Scotland is a fertile land for comics. DC Thompson has been in business, printing some of the most-read comics in the UK, since 1905. Some of the best-known figures of the comics world (Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Eddie Campbell to name three) are from this plucky little country, famous for weird foods and men in skirts.
But Scotland have upped the stakes. Forget Captain America, if you're after a patriotic superhero, drenched in rich folklore, with attitude and strength to rival anyone then look no further than SALTIRE.
Known affectionately as 'Big Blue', Saltire is the brainchild of Dundee-based writer John Ferguson. The first volume, which was out last year is a dazzling mix of history and mythology. The second volume, out this September, promises to continue this intricate balance, with Ferguson pairing Scottish folklore and Scottish history in the character of Big Blue.
However, not content to be placing Scotland firmly back on the comics map, Ferguson and the Saltire team have gone even further. This August marks the release of volume 1 in both Gaelic and Scots. Beautifully translated by Raghnaid Sandilands, and with the support of the Gaelic Book Council, 'Saltire Ionnsaigh' will be the first Gaelic language superhero comic ever. With other translations planned, as well as more volumes that follow this ginger, sword-wielding wonder, Saltire is making waves. And, at a time when Scotland is on the world stage for both sports (Commonwealth Games - on now!) and politics (Independence Referendum 18th Sept) then what better time to show the world what the country is made of? Admittedly not all Scots are big, blue and half-naked, but there's a hell of a lot of strength in this otherwise small and beautiful country.