Showing posts with label victoria drug scene. Show all posts
Showing posts with label victoria drug scene. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Productivity and Motivation: David C Mahler and Darren Close

Part two of talking with self-publishing/small press cartoonists about productivity and motivation.

David C. Mahler is a young prolific Melbourne cartoonist, he seems to have a new mini comic out every few month, in a variety of formats, as well as featuring in recent anthologies Dailies and Victoria Drug Scene. David's tumblr.

Do you experience a drop in productivity upon completing a comic?

Not exactly. I'm a bit of a workhorse; at any one time I'll have 5 or so books in the works, which can range from 6 - 30 pages. As I work on a large number of projects at once, they do take quite some time to see completion, so maybe that's how I get around the dreaded productivity drop; I just take so long to complete any one thing. As well, I'm constantly noting down new concepts and dream projects…I'm starting to get worried I'll never have a holiday ever again. Generally if I finish a longer work I'll have a few days of rest where I'll work on more scratchy 1-2 pagers before starting the long uphill push once more. Oh, I will admit, I've actually caught myself taking mid-project breaks more and more. I'll wake up in the morning, sit at my desk with a stack of inked pages, a stack of panelled pages, and catch myself watching Bob's Burger's an hour later. And then it's lunchtime, and of course you have to eat lunch in front of youtube…I mean, that's just common sense…I never really acknowledged it before, but I guess my weakness is indeed the mid-project lazies!

Have you developed methods to deal with creative lulls?

Definitely just piling the projects on. If I know there's more to do I'll push myself harder to finish off the current comic, so I can go onto that next exciting project. I also make a point of discussing projects with, well, everyone. I'm worried it comes off a bit like boasting, but really it's a tactic I've found to commit myself to my work - I don't want to let anyone down! Every now and then a friend will ask something along the lines of "so did you give up on that 20 pager you mentioned last year?" and I'm basically always reassuring, "no no, it's sitting on my desk, the pencils are tight, any day now!!"
As far as the sneaky tv breaks, it generally gets to a point where I say "alright, I've finished one page in the last three days, yet I've finished two seasons of Lost. Time to get back to work! …After this episode…"

What do you consider the primary obstructions of your productivity?

Well, TV no doubt…I'm not the most social person - I've been shamefully known to cancel plans last minute because I'm just too deep in the zone. Really the only other obstacle I can recognise would be food, which makes me pretty darn tired. I realised a while ago that my most productive periods are the days I don't eat! What an awful double edged sword…don't worry, I don't starve myself for my art, but if I need to I can contentedly rock out a solid, meal-scarce 40 hours where I'll just whizz through 10-15 pages. I really do not recommend it.

Via his creation Killeroo, Darren Close has collaborated with a wide line up of Australian writers and cartoonists since it's initial appearance in the university magazine The Third Degree. Close has been active in fostering comics communities with his Ozcomics weekly draw-off and prior to that Ozcomics the magazine, co-edited with Mark Selan.
Do you experience a drop in productivity upon completing a comic?

Yeah, there's a period when you switch to "create mode" to "pimp mode" and everything else goes on the back-burner for a while - at least that's how it was with the GANGWAR one-shot last year. I moved heaven and earth to get it ready for Big Arse 2 - and then straight into online orders and gauging interest of stocking it at local comic shops. The next book didn't really get a look-in until most of the stock was sold.

Have you developed methods to deal with creative lulls?

Well for one I'll never rush a book to meet a deadline again. The GANGWARS ANTHOLOGY book has been a slow burn, generating and gauging retailer interest whilst it's still coming together, much better planning and NO rushed pages. Not soliciting the release date until it's READY is another handy tip.

What do you consider the primary obstructions of your productivity?

Probably facebook (and ozcomics). It's a great marketing tool but also a big drain on time and energy if you don't monitor it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Simon Hanselmann Interview

 Simon Hanselmann

"VDS is cigarettes and acid and funerals."

