"Ireland at this time had a largely cow-based economy"
March 16, 2014 10:01 AM   Subscribe

"I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it many times again, but one of the joys of webcomics is their ability to cover every possible subject and fill every conceivable niche. Say, for example, you’re into early Irish literature and you want to read it in comics form. Webcomics are happy to help you out. At this very moment, in fact, there are at least two ongoing webcomics based on the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, the central epic of the Ulster cycle: Patrick Brown’s The Cattle Raid of Cooley and M.K. Reed’s About a Bull. Thank you, webcomics! You’ve justified the existence of the Internet yet again!" -- Shaenon Garrity reviews two niche webcomics.
posted by MartinWisse (17 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

I don't even need to read the article to put those two webcomics straight in the RSS feed. Thanks for pointing them out!
posted by immlass at 10:21 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]

one of the joys of webcomics is their ability to cover every possible subject and fill every conceivable niche

Like... books?
posted by msalt at 10:37 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]

Back in college I had a webcomic adaptation of Culhwch and Olwen in the works after I kind of randomly picked it as the basis for a set of character designs for a 3d modeling class project, but life got busy and I dropped it - this makes me want to go dig out my old sketchbooks and see if I can get back to that.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:18 AM on March 16

Maybe Culhwch and Olwen... IN SPACE
posted by jason_steakums at 11:19 AM on March 16

The flashback section of how the bulls were born is wonderful. There is a so jealous medieval monk out there today.
posted by Thing at 11:28 AM on March 16

If you've been dying to read it in Old Irish, here you go. (How often do I get to link to the Book of the Dun Cow around here?)
posted by languagehat at 12:12 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

There's a really gorgeous modern Irish language comic of the Tain as well. Can't remember the author and can't find my copy. :(
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:38 PM on March 16

one of the joys of webcomics is their ability to cover every possible subject and fill every conceivable niche

Like... books?

Yes, except better, because webcomics

See, webcomics are online, so


posted by clockzero at 12:44 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

lesbiassparrow, is it The Tain by Colmán Ó Raghallaigh? because there is also an English translation of that available now. I haven't read it yet myself, but the cover is gorgeous.

My favourite retelling of The Táin has to be Morgan Llywelyn's On Raven's Wing (published in America as Red Branch) but I've read it so many times now that I don't know whether it is actually a good book or if it just that I'm so familiar with it, and my memories of reading it. (I first read it when I was 14 or 15).
posted by Fence at 12:49 PM on March 16 [3 favorites]

Like... books?
No, not like printed books. There's obviously a higher entry barrier to drawing a comic, getting it published in print and getting it distributed to everyone in the world. If they weren't web comics, you'd maybe find them at a zine fair.

Speaking of print, some of my favourite illustrations of The Táin are Louis le Brocquy's lithograph illustrations for Thomas Kinsella's version. Thanks to THE INTERNET!, here they are.


posted by zamboni at 1:04 PM on March 16 [5 favorites]

Songs about Tain Bo Cuailgne:

Cruachan - Cattle Raid Of Cooley
The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Brave Connor Mac (much of their Twilight Of The Idols album was inspired by the Tain)
Cruachan - The Brown Bull Of Cooley
The Pogues - The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn
The Decemberists - The Tain EP (technically a single multi-part suite)
posted by mediocre at 3:07 PM on March 16 [2 favorites]

A significant amount of The Lord Weird Slough Feg's early material is Tain-derived, but here's another good one:

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - The Red Branch
posted by mediocre at 3:15 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

My favorite version of the Tain is Patricia Finney's The Crow Goddess and The Shadow of the Gull, which mashes up the Tain with an abortive Roman raid into Ireland. It's brilliantly written, heartbreaking, and astonishing work for someone who was no more than 19 or 20 when she wrote it.
posted by suelac at 3:31 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

he focus on the women-centric stories in the saga also quietly plays up the unusual amount of power women had in ancient Ireland [...]

Were boobies really the most terrifying thing a man in Ireland could see, or was de Camp making that up? Serious question.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on March 16

This is great! Thanks, MartinWisse.
posted by homunculus at 9:05 PM on March 16

A Táin thread without any mention of Horslips?!
posted by fallingbadgers at 9:54 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the St. Patricks day gift MartinWisse! I'm sorry I didn't get you anything.
posted by herda05 at 2:33 AM on March 18

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