Limit Break Comics is a comic collective that planted its roots in Dublin. Its members include: Paul Carroll, Gareth Luby, Gary Moloney and Seamus Kavanagh. The group specialises in genre fiction comics.
As a collective, Limit Break engages in programming at events, crowdfunding campaigns, and the publishing of comics. It was awarded Best Publisher in the 2021 ICN Awards, and nominated as Best Publisher in the European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame Awards in 2023.
Limit Break Comics does not accept submissions, but loves to talk to creators about how they can bring their work to a wider audience.
Dawn of the First Day
Limit Break Comics was founded in 2018. It launched on Small Press Day, with two titles: Mixtape and Life & Death, spear-headed by Gary Moloney and Paul Carroll respectively, with covers by Gareth Luby. Each book contained four-page comics, setting a precedence in Limit Break for short-form storytelling.
Paul and Gareth had met a few years prior, at a mini-con in Dublin in late 2015. At the 2017 Small Press Day, they published their first zine together: How to Live With Your Cat (When Your Cat is an Internationally Renowned Assassin). The book was one of four that they would release before the official launch of Limit Break Comics, followed by Operation: Bad Dog, Frankie’s First Colouring and Activity Book for Grown Up Kids and Frankie’s Big Book of Assassination. It was at that Small Press Day that they met Gary Moloney, a Barrister in the making and comic book enthusiast from Cork. Within the year, they had teamed up and put out the first two books under the LB label.
A Killer Cat Appeared
March 2019 saw Limit Break’s first big convention. Until then, everything had been under the names of the individuals involved. With Dublin Comic Con around the corner, they put together a few important items: the LB pull-up banner, the first issue of Meouch, and a cut-out of Frankie. It was an overwhelming success, and set the stage for things to come.
In July of that year, Paul launched his first Kickstarter campaign, to publish Plexus #1. The book collected three 8-page stories together, and was the group’s first adventure in crowdfunding. The goodwill that had been built up with the previous three titles helped Plexus cross the finish line, and taught the group valuable lessons in crowdfunding comics.
The very next month, Limit Break spent almost two weeks in the Convention Centre Dublin. At Dublin Comic Con, Gary launched an ashcan of Lens. Mere days later, Paul set up the table for the group to appear at Dublin 2019, an Irish WorldCon.
As the year ended, things felt like they were on the up-and-up for Limit Break Comics. Then, 2020 happened.
The End of the World as We Know It
In January 2020, when things seemed bright and hopeful, Paul met up with Seamus Kavanagh to discuss some comics projects. They had met at a comic market in Dublin in 2016, and kept in touch since. At that time, the subject was broached about Seamus publishing his next book with Limit Break, and joining in on another book. But things would work out quite so simply as they’d been discussed: the Covid-19 pandemic hit Irish shores.
Mere hours before Dublin Comic Con in March 2020, the Irish government closed every non-essential door in the country. They would stay closed for convention for another two years.
Only one other thing of note happened in 2020 as far as the running of Limit Break Comics was concerned:
That one tweet led to the events of 2021.
A Long Road
The world was still shut down, the pandemic was still a problem in the world, but Limit Break’s first open-call anthology was underway – Turning Roads: Irish Folklore Stories. While responses to pitches were going out, Paul was suffering from a dose of Covid. The alright tight timeline got more difficult to manage, but in March 2021 the Kickstarter went live.
After a month of interviews and a social takeover, the book surpassed its €6,000 target – landing on over €14,600, with over 500 backers. At that time, Paul knew two things: this was going to be a bigger job than he had planned on, and he wanted to do it again.
Between Turning Roads and Limit Break’s upcoming first UK show, the Plexus #2 Kickstarter went live. It was a smaller project, with less hype around it, and kept things going on the single-issue productions at Limit Break Comics.
Then: Thought Bubble.
It was the first UK event that Limit Break Comics was able to exhibit at. Based in the Harrogate Convention Centre in Yorkshire, Thought Bubble is arguably the biggest comics-only event in the UK and Ireland, and served as the launch event for Turning Roads. Events in the UK were finally back in business.
To wrap the year up, Turning Roads was included the Irish Times Best Graphic Novels of 2021, and won the ICN award for Best Publisher.
Up Above and Down Below
In March 2022, Limit Break brought five new books to Ireland’s biggest convention: Dublin Comic Con. These included: Plexus #2, Meouch #2, Lens, Old Game Plus #1, and Limit Break Presents #1. Limit Break Presents became the new on-going anthology series for the collective, with a story each written by Paul, Gary and Seamus.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, Paul and Gary also launched the Kickstarter for the spiritual sequel to Turning Roads. Diving into the murky waters of Greek myth and noir comics, Down Below remains the runaway hit for the collective. Almost 900 backers brought the book to life.
That summer, Seamus led the first panel at Dublin Comic Con under the Limit Break banner. The debut panel included James Killian, Alice Coleman and Paul Carroll. The panel explore the process of creating a comic from start to finish. The perspectives of a writer, an artist, a letterer and an editor were drawn upon for a packed room. One member of the audience even went so far as to buy every book the group had in print! August 2022 also saw Limit Break’s first official zines hit the stands.
In November 2022, the original trio took to Harrogate to launch Down Below on an unsuspecting audience. The cover – by Stephen Mooney and Triona Farrell – did the book justice; more than a couple of people found it because they knew there was a ‘Medusa in a fedora’ comic floating around.
To end the year, Down Below was given the Comic Book Yeti ICE Award for Exceptional Anthology 2022. The book also appeared in two write ups by Irish newspapers: the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner.
Scream if You Want to Go Nordic
The new year brought with it new projects. Fractured Realms, the third myth anthology, received funding from the Arts Council. The funding guaranteed its publication and an increased page rate for contributors. It also came at a time of greater economic struggles. The Kickstarter came in barely over target, but enough to further raise the page rate.
In March 2023, the group brought two panels to Dublin Comic Con. The first, led by Seamus, brought Rebecca Reynolds, Mari Rolin and Eoin Barclay to the stage. They spoke about the process of writing and making comics. The second was a talk run by Paul and Gary, on the subject of portfolios and pitches. At that point, the pair had read over 400 pitches for comics, along with their portfolios.
Dublin Comic Con was followed by the Enniskillen Comic Fest, the first time any of the Limit Break books had appeared at the show.
In the summer, Limit Break Comics was nominated for Best Publisher in the European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame Awards. During Small Press Day 2023, Mr & Mrs Van Helsing was launched at Forbidden Planet Dublin.
In September 2023, Limit Break Comics attended the Cork Comic Expo for the first time. The team last attended the event in 2018 before they founded the collective. Around the same time, the Irish Writers Centre announced that Paul was to be one of ten participants in the Evolution Programme. As part of the programme, Paul was selected to teach the first year Creative Writing students at the University of Galway about comics as part of their module on the Professional Writer.
In October 2023, Paul Chaired Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention, for the first time. The event was attended by over 300 people. That month, Paul’s teaching placement in Galway began.
In November 2023, Paul and Gareth attended Thought Bubble in the Harrogate. There, they launched Fractured Realms. Gary was unfortunately unable to attend, but was there in spirit. The event was followed by the announcement of Limit Break’s fourth anthology.
In January 2024, the team celebrated the announcement that Gary’s first creator-owned series would be published by Mad Cave Studios. The first issue of When the Blood Has Dried will be published in April 2024.
[last updated: January 2024]