Showing posts with label Australian comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian comics. Show all posts

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tim Molloy Interview Part One



My first encounter with Tim Molloy was at an Auckland Armageddon convention in the early 00's. In those days artist's alley was bundled into the foyer of the Aotea Centre and tables were free (!).  I was tabling next to Tim and friends and I recall them throwing things around the room and generally terrorising other cartoonists in the vicinity. The second day I saw one of the guests from Babylon 5 come over and hang with Tim and his pals. He'd been out with them the night before. Wow! I thought, these crazy comics guys hang out with tv stars!

On the last day I traded Tim my minicomic for an early Mr Unpronounceable comic which had the same disturbing surrealism of his recent work in a still developing roughly hewn art style. There's a period of New Zealand cartoonists from the
self-publishing boom of the '90's and early '00's that have kept their hand in the comics game,  of which I'd regard Tim and I'm glad to see his work reaching a wider audience in the last couple years through Melbourne publisher Milk Shadow Books.


What were the first comics you read? What were the comics that inspired you to make your own?
It would have been Tintin,  Asterix that kinda thing. Disney comics.. . Got into superhero stuff later,  then 2000ad Etc... Calvin and Hobbes... I was making comics very young. These probably had a hand in that...  I got into Milk and Cheese later . I started doing a mash up/ rip off of them and Calvin and Hobbes called Nasty Neville and Mr Weasel. When I discovered local stuff,  local creators I've Andy Conlan,  Wade Shotter,  Corn Stone,  knuckles,  you know,  James James... I dived right in with Poot,  Ninja Sheep,  Drunken Otter...

What are some of the influences from outside of the world of comics?
I draw inspiration from all quarters. I've actually spent a lot more time imbibing novels, audiobooks, cinema and fine art than I have spent reading comics... Earliest memory of art would be pulling a Dali book down off the shelf and having my 5 year old mind blown. I have a very active dream life also. I've always had a sense of 'the other' and explores that realm as best I can through experiments in lucid dreaming, readings into the Occult and in the past, psychedelics. Life itself is an inspiration... a turn of phrase, the way light might be streaming in through a strange window, a half glimpsed person down an evening alley... It's all good!

 
How do you find balance between working in various art mediums? to the best of my knowledge you create comics, paintings, sculpture and music, does any one art form take precedent?
I kind of tend to gravitate towards one thing or another at any given time. I'm just coming out of a heavy comics period (1 or 2 pages a day) and going into some traditional art territory. Whatever is most important at any given time is what I tend to concentrate on. Working out whats important can be the hard thing sometimes... In the end though, comics will probably win out. Here's hoping I never have to make a choice to stick to any one thing! Music is serious fun, and the only team sport I have ever taken part in. My band Plague Doctor explores a lot of the same themes I do in my work, but you can dance to it.

What led to you moving from New Zealand to Australia?
I am an economic refugee. I came by plane though, so thankfully I was not locked up indefinitely in a detention center.


Can you talk a bit about the comics/art community in New Zealand when you lived there.
My journey started with me going to those early 'Iconz' conventions (Is that what they were called?) I ran into the likes of Willi Saunders, Wade Shotter, Andy Conlan, Karl Wills. Loved the irreverent, DIY aesthetic. When I came across the work of James James, and then met him in person, I started getting my work out there. That was 1997? My last year of High School. Those were fun days. Comics and music and art and poetry were all in the same place in those days. I imagine they still are. K Rd was where it was at.

James and I were the youngest, and (sometimes) the most badly behaved participants at 'Poetry Live' at Alleluyah in St Kevins Arcade. Hanging around at Corn Stones house, playing Sooth, reading comics, smoking Beedies and drinking the cheapest booze available. Met a whole cast of weirdos and geniuses through that scene. Everybody knew everybody else and the yearly con at the Aotea Centre (sometimes a trip down to Wellington!) was a good chance to get drunk, hassle B-Grade Science Fiction celebrities and unload some photocopied comics on an unsuspecting public. 


It was a very welcoming, vibrant space to develop and grow as an artist, but not without it's share of drama and beef! We played a lot of music, UMX (The Uncle Marty Experience) was our first band (after 'The Tools of Waste' we made a tape called 'The Resin Sessions') and we terrorized audiences with the help of Uncle Marty, our aged patriarch - may he rest in peace.


I became good friends with Ben Stenbeck, The Sheehan Brothers and some of the other people on the 'weird' end of the spectrum. Drew a lot of inspiration and encouragement there. I hung around at Auckland Uni, got a lot of comics into Craccum, drank at Shadows, smoked in Albert park, studied animation on Queen St. Cheap rent, magic mushrooms, cask wine, The Kiss And Make Up Club, St Kevin's Arcade, inky fingers, good people, late nights and lots of fun parties...


