World’s first Gaelic superhero comic book released

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A groundbreaking new Gaelic language graphic novel, Saltire: Ionnsaigh, will be launched at the Edinburgh Book Festival on August 14th.

The first in a series centring round Scotland’s first comic book superhero, the dark and gritty world of the main character is a pseudo-history of the country and its mythology.

Set entirely in the landscape of Scotland during pivotal moments from the past the comic books will be familiar to those who enjoy the rich legends and traditions of Scotland.

Creator John Ferguson said: “I’m looking forward to the launch and really believe that Saltire can grow in Scotland to rival the wonderful superhero franchises from across the Atlantic.

“The reaction from the public and professionals within the Gaelic speaking community has been fantastic so far and to get the opportunity to introduce Saltire: Ionnsaigh at the festival is wonderful.”

Using an artistic team discovered through a competition at Duncan of Jordanstone Art College in Dundee, alongside renowned Gaelic translator Raghnaid Sandilands, anticipation is high to see the finished results at the Book Festival.

Describing his creation Ferguson continues: “Saltire is an immortal being created thousands of years ago to protect Scotland and its people. He’s big, he’s blue and he’s ginger.

“He has Scottish values but he’s a traditional comic book superhero with a variety of super villains to contend with as the story progresses, a Scottish competitor to Batman and Spiderman if you like.”

The English version of the book was nominated for the prestigious Best British Comic at the True Believer Awards and Ferguson says: “We intend to release each book in Gaelic, simultaneously as the English edition is released.

“We hope the graphic novels inspire a new generation of young Gaelic speakers within a modern and dynamic genre. Saltire Invasion has been extremely popular in English and we hope to gain the same recognition in the Gaelic market.”

Ionnsaigh tells the story of the legendary Ninth Legion and its attempts to expand the Roman Empire to the north, to the land of Saltire.

Ferguson and his company Diamondsteel Comics, which publishes the Saltire series, have also announced that Saltire Invasion is to become the first superhero comic book to be translated into Scots.

He said: “We felt it was important after the success of the English version that we released Scotland’s first superhero in all three languages of the country. There’s been great enthusiasm for it from fans and we don’t expect to find Ironman or Superman speaking these languages anytime soon, so it’s unique.”