Comic Book Illustrators on Creating Irish Comics: DCC March 2023

On Saturday 11th March 2023, it rained in Dublin City Centre. It rained a lot. Those entering the doors of Spring 2023 Dublin Comic Con did so with wet shoes, whether they queued with an umbrella or not. Yet still, the rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of DCC attendees who wanted to celebrate comic books and pop culture. Limit Break Comics were on hand once again to help celebrate the comic book side of DCC by delivering another panel on the process of creating comic books.

Working on the theme of Comic Book Illustrators on Creating Irish Comics, moderator Seamus Kavanagh of Limit Break Comics was joined by Mari Rolin (Turning Roads and Down Below), Eoin Barclay (Irish and Rebecca Reynolds (Valerie and Old Game Plus) who are all Comic Book Illustrators with their own bodies of work to draw from. The focus of this panel was comic books from the Illustrator’s perspective and each panellist gave insight into their own creative process and also some tips and areas to consider when working as part of a team.

Mari Rolin began the panel by speaking about an Illustrator’s need to establish their level of creative freedom at the outset, which will be dependent on whether they are working as part of a team or creating a project that is entirely your own work. With a comparison of the avenues of digital vs traditional comic page creation, Mari was able to showcase the aesthetic differences between both but with a focus on key areas such as the ability to make changes or updates, which could be quite important if there are other creatives who may request alterations (if practical).

With respect to work flow, Mari highlighted that planning ahead what materials she will need helps her to focus on the story and the necessary steps. There are many stages involved in the comic creation process and getting stuck at one stage is a very real roadblock which can stall projects. The idea to plan ahead and have an overview of the process across the project was certainly great advice as this can help with avoiding tunnel vision and opening up the idea to skip to another part of the project and return to a difficult area at a later stage.

Eoin Barclay was next up and he began by speaking about the tools of the trade, the physical items and technology he uses to create his comics. Eoin was keen to highlight that the cost barrier to creating comics should be low. Illustrators get better by practising and making mistakes so a steady supply of lots of cheap paper and pencils would serve far better than expensive materials which will wait only for perfection.

This theme of practicing and improving was a focal part of Eoin’s section of the presentation. As a fan of web comics, Eoin highlighted some web comics that he was a fan of and encouraged any who enjoy web comics to return to them and compare the latest page to page 1. It is very clear to see how Illustrators improve as they put out more work and that was a lesson which gave Eoin his own motivation to create his own web comic, BARCS. Eoin then closed his section quite well with a side by side comparison of his own work from 2019 to a recent page from 2022.

Rebecca Reynolds focused her presentation on what it’s like to work with a Writer on a project. She spoke about reviewing a script, gathering references and the layout process. Rebecca was able to demonstrate the process in full by showing an example of a page from Shine (Limit Break Present’s #1), starting with script, moving to thumbnails, on to initial sketch, line art, the stage of flat colours and then adding shadows and effects, thereby finishing the page.

A highly practical element of Rebecca’s presentation was how the Reader’s eye should follow movement across the pages of the comic. Illustrators can plan their pages to set the flow for Readers to follow through character movement across the panels and pages. She also touched on an area Eoin also highlighted, which is that colouring can add its own layer of storytelling to a comic. An appropriately planned and well deployed colour scheme can really add to the atmosphere and world of the story and its certainly worth consideration as part of the preparation process.

While all Panellists were given the same brief of focusing on the Illustration part of comics creation, each of the Panellists covered different areas and, their individual presentations complimented one another quite for a practical and informative session. Those in attendance who sought tips and inspiration certainly found lots of it during this panel.

To close out this post on the Spring 2023 DCC Comic Creators panel, we’ll feature one creative tip from each of the Panellists from their presentations. Mari highlighted that ideas should be a kept in a notebook, giving reference to a situation whereby she discovered a solution to a problem by casually flicking through old notes and unexpectedly finding a solution waiting for her. Eoin has keen to encourage creators to just keep going. Eoin referenced that even one panel of a comic a day is 7 panels at the end of a week, leaving you with a full page over that period. Rebecca empathised that creating comics is fun, whether that be working with a Writer of creating your own fan art. Creatives should create what feels right for them and the more they do, the better their skillset will evolve.

