Top Ten Irish Comics: Hound

When I first heard of this book I was thinking “oh another Cú Cullan book” but I was won over by the beauty of the art which had such fine detail and incorporated Celtic symbols to give it a real authentic flavour. The book had its origins in a film pitch and the art style certainly has a cinematic quality. The characters are designed with exquisite detail (you can some of them in the page below), as are certain backdrops, but Paul Bolger knows when to keep the backgrounds simple so not to distract from the action. I’m not usually a black and white fan but I think colours would detract from the line detail and the overall design in this case. This also gives the occasional use of red in certain scenes a bigger impact and used to good effect in getting certain moods across. I must also give a huge nod to Dee Cunniffe who does a brilliant job on lettering duty. His creative choices really add to the story whether it is a simple conversation or the words of the War Goddess, Morrigan.

There is a certain Game of Thrones feel to the story (Cú Cullan came first!) with evil(?) gods, warriors, kings and queens and their machinations. The first volume covers Cú Cullan’s earlier life up to when he begins his training. I really like the introduction as we start off seeing the world through the eyes of Morrigan (who manipulates events to a certain degree). The goddess acts as narrator giving us the state of play for Ireland leading up to Cú Cullan’s birth. I thought that was a nice way of giving those unfamiliar with Irish history and legends a context for the upcoming tale. The main character is a complicated figure as he is not a typical hero and kind of falls into the area that Marvel cornered so effectively in the 1960s of “superhero with a flaw”. Paul Bolger and Barry Devlin go into the background as to why the hero is kind of broken and show what I feel is the most compelling part about him. He is impulsive and gets real angry real fast which lands him in a lot of trouble and essentially drives the narrative.

The team followed this up with two other equally impressive volumes to complete the story. There are also Irish language versions.

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