Drawing the Past: Part 2

Individual drawings from Columba's Cross
Individual drawings from Columba’s Cross

Above is a series of extracts and individual drawings from My graphic novel, Columba’s Cross. I really enjoyed drawing these. I use myself as a model a lot in my work. The main reasons for that are I use establishing photography for my comic books and the other main reason is – I’m cheap and available at weekends. In the novel I play the “Provo” (Provisional IRA man). Now, don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no first-hand experience. I know this may come as a shock to some but Arnold Schwarzenegger had none either when he played the Terminator. In lieu of a real IRA man, I decided to model the part instead, so much for authenticity then…

extracts from Columbas Cross currently being serialised in Zombies HI

My “Provo” uses a Thompson Sub Machine gun as weapon of choice and as far as I remember so did the actual guys. I think I remember reading that they managed to get their hands on a few somewhere. God knows how you go about doing that. Do you place a discrete ad in the personal column…”Wanted sub machine gun for ongoing project must suit small insurrectionist with 34″ waist, 38 ” chest. No time wasters please”.

new flats copy 3

It was not just the weapons but the subtle details of the British Army uniforms that came to mind. The British Army has a unique form. It is made up of regiments. Many of these were originally associated with British cities and regions. The Regiments were easily identifiable by the different styles of beret worn by each regiment. In the case above I remembered one very distinctive plume worn by the Royal Fusiliers. Their red and white Hackle Plumes were instantly recognisable.

But, for all the reminiscence,Columba’s Cross is not really a story about the Irish Troubles it is a Comic book. It is a short fantasy tale of retribution and redemption that merely uses the history of Derry as a backdrop. This allows me to photograph my immediate surround, using it as reference. The story only opens in the war zone of Derry’s Bogside in 1973. A bitter provisional IRA man, high above the bog, at the site of the old Long Tower Chapel and graveyard, has a British army foot patrol in his sights. As he aims down his sights he notices a glint of gold at his feet and stops to pick up a gold cross with a gem at its centre… what follows is pure fantasy; a journey back to 6th Century Ireland, to the time of St. Columba, complete with alien invaders and the long lost Amelia Earhart.


In the best traditions of writing I’ve taken the landscape and the history of my city and of my youth and woven a tale around what I know. Although very much a fantasy/Sci-fi story, Columba’s Cross is still the first Irish graphic novel to backdrop the troubles. I’m hoping to bring this tale out sometime this year as an E Book perhaps as a serial with downloadable short episodes. let me know if you’d like that…

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Drawing the Past: Part 2

2 thoughts on “Drawing the Past: Part 2

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