How would you explain your comic Rogan to a small child or a extremely old person? What's it all about?
I always struggle with this, but Rogan is the story of one man’s fight to restore his family’s lost honor. That’s the essence of the story. After that comes the fact that it is set in the universe of Irish mythology.
What influences a story like Rogan?
Not surprisingly, Greek myth, which influences Irish myth heavily, or rather they share similarities such as the Titans and the Formorie, Elysium/Tir Na Nog, Nymphs and the Sidhe. The similarities might not be obvious at first glance but they share similar archetypes and themes.
I know you hail from the Emerald Isle (is it insufferable when Americans say that?) does your heritage explain your interest in Celtic mythology or do you just like all kinds of mythology?
I love it all. They taught us the stories of Cu Chullain (think Demi-god/ Hercules) and Fionn Mac Cuhaill in school and it stuck with me. So, reading Greco-Roman mythology it seemed familiar to me and struck a chord. I also visited very old castles etc as a kid, New Grange is 5000 years old for instance and even the graves in the cemetery behind the house I grew up in are from the middle ages. So you can definitely feel the past all around you in Ireland.
Who’s your favorite character in the Rogan story and why?
I may be being obvious here but definitely Rogan himself. I put a few of my own experiences into his make up. In a reversal, Rogan is a foreigner in Ireland where I am a foreigner in my adoptive country. But where as I am made to feel welcome abroad he and I feel a little alienated on coming to Ireland. It’s just a twist on what it means to belong to somewhere. My children have 75% Irish DNA but would be looked upon as foreigners there. Not in a mean way, but there is a definite distinction in the eyes of who stayed and who left.
No offense to anyone back home who all obviously know me well but to new people I meet now when I return home I don’t seem to fit in completely or they are surprised when my brothers and I say we are locals.
Part of Rogan’s story is that his descendants were exiles and what kind of stresses that can have on your psyche. He can be defensive and not understand why the locals don't accept him the way his father's tales and songs implied.
Besides Rogan you’ve worked on a variety of creative projects, what’s your background as an artist? Where else can we find your work?
I was featured in several galleries in the area but when it started to turn into work I switched my focus; I already have a job! I’ve turned to comics to follow my passion, as we all seem to say.
Since I know you’re a huge Star Wars freak, would you be into writing and/or drawing a Star Wars story yourself if given the chance? If so, what characters would you like to use?
OG all the way. I started an (unfortunately rejected) comic featuring Luke ,Camie, Fixer and co. so original trilogy all the way. Having said that, The Force Awakens looks great so far. I do have a small gig doing Star Wars sketch cards for Topps coming up, how can you say no to The Empire Strikes Back after all?
You have a unique art style, mind tell us about your process and your approach?
My background is oil paints, which I went into straight from pencils, so I lean to being a colorist more than anything. Then I worked backwards to refine my drawing.
I know you sometimes employ members of your family to pose as models while you nail down a pose or get the lighting right on a picture you’re making; what’s the most ridiculous thing you ever asked someone to do in the name of your art?
My kids have had to prance around the backyard with a spear but they loved it. They have witnessed the best Captain America cosplayer doing the same thing out there so they probably think it’s normal. Talking about you Chris Murray!
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of making comics?
Writing, coloring, drawing, in that order. Least favorite is doing it nights and weekends, which takes forever.
After Rogan what’s the next project for you? When can we expect it?
Finn Mac Tire, story of Rogan’s ancestor. But that’s in the far future, right now the next thing is maybe a few freelance gigs.
Read more about Rogan at the official website http://www.rogancomic.com/