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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tim Bollinger Interview Part One of Three

During correspondence with Herge in his late teens, New Zealand Cartoonist Tim Bollinger announced to Herge he would be popping over for a visit and embarked on an ocean-liner voyage to meet his comic-hero in Belgium. Herge was elderly and unwell at the time and Bollinger was unable to see him but did visit his studio and spend time with Herge's Secretary Alain Baran. Baran encouraged Bollinger not to let geography be a barrier to the making of comics.

Tim Bollinger has been active in the New Zealand comics scene since he was 17 with his initial contributions to Wellington student Newspaper, Salient, (Joe Sputnik & the Mystery of Ravioli's Father). Through the eighties and nineties Bollinger produced over a dozen comics and many contributions to anthologies, newspapers, magazines and educational material.

Stories Strange But None The Less True (1981)
For a time Bollinger served as an editor and cartoonist for Tearaway magazine (a free monthly for young people) which also featured work by notable New Zealand cartoonists Toby Morris, Willi Saunders and Dylan Horrocks.

Back of Beyond is the title of a New Zealand comics history volume that Bollinger has been researching and writing for over 20 years. With a long standing interest in the history of New Zealand comics and cartoonists, Bollinger has managed to record many aspects of the local industry that would have otherwise been lost to time.

 Tim Bollinger, New Zealand Comics Weekend 2010. Photo from Adrian Kinnaird

Bollinger has also curated and contributed to exhibitions examining historical aspects of New Zealand comics. Notably 'The Work of H.W Bennett' and 'NZ Comix in the '70s' both held during New Zealand Comics Weekend in Wellington April, 2010. Adrian Kinnaird's blog has coverage here.

Noah from White Fungus Magazine #9 (2008)

The following interview was conducted via email over February and March 2012.

When and what were the first New Zealand comics you encountered?

The first comic book that I consciously remember noting as a New Zealand-drawn comic was in the late 1970s at Printed Matter Bookshop on Plimmer's Steps in Wellington. It was a copy of 'Strips' No. 3, with a cover by Dick Frizzell (who I'd never heard of before back then). I think it had a cover price of 80 cents.I guess before this, I'd encountered all the strips that ran in the NZ Listener (Murray Ball had some strips before Footrot Flats like 'Kids' and 'Stanley' and he had some predecessors in there as well), but my real interest was in longer comic narratives. My favourite comics at the time were Tintin, Asterix and Donald Duck.

 Even though it presented itself as a kind of fanzine, 'Strips' was a real comic book. The thing that struck me most about it was how good all the artwork was, from Flexible Shaft's 'Maureen Cringe', through to Colin Wilson's carefully crafted European-style adventure stories. All were really well drawn in completely different but equally unique styles. All of the artists' lines were really thick and clear, with lots of interesting pointalist and other black and white inking techniques that helped to create depth and tone, with lots of strong flat blacks. To this day, I think clarity of line and image remains a characteristic feature of many local comics.

Yet despite the slick artwork, it had a real underground feeling about it too - for a start it was in black and white - but it also had a radical, hippie bent that seemed to allow for freedom expression in the sexual, political and experimental comics of the likes of Barry Linton, Laurence Clark and others.Compared to most of the other underground comics I'd seen, and Printed Matter carried a few, given that the store at that time was being managed by Leo Hupert, who ended up founding VMS (Visual Media Services) which later became 'Graphic' (in the Cuba Mall, Wellington), 'Strips' was a really well-put-together book. It included comics criticism and historical reviews as well as strips (Australian comics historian John Ryan even had a column). I committed  the comic's Waiheke Island publishing address to memory: Wilma Road, Ostend.

  Strips  #1 - Cover by Colin Wilson

The other thing that I took mental note of was the type of ink drawing pen depicted by Colin Wilson in his strip on the inside back page. It was an 0.5 Rotring Rapidograph - a refillable tech pen favoured by architectural draftsmen of the era. I went straight out and bought one, and that's what I used to draw all my comics with until Rotring discontinued the model in  favour of, firstly the refill cartridge-based Isograph, and then, for the fully disposable one-piece Rotring ready-made fit-for-the-landfill each time the barrel's emptied - I guess the manufacturers finally figured that us cartoonists weren't contributing our share to the devastation of the planet - now all that's changed. Each one might as well be the barrel of a loaded  gun, and I no longer draw with an easy conscience.

