Monday, February 28, 2011

The Ulster Cycle: The Webcomic Series

I honestly haven't been into any comics since I was a kid. No offense to the art; it's just not something I've had an interest in or been exposed to over the years. The only exceptions I can think of are Jeffrey Lewis's comics and The Beats: A Graphic History. Also awesome, but a topic for a later post. What I'm getting at is I'm by no means all that knowledgable on the subject, but I recently stumbled across Patrick Brown's adaptations of the Ulster Cycle of ancient Irish mythology and I'm really digging them. It's a perfect storm of geekdom: history, mythology, literature, and comics all rolled into one. The Ulster Cycle is fascinating to me, the stories dark and mysterious, the characters complex and at times grotesquely violent. Brown's work really helps make sense of the often confusing, sometimes downright contradictory tales. I'm sure he's taken artistic license here and there, but it is mythology, after all. Every myth you've every heard, read, or seen involves artistic license on someone's part. This guy certainly does his research. Not only does Brown write and draw, he's also compiled an impressive series of his own original translations of Ulster Cycle stories. It's all well worth a look:

If you're still not convinced, here are a couple pages from "The Cattle Raid of Cooley," in which the teenage CĂș Chulainn faces off against an entire invading army. Take that, 300. Cue the carnyx:


  1. awesome! i'm doing some research on the Red Branch Knights of Ulster right now. I will thoroughly enjoy these

  2. No kidding. I've just recently been getting into it myself. Never really been exposed to Irish mythology before. In school we learned plenty of Greek, Sumerian, American Indian, African, Biblical, you name it--which was awesome--but we never learned any Celtic or any Norse myths. I think this is pretty typical in the US, and it's a shame; both are really essential to understanding Western civilization and the human psyche in general. And, let's face it, they're also really entertaining.