Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's hear it for the Laydeez (and a Gent)!
An On-the-Spot Sketch Report
of the Inaugural Meeting 
of Laydeez Do Comics (Ireland)

Years ago, I went to university to study science. I was a mature student (all of 23!!!) when I started, and all my classmates were 17 and 18, so naturally I had more confidence than them. I sat in the front of the lecture theatres and asked lots of questions. I got a reputation for being "that cocky one at the front" - for a while no one knew I was older, as I have red hair and apparently that is the elixir of eternal youth. 

Many years passed and I found myself taking a PhD in mineralogy. I had to present papers in European cities, all alone, which I found very daunting (even though by now I was even more mature). I never put my hand up to ask a question because I was sure it would give the game away - i.e. that I didn't have a clue what I was on about. The blokes, on the other hand, knew everything, and dominated every presentation with their questions. They would take a very firm position on their own research, and arguments would get very heated. Never once did I hear a bloke say, "Thank you for making that point - I've never looked at it from that angle. I'll have a re-think." It took me years to realise that the main difference between me and those blokes was confidence - my results were just as diligently recorded, my experiments as meticulously designed and my observations as sharp as theirs. There was another difference, of course - I was secretly wishing I was drawing, whereas I'm pretty sure they weren't.

What has this got to do with Laydee comic makers? Not a lot...but it's always nice to make sweeping generalisations.
The Laydeez Do Comics group was set up as a forum to give women a place where they could talk about what they were up to in comics, without being drowned out by (sometimes) over-confident gentlemen. It's been a huge success: it started in Britain a couple of years ago, spread to the States...and now it's in Ireland! Yay!

Last night was the inaugural meeting of the Irish branch and it was a great success. I for one learned loads. the first speaker was the ridiculously brilliant Sarah McIntyre, of the utterly fabulous Vern and Lettuce and tons of other things. If you have never read Vern and Lettuce, you need to fix this as soon as possible.
She was full of all sorts of ideas, a lot of which involved wearing wigs...but that's her way of communicating. She really is a special talent and perhaps not quite of this world...

isn't she fabulous?

The next chap up to speak was Alan Nolan. He is all smiles and twinkling eyes, so you are with him before he starts, and then you're with him anyway, because he's hilarious. On so many levels, yes, including puns. He struck me as someone it would be great to work with for the sheer enjoyment of it. I particularly loved the fact that his work has a very strongly Irish voice - and I don't mean because he has to draw lots of people playing hurling. It's not even just the humour. It's much deeper than that. He makes comics that are intrinsically Irish in every line, and I love that.

can't you see his twinkling eyes?

Finally we had the pleasure of hearing Maeve Clancy speak. This is a woman who is full of integrity and determination. Maeve has used her talent and skill to bring comics to people who might not ordinarily get a chance - I'm talking about kids who've been dealt a poor hand in life, but who are determined to have their say. Maeve spoke of young people who have no one to call next-of-kin, for whom comic making has become a real way to have a voice.
She was also pretty funny about getting the balance right between honesty and keeping a client happy: just draw then better-looking than they are and you'll get away with it!
a most knowledgeable and generous contributor and her hair is fabulous 

Three inspiring comics artists...full of ideas...rock on laydeez (and gent).

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