Who were the first local comics creators you encountered?

These were the artists I first consciously encountered (on paper). Encountered in real life, well...I never actually got a comic book of my own printed and (self-) published till 1981-2 - 'Stories Strange But None-the-less True'. I sent a copy to 'Strips' to review. They did. Then I visited them during a distribution trip to Auckland. Back then there were no comic shops, so you circulated them however you could, through University bookshops, and  second hand record and magazine stores, like the one in St. Kevin's Arcade, which I know is where the likes of Cornelius Stone first picked up copies.

On that trip, I met Laurence Clark, Barry Linton and one or two others. Barry made the biggest impression on me, and despite long intervals between meetings, it's been a life-long friendship.

What sparked your interest in researching and writing about New Zealand Comics? and when did you start work in earnest on Back of Beyond?

Ah well. I did a politics degree. It was a lot of hard work, but I developed some skills. Delving, fossicking, researching, writing, reference-checking, cold-calling, fronting up, conducting interviews and recording and transcribing them. I was doing some research into Foreign Investment in New Zealand, sponsored as things were in the new corporate world of the early 1990s by Tradenz, a government qwango that wanted me to prove how good it was for the New Zealand economy. I'd pretty much figured out that it wasn't.

So, almost without even thinking around the end of 1991, I started to apply these same academic techniques to everything I could find out about locally drawn comics. I had in mind a book I called 'Back of Beyond' which would document all the great comics I'd seen published over the years in my lifetime. It was a great idea. I got in touch with all the usual suspects, most of whom I'd never met, but whose work I'd seen through the 80s and 90s: Chris Knox,  Dylan Horrocks, Cornelius Stone, and the Langridge brothers in Auckland;  Peter Rees, Lars Cawley and Ian Dalziel in Christchurch; Tim Cornelius, Anthony Behrens, Robert Scott and Tony Renouf in Dunedin.  

 Noah from White Fungus Magazine #9 (2008)

But there was another strand that I hadn't counted on. I knew of no New Zealand comics from before the 1970s, but I wanted to include and document  any in my book if I could find some. So I went to visit a well-known Wellington antiquarian who used to reside at the top of Cuba Street (pre-Bypass) above a Victorian villa turned into a junk shop, called 'Mr. Smiles'. I knocked on his door. He answered. When I asked him about New Zealand comics, he mentioned 'Strips'. He said that he remembered a comic book published back in the early 80s by a guy called Tim Bollinger. I said that was me. I said I wanted to find some really old stuff. He had a bit more of a think, and then he said he thought he might have one or two things in his collection. He took me upstairs and pulled out a bunch of old comic books, among them a slightly amateur-looking Buck Rogers imitation called Crash Carson that immediately jumped out as a New Zealand comic book because of a little kiwi stamp imprinted at the end of each row of panels with the letters: EANDI. This was the signature of the artist Eric Resetar  (behind which there's a story that I'll tell in my book...when I get round to finishing it!). The comics had been sent to Mr. Smiles (Possibly from Sam's Book Exchange), with an accompanying note explaining their origin, and summarising Eric and his brother's publishing achievements as children in the early 1940s.

 Attitude Problem #2 (1995)
There was no address, but Resetar was not a difficult name to track down in the Auckland telephone directory. I think Mr Smiles might have given me Geoff Harrison's contact too. Harrison has also written about early New Zealand comics, and probably has some of the best knowledge of what was published in New Zealand before the 1960s and 70s. Anyway, that's how I got started.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Paul and Pam - W. C. Merrill

Paul and Pam by W.R. Merrill ran in the Friday Junior Age section of The Age during the early 1950's. Scant information about cartoonist W. R. Merrill is available but the setting of this strip in Australia indicates it is Australian as well as the only other strip featured in the Age at the time being local cartoonist Ivan Rowley's Terry. These weekly strips are excerpted from a longer serial and featured in The Age Nov-Dec 1954.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Supreme Feature Comic - Standish Steele

Supreme Feature Comic is considered to be the longest running New Zealand comic with 33 known issues in existence. Artists are not credited although the bulk of the comic is the work of Harry (Henry) William Bennett, an Australian cartoonist. Bennett moved to New Zealand at an early age and commenced his cartooning career as a teenager contributing cartoons to the Christchurch Spectator during the 1920's. Little is known of Henry Bennett's life after producing Supreme Feature Comic which comic historian Tim Bollinger has dated as being produced until 1947.

