed the way comics were written forever.

Set in an alternate version of 1985 in which Richard Nixon remains president, the cold war continues, and the United States and Soviet Union stand on the brink of nuclear war, Watchmen opens with the discovery of the Murder of Edward Blake aka The Comedian one of only two costumed crime fighters remaining in the governments good graces after vigilante activity has been outlawed. Rorschach a borderline socio-path and the only costume to operate outside the law starts an investigation into what he believes is a series of ‘ Cape Killings’ – someone murdering former costumed heroes. He launches an investigation contacting all former crime fighters including the paunchy down trodden Nite Owl, the self professed smartest man on the planet Ozymandias, and the super powered Doctor Manhattan, (the only genuine super being), who is becoming increasingly removed from his humanity. What follows is less of a super hero murder mystery and more of a journey through comics as a medium, as Moore pays tribute to comics’ history at the same times he is de-constructing and exposing the weakness’ of the super hero genre. With no super villains acting as antagonists the crux of he story became both the socio economic implications that the presence of a genuine super human would have on the world, and the (largely sexual) motivations that such individuals would have for their activities. Being that it was written in the mid eighties the tone is rather stark and grim, a commentary on the American psyche as it was during the Reganomics / cold war period. To say that the outcome of the narrative unexpected and shocking is something of an understatement ,in fact if I told you how the book ends you would dismiss it as the ravings of a deluded madman.

Moore choose David Gibbons as not only the artist for the piece but also co-creator, and often times copy editor, dealing with the several hundred pages of handwritten script and notes that Moore provided in a piecemeal fashion. A three or four page description of a single panel would often end with the note”If this doesn’t work for you just do what works best”. Gibbons insisted on a nine panel page layout which allowed him an element of pacing and visual control that he could predict and use to dramatic effect. After more than twenty years it is easy to forget that for all its success as a collected edition it was never meant to be read in that fashion, rather it was intended as a monthly serial piece allowing for suspense and cliff-hangers in the same way that contemporary dramas such as Lost and 24 do. Additionally Gibbons was able to use the comics medium to his advantage by adding a level of detail which was second to none, so in depth that even Moore himself is noticing new touches today some twenty years after its initial publication .In essence Watchmen was the first work to exploit the medium to tell a tale that could be engineered only in comics. Chapter 5: Fearful Symmetry stands out in particular for it experimental style, as Gibbons laid it out in a symmetrical fashion: the first page mirrored the last in terms of layout, with the centre page spread being completely symmetrical. It’s the small touches like this that you don’t really notice until the sixth or seventh read through.

The flow of the narrative is broken up by a comic-within- a –comic Tales of the Black Freighter, a pirate adventure book. The creators reasoned that a society that had actual super heroes would not be interested in reading their comic book exploits, and would instead enjoy other genres such as horror , detective romance etc. . The rich and dark imagery in the swash buckling tale made for an effective counterpoint to the contemporary setting. Each issue also included supplementary material designed to give a richer insight into the world of the Watchmen. These included psychological profiles, magazine articles, and an autobiography of a retired crime fighter. The book would loose nothing if these were taken away. They’re just nice touches designed to reward the careful reader .Eventually, as work on Watchmen progressed the strip took on a life of its own and strange synchronicities started to pop up unintentionally. The monthly publication of the title was fraught with delays, but it mattered little. The book was a massive commercial and critical success. DC rushed to release cash in merchandise. It remains in print till this day, and its influence is felt not only in the work of comic writers such as Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis, but in many other facets of Pop culture including the Acid House movement (The iconic smiley face image used on a hit Bomb The Bass single), and a recent appearance in The Simpson’s.

Things did not end happily between Moore and DC Comics, as in 1990 he refused to work with them any longer due in part to their treatment of him in the wake of Watchmen’s success . In fact Moore largely moved outside the mainstream preferring to approach work on his own terms. He continues to thrive however on the fringe of the industry, where he remains one of the most respected figures in modern comics. He does not however have high hopes for the forthcoming movie of his most famous work stating “There are things that we did with Watchmen that could only work in a comic, and were indeed designed to show off things that other media can't”. I for one hope that he’s wrong about that. 

The Films of Alan Moore.

Alan Moore has a hate/hate relationship with Hollywood, so much so that he will not take payment from or watch any film based on his work .It doesn’t help that the films in question tend to be total cobblers. What are the chances of Watchmen bucking the trend? Not good by the looks of previous efforts……..
You're a naughty one, Saucy Jack.....

From Hell: Moore’s complex look at the character and psychology of the city of London, as told through the story of Jack the Ripper became, in the words of comedian Stewart Lee “A thing about a man who kills some women".

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
: In 1999 Moore and artist Kevin O Neil made a bold attempt to merge all works of fiction into a single cohesive narrative, which actually worked within the context of the strip. Film-maker Stephen Norrington added a sexy vampire and Tom Sawyer driving a Batmobile. Nice.
Demons ? No way!!!!

Constantine: The comics’ version of John Constantine (aka Hellblazer) was an embittered, alcoholic, cynical, chain smoking British, Noir style occult detective with no morals and a very dim view of human nature. The film version was Keanu Reeves.
Princess Leia hasn't been well.
V For Vendetta: The problem: America was always going to have a problem with the “Terrorist super Hero” introduced in Moore’s limited series. The solution: let’s change the main character from a ruthless anarchist to a romantic freedom fighter. Oh, and add an unconvincing love story and bobbins script while were at it. 

Watchmen: Picture worth one thousand words.