Monday, July 8, 2013

Oz Comic Con Melbourne 2013

After last years debacle of too many people in too little space this years Oz Comic Con in Melbourne was transported to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. I managed to snap a few pics from artist alley before my camera died. Are people getting sick of my holiday snaps? Seemed like a lot of mugging this year.

 Ben Hutchings and Dillon Naylor

 Alisha Jade, Steve Sparke and BMB

Justin Randall, Greg Maclean and Colin Wilson

Brendan Halyday and Frank Candiloro

Wolfgang Bylsma

 Henry Pop and Paul "The Beast" Bedford

 The Space Pyrates, Caitlin Major and Matthew Hoddy

Ryan K Lindsay

Larry, Curley and Moe

 Jin Chan Yum Wai

Queenie Chan

Dean Rankine

 Doug Holgate

Ginny and Darren Koziol

Fil Barlow and Helen Maier

Tom Taylor

Sorab Del Rio

Jon Sommariva

Ross Stewart and Matt Nicholls

Christian Read and Andrew Constant

Paul Mason

The best photo of T-Rex Jones out of the six I took.

 Public Emery Number One

Picked up a few gems from the locals and did a little bargain bin diving.

 I'm a sucker for cheap Mandrake comics

New Zealand editions of Flash Gordon from Feature Productions don't pop up too often. I'm hoping to complete a book on the reprint era of New Zealand comics by September.

This particular issue of the Wally Wood published Heroes INC featuring Cannon seems to turn up often at cons in recent years. A warehouse find of 70,000 uncirculated copies probably accounts for some of them. I know a similar story about an Australian equivalent to that find, I'll have to write it up one of these days.

English Comics Diversion: Playbox August 27th 1949

Sunday, July 7, 2013

June Mendoza

June Mendoza seated with her arms around two of her children, Ashley and Lee; Elliet is standing in left foreground. A portrait of all four children is in the background.(Photo from SLV.)

I'm working on a profile and an interview with Australian artist June Mendoza tracing her career from illustrating comics and books in Australia through to working in the English comics industry. After comics Mendoza has had a prominent career as a portrait painter with her many subjects including popular entertainers, politicians and members of the English Royal family. Here's a few samples of her work in comics.

Mendoza was the first artist to illustrate Devil Doone who featured in Australian comics from the 1940's -1970's.

Samples from Belle of Ballet painted for Girl Annual #4, Hulton Press, 1956, under the pseudonym Chris Garvey.

  Diana and Debbie are Dieticians from Girl Annual #9, Longacre Press, 1961.

 Illustration from Girl Annual Annual #9, Longacre Press, 1961.

Grateful thanks to Phil Rushton and Matrix for info on June Mendoza. Thanks to James from for the Devil Doone scans.

Mini Paper Trails

Mini paper trails this week 'cause I'm busy as all heck.

Profile of World War One cartoonist William Dobson.

The June/July issue of the Lifted Brow is out with a stunning cover by Ben C and featured comics by Simon Hanselmann, HTMLflowers, Katie Parrish, Noel Freibert, Leonie Brialey, Ben Juers, Lashna Tuschewski and David C Mahler. Buy a copy here.

Photos from Monsters exhibition at M2 (facebook gallery).

Jason Paulos at Monsters

Mat Tait's adaption of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman is completed and online in fourteen parts.

Ronnie Scott reviews Joshua Santospirito's and Craig San Roque's A long Weekend in Alice Springs.

Animated film, Shelved, featuring designs by Greg Broadmore, more info here.


Paul Tumey writes about the influence of the work Australian born English cartoonist H. M. Bateman. Tumey has just started a great column, Framed! at TCJ, started with a serialised look at early work of Jack Cole.

Roger Langridge interviewed at A Moment of Cerebus. (Hat-tip Jason Winter)

Bob Kerr has posted details and samples of his paintings of the Waihi gold strike of 1912 and a series of exhibitions in New Zealand.

John Dixon covers from the golden age of Australian comics.


Paper Trail masthead courtesy of Toby Morris.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Newton Comics - The Rise & Fall - Daniel Best Interview

Daniel Best's pozible campaign for his book on Australian publisher Newton Comics book is in it's last twenty hours. Daniel has met his target but I'm sure would welcome any more contributions to support the production costs of the book. I asked Daniel a few questions via email about his background in comics and his forthcoming book.

Please consider supporting Newton Comics - The Rise & Fall pozible campaign here.

What were the first comics you read?

The first comics that I can remember reading was the Death of Gwen Stacey issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, way back when they were released in the early 1970s. My mother taught me to read, but insisted that I read books, not that she had anything against comic books.

When did you first encounter Newton Comics?
I first encountered Newton Comics when they were released in 1975/1976. They were cheaper than the American versions and usually contained far more interesting material.  The posters and swap cards, along with the iron-on transfers also sold me - I'd buy them and chop them up mercilessly - swap cards in school books, posters on walls and iron-ons on shirts. But, hey, that's what you did as a kid in the 1970s. I didn't know, nor did I care, that these things would be worth anything down the track. Newtons were perfect for children - the true disposable comics.
What attracted you to researching comics history?
I've always had a fascination with history in general and, more often than not, it's the stories behind the official or published stories that have interested me the most. I first became interested in learning about comic book history in the early 1980s when I discovered magazines like The Comic Journal, but my interest really picked up when I found a battered copy of All In Color For A Dime at a library book sale for ten cents. That changed my outlook on comic books and comic book history in general. From there I discovered some old Alter Egos and a few FOOMs at a second hand store and never looked back.

The same second hand store used to sell me comic books for between five and ten cents each - from 1981 to 1984. They'd get stuff in like the John Byrne X-Men, Iron Fist, old Gil Kane and John Romita Spider-Man's, Silver Age Marvels and the like for peanuts. But never any DC. Like an idiot I lost the lot.

At what point did you consider turning your research into Newton Comics into a book?

I started to get interested in Newtons again in the early 2000s when I found a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1. I wanted to know what the story was behind these comics. I knew about the many Australian reprint comics, mainly the DC reprints that KG Murray did in the 1970s and 1980s, the Federal and Yaffa reprints of Marvel and the Gredown reprints of rare horror material, but these were new to me, in a way. Old, familiar comics, but new in their own way.  I hopped on the internet and did a search and found...nothing.

Then Robert Thomas did his brilliant Newton Comics article for The Sunday Observer (which used to be owned by Maxwell Newton, the same guy who owned Newton Comics) and I was hooked. I started collecting them and writing about them on my blog and there was a great interest. From there I began to interview people who were involved with Newton Comics and, once Robert and myself sat down and compared notes, I thought, "There's a book in here." That was in 2005.

I then caught up with Kevin Patrick in Melbourne. What he doesn't know about Australian comics isn't worth knowing, but he admitted that he didn't know a lot about Newton. I mentioned the idea of a book and he replied that nobody has ever written a book about an Australian comic book company, so why not be the first? By then I was really leaning towards it.  On the same weekend I was chatting to Philip Bentley, who founded Minotaur Books in Melbourne, who said, "You know, Maxwell Newton was named a spy in Parliament." That sold me. I started work on it in 2007, once I finished the Jim Mooney book, and I've been working on it ever since.  Now it's ready for publication!

Those three guys, Robert, Kevin and Phil, have been brilliant helps along the way, sharing ideas, research and allowing me to bounce things off them.

Daniel's blog Oh Danny Boy has a wealth of articles on Australian and American comics.

Images from the Newton Comics facebook here.