Saturday, September 27, 2014
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
A couple months back I had the pleasure of tabling with Pikitia Press at the inaugural Chromacon Illustration and Comic Art Festival in Auckland. This was the first comics event I've made the trek from Australia back to New Zealand for and It was well worthwhile. For a first time comic art festival, organiser Allan Xia and helpers seemed to pull it off without a hitch. This is the sort of event I'd love to fill my calendar with. Amongst the highlights of the couple days I spent in Auckland for Chromacon:
- Chromacon was a one day event which for my coming-into-middle-age is the perfect duration for a convention.
- It was nice to attend an event down this part of the world with a focus on comics and illustrators, no commercial retailers, just local creative folk.
- The audience which I think numbered around 1000 for the day keep a steady flow of people through the venue. Not too busy, but rarely a quiet moment.
- Chromacon was a veritable who's who of New Zealand Comics, there were some notable absences and I don't believe there were any South Island cartoonists there but on the whole it was a great opportunity to meet and catch up with a large variety of comic folk at one event.
- I got to finally meet Tim Danko in person for a few minutes!
- Getting to meet the cartoonists I publish. It's probably not so much of an odd thing in this day and age but I had never met in person, Sarah Laing or James Davidson, despite having published several of their comics by this point. Lovely hard working easy to deal with folk. They make my work easy.
- The venue, one floor of The Aotea Centre, in the heart of Auckland, was an ideal place to have Chromacon, easily accessible and a comfortable fit for the amount of exhibitors and audience.
- Grabbing pizza and gabbing comics with Kelly Sheehan, Ben Stenbeck and Chris Slane after the show. Heck, even the barman at the pizza joint was a cartoonist (look for a Pikitia Press comic from him sometime soon.)
- Heading into the carpark after pizza this was waiting for us:
- Grabbing coffee and gabbing comics with Timothy Kidd, Kelly Sheehan, Karl Wills and my little bro Sam at the Auckland Public Library.
- On a quest of New Zealand comics archeology at the Auckland Public Library I found some real gems. Evidence that I suspected existed of a connection between two golden age NZ cartoonists surfaced and a NZ "Kramers Ergot" from the seventies? More to come on these developments...
Fuzzy photography of some but not all of the comic folk at Chromacon.
Theo Macdonald and Richard Fairgray
Tim Bollinger and Barry Linton
Ant Sang, Ben Stenbeck and Adrian Kinnaird
Kelly and Darren Sheehan
Art in park
No visit to Auckland is complete without a visit to the St Kevin's Arcade Secondhand Bookshop. Piles of FP Phantom comics, Eric Resetar facsimile comics, the first 2000AD annual, I've bought many a fine comic from here over the years. This time I snapped up some reading for my flight home, an Australian edition of Buck Rogers Annual No. 2. Hundreds of pages of early Buck Rogers adventures compiled in one aromatic pulpy volume.
Before heading to the airport I took a shortcut through the Auckland University Campus to pick up my luggage. My "eagle book eyes" spied a table of old books next to a reception office. A lifelong fascination with old books, (I lived in secondhand bookshop for several months) I was compelled to go in and have a look. The receptionist told me they were donated to the university, who didn't want them, and had put them out for folk to take away. All German texts from the early twentieth century, I couldn't resist the offer of free old books so gathered up as many as I could carry and made my way back through the winding alleys and paths of the University. I'd love to keep all the wonderful paper goods I gather, but I can't, so I sold a selection of these to antiquarian book dealers in Melbourne and Switzerland, which paid for my trip and my coffee bill for the next three months.
A tragic inscription from the inside page of Conrad der Leutnant.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?
Seeing Darren start a new Inhabitants episode. Titled A Day at the Races it features new characters, the foregrounding of previous background characters and the backgrounding of previous foreground characters. It was meant to appear in the first issue of Fraction but fell victim to real life and will now, hopefully, appear in the second issue. Also finishing the latest of our little 'netsuke' comics. All going to plan I should be picking it up from the copy shop next week. Keep eyes peeled for Some were meant for sea.
Enjoyed contributing to Bob's Tearoom of despair and subsequently being linked to by Tom Spurgeon. Writing for Bob's blog suggested some possibilities for writing comics which I'm slowly trying to sort out in my head. Nice to be included in Dylan's catalogue of New Zealand comics creators.
Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?
Am enjoying Brian K Vaughn's Saga. I've waited for years to like something by that guy. Y the last man left me cold and I wanted to enjoy Ex-machina but something didn't quite click. Saga grabbed me right away. Jonathan Hickman's Manhattan Projects is fun. It's good to have a monthly(ish) comic that I look forward to. Been a while since I felt that sort of regular anticipation. There's a seat of pants feel to the book that makes you feel Hickman is having the time of his life making it all up as he goes along. Great stuff.
Prophet from Brandon Graham and friends is my hands down favourite for this year. Like Hickman's comic there is a feeling of a free wheelin' good time. Reading interviews with Graham and co you get the idea that the creators are always trying to top each other. All of those titles have the fun, smart feel I associate with reading 2000ad when I was young.
Finally, she's not new but I really liked Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother? There seems to have been an almost indifferent response to it's release. I find this puzzling considering the accolades heaped on Fun Home. Anyway it's an astonishing piece of work and is less an autobiography than an interrogation of Bechdel's relationship with her mother in the form of a comics essay.
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
Breaking Bad season 5. David Thomson's The Big Screen, a history of film, the screens we watch it on and an exploration of the dangerous effect it has on us as individuals and as a culture. Thomson's vision is pessimistic, but so beautifully expressed that you can't help but be swept along. Some of the dead are still breathing:living in the future by Charles Bowden. Even more jaded than Thomson, Bowden has been covering the Mexican Drug War for way too long. This book is a collection of intermittent writings
knitted together into a dream meditation
on the coming world and the ecological and moral apocalypse we are
staring down the barrel of. Excellent.
Mitch Jenkin's and Alan Moore's Jimmy's End was great. It is interesting to see Moore trying to come to grips with a new form. Not all of it worked but when it did Jimmy's End was fantastic. My favourite part was the end, it was like Moore had driven one of his spoken word pieces at high speed into the back end of Jenkins' film (though the gold face paint was a bit silly). Oh, and reading all of A song of ice and fire in a binge that lasted six week. When's the next one out?
Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?
No. I still don't work regularly enough. I still have things that are half finished. That still makes me feel guilty Would like to say this will change in 2013 but I doubt it.
Making more comics with Darren. Seeing some of our work being part of the exhibition at St Pauls Street Gallery. Finally getting hold of Tim Molloy's It shines, it shakes and laughs (and his new Mr Unpronouncable book). The combined thrill power of LofEG:Heart of ice and Jerusalem. Hanging with fellow cartoonists at various events. Seeing more work from Mr Timothy Kidd. Family stuff.