Limit Break Comics are thankful once again to Dublin Comic Con for facilitating an opportunity to host a panel at their show. We are also grateful to Mari, Eoin and Rebecca who put a lot of work into creating engaging and constructive presentations, sharing their own insights for the benefit of future Irish Comic Book Illustrators.

Left to right, Eoin Barclay, Mari Rolin, Rebecca Reynolds

Written by Seamus Kavanagh

Our 2022 in Numbers

With just a few short days to go before Big Ol’ Santa Day (Christmas, in some cultures), we’ve taken a look back at the work we’ve put out this year, and broken it down for some clarity and a little pat on the back. This is: 

For some context, before we get into the nitty gritty, Limit Break Comics was set up in 2018, with its official launch as a collective at the Small Press Day celebrations in Dublin. Four and a half years into our little creative endeavour, which began with two collections of four-page comics, we’ve been through:

  • A global pandemic
  • A country change for one member
  • Fatherhood for another
  • Two jobs losses for the third
  • Bar exams
  • Broken bones

Just some hurdles. Aside from the pandemic and the Bar exams, the rest are quite ordinary occurrences, and everyone usually goes through one or another. The main thing for us was that through it all, we stuck together. So, let’s start with the small numbers first: the number of books published.

Books to Print

The small blessing of the pandemic was that it really makes our 2022 look exceptionally busy. As a group, we published:

  • Five new books, including three new titles
  • Four zines from two creators

It may not look like a lot, but given this is more of an expensive hobby than anything else at the moment, we’ll take it!

March 2022 allowed us to launch Meouch #2 and Plexus #2, alongside the first issues of Limit Break Presents and Old Game Plus, two new short story series. LBP is our way of showcasing the work by the creators in the group, while OGP is Seamus Kavanagh’s debut with Limit Break Comics. Joining them, collected in print for the first time, is the first Lens book, by Gary Moloney and Raquel Kusiak (edited by Claire Napier.)

Those five new books were launched alongside Turning Roads’ first big Irish show.

Fast forward five months later, Paul and Gary put together a collection of zines to launch at the big summer show. Taking breaks is for suckers. 

Then, to close the year, we launched Down Below, the first book that contains stories worked on by Paul, Gareth and Gary. It took a while.

Event Spaces

Launching books requires events. Mostly.

We’re not ones to shy away from a public gathering, so long as we get to hide behind the table whenever the crowds get too big. In 2022, we took to the road – and to the skies – to attend ten events in Ireland and the UK.

Included in the line-up were two new events for us – Glasgow Comic Con (with and Offaly Libraries Comic Con – as well as a return to some of our favourites, like DCAF, Octocon and Thought Bubble.

Getting to mingle with readers and other creators is always a special experience, and the events that allow us to do so are always memorable.

We even got to take part in some programming at Dublin Comic Con in August and Octocon in October! More of that, please!

Telling a story… or a few dozen

In our first two calendar years – 2018 and 2019, before the world ended – we published 14 stories between 3 and 20 pages in length.

In 2021, we published just one new book: Turning Roads, with 18 short stories inside.

Not one to be outdone by ourselves, in 2022 the collective published 36 stories between 4 and 30 pages in length.

Between them, it’s 210 pages of comics. Not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves!

Meet the Creators

Aside from the number of pages we’ve put in print, no other number really explains what we do more than the number of creators who’ve been published under our banner this year. Granted, a lot of this from work included in Down Below, which does its best to bolster the other numbers in its own way. But still, including the founding members and the friends we’ve picked up along the way…

In 2022 we worked with 66 artists, writers and letterers (including colourists and editors and cover designers and… well, you can see why we stopped at those three words that sum up the work of comics succinctly.)

Not included in that count is our amazing printer for Down Below and Turning Roads, without whom the work of producing books of that scale would be impossible. Thank you Rich from Comic Printing UK, and we’re sorry about your floor. (But also, we’re going to order more books next year…)

Here’s to 2023

In case you missed it – even though we were really loud about it – we’re already looking forward to publishing Fractured Realms in 2023. This will be our third Myth Anthology, and promises to be even bigger than Down Below.

