Arlena Hosking


Bachelor of Design Graphic Novel Illustration Narrative Storytelling
AD21 Award
Adam Tan Memorial Award
For creativity in Illustration

A Comic Book Inspired by Irish Folklore

Like many of us, Cara grew up listening to fairytales...
But these stories weren't filled with the usual sparkles and joy.
Tales of Celtic Gods, faeries, and magic is hidden deep within the land,
may hold darker truths than she is ready to face or admit.

Otherworld is a 38-page comic book telling the first two chapters of an original story inspired by Celtic mythology, in specific folklore of the Irish fair folk. Fairies in modern and Victorian contexts have been greatly skewed from their original influences, and Irish folklore reveals a darker, more mysterious side to them. Many older folk in Ireland are still superstitious of the fair folk, but these beliefs are slowly being lost to the younger generations and to the wider global subconscious. Otherworld invites younger audiences to indulge in these old tales in a fresh way and provides a nostalgic, fresh twist on the traditional fairytales we are all used to.

Many fantasy stories build their roots from old myths or historical events. Celtic mythology beams with wonder and depth within it’s mystical folklore, yet unlike Greek or Norse, isn’t nearly as well known to the average person. The research behind Otherworld explored the Irish faerie’s beginning as the Tuatha Dé Danann, their significance to Irish culture, respect for the land, and unexpected links to the underworld.

I used these ancient stories alongside the more well-known folklore of Irish faeries (Daoine Sídhe) to inspire my story, which is built around nine crucial rules about meeting the fae. The story also introduces Cara, a young girl with a keen interest in insects as our main character who grew up hearing these tales, yet still manages to stumble into trouble.

The themes explored within the book include making your own decisions, taking risks, and respecting tradition but not being afraid to break away from it. The comic book is targeted at young girls aged 10-15 years old, but may also appeal to those who are nostalgic of the fairytales they heard growing up.

Through the use of sequential storytelling in the format of a comic book, Otherworld aims to encourage self-confidence in its young female readers and to broaden their perspective to reveal a more mysterious traditional view of fairies, which is far darker and more mysterious than Victorian and modern day interpretations leads one to believe.

To view the full book, click here.