Showing posts with label tintin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tintin. Show all posts

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tim Bollinger Interview Part Two of Three

 Tim Bollinger with partner Jo and standee of his character Little Eye.
Photo taken at Pacific French Language Comics Festival in New Caledonia 2008.

Were you ever interested in mainstream American comics or undergrounds? Are there any contemporary comics you appreciate?

Most mainstream American comics never interested me particularly. Although back in the day apart from in the 60's Tintin and then in the 70's Asterix, the only comics you ever saw that weren't British were American mainstream comics. And I connected more easily with American comics than British ones. I really enjoyed all the Disney comics and Hot Stuff, Casper, Ritchie Rich etc...We had a comic box at school that was brought out at lunchtime on rainy days. I also really enjoyed the little Signet and Fawcett Crest 'Peanuts' collections.

I was never into the American superhero comics particularly. Although when I was about 6 or 7, I saw the Batman movie at the pictures (just once, and long before the TV series was ever played on New Zealand television, which wasn't til the 70s sometime), and that made a huge impression on me - especially Batman and Robin sliding down the bat pole and magically emerging in costume inside the bat cave, and jumping into the bat car, the Penguin submarine, the Riddler's riddles, Catwoman ...etc..etc..

Attitude Problem #2 (1995)

But superhero comics weren't something I got into much. It may have been because my parents were of a Left wing leaning, and I realise now that the whole notion of 'Supermen' in American comics was considered fascist ideology for many on the Left back then. Same with war comics, although I saw the British War Picture Library comics around they didn't really interest me.

I guess because of my Dad's political interests and activities I was exposed to a lot of counter culture material from the late 1960s and 70s - what there was of it available in New Zealand back then. I remember Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton strips reprinted in radical student publications and agitation propaganda from that period. When I first read Carload of Crumb in the mid-70s, at an artists friend's house, I didn't really get it but I was already familiar with Crumb and found it impressive (and a bit scary). And yes, I'm very interested in that stuff, and was particularly pleased when it reinvented itself in the 1980s and 90s in the form of RAW, Harvey Pekar, Chester Brown, Julie Doucet etc. etc. These are still some of my favourite comics. In the 1970s I also discovered Little Nemo and Krazy Kat - two perennial favourites.

 Absolute Heroes (1989)

These days, of course, there's heaps of contemporary comics I read and enjoy, although (because so much of the economic distribution of comics internationally has been geographically, culturally and lingually defined) I'm still discovering and finally reading much older stuff from Japan, France, Italy etc etc. etc. My especial favourite author these days is Osamu Tezuka, whose body of work is so monumental that I've pretty much figured out that I will never get to read it all in my lifetime (although I'm endeavouring to keep up with it as fast as they can translate into English, and sometimes French). He's so playful and experimental, and yet so formalistic. And he knows how to tell a story. I feel the same about a whole lot of other Japanese artists. They've hardly even translated the best work from GARO, the Japanese experimental comic book that came out from the mid 1960s in Japan, and these are some of the artists I've been getting into the most lately -  people like Sanpei Shirato, Yoshiharu Tsuge and Shigeru Mizuki.

I also really like European  comic artist/writers like Enki Bilal, Hugo Pratt, Milo Manara, Moebius et al, as well as younger generation ones like Blutch, Joann Sfar, David B and Fabrice Neaud and some younger Japanese ones too like Taiyo Matsumoto who writes No. 5 and Gogo Monster. In America, I currently like Kevin Huizenga, Craig Thompson and some of Paul Pope's stuff. I guess, quite a range - a lot of it is artist-as-author though. I'm also a big Dr. Seuss fan, and other picture book artsit/writers like Edward Gorey, Tove Janson, Edward Ardizonne and Heath Robinson. My favourite British 'comic artist' is probably Arthur Bestall (Rupert).

 Noah from White Fungus magazine #9 (2008)

Have you recognised any particular time periods since you started cartooning that have been particular boom times for cartooning in New Zealand?

The boom in newspaper cartooning in New Zealand was probably before my time, but there were certainly a lot more print publications for cartoonists to get their work published back in the 1980s - which has been steadily declining ever since.