Paul was one of the lucky ones (okay, people have told him he has to stop saying lucky, because he’s worked hard at this stuff) to receive the Literature Project Award from the Arts Council. As part of that, one anthology and two graphic novels will be produced in 2023, with an aim towards launching them at the end of the year. We’ll have more news on the other books as the year unfolds, when we can reasonably estimate whether they’ll make it across the line according to schedule. (Life happens, and the artists don’t do this full-time, so we won’t be throwing them under the bus by promising anything before they’re ready!)

We’ll be back in January, properly, but you can always catch us on social media where we’ll be working towards helping folks team up for Fractured Realms ahead of its end-of-January pitch submission deadline.

Happy holidays,

Paul, Gareth and Gary

Small Press Day at Forbidden Planet!

Four years ago, Limit Break Comics made its debut at Small Press Day. And now, at the tail end of a pandemic, we’re coming back.

One week after Dublin Comic Con, Paul Carroll will be representing Limit Break Comics at Forbidden Planet’s in-store event for Small Press Day. The group of five creators, including Leeann Hamilton (Turning Roads, Plexus #2), Clare Foley (Turning Roads, Life & Death), Hugh Madden (Turning Roads) and Barry O’Sullivan (Plexus #2) will be present from 1-4pm on Saturday August 13th.

The afternoon will represent the return to in-store creator events for Forbidden Planet, and the first Small Press Day to happen in-person since 2019.

Each creator will have a range of 3-4 titles with them, to highlight some of the diversity of work available from Irish comic creators.

The Zine Scene

Dublin Comic Con is this weekend, and Limit Break Comics has been busy behind the scenes working on a new addition to our convention circuit: zines!

What’s a Zine?

The word ‘zine’ is an abbreviation of ‘magazine’, but that’s about as far as the connection goes. Zines are one-topic publications, sometimes hand-made, other times printed and bound professionally, sometimes a mix of professional printing with a hand-made finish. In our case, we went to our trusty printers with four zines, created by Paul Carroll and Gary Moloney, with design work by Paul, and a cover by Gareth Luby. (You’ll know it when you see it!)

How to Thrive & Survive in a Horror Movie

Paul’s a big horror fan, binging franchises in his spare time, writing horror stories for comics and prose, and generally diving into the spookiness of Halloween as soon as possible. In How to Thrive & Survive in a Horror Movie, Paul shares the rules of the Scream franchise with additional commentary.

The zine is meant to be a fun collection of the many rules the characters in the franchise must remember to survive – provided they have a horror expert to explain the rules first!

The Daredevil’s Advocate

Cover by Gareth Luby

When Paul and Gary first started talking about the zines, the first one on Gary’s line-up was a zine adaptation of his article The Daredevil’s Advocate. The conversation quickly turned to asking Gareth to draw the cover.

Gary takes a hard look at Charles Soule’s Daredevil: Supreme, its place in the series and how it addresses the law. One part academic, one part entertainment, The Daredevil’s Advocate is for fans of comics who like to read a little bit into the subject matter.

What’s It Like Being a Twin?

If you didn’t already know – and you will when it comes to Dublin Comic Con, at least! – Paul’s a twin. His identical twin brother, Conor, is an artist in the convention scene in Ireland. And they’re always asked one question: What’s it like being a twin?

This zine is designed to answer that question, and address the many other questions and topics that come up as a result of having an identical twin brother. It also features a centerfold of the dumbest question they have ever been asked. More than once. By several people.

A Novel Murder

To round off the first wave of zines from Limit Break Comics, we have a prose story from Gary Moloney. A Novel Murder is accompanied by some work by Paul to create a designed narrative approach to the story.

Interspersed throughout the zine are pull-quotes with a punch, looming steadily closer to the reader as the story progresses. We’re keeping the details of the mystery hidden, though – you’ll have to pick up the story to find out what happened!

Where Can You Get One?

