Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 in Review: Brendan Boughen

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2013?
The highlight of the year was definitely being the live on-site cartoonist for several Microsoft NZ events, including the launch of the Surface Pro tablet and then the big TechEd 2013 conference, attended by over 2000 people. It was cool to see some of my cartoons from those events retweeted internationally. That gig has since turned into some new opportunities with Microsoft which will utilise both my day-job skills as a PR consultant, and my cartoonist alter-ego.

This year saw a number of Fairfax technology magazines in New Zealand close down, one for which I had been drawing a monthly tech-themed cartoon for over 18 months. While it was sad to no longer be in print there, it looks that strip might be finding a new home in another magazine in 2014. I’ve also continued to do monthly cartoons for Touchstone magazine, and am proud to have received some snarky offended letters to the editor about one cartoon I did about churches and zombies. (If cartoons aren’t being provocative, what’s the point?)

Personally though, I feel like I’ve done some of my best work ever on my web site in 2013. It hasn’t always been on a weekly basis, as is my usual aim, but the times I have got one up there I’ve really liked how they’ve turned out. This one’s a favourite.
What are some of the comics/cartoonists you've enjoyed in 2013?
Christian Henry’s Anyone for Rhubarb? web comic continues to hit new heights. I don’t know where he finds the time to produce such complex, bizarre and funny work. 

Political cartoonist John Kudelka continues to stand-out for me for his ability to make powerful points with just a few scribbles. 

I also enjoyed seeing the final collected volume of  Opus strips by Berkeley Breathed of Bloom County fame. 

It’s also been great to see Kiwi comics celebrated through a number of new publications, including the history book From Earth’s End by Adrian Kinnaird and the second volume of Faction Comics.
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2013?
Some superb movies have come out this year. I very recently enjoyed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but also dug Sound City, Warm Bodies, Now You See Me, Pacific Rim, Gravity, Iron Man 3,  Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and the conclusion of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Cornetto Trilogy ‘The World’s End’.

Also, as one of the few who still buy CDs, I have enjoyed getting into more music this year now that all the CD stores are going out of business and having cheap CD sales. Faves have included Lamb of God, Nick Cave, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Joseph Arthur, Karnivool, Nada Surf, Placebo, Pendulum, Pearl Jam, and Lorde, to name but a few. (The talented young Kiwi whippersnapper Lorde also inspired a cartoon.)
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
Mostly I’m looking forward to pushing myself creatively with some new cartooning endeavours in addition to everything that’s been started this year. As well as my tech-cartoon finding a new home in print, I’m launching a new webcomic in January which is being created in collaboration with a writer friend. We’ll be aiming to publish it three times a week and maybe even produce a bit of merch around it. Keep an eye on Twitter (@BelindaBitsch) for the announcement of that one kicking off.

However, the big thing I’m going to try and achieve in 2014 is my next book, which I’m planning to be a 25 year retrospective on my “career” as a cartoonist alongside some reflections on creativity and cartoons. It’ll feature a bunch of never before seen material, and should be fun to put together!

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