Damn! I'm getting all nostalgic now! I could sit here, peering through the mist of time all day, but these are the first impressions that leap out of the gloom at me.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Ben Hutchings Interview Part One

This is the first part of a belated series of interviews with cartoonists working with Melbourne publisher Milk Shadow Books. If I can manage it they should all run over the course of June.

I first met Ben Hutchings almost a decade ago at a convention in Wellington where the artist's alley consisted of Ben, his esteemed colleague David Blumenstein and myself with a couple friends. It wasn't a great experience for us, it turned out all the hep comic cats in Wellington were attending a New Zealand comics weekend at a pub up the road. I always like talking to Ben, we share a bunch of similar experiences with comics in our formative years and I very much admire his passion for making comics.


MATT EMERY:  What were the first comics you read? What were the comics that inspired you to make your own?

BEN HUTCHINGS: The first comics I read were all the old Whitman and Gold Key ones, who did lots of Disney and Richie Rich, Scooby Doo, all that stuff.

All the comics that used to have the ads for the X-Ray specs, and slim jims, and those bloody genuine flint arrowheads. Oh and ads for selling GRIT magazine. The ads were the most interesting things in them I think.  They made you greedy with all the illustrations of great things you could buy.  All kinds of weird food, practical jokes and toys.  America seemed to have all the coolest stuff. The comic content of all of these was amazingly mediocre. They never made me smile or laugh. I still don't know why people fondly remember Scooby Doo, or any of that Hanna Barbera shite. They were soulless!

I was inspired to make my own comics when I discovered British humour comics. They had a lot more spirit and heart, and even though they were formulaic, I get the feeling they were done by people who cared about what they were doing. They were also strange because they used a lot of British colloquialisms and cultural details like bangers and mash!

Of course I was raised from birth with Tintin comics, but for some reason you never think of them as comics do ya.  But needless to say I adored them, and still do.
  

EMERY: Where did you grow up? Were comics easily available to you? Where did you typically get them from?

HUTCHINGS: I was born in Moruya, NSW but grew up in Canberra. Every Saturday I'd ride my bike to the local newsagents. Aside from MAD or the Phantom, the selection of comics in newsagents was always erratic, so it was a bit exciting to see what would be there. If I ventured further out on my bike I might find a whole different bunch of titles in some more distant one!  An odd Superman, or some weird Aussie comic, or maybe they'd have three different Archie titles instead of just one. It was always exciting to stumble across a newsagent I'd never been to before, and explore the comic section.

Second hand shops were, and still can be incredible places to discover hidden piles of old, obscure titles. These days they seem to have more comics than before, too. It's fun to scour the foreign sections for cheap manga, Chinese Tintins, Italian Mickey Mouses, or some risque European hard cover comics.

Once I discovered Impact Records in the city, saving up for trips there after school with my mate became my favourite ritual. We'd blow $40 on everything and anything, and as it grew dark outside we'd sit on the floor of the bus on the way home, amongst the legs of public servants, comparing our hauls for the day.



EMERY: Who were the first comic creators that you recognised by name or style?

HUTCHINGS: I reckon I got pretty good at recognising some of the artists who worked on Batman and Justice League in the 90s. I loved Adam Hughes, coz he was really good at clean, appealing faces. They didn't look like the typical rushed sort of thing, and the stories were pretty funny. I could also pick Brian Bolland pretty quickly.  

EMERY: When did you first draw your own comics?

HUTCHINGS: I can't remember when I did my first comic - it must have been when I was 9 or 10. I was already drawing funny pictures but never in a sequential style. I think my first comic was about a legion of superheroes called "Mo".  By Year 6 I had the patience to finish comics that lasted several pages. They were nearly always parodies. I found a big pile of them the other day!  I have one called "Battyman" and I think I called the Joker "The Jokester" or something hilarious like that. It's interesting because I teach children cartooning now, and always remember myself having way more patience and care than they do, but nooooo.


EMERY: Was there a particular project where you felt you had established your own style? I always thought your work had a consistent tone of humour and I wondered if you felt there was a project where you consolidated your craft or style of drawing?

HUTCHINGS: I reckon Lesson Master was the comic that sums up my style!  Very cartoony but with lots of detail.  The people looked a little goofy but the environments and objects were usually pretty accurate. That's the style I feel most comfortable working in, and the most fun. But I never stick with one style and am always figuring out the best way to draw. For example in Iron Bard which I'm doing now, I am pushing the detail way more, and trying to find the perfect mix of funny/realistic to give to the characters.  Even the shading techniques change throughout it coz I can't decide.  On the other hand I'm posting a few webcomics now and then which have a deliberately inaccurate and loose style that I love doing. So really I don't feel like I've consolidated my style of drawing yet, even though I think most people can recognise my art when they see it.

