Saturday, December 29, 2012

E noho rā 2012

 Bluff Hill Lookout, Napier (Photo - Anna-Mai Hoek)

A big thank you to all the New Zealand & Australian cartoonists and comic makers who contributed to the 2012 in Reviews. My focus was on folk that have had comics and cartoons published in print or online this year and I really only scratched the surface of folk producing work down this end of the world. There are also many folk who are busy producing work in their homes and studios that may not be seen publicly until next year or even further into the future. Apologies to any folk I did not approach for the review I hope to achieve a wider review next year. I'm off for a week but will be resuming at least a month of solid bloggage from 7 Jan 2013.

2012 In Review Index

Jonathan King
Matt Emery
Matt Nicholls
Arthur Strickland
Matt Kyme
Ben Michael Byrne
Alisha Jade  
Paul Bedford  
Jesca Marisa  
Darren Koziol  
Sorab Del Rio
Marc Pearson
Justin Randall
Andy Conlan  
Theo Macdonald
Michael Hawkins  
Steve Sparke  
Li Chen  
M. P. Fikaris  
J. Marc Schmidt
Christopher Downes  
Matthew Hoddy and Caitlin Major
Cory Mathis  
Dean Rankine  
Mat Tait
Bruce Mutard Part One
Bruce Mutard Part Two  
Doug Holgate
Gregory Mackay  
Kelly Sheehan
Sarah Howell  
James Andre - Milk Shadow Books  
Jason Chatfield  
Gary Chaloner  
James Davidson  
Ive Sorocuk
Simon Hanselmann
Richard Fairgray  
Jase Harper  
Jerome Bihan
Karl Wills  
Brent Willis
Anton Emdin  
Philip Bentley
Bobby N  
Tim Danko  
Ben Stenbeck  
Pat Grant  
Daniel Reed
Colin Wilson  
Paul Mason  
Scarlette Baccini  
Rebecca Clements  
T-Rex Jones
Darren Close
Andrew Fulton  
Ben Hutchings
Roger Langridge  
Mandy Ord  
Toby Morris  
Hayden Fryer
David Blumenstein
Joshua Santospirito
Ant Sang  
Frank Candiloro  
Tim Gibson  
Marijka Gooding  
Damon Keen  
Dylan Horrocks  
Jason Franks

2012 in Review: Jonathan King

Jonathan King

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

I've been working my way through Edgar P Jacobs' Blake & Mortimer series -- taken up in later years by others. While I admire Jacobs for not standing still in his style, i like some of his work more than others. His later ones are horribly coloured and the drawing has got harsher and uglier. Following Jacobs' death in the 1980s, the series was resurrected in the 90s by various artists. I like Ted Benoit's warm ligne claire style very much.

While I'm pleased that Tintin didn't continue after Hergé's death -- the Blake & Mortimer books show how it could be sensitively handled.
A new work influenced by Hergé and Jacobs is Garen Ewing's The Rainbow Orchid. A ripping yarn told in a beautifully executed ligne claire style, The Rainbow Orchid was split over three volumes -- not ideal for what is really one story. The third volume was out this year, however, and it's now available as one complete story. Ewing's artwork has really hit its stride in the last volume and the story is great old fashioned fun (if a little more wordy and complicated than it needs to be!). I can't wait to see what he does next!

Recently I finally got a hard copy of a book I adore, and have only previously had as Spanish-language scans -- the second volume of Yves Chaland's Adventures of Freddy Lombard. Chaland would undoubtedly have ended up the equal of Herge and Jacobs if he hadn't been tragically killed in a car crash in his 30s in 1990. His Freddy Lombard stories are my favourites of his work, and in these last two -- Holiday in Budapest  and F-52 his ligne claire / 'atom style' artwork is breathtaking -- especially in the hilarious character details on the edges of F-52, a story told almost entirely on a long plane journey (and revolving around a horrifyingly heartless premise).

For years I've (literally) dreamed about finding an unpublished Tintin story … this is almost the next best thing, with a two-page Freddy Lombard story I'd never seen before appearing in the back of this book.