A Standish Steele adventure from Jaycol's Supreme Feature Comic published in New Zealand 1944.

What little is known about Supreme Feature Comic and Harry W Bennett is largely derived from the research and knowledge of New Zealand Comics enthusiasts Tim Bollinger and Geoff Harrison

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ted Withers - Pin Up Girls Original Art

Ted (Edward) Withers was born in Wellington, New Zealand and after studying at Wellington College enrolled at the Royal Academy in London. later Withers studied at the South Kensington School of Art and the Slade School of Art. Further training was undertaken at the prestigious Académie Julian in Paris. Withers was awarded three decorations for his service during World War One where he was stationed in Samoa, Egypt, France, and Germany.

Withers moved with his wife and two children to America in 1924 and worked a series of jobs in Hollywood including celebrity portraits, special effects, and art direction at MGM studios. After a period of time producing fine arts for his own enjoyment Withers took up painting pin-ups and produced numerous calendar girls for Brown & Bigelow during the 1950s. Brown & Bigelow were one of the biggest producers of calendars in the mid twentieth century and at one time were responsible for putting calendars in an estimated 50 million homes.

A distinctive feature of Withers pin up work was the inclusion of half rendered penciled figures alongside his finished portraits.

In November 1950, at his first Brown & Bigelow cocktail party, Withers was talking with Norman Rockwell when Rolf Armstrong and Gil Elvgren arrived. These two pin-up greats were introduced to Withers, who was bowled over when Armstrong praised him as "one of America's greatest, most versatile painters" and Elvgren, who had a keen interest in photography, added "one of the best photographers in the country". 

In a letter to Brown & Bigelow, Withers once described the view from his Hollywood apartment: "At night I look out on a carpet of jewels composed of neon and street lights, and here I work and am grateful that way over the eastern horizon, you nice people multiply my effort and enable me to live very well indeed".

Withers continued producing pinups until 1961 and passed away in 1964.

Click on the following images for embiggenable photographs of Withers original paintings.


Sources:, Biography - The Great American Pin-up by Charles G. Martignette & Louis K. Meisel. Original art - Heritage Auctions

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Comics Generation

Comics Generation is an exhibition featuring six young Wellington artist/writers showing their comic books and zines at Thistle Hall Gallery 28-31 March.

The artists- Esther Galloway, Sadie Galloway, Zora Patrick, Joel Spencer, Michael Sanders and Theo MacDonald- range in age from five to 17. Using a variety of methods and approaches to visual story telling they have invented SpaceCats and Skate Rats, delved into experimental cookery, created poetry from a cat's point of view, and reinvented fairy tales and television shows.

Theo Macdonald

I interviewed Comics Generation curator Claire Harris via email about the upcoming exhibition.

What was the impetus behind holding Comics Generation?

Paul Sanders (the writer of Spacecat Adventures, a comic he makes with his son Michael) approached me in my role as an organiser for NZCC to see if I could suggest other comic book makers he and Michael could hold a group exhibition with. I already had a special interest in comics and zines made by children and teenagers, so volunteered to curate a group exhibition of work by Michael and other young comics and zine makers.

Michael Sanders

Are there any common themes among the work of the participating artists?

One commonality that strikes me is the use of mashed-up references from their own reading and viewing, ranging from blatant cribbing of jokes and art styles, to more subtle allusions and reflection on their own media consumption. There is also an autobiographical theme to some of the work, and a vivid sense that work is grounded in the experience and personality of the artists.

Are any of the participating artists second generation zine/comic creators?

