Graphic novel tells of Cork’s spooky legacy
New York had Spiderman and London had Sherlock Holmes. Cork now has its very own graphic novel.
A Cork artist has brought the tales of 18th Century Cork to life through his new book, due to be published this summer.
27 year old Dublin Pike native, Alan Corbett, was inspired to create the comic book tale of Cork’s spirits by his proximity to the local graveyard of St Catherine’s in Kilcully.
“Local ghost stories played a big part in my childhood. Halloween was always a very big deal in my house.”
The Ghost of Shandon is Alan's first book, all 64 pages and 100 illustrations of it.
“It’s what I always dreamt of as a child, creating an adventure, a fairytale in my home city of Cork. I can recall as a child noting that New York had Spiderman, London had Sherlock Holmes, Paris had the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Cork had nobody! This caused me great annoyance as a child,” he laughed.
“Cork’s narrow laneways, canal systems and European architecture made Cork look more like Amsterdam that an Irish city back then,” he said, adding that Cork had influence from local Irish, French Huguenots, Dutch merchants, British landlords all living side by side.
The Ghost of Shandon follows the tale of Ronan and Aisling. Ronan is brought up in a lighthouse in Castletownbere in West Cork in modern day Cork but moves to the city when his father loses his job.
Ronan is bullied in his new home, and comes into contact with Aisling, who works as a maid for a Dutch Merchant family on Tuckey Street in 18th century Cork.
They meet characters such as the lady with the lantern, Nano Nagle, the female pirate Anne Bonny from Kinsale and Admiral Drury of the Port of Cork.
He said he has received massive support from historian and Cork Independent columnist, Kieran McCarthy, his publishers at Cork’s Onstream Publishing and editor, Aisling Lyons.
He said that on a trip to New York a few years ago, he was able to locate the areas in the Spiderman graphic novel.
“I hope to replicate that for Cork in the Ghost of Shandon, so you can visit each location that is illustrated, be it in 18th century Cork or modern Cork.”
The art teacher, freelance illustrator and writer, holds a BA in Graphic Design and an MA in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art.
Alan has compiled illustrations for films and magazines including the Irish film, Eclipse and the UK magazine Computer Arts.
He was on the creative panel for the 2011 Dragon of Shandon Samhain Parade, and designed props for the parade. He also illustrated a comic based on the 19th century Cork character, Baron Spolasco, for the event.
Other characters have fascinated Alan, such as the 18th century visitors to the city from Portugal, Spain and Belgium and the Huguenot Lord Mayor, Vesian Pick, who couldn’t speak English or Gaelic.
“My inspiration for the Ghost of Shandon was to revisualise this lost city. To brings its characters and stories back to life.”
For more of Alan’s work, check out www.theravenswork.com.