EMERY: A while back you mentioned to me you’d like to attempt projects outside of the humour genre, have you made any progress with this idea?

Not actively working on anything serious yet unless you count rough story outlines and scene thumbnails.  It seems to get pushed back all the time.  I have a number of serious ideas which I think would be great.  Ideas like that are stressful because I know I can do funny joke comics, but I think telling a poignant story will really expose my shortcomings in that area.  They could be hamfisted, or shallow, or derivative or self indulgent or unoriginal without me knowing.  I am not afraid of being insincere with them at least.



EMERY: With Squishface you've established a long running comics studio in Melbourne,  How has having a studio and an environment with several cartoonists/artists impacted on your work? Can you talk about future plans for the studio?

HUTCHINGS: Two years now, which was my original hope. Two years means it has actually made an impression and become a 'thing' people will remember even if it dies. So now we're starting year number three. When you are around other people who are also involved in their own projects, new things always get thrown your way, and being a sort of institution, festivals and events and people always approach us. I started it because I loved having people watch us work when we did Inherent Vice, but I find the public aspect of it very different here. When it's only me here I find I like to shut the door and work away in solitude, but when there's a few of us here I like inviting people in but it's a bit more one-on-one, being a small enclosed room. I find it hard to have one day away from this studio. I always wind my way back. I have no future plans except for this place to survive, but I would like it to have more activity, and to bring in a bit more money from comic sales and art sales. That's about it!!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Maurice Bramley Scientific Thriller Covers

I've been posting New Zealand/Australian cartoonist/illustrator Maurice Bramley's painted Scientific Thriller covers on Te Pikitia tumblr. Here's a selection for folk that may have missed them.

Maurice Bramley covers for Scientific Thriller novels circa 1948-1949. As with other illustration work , Bramley often used his own photos as well as photos of actors and celebrities as reference for characters in his illustrations.


















Saturday, May 10, 2014

Jimmy Bancks (10 May 1889 – 1 July 1952)

 

James Charles "Jimmy" Bancks was born today in 1889. A prolific cartoonist in the early twentieth century is most well known for creating Australia's most long surviving newspaper cartoon Ginger Meggs.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Paper Trail



Murtaza Ali Jafari, a 24-year-old Hazara refugee, outside the Refugee Art Project. - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/human-smuggling/part-4-a-man-who-spent-26-months-in-detention-found-solace-in-art-program-1.7375#sthash.c6wpHTgH.dpuf
Murtaza Ali Jafari, a 24-year-old Hazara refugee, outside the Refugee Art Project. - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/human-smuggling/part-4-a-man-who-spent-26-months-in-detention-found-solace-in-art-program-1.7375#sthash.c6wpHTgH.dpuf
Murtaza Ali Jafari, a 24 year old Hazara refugee, involved with the Refugee Art Project profiled at Times Colonist.


Dylan Horrocks' Incomplete Works Launch party in Auckland, Tuesday, April 1st (April Fool’s Day) 6pm-7pm Auckland Central Library (44-46 Lorne Street) Map Whare Wananga Level 2.


 Sarah Laing: The Alison Bechdel fan comic.


Auckland Sci Fi & Collectables retailer, Retrospace, profiled at Retail News.


Interview with Manga translator and comics writer Kumar Sivasubramanian.


Arran McKenna draws 'Interesting Times' for The Helix magazine.



Dave Dye previews a proof copy of The Anzac Legend.




Danielle Street profiles Jeremy Bishop and Arkham City Comic.


 (Pic yoinked from stuff.co.nz)

Running Tuff: New Zealand Running Blog with cartoons.






English Comics Diversion: David Roach on Angel Badia Camps.



the Refugee Art Project.
Murtaza Ali Jafari, a 24-year-old Hazara refugee, outside the Refugee Art Project. - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/human-smuggling/part-4-a-man-who-spent-26-months-in-detention-found-solace-in-art-program-1.7375#sthash.c6wpHTgH.dpuf

Roger Langridge and Mark Evanier on new Rocky and Bullwinkle series.


David C Mahler: Hole In the Wall.



David Henshaw obituary by Matthew Grocott.


Paper Trail masthead courtesy of Toby Morris.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alex King Gag Cartoons

Alex King Gag Cartoons from the Australian Woman's Weekly circa 1940's.

Gallery of Alex King portraits in pencil of Hollywood stars of the ‘40’s for the Australian Woman’s Weekly on the Pikitia tumblr.







Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au