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

A few new films like Looper I've enjoyed … but mostly older ones like 60s new wave films, Breathless, Alphaville, Last Year in Marienbad, 70s paranoid thrillers like The Parallax View. I devoured Breaking Bad when I belatedly discovered it and have been loving Boardwalk Empre. Most new movies suck ass though.

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

It's only been about a year since I got my Cintiq -- a screen I can draw on with a stylus. It felt like an outrageous indulgence when I first got it, but i've really, really enjoyed drawing with it. I pencil and 'ink' in Manga Studio, colour in Photoshop. I'm glad I spent a while trying to draw in real pencil and ink with dip pen (Hunt 102) and ink … but I must admit I love the freedom the undo key gives you, as well as the flexibility of being able to tweak and rearrange elements digitally.

It's also been a year or so since I've collaborated with a writer on some work -- the City Lights series I've been doing with Chad Taylor. I've loved having it be my 'job' to illustrate what he writes; to work out how to 'block' on the page the story we're telling.

I've also been experimenting with animation -- 2D cartoons, 3D CGI and stop motion -- something I'm really loving. I'm currently working on a stop motion music video for my band, The Dickens.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

I'm making a low-budget film with Chad Taylor -- I'm directing from his script -- called Realiti. I wish I could get more time to draw comics -- it's more satisfying and productive than filmmaking which takes so bloody long for anything to happen … but I find to get with done, I have immerse myself in it at the expense of other things. But once this film is done, I really feel like I'd like to try a more substantial comics project -- like a book-length all-ages adventure story … not unlike the stuff I was talk about above.

2012 in Review: Matt Emery

Matt Emery

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

Corresponding with folk around the world for research has been a lot of fun. Getting recollections from artists and writers that worked during the heyday of comics has been really interesting. Finding some new directions for my own comics outside of gag writing has been tough but revelatory.

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

This year or maybe last year I discovered James Davidson's work, great stuff. Also love what I've seen of Lauren Marriott's work. Ethan Rilly's Pope Hat's was a great read, I miss the days of indie pamphlet comics. Love what Chuck Forsman has been doing and the folks at Oily Comics.

I've been wading through Titan's reprint collections of English newspaper strip Modesty Blaise. The sole writer of 40 years of her adventures, Peter O'Donnell, sure knew how to put together tight serialised adventures with little regard for the PC conventions of today. I love these books, particularly New Zealand artist Neville Colvin's run on the strip, beautiful work. IDW's Library of American Comics keep producing gems with the Otto Soglow volume Cartoon Monarch a beautiful production of cartoons from yesteryear.  I've long desired to join the secret cult Bushmiller society and fantagraphics reprints of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy have been a great entry point. Still devouring the second Nancy volume, I see why this work is praised by a certain group of cartoonists.

Not particularly new to me as a creator but heck, new English translations of Tezuka's work from vertical and Digital manga. great stuff. Truly a golden age of reprints.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
Been thumbing through several beat up paperbacks of short stories, Pierre Boulle, Philip k Dick, Vonnegut, J G Ballard, and a Playboy collection. New Dredd film was a long awaited thrill. Spending a week at the beach on the Gold Coast was very relaxing.

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

Spending more time on drafts and attempting some longer pieces.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Launching Paper Trail a magazine I'm editing about New Zealand and Australian comics. Traveling to some conventions in the States. Also very keen to see a few books about New Zealand comics in print that are in production for 2013. 

2012 in Review: Matt Nicholls

Matt Nicholls

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

First I started this year with Debuting my webcomic Collateral, illustrated by my new UK friend Lee Taylor, which was pretty exciting. Then I self published Collateral Dear John Issue one and two later this year, while also debuting another webcomic with a local friend of mine Ross Stewart called Vesper and since I didn't have much else on this year I self published a one shot 12 page comic with local illustrator
Simon Wright called Our Love Will Never Die, But We Will.

Not to mention I tabled at my first and second con this year with Armageddon being the first and the little Oz Horror Con the second.

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

Wow, where to start. I suppose I'll only comment on the ones from this year, even though I'd like to shout out to others. So I wont be mentioning Steve Sparke, Frank Candiloro and Brendan Halyday as we met last year. So I wont be mentioning how awesome they are and how good their work is.

SO to start with this year, I'll have to go with Matt Kyme. His work is awesome and is a great new Superhero webcomic and he's not doing much so he's got The Ace happening as well on the same site. So lazy. He's the webcomic version of Frank Candiloro.