Yes. Michael Sanders co-produces 'SpaceCat Adventures' with his dad Paul. Ester and Sadie Galloway are the daughters of Bryce Galloway, the artist behind the long running zine 'Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People'. I'd say with a fair certainty that all artists involved have at least one parent who is a comic fan, or at least was supportive enough to photocopy their comics for them.

 Zora Patrick

Are there currently any dedicated zine stockist's in Wellington?

No, sadly. However the Wellington City Library has an excellent zine collection, and Graphic Comic shop stocks the work of the artists in Comics Generation.

How did you go about finding the artist's involved with Comics Generation?

The artists have all previously self-published comics and/or zines. I had become aware of their work through either distributing their comics through NZCC, or by seeing their work at Wellington Zinefest. Comics Generation recognises the accomplishment these six young artist have already made.

Joel Spencer

Is there much support or scene for young zine/comic makers in Wellington?

As far as I know Comics Generation is the first attempt to bring a group of young zine and comics makers together to exhibit, and I hope it brings about some collaborations or ongoing mentoring. Local comic shop Graphic is usually very supportive when it comes to stocking comics by young people. There are also opportunities for young zine and comics makers to distribute their work through art/craft markets and the annual Wellington Zinefest.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Milo's Week - Dylan Horrocks

 Nov 11, 1995

 Nov 18, 1995

Milo's Week by Dylan Horrocks was a half page strip featuring the exploits of a political cartoonist which ran weekly in the New Zealand Listener from Nov 11 1995 to May 17 1997. Milo's Week combined a fictitious cast with real life New Zealand Politicians of the time to produce a blend of political satire and soap opera. Like fellow NZ cartoonist's David Low and John Kent, Horrocks managed to ruffle a few political feathers over the course of producing a weekly satirical strip.

I asked Dylan a few questions about his work on Milo's Week via email.
What led to Milo's Week featuring in The Listener?

It was blind luck, really. I had just quit my day job and was desperately looking for any kind of paying freelance gig. I visited the Listener with my portfolio, hoping to pick up some occasional illustration work. Turned out they were looking for a new comic strip, and they asked me to put together a proposal. I came up with a few ideas, but Milo was my favourite (and theirs, luckily).

Did you have to submit roughs for editorial approval on Milo's Week?

I'm trying to remember. I don't think I did; I just dropped in the finished strip, and the editors looked at them before they went to press. But I don't remember ever having a problem, except the one time I did a strip using characters from Murray Ball's Footrot Flats. It was just before the first MMP election, and the Electoral Commission had been running an advertising campaign explaining how MMP worked, starring the Footrot Flats characters. There was a lot of misleading information around on how to vote (I seem to remember ACT were urging people to vote strategically) and there were all sorts of metaphors and analogies being tossed about: dividing pies, cutting cakes, flushing votes down the toilet. My cartoon showed Wal in the polling booth, his head whirling with all those colourful analogies, too confused to vote.

I'd asked Murray Ball for permission to use his characters, and he'd said sure - although he later pointed out there might be complications with the Electoral Commission, given the contract they'd signed with him. So he said we should get their permission first. The deputy editor (Geoff Chapple) and I talked it over and agreed the Electoral Commission would probably take ages to decide, and then would probably want changes made to protect the clarity of their campaign's message. That would have ruined the whole point of the cartoon, so in the end we made a judgement call and took the risk of publishing without talking to the Electoral Commission first.

Sure enough, when the strip came out the electoral commission were furious and poor old Murray Ball ended up caught in the middle. I felt bad about that, but I'm glad Geoff went ahead and printed it. Politicians didn't get to vet cartoons about them, so why should the Electoral Commission?

Geoff was wonderful to work with; I think he quite enjoyed it when we ruffled a few feathers.

October 12, 1996
How was Milo's Week coloured?

The early ones were hand-coloured using watercolours (with a touch of coloured pencil here and there). Actually the "watercolours" I used were really inks designed for hand-colouring photographs. They were bright and transparent but not very mixable. I had no idea what I was doing, really. I still don't.

A month or so before the end, I started using Photoshop; but then I had even less idea what I was doing and some of those were terrible. I was learning on the job, I guess. Mind you, we were all Photoshop noobs in those days.