Our magazine rack has seen better days, but it’s still perfect for housing our new line of titles alongside Paul’s enamel pin collection – before either one grows, that is. The first set will launch at Dublin Comic Con on Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th 2022. We’re in the Artist Alley on the First Floor, tables AA15 and AA16.

Come say hi! And if you like our zines, let us know if we should make more!

Down Below: A Greek Myth Noir Anthology – Coming 2022

After the success of Turning Roads earlier this year, Limit Break Comics is proud to announce our second open-submissions anthology. Down Below is an anthology of Noir comics, inspired by Greek mythology. The book will be co-edited by Paul Carroll and Gary Moloney.

Noir Hades – Art by Gareth Luby


Down Below will feature four-page comics. Your pitch should incorporate an element of Greek mythology – a god, a hero, a monster, a story – and put a Noir twist on it. Think The Big Sleep but with an element of the extraordinary. Stories can include elements of science fiction and fantasy, but must be a Noir story. We’re seeking crime drama, not space opera.

Every story should consist of four pages, with page 1 beginning on the right hand side of the book, in full-colour. Note that full-colour does not necessarily mean technicolour, and the Editors are happy to talk to people about the colour design of their comics to engage with the Noir element of the book.

When preparing your pitch, consider:

  • What sort of crime would a particular god, hero or other character from Greek mythology find themselves involved in?
  • How recognisable is the story to the public?
  • Is your story unique enough when compared to existing materials?
  • How can you put a twist on a familiar tale?

Please note that we are not looking for:

  • A rehashing of ideas from The Wicked and the Divine
  • Illustrated prose or poetry
  • Illustrations that are not comics

As with Turning Roads, we are unlikely to accept multiple pitches examining the same aspect of Greek Mythology. Creative teams are permitted to submit more than one pitch.


Pitches are open as of November 10, 2021. The deadline for pitches is January 28, 2022. More details on pitching and the link to the form are below. Please note that the form will close at 11:59pm (GMT) on January 28.

On February 11, applicants will be advised whether they have been accepted into the anthology. If you pitch more than one story, you will be advised specifically which one has been chosen.

On February 23 through to March 25, the book will be funding on Kickstarter.*

The deadline for final pages is June 10 with Kickstarter fulfilment planned for August.*


Limit Break Comics has been building its brand in Irish comics since July 2018, with the publication of three short story collections and the first of three issues in a limited series. 2021 saw the publication of Turning Roads, which received backing on Kickstarter from over 500 people.

Down Below seeks to build on the momentum of the project, to further showcase Irish and international talent. The project timeline allows for the book to appear at Dublin Comic Con, Octocon and Thought Bubble in the second half of 2022.

As well as offering a platform to lots of lovely comic readers, we want to pay contributors!

Payment of €50 per page will be made to each creative team in the book, made via PayPal. Teams are responsible for deciding how they split the payment. It is the intention of Limit Break Comics to increase this page rate through Kickstarter stretch goals and outside funding. Further details will be discussed with teams if they are successful.

Contributors maintain copyright over their work; Limit Break Comics is granted first publication rights.


Pitches should be made through this form. You may submit more than one pitch. We are seeking pitches from complete teams for this project.

When pitching, you do not need to submit sample art or a script related to the story. Please provide:

  • Portfolio links for each creator in the project
  • A working title
  • A logline for the story
  • A brief summary of the story
  • The myth your story is based upon


We want to pay people. It’s that simple. The Kickstarter will enable us to pay contributors and print the book. The intention is that contributors will know with plenty of time before the pages are due that the book will be proceeding as planned.


Paul Carroll is the editor of Turning Roads, as well as the writer behind Plexus and Meouch. In 2021, Paul co-founded When not working in comics, Paul writes prose and publishes short story anthologies through Cupán Fae.

Gary Moloney is Limit Break Comics’ resident law-talking guy, both as a profession and as a genre-expert. He is the writer of Lens, along with a number of crime stories, following his debut collection Mixtape.


Any queries should be sent to limitbreakireland (at) gmail (dot) com.

*These dates subject to change, but contributors will be notified in advance.