Uber busy Melbourne based cartoonist Simon Hanselmann recently launched Victoria Drug Scene, a 76 page anthology of established and young cartooning upstarts primarily from Melbourne. Contributors include Michael Hawkins, HTML Flowers, Marc Pearson, Lashna Tuschewski, Michael Fikaris, Magic Sweater, Sam Wallman, David Mahler, Katie Parrish, international guest Josephine Mairead King Edwards.

Victoria Drug Scene will be available in the next few days from the Silent Army Storeroom. ( Proprietors of many fine Australian and New Zealand comics.)
I asked Simon a few questions about the production of Victoria Drug Scene.

You're quite a busy cartoonist at the moment, producing work for multiple publishers around the world, what inspired you to edit an anthology?

"It's basically like when Eminem blew up and got kinda popular and did the whole D12 thing, getting all his old friends together and being a group and saying, "Hey, look world, here are my cool friends. Give them deals and money, please. I love them and hope you will too."

Also it's a direct rebuttal to the recent documentary film "Graphic Novels! Melbourne!" (LOL). It's my opinion of what is the most vibrant, exciting, interesting work being produced in this city."

Did you take cues from any particular anthologies when producing Victoria Drug Scene? Did you have any themes or particular visions for the anthology?

"I staunchly specified "NO THEME" to all of the invited artists. I'm not a fan of themed anthologies. I wanted people to do whatever it is they do best and whatever the fuck they wanted to do and I just had to hope that people wouldn't fuck it up and I wouldn't hate their pieces and have to tell them they screwed up.

My vision was for a cheaply produced anthology of interesting local work that could, "Compete on a global level", by people who know what's happening in the world of comics, literature, fine art, film and fashion and whose styles are fully formed (or near fully formed).

No zombies or Star Wars references. No cute, meandering, artless, poorly-paced bullshit by boring people with nothing to say.VDS is not "geek culture". VDS is cigarettes and acid and funerals.

Regarding other anthologies that may have provided inspiration: It's it's own thing. It's Melbourne comics in early 2013. It can't possibly be anything else."

 Panel from Megg and Mogg by Simon Hanselmann

Is there a common 'scene' or 'aesthetic' contributing artists to VDS are a part of? If I recall rightly you were abroad for a while before coming to Melbourne in 2011 what are your general impressions of the Melbourne 'comics community'?

I moved to Victoria from Tasmania in early 2008 (and before that I'd always been aware of Silent Army and most of the interesting stuff coming out of the state. I kept tabs on everything happening whilst I was away in the UK from late 2008 to early 2011 (lots of interesting young people started making comics and self publishing in that period. HTML flowers, Lashna Tuschewski, David C Mahler, Marc Pearson, Katie Parrish etc).

Victoria is, in my opinion, the state producing the best comics in Australia. no other state even comes close.

I guess most of the artists in VDS are kind of coming at comics from an arts background and are not aware of, or interested in "mainstream comics". Most of them are in their early twenties and know their shit.

We all tabled together at the Melbourne Zine Fair and were referred to as "The Cool Kids" and "The stoners that sneak alcohol into the event". "The Pretty Weirdos"."

 Panel from Megg's Therapy by Simon Hanselmann

Will you be producing further anthologies?

Yes. VDS will be a quarterly publication for the foreseeable future. There are more young, emerging Australian artists that I will be asking to produce pieces for future issues. Evie Cahir, Tom Hunter, Hamishi etc.

I'll also continue to invite different international guests like Josie Mairead King Edwards from the first issue. I met her on tumblr and think she is utterly brilliant. And she's 17. I put her piece right near the front of the book as a warning to the other artists, "LOOK. look what Josie has done. Pick up your game." I may also start to feature small amounts of related "fine art", sculpture and fashion photography.

Can you name some cartoonists more people should be aware of?

Local: Marc Pearson. Marc has impeccable taste in the current global comics scene and is one of my favorite people to talk shop with. His last two books have been wonderful and he's blossoming into one of our best writers.I predict big things for him in the future. 