FEC has produced so much work this year it would be hard to mention it all, but you can check it out at FEC Comics
but special mention would have to go out to Kranburn and Great Works.
Zombolette is an ace comic and I love how it isn't a zombie story.

MSG by Andrew Li. I met him once at the Melbourne Comic meet up. He was so quiet and reserve and his comic really deserves a read.

I really want to mention all the local comic scene, not just Melbourne but Australia, but there really is a lot out there.

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

I loved seeing one of my favourite local bands The Dirty Three again this year. I highly recommend this band. They would have to be in my top two bands I've ever seen live, and seeing them for the second time they did not disappoint.

I also went to Scienceworks this year. I hadn't been since I was at school many moons ago. That place is AWESOME!Go check it out, even if you don't have kids with you it's still ace.
Since I wasn't releasing much this year in the way of comics I renovated my kitchen. It's crazy how much you love your oven when you've gone without one for 12 months.

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

It's amazing how much you learn when working with different artists. I have had to change how I write my scripts to suite different artist. But my working methods tend not to change when I write in my half hour on the train.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

 Releasing more Collateral Issues and having more Vesper pages out as well as debuting at Supanova and Oz Comic Con. They are the main things. I also wrote a short comic for Brendan Halyday this year as part of the 24 hour challenge, so I'm hoping for that to get finished next year (No pressure Brendan :P)

2012 in Review: Arthur Strickland

  Arthur Strickland

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

It would have to be discovering the Ozcomics page on Facebook for sure (Courtesy of Ms Fiona Freestone). It just opened so many doors and helped me meet the most amazing local writers and artists. I had pretty much fallen out of the whole art and comic book scene but this totally re-inspired my passion for drawing. Working with Matt Kyme, Clint Hammill and Darren Close has been  amazing and its so humbling getting such positive feedback from such a talented group of guys.

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

I live in a small town outside of Melbourne so I was really amazed at the comic scene there. So much talent and so many to mention but standouts off the top of my head are Zed Mercury by Steve Boyd, The Dirt Nap by Brendan Halyday, Killeroo by Darren Close, Collateral and 'Our love will never die, but we will' by Matthew Nichols. Frank Candilloro's work Blood across Broadway and Viddy well, Brother is amazing and his style is totally unique. Matt Kyme also released his solo project The Ace which he wrote and illustrated and I was just blown away. We only recently had a comic book store open up in my home town, so I also went back and caught up on old stuff that I'd been meaning to read including- 100 Bullets, Preacher, Kick Ass, The Walking Dead, Lobo, Swamp Thing to name a few. All amazing.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
Stephen Kings The Wind Through the Keyhole was delightful. I really loved Prometheus and Cabin in the Woods. Both stand outs. Battlefield 3 expansion packs have also kept that disc almost permanently in my PS3. Music wise I've really enjoyed Noctourniquet by The Mars Volta, Book Burner by Pig Destroyer, the new Testament and Deftones albums were good too. Breaking Bad and Face Off are both television highlights.
Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?

Too many too mention haha. Since taking on the role of penciler, inker and colourist on That Bulletproof Kid, plus working on a short Killeroo story for Darren Close as well as the odd commission and weekly Ozcomics entries, I'm almost constantly changing and fine tuning work methods and techniques to increase output speed and save time. Inking for example went from digital to pen to dip pen and ink to brush and ink then back to digital (laughs).

What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Really just looking forward to creating more art and stories. I may possibly even have a crack at writing. Matt Kyme and I are also looking into one of his other stories for a possible 2013 release. Being a big gaming fan I'm really looking forward to the next generation of games consoles. I'm expecting them to be mind blowing haha.

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 in Review: Matt Kyme

Matt Kyme

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

In Sept I launched That Bulletproof Kid where I upload my ongoing superhero web comic; That Bulletproof Kid. It’s a full colour comic illustrated by an awesomely talented friend, Arthur Strickland. In October I began uploading a second web comic which I wrote and illustrated called The Ace. In Nov I also uploaded an 8 page story called Secret History which was illustrated by Gareth Colliton and coloured by Joe Roberts.
Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?