By the way, the earliest one coloured in Photoshop wasn't done by me, but by the art director. That's because I came down with suspected appendicitis late one night and was bundled off to hospital for a couple of days. That week's strip was all drawn but not yet coloured, so my wife dropped the black & white strip into the Listener office and the art director did the rest. The next week, it was back to watercolours, until the following year when I started experimenting with digital colouring myself.

Scanning was a constant problem. That was all very new back then, and the process was a little clunky. Whenever a new technology comes in like that, quality takes a few steps back before it improves.

Milo's Week digitally coloured by The Listener Art Director July 27, 1996

Did you receive much reader feedback?
We got letters now and then. Sometimes I actively tried to get readers involved, like when I ran a "Cartoonist Initiated Referendum" on a new National Day for New Zealand. Maybe half a dozen people sent in suggestions, ranging from Parihaka Day to Nuclear Free Day and Not The Queen's Birthday Day. One person even sent in a whole comic strip, and I wish I'd been able to run that. Nowadays, I'd have put it on the blog, but back then I barely knew how to send an email, let alone setting up a website.

February 10, 1996

April 13, 1996

The best feedback I ever got was when I did a series of strips where the Invisible Hand of the Market goes on a crime spree. That sparked a brief debate in the letters column between a couple of economists, which was rather gratifying. In fact, one of those strips has since been reprinted in two or three academic books on economics (including one from Germany).

Oh, and then there was the time I did a two-page strip for them reporting on the 'Beyond Dependency' and 'Beyond Poverty' conferences held in Auckland in 1997. Beyond Dependency was the "official" conference, part of a campaign run by the then-National government to sell its plans for welfare "reform" to the public. A group of anti-poverty campaigners organised an alternative conference called Beyond Poverty, and I talked the Listener into letting me attend both as a reporter/cartoonist.

When my comic strip report was published, the former finance minister Ruth Richardson called the Listener and cancelled a major feature interview they'd planned to do with her. She was outraged that the Listener had sent me to cover Beyond Dependency rather than a proper journalist; and I imagine the tone of my strip didn't exactly appeal to her either. Geoff Chapple chuckled when he told me about that.

 November 9, 1996

November 16, 1996

November 23, 1996

November 30, 1996

December 7, 1996

 December 14, 1996

What led to Milo's Week finishing in 1997?

That's simple: I was dropped. The editor who'd hired me was replaced with a new one (this happened depressingly frequently at the time, as circulation continued to decline throughout the 1990s). The new editor cancelled a number of regular features and brought in new ones. I was upset, of course, because I relied on that reliable weekly cheque. But then they launched a new strip by Anthony Ellison and it was a lot better than mine, so it was all for the best, really.

I tried a few other strips in the aftermath. I briefly tried selling Milo as a daily or weekly to the NZ Herald, without success (you can see some of those here.) Then Chris Trotter asked me to continue Milo in the NZ Political Review, but one episode in the magazine went into a long hiatus and I gave up. I tried out a couple of other strip ideas too: Scoop (starring a reporter who'd address the readers directly) and Life with PeeWee (about an advertising executive who has a midlife crisis and quits to write the great NZ novel; he discovers being a house-husband with 3 kids is more challenging than he thought. ( Samples here.) Both failed to convince the editors I pitched them to. The only success I had with a follow-up strip was Dot Com, which I drew for Ian Wishart's Investigate magazine at the turn of the millennium. I must have done five or six strips before giving it up. I can't even remember whether he dropped me or vice versa. Given how Investigate has evolved into a scary wingnut conspiracy rag since, I'm kind of glad I got out early.

The last Milo's Week published May 17, 1997

Horrocks drew a further two strips before Milo's was cancelled. He commented, "You'll notice I reworked the first one for the proposed daily strip. I was sorry the very last one never saw print, because it was my little tribute to NZ's editorial cartoonists, with cameos by Tom Scott, Slane, Ellison, Tim Bollinger, et al. I was sorry, too, that the strip ended with Milo and Sasha broken up. I never intended that to last forever. But there's something poetic about the last published strip ending with "it's important to know when you're beaten."

Dylan Horrocks Internet Portal:

Milo's Week Copyright 2012 Dylan Horrocks