Michael Hawkins is eternally unique and brilliant and one of my oldest friends in comics, his Frosnall Graaf series is the Australian Twin Peaks.

Lashna Tuschewski is probably one of the coolest people in the world.

Sam Wallman is brilliant. Dave C Mahler is churning things out in his sleep.

M P Fikaris is running the Silent Army Storeroom which holds all the best comics to be found in Melbourne, he's also been releasing his anthology 'Dailies', a wonderful snapshot of the broader Australian scene. Pretty much everything that "matters" is in there.

Worldwide: there's too many people to mention, here's some of the top of my head: Aiden Koch, Lala Albert, Patrick Kyle, Jonny Negron, Noel Freibert, Royce Icon, Ines Estrada, Alex Schubert, Heather Benjamin, Edie Fake, Charles Foresman, Dane Martin, Zach Hazard Vaupen, Mickey Z, Joe Kessler, Gabriel Corbera... those are most of my current favorites...

I buy all my books online, usually direct from the artists. Australian comic book stores are pathetically behind the times and completely unaware of what's new and awesome. They're too busy selling toys and trinkets. Minotaur disgusts me. It actually smells in there. Plus they put those fucking metal price-stickers on all the "graphic novels" and they either tear the books up or leave greasy stains.

(I'm actually quite shocked that we have so many comic book shops in the city centre. Minotaur. All Star. Comics R Us. Comix... I hate all of them and find them poorly curated and totally useless. I wish at least ONE of them had ONE employee with taste who would order in interesting NEW small press and "art comics". Instead there are life-size plastic batman statues and pinball machines. ugly t-shirts. *Sigh*)"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sticky Institute Zine Fair: Victoria Drug Scene

Simon Hanselmann's "Australian" anthology, Victoria Drug Scene issue one.

From Girl Mountain:

VICTORIA DRUG SCENE issue one. officially launching this Sunday, the 10th, in the Melbourne city hall, at the zine fair therein. I made an “Australian” anthology. highlights include: 9 pages of new megg and mogg, a 12 page html flowers epic, new work from lashna tuschewski, michael hawkins, marc pearson + many more awesome people + special international guest josie mairead king edwards (who, if this were a reality television contest and not a zine, would have won). 76 pages. cheap xerox. 200 copies. numbered. (available soon for online international orders through

Hanselmann will have a fine selection of offerings at the Zine fair this Sunday, previews here.

..and geez louise get your hands on a beautiful Hanselmann broadsheet courtesy of Floating World Comics.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 in Review: Simon Hanselmann

 Simon Hanselmann
What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?

It's been a pretty surreal year for me... the biggest highlight I can't even talk about yet. but yeah, getting asked to be in Smoke Signal was pretty big for me, and the response to Truth Zone has been really awesome (big shout-out to Frankie Santoro). Also: getting asked to pitch shit to frederator was pretty flattering... the whole year's just been one big highlight pretty much.

Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?

Currently i'm really into Dane Martin (superhuman depression gag writer), Aidan Koch (dream weaver), Lala Albert (not human), Royce Icon (sweetheart), Heather Benjamin (disgusting)... that's just the tip of the iceberg... there's so much shit going on right now...

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?

My whole year has pretty much just been about comics, I find it difficult to focus on anything else...

I was reading the new Murakami (1Q84) and digging it a lot but i still haven't finished it. Rupaul's Drag Race is still the best thing on television, nothing else even comes close. my favourite movie I saw was young adult. best music: BROTHERS HAND MIRROR.

Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?

Nah. still just set up in the living room, hanging out with my girlfriend, pounding shit out, trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

I'm working over summer on a new 60ish page Megg and Mogg book that should be out in march from space face books, then HTML flowers and I have a show in Madrid in may, then I'm finishing up my big 200 page Megg and Mogg book and getting it print-ready, then going to NYC in October for Halloween and BCGF... Oh, and i'm putting together an anthology in February called VICTORIA DRUG SCENE. And a million other little things. And more therapy.