A glimpse into the creative universe: A review of the Dublin Comic Arts Festival

The Dublin Comic Arts Festival (DCAF), as described by event organiser and artist Sean O’Reilly, is a “great place to meet loads of people that have similar interests. Who doesn’t like that?”

I attended the weekend festival on Sunday in Richmond Barracks to get a feel for what the event was like. 

The Dublin Comic Arts Festival is a series of intimate small press comic book events tailored towards all age groups.

DCAF hold events in Dublin City four times a year. One for each season.

Their current home for the events, as was this past weekend, is Richmond Barracks in Inchicore.

The Barracks felt like the perfect location for such an event, with its beautiful garden space and function room – it felt like a great size for the event.

Richmond Barracks on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Oscar Lawlor Plazas

Matthew Melis and The Comics Lab of the Stray Lines comic collective helped create the festival as a platform, among other things, to help writers and illustrators across Ireland show off their work to their respective audience.

The beautiful weather over the weekend could only be hindered by the cloud that was confusion wafting over the sign at the door of the hall in the barracks – the sign reading that masks were mandatory inside the building.

This may be seen as quite confusing to many visitor, but O’ Reilly was happy to talk about why they felt they had to come to this conclusion.  

“I get people don’t want to think about it anymore, but there are a lot of artists in the community who are immunity compromised, so they can’t come if we don’t have them,” he said. “They are such a minor inconvenience I don’t thinks it’s too much to ask.”

DCAF run a good show, it must be said. The main hall of the barracks, where all stalls and workshops were set up, was very well organised.

The hall was set-up so that no vendor would feel like they had been shoved to the side of view.

One of the standouts over the weekend was the Studio Meala screening of their mini series.

Studio Meala is an Irish 2D animation studio that provides, in their words, “world-class, hand-drawn 2D animated content.”

As someone who, truthfully, knows next to nothing about animation, I completely agree.

Photo: Instagram / @dublincomicarts

The animation designs, each no longer than 20 minutes, were simple and comforting, with beautiful colours used throughout.

Through speaking to DCAF attendee regulars, Karl and Yousef, they felt they would like to see the event organised differently in future.

“I really think DCAF would benefit from a one day only event in a bigger venue like the RDS where all the exhibitors could be on display together,” Karl said. “I just feel like a lot of people only really come sometimes to see one or two big name artists but end up discovering new artists that they really enjoy just by being there.”

Overall, I would recommend the Dublin Comic Arts Festival to anyone.

Even if like myself, not necessarily informed about what a ‘zine’ was, there is still a lot of free interesting entertainment, and a good place to buy a loved one a unique present.

One would have to agree with the points Karl and Yousef made, the event could have benefited from a bigger venue, where all exhibitors could present on the same day, but one thing is for certain, everyone agreed the comic book festival was ‘drawn’ together brilliantly – a ‘graphic’ success!

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