There are sooo many talented people out there! I was totally blown away by Hidden by Mirranda Burton. It was so tender and heartfelt, when you read it you feel as if you are listening to an old friend. I enjoyed the creepy and psychological atmosphere of The List by Paul Bedford. Fred Russell-Atkins had me laughing with his action packed, typo filled Spitfires, McBlack comics by Jason Franks are clever, surprising, genre challenging, 4th wall breaking meta which are a hoot to read. Thomas Tung’s Rent My Seal and Jake Harrison, Relationship Detective are a heap of fun as is High School Romance by Jin Chan Yum Wai. Guzumo by Matt Emery kept me and my high school students entertained and slightly confused.

Endlessly prolific writer, Matt Nicholls delivered 3 amazing comics this year; 2 issues of Collateral and my personal favourite, Our Love Will Never Die But We Will, which has to be the most romantic zombie story ever. Matt also has a wicked web comic called Vesper that is illustrated by Ross Stewart. One of my biggest highlights was discovering work by the amazing Frank Candiloro. His work is something else. His stories are all so different from the last and his artistic style is so original and unmistakable. My favourite of his is Behind The Crooked Cross. It is a harrowing comic which is testing and moving. I should mention the amazing artists and writers that I have been lucky enough to work/collaborate/brainstorm with this year, Franco Pollizzi, Eros Harries, Annerleigh Pappos, Gareth Colliton, Joe Roberts, Simon Wright, Steve Partridge, Andrew Fitzgerald and Arthur Strickland.

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

My wife and two kids are a heap of fun. We have had a heap of laughs together this year and I’m very lucky to have them. Outside of family stuff, I’m really digging the new albums by The Cribs and Cat Power. I finally gave into peer pressure and started watching Breaking Bad. The new series of The Walking Dead has been great. Avengers and Batman movies were really cool. I liked The Artist and Argo too. My kids have discovered The Aquabats Supershow which is super rad. That Kony video was good. The world not ending was pretty good too.

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

Pretty much everything is new this year.  I did all the art for The Ace (my first ever comic) after I finished writing it and it drained my life. I enjoyed writing it far more than illustrating it so I decided that from now on I would avoid doing comic art like it was the plague. The only thing I enjoy as much as writing comics is getting fresh pages of art in my inbox. Working with Arthur of That Bulletproof Kid is a dream. I give him some rough sketches when I send him the scripts. It’s up to him if he wants to use them or not. I have never had any complaints with his pages, the dude knows how to draw and I love his colours! As far as my working methods go, I have sketchbooks with ideas and design/sketches all over the place, I have files with all my random ideas for stories/plots and characters,  a file with the rough story lines and a separate file where I type out the finished scripts. I do a heap of cutting and pasting, tweaking, refining, reading, re-reading etc before I send the scripts off top the artists. Did that put you to sleep?

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

I look forward to working with Arthur on That Bulletproof Kid and perhaps some other projects. I look forward to meeting more creators and discovering their work. I hope the new Superman movie is good. I don’t know what else will be on the cards next year, just have to hold on tight and see what happens.

2012 in Review: Ben Michael Byrne

Ben Michael Byrne

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

Getting another four (40 page) issues of Kranburn out there, obviously a huge thanks go out to FEC comics/Steve Sparke for that. Starting work on an amazing project titled Job Dun with the very exciting writer Mark Hobby, when I first got the issue #1 script, I was scrolling faster and faster to read it and couldn't wait to get my teeth into it. Having short stories I wrote and illustrated in Terra #1 and Home Made #1 and Velocity #2. Also doing art duties on a short story for Futurequake in the UK. Cover for Spitfires #3. Sorry if I've forgotten anyone. :P

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

100 Bullets. Over a decade ago I was in Ireland and a friend there urged me to read it, but I was still pretty much sci-fi/anthologies only at that point (2000AD etc) and didn't follow up. But now I'm happily chewing my way through the 100 Bullets trades, got another three or four waiting for me under the Christmas tree, yippee. :-D

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

Reading and re-reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, pure bliss. I can have a pile of unread books waiting, but I'll still end up picking up one of his and opening it for the 50th time.

