Niall Kitson, The Sunday Business Post, 7 September 2003

Irish comic publisher opens websiteEdit

The new website for Dublin comic book publishers Wolfman Publications Ireland opens at the end of the month. The launch marks the start of preparations for the release of the company's first print title, Havoc 21, which is to be released bi-monthly.

This anthology of short fiction will enter a market firmly established by Big If Publications' Toenail Clippings, Clamnuts Comix' Mbleh and Atomic Diner's line of comics, including In Dublin City and Freakshow.

Partners Eugene Byrne and Peter Becket are confident that their approach will strike the right note with a readership brought up on 2000AD and American imports.

"The only way to do it was to look for people who had something different to say. As a personal benchmark, the worse the draughtsmanship, the better the ideas," said Becket.

A self-financed effort, the first issue of Havoc 21 will be presented in A4 at 34 pages long with a colour cover and black-and-white interior.

An initial run of 1,000 copies will be printed at a cover price of €4.50 and distributed in specialist comic shops in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

Revenue from the first issue will be raised solely on the cover price, but it is expected that subsequent issues will carry advertising to facilitate a full colour run and increased distribution.

For Byrne, the first issue of Havoc 21 represents the culmination of three years of groundwork starting with the completion of his first graphic novel script.

Recruiting through shop window advertisements, Byrne met aspiring artist Becket, who would later become his business partner.

The business partners have a staff of 13 writers, artists and media specialists working on the magazine.

Both Byrne and Becket liken putting together their comic to making a film, with the production process split into pre-production, production and post-production stages, coupled with a coherent marketing strategy.

Byrne is keen to stress the importance of an integrated multimedia approach as part of that strategy.

"With the net, CD-Rom/DVD-Rom, print and audio available to comics, currently only one quarter is being used," he said.

"Comics of the 21st century have yet to be born."

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