Whether cartoonists get published or not has always been dependent on favourable editorial policy, and there's a few papers that my own and others' cartoons and comic strips have found a home in over the years, including 'Tearaway Magazine', and now defunct Wellington freebies like 'City Voice' and 'The Package'. The 'New Zealand Listener' has traditionally had a pretty good comic strips policy as well, with a particular boom of great serials in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

 Doctor Tim  Bollinger's Big Book of Cartoon Games, Facts and Puzzles (2006)

The ubiquity of the photocopying by the mid-1980s promoted a couple of decades of prolific self-publishing by New Zealand comic artists, which has continued pretty much unabated to this day with huge outpourings every year at Zinefests, pop culture conventions, independent comic festivals and alternative craft shows. I'd call this a boom (although, not a very commercial one). Some mainstream publishers are starting to pick up on this, so overall the New Zealand comics scene is pretty healthy.

For a while, Dylan Horrocks and then myself were given charge of writing about comics for Pavement magazine, and during my time there I tried to get as many original New Zealand comics printed in its pages as I could - we published new stuff by Ant Sang, Karl Wills, Toby Morris, Mat Tait, Simon Morse, Barry Linton, Tim Molloy and lots more. That was early this century and was never really any money in it. That of course has gone now as well. 

 Little Eye currently serialised at online magazine Werewolf

Further to that, I guess I've seen a number of time periods come and go for comics both in New Zealand and in the world generally:

My experience of the 1980s was that comics had a different place than they do in the 21st century. The readership's got more sophisticated now, and on the whole most comics are much better and smarter. The underground and mainstream are less differentiated these days. Manga's changed a lot of things. Libraries and bookshops stock "graphic novels" sections nowadays, which they didn't do much before the turn of the century. I don't like the term 'graphic novel' though, cause most of my favourite comics are just collections of tight snappy adventure-story comics for children.

I guess I saw the "fad" for autobiographical comics come and go in the 1990s. It was an interesting discovery for many in the mainstream that comics were so well suited to telling small stories of the personal and the mundane, even though R. Crumb and Harvey Pekar (and others in Japan) had long since shown this to be the case...Unfortunately, it gave every nerdy teenager licence to draw comics about themselves, which may have been a dangerous thing (I was as guilty as anyone else)...Dream comics was another one...

Personally I'd like to see tight snappy adventure-story comics for children come back in a big way, but I think their day might have gone for good.

 Little Eye serialised at online magazine Werewolf

All images copyright 2012 Tim Bollinger

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Comic writer and Milk Shadow Books maestro James Andre teams up with Ben Smith for a reading at The Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne this month. This is the first part of a series of readings of lower brow literature put on by Horror Sleaze Trash. Snazzy poster by Jase Harper.

An upcoming Melbourne Exhibition of works by Tim Molloy

Katie Houghton Ward talks about her work from Wellington, NZ

Click here for an Mp3 of Jim Woodring's recent talk at the Melbourne Writer's Festival. Link Expires 10 Sept 2011.

 Panel from Jim Woodring's contribution to the Drawn From Life free Newspaper produced for the Melbourne Writer's Festival 2011

A preview of Illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Grosz's graphic novel adaption of Kimble Bent: Malcontent adapted from James Cowan's novel. For those with short attention spans comics start around the 2.00 mark.

From Random House's release:

Kimble Bent: Malcontent vividly portrays Bent's life as a Pakeha Maori, his assimilation into tribal life and his observation of Hauhau war rites. Bent was privy to some of the fiercest and most infamous battles of the New Zealand wars, including Te Ngutu o te Manu and Tauranga-ika, and was acquainted with some of its most legendary personalities, such as master strategist Titokowaru and pacifist Te Whiti. He was there when von Tempsky was slain, and ran for his life with the Hauhau from Kepa's formidable kupapa forces.

Rendered in scraperboard, a bold black and white hand-drawn style, this exhilarating graphic novel is based on James Cowan's original book published in 1911, The Adventures of Kimble Bent.

Bernard Caleo and Jo Waite will be presenting a tribute to Tintin as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2011. Composed of a Tintinesque paper diorama by Jo with imagined Tintin panels by other cartoonists floating over the landscape like hot air balloons. To see this collaboration get down to the Castle Window, 681 Brunswick Road, Brunswick, Melbourne 2nd-9th October.