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

Nothing drastic I think, but I'm always tweaking it here and there, as my child get older (she's approaching three) I have to adapt my schedule etc. The biggest change would probably be streamlining my work a little more and getting more 'German' with my efficiency (are positive racial stereotypes still naughty? Meh :-D ). My wife and I purchased a house about a year ago and I'd always wanted a cork board in my study, so now I have this well laid out timetable, with all current and future projects on it, each page of a job etc represented by a rectangle that I fill in as I go etc so I can at a glance see what needs tending/what's getting a bit close to deadline. I'm in anal heaven. Readers may interpret that however they wish, guffaw!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

For myself: more Kranburn. Seeing Job Dun in print, its being coloured by Noelle Dreeves and will be longest coloured work I've ever been a part of so far, very exciting.

Outside of comics, owning the new Dredd movie, owning the new Metro: Last Light game (as well as Suvarium, Wasteland 2, Nuclear Union but I'm not sure exactly when those are due).

Birth of our second child and the pooey nappies that brings with it. :-D

And if I grew and extra arm or two maybe starting another of my longer running projects that I've been cooking for a few years. There's a pretty big project I've been writing for a long time now called NSEW and I'm really keen to grow it further.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 in Review: Alisha Jade

Alisha Jade
What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?

Definitely publishing the first book of 'Seven'. It's been kicking around for a while now so it's great to finally get it out there.

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

I would have to say getting back into my roots was the best thing this year - I nabbed the set of Nausicaa by Miyazaki, and discovered it was drawn entirely with pencil, no inks. The results are fascinating and the fact that the comic doesn't only feature attractive people is always a plus. Also had a lot of fun with Akiko Higashimura's Kuragehime and some new local groups like Canberra's Beginnings and the emergence of Squishface.

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

Well I've really gotten back into film recently, watching a lot of things I never thought I would. I've also vastly enjoyed my relatively recent obsession with Richard Armitage which I'm SURE will culminate in spectacular form with The Hobbit. Watching the production diaries and getting into the buzz has really been an interesting study in crowd building and lead up.

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

Significant changes - Several - I've switched my pencils officially down to A6, switched my inking up from A5 to A4 (ugh my wrist feels it) and also switched from nib to brush pens, the BEST inking tools ever. If you've never tried a Kuretake you are missing out.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?
More Seven (book two is part way through inks yay!), more Hobbit, more doing stupid things to my appearance for fun and definitely as much hanging out with my comic fellows as humanly possible.

2012 in Review: Paul Bedford

Paul Bedford

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?
Answering these questions.

Oh, and having the films rights for my OGN, The List optioned. The bonus is, I've been commissioned to write the screenplay adaptation. I'm into the second draft and, while proving a tough write, it's giving me the opportunity to have a second chance at my story; to change/improve scenes, dialogue etc. It's also a challenge to adapt my story into a 3 act structure, which the GN certainly isn't.

The other highlight was having the 3 volumes of The List finally printed in a single volume GN. It was great after all these years of envisioning it in this form to finally hold it in my hands. Very rewarding indeed. Sales at the stores, online and at the Cons have certainly improved since it became an all-inclusive read.

Other highlights include: continuing excellent reviews of The List from around the world; amazing - at times, touching - feedback from readers who seem to find a place to put their pain while reading the work; meeting new fans of the work at Cons and watching the local scene grow with great new talent.

Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?
My two fave discoveries of the year (I tend to read only Aussie/NZ stuff) were Zombolette by Scarlette Baccini (Milk Shadow Books) and Kranburn by Ben Michael Byrne (FEC Comics). I suppose if we are talking about artists, we are actually talking about their art.

Zombolette: Many laugh out loud moments. A no-holds-barred, clever and unpredictable work. I've read it three times which has revealed the more subtle humour. I have heard rumour of a sequel, so it’d better be as good as the first, or I’ll burn Scarlette’s house down. I will, ya know.

Kranburn: I'm crap at keeping up with web comics so, as much I loved reading this on the web, I fell away from this series, always wishing it was in print. I'm certainly a print purist. Even comics on a tablet don't really do it for me - I just don't find the experience as engaging or visceral. Anyway, I was rapt when i heard it was to be published. Now, having just read issue 5 (a dark and brutal stand out in an already dark and brutal series), I am thoroughly eating it up. Ben's world building succeeds in drawing the reader into its barren, harsh dystopia. The surface adventure of the first four issues has now taken a deeper turn, and the pace has slowed. Both of these things are a welcome breather and shows Ben's grasp of his character. I believe he is on the 230 odd page mark, which is awesome news. I'd happily sit down as read the whole bloody thing in a massive GN.

