I've just completed a marathon run of Comic Art Masterclasses in Ireland, and what a splendid array of comics they've all completed between them. So good, in fact, I've coloured them all up individually (lots of nights in hotel rooms, what else you gonna do?) so here they are in all their glory. And, studiously avoiding all Irish cliches, Enniscorthy came up with 6 Nuns Fight A Fiery Inferno. In Wexford they gave the cliches an even wider berth...
I worked with two classes a day in Dungarvan, Waterford, Wexford, Enniscorthy and Clongowes Wood, almost all First and Second years (that's year 7 & 8 in old money), and they managed to avoid all the usual cliches those years normally come up with.
I can't promise to add colour to every comic that's produced, and to email them to the schools, but this week's were a fun bunch that more than merited it. The process actually began on day one when, with a longer than usual lunch break, I took the opportunity to show one of the more eager comic fans how to do Photoshop colouring, as I had my laptop with me. The librarian printed out the finished result before the next class, and it was fabulous to see how impressive a 10 minute bit of colouring can be. Here was that first effort...
Actually that was the most cliched title any of this week's groups came up with. Usually you can rely on First and Second years to come up with "Lol", "Yolo", "I Don't Know" and "Your Mum". There's also a lot of in-jokes and name-calling. The closest we came to that was this...
Only after I'd produced the cover and printed out the group's copies of the comic did I learn that Soup Bowl Luke was the nickname of the cousin of one of the pupils in the class. And, worse, that the pupils in question are from the Traveller community. I was assured that neither they nor anyone is worried by this. Ireland is another country.
Possibly the sweetest, most childlike title of the week. Like I say, they avoided cliches this week, and came up with some corking ideas.
Of course they had to come up with celebrities to tread on a worm in my far-famed demonstration strip on the flipchart. A Simon Cowell-free week, I'm pleased to say. They chose instead Rihanna, Joey Essex, Morgan Freeman, Ant McPartlin, Ariana Grande, Benedict Cumberbatch, Beyonce, Barack Obama and, for possibly the only time, Jimmy Bullard out of I'm A Celebrity.
In Me Mum's Car is, I learned after the fact, was based on a Vine. Oh, ask the kids. I don't know.
Thankyou the wonderful kids of Ireland for a smashing week of comic book creativity. The challenge is now on for anyone to come up with such great ideas as you lot.
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing Pansy Potter, Bananaman, Biffo The Bear et al in The Beano, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He's been writing and drawing comics for 25 years, he must know something.