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

Battlefield 3. Nuff said.

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

Battlefield 3. It means I get less work done.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?

There is some new Battlefield 3 DLC coming out, so that'll be grouse and even more destructive to my artistic pursuits.

Aside from that, the producers who optioned The List screenplay will be shopping it around to various movie houses. That'll be an exciting and terrifying time. Man, the thought that it might get picked up and made into a feature film is almost too exciting to bear.

With the TPB out, I will be submitting it to various companies for possible publication. Let's see if any of these so called publishers of art are gutsy enough to pick it up.

I will finally get my short story anthology finished and get a bunch of artists to draw them up. I’ve had one drawn up so far and released as a mini which has received excellent feedback, so it would be nice to get the entire bunch done released as a collection. It's very different to The List: no violence, horror, drugs etc, so it won't sell.
Thanks for reading my babble. Now go and buy my book:

2012 in Review: Jesca Marisa

 Jesca Marisa

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

I moved from Cape Town to Auckland this year to work as illustrator and animator on children's games for the iPad. That was kinda a big change of scene for me and I got to meet a whole heap of new comic book creatives in NZ.  The comic-book scene in Cape Town is passionate, but small, so I enjoyed the opportunity to expand my network and see what people are up to on this side of the world. I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Comic Convention (or I should rather say Pop Culture Convention) this year. Yup, Total Noob. First in Sydney and then later in Auckland and I had a blast selling/pimping books to the unsuspecting public at both events.

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

Up until the beginning of 2012 I was kind of on a break from reading books and comics. Mostly because I had just coughed up the dough to self-publish a graphic novel. And when you have 500 copies of the same book lying around your house there isn't much elbow room for any other reading material. But then 2012 rolled around - I moved into an empty, book-free house and started reading with a vengeance. Mostly books/comics that I had heard about but never got around to reading myself. I read an insane amount of manga - some very delightfully cheesy publications which won't be mentioned here. I am a big fan of D.Grayman by Katsura Hoshino and I finally managed to buy most of the her manga volumes. I also acquired Pluto by Naoki Urasawa - which is a beautiful book and well worth purchasing. (His other books 20th Century Boys and Monster are also amazing.) I love the sales bin at Real Groovy and bought Black Orchid and I kill Giants for myself recently. (I also got the collected Bone and Blacksad -alas not on sale) I finally read all of the Flight anthologies and some more of the Robot artbooks. Another fun read was the Carbon Grey comic - since it reminded me somewhat of my own work.
 What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
This year flew by so fast! I enjoyed the New Zealand Film Festival and more recently the Auckland Art Week (because they had some fun life-drawing sessions and a really fun gallery tour on bikes - all free!) I also enjoyed the White Clouds Worlds concept art exhibition at the Lopdell Gallery - since that is the genre of work I would like to exhibit myself.
Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?
Yes there has been some changes. I used to concentrate a lot on the art side of comics, but I moved focus to the writing aspect since I felt that there's room for improvement. So I spend what free time I have on writing, which is a nice change of pace since I draw all day for work. I am also doing life drawing and anatomy study again - to freshen up and expand my art style.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

I look forward to finishing my first draft of a sci-fi book I am working on and I am excited because it seems that there will be a lot of opportunity for travel to comic-book related events next year.

2012 in Review: Sorab Del Rio

Sorab Del Rio

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

The highlight of 2012 for me was the release of my first graphic novel - Zombie Cities! This was a personal and artistic victory. For it was work that challenged and I hope re-defines the zombie genre with its wit, humour and style. But above and beyond that, it’s one question to simply release a new work, as anyone can do that, but it’s another challenge to create a work that draws in the fans. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see Zombie Cities received so well across the 4 conventions where Silver Fox Comics had a presence in 2012.

What makes this sweeter is that this is the 3
rd comic based venture I’ve created. So perhaps the old adage 3rd time lucky is actually real! The first was Skunge NYPD, and then of course our works for Zorro. Both of which are comics I loved, but failed to capture the fans. In 2011, I went to Sydney Supanova and sold 35 copies of Zorro at $5 each – I didn’t even cover the cost of the table. Now I know this is a common tale for creators but to me, if I can’t find an audience there is no point whatsoever, and I will leave a project if this can’t be achieved. My work has to find an audience or why bother. I’m not working a year in semi solitude to make a project no one is interested in. I left 2011 Supanova dis-heartened and beaten sorely, and thinking why do creators put themselves through this and that I need to make a project that connects with the fans.

So moving to 2012, we premiered Zombie Cities at Sydney Supanova not knowing what to expect. Was I going to sit through another 2 days and not sell a thing? No, not at all, we actually got it right selling 130 copies of the Zombie Cities graphic novel at $25 each over 2 days and 40 or so prints. We backed this up again at the Penrith Heroes and Villains convention, Melbourne Armageddon and Brisbane Supanova, and the support of comic stores, we’ve closed the year with 530 copies sold of Zombie Cities and over 250 prints. It was a project as some know came from a personal mission with the Sydney Zombies print and one where I also listened to fans in the making of this book. After the failure of previous years and projects, this was an even sweeter victory in creating a work the fans wanted and enjoy. I loved the conventions getting to talk about my work and making people laugh with what we produced. That’s what it’s all about for me – make a comic people enjoy and get immediately. At a con, you got 5 to 10 seconds to sell. When I was writing I wondered, this is really different to the regular zombie stuff – are they going to get it? Sure they did, so I’m personally pleased I went against the standard formulas to make Zombie Cities. Let me also take this time to say a thank you to everyone who bought anything from our Zombie Cities project, the artists from pencilers, inkers and colourists. Special thanks to Don Ticchio who has helped me across each of my comic book ventures. I do feel this is only the start with this project. 

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

Wow, so many to name, in fact too many to name. I have met many of the Australian comic creators through the conventions and now also discovering through your blog many more I am yet to discover.

We have a very talented independent scene in Australia that doesn’t get the limelight it deserves so thank you Matt for profiling us all here with your blog.

I think my biggest influence is Jason Brubaker with his online comic Remind and his associated blog and podcast Making Comics. I’m very passionate about marketing comics and he is achieving the independent self-publishing success I aspire to. He is one guy who has put as much time into marketing his comic as he has creating and it’s paid off with a $100,000 project on Kickstarter. 

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

Non comics – what on earth do you mean?? Kidding!
Music: As some of you know, I love my old school rnb and salsa. I’d have to mention the Prince concerts which were amazing – I saw Prince in concert twice in Sydney, and also Janele Monae live – love her!
Movies: I went through a phase where I decided not to watch any English films as I’ve just gotten tired of the same regurgitated crap. During this time I watched 20 foreign films in a row. My favourite was The Skin I Live in by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar – this is macabre thriller of which I had no idea where this was leading to. The City of Men Movies which are set in the favellas of Rio, and Amores Perros – are more foreign films I discovered this year.
Books: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Saffon. In regards to English releases – Breaking Bad is phenomenal!
Home: Seeing my dogs – my gals - Rio and Ria talk for the first time was incredible. I’d never believed this was possible. I also enjoyed meeting an Italian girl at salsa last week, lets see where this leads ;)

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

Right now I’m working on Zombie Cities Violence Vs Compassion. This time I’m writing with the strait jacket off and my muzzle is unleashed. There’s a real wild abandon happening with this project – a real crazy spirit happening with this project. I don’t know how it’s happening but I almost feel that these new stories are happening unconsciously and just flowing. It’s not something I implemented, it is just happening naturally.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

The release of Zombie Cities Violence Vs Compassion! This will be a tour de force! I hope get to more conventions across Australia in 2013. I may need to do a crowd sourcing campaign to assist with financing. And figuring out how to release this internationally – whether its digitally, a free online comic to build a worldwide audience, a Kickstarter or similar campaign, but I am now starting to think internationally is where projects need to be. There are 3 other projects in my head knocking on my forehead every day asking to be let out so this will also happen – projects totally unrelated to anything I’ve done before.