Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantoon Episode 2: Sarah Laing

Dylan Horrocks continues his interview series Quarantoon, in this new episode featuring cartoonist Sarah Laing (Mansfield & Me). They discuss the process behind her daily comics diary, The COVID-19 Diaries. There's also a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at her sketchbooks and writing process for Mansfield & Me, and a discussion about the future of graphic design in the current climate (the recent collapse of Bauer Media and the NZ magazine industry, and the rise of social media). It's a great conversation that you can check out above, or on Youtube HERE.

- AK!

Monday, April 13, 2020

NZ Cartoonists respond to COVID-19

Above: The 'Flatten the Curve' GIF by  Toby Morris and Dr Siouxsie Wiles.

New Zealand is just over halfway through it's Level 4 mandatory lock-down, a national effort to eradicate the COVID-19 virus from our shores. During this pandemic, cartoonist Toby Morris has collaborated with Dr Siouxsie Wiles (Associate Professor and head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland) to produce illustrated (and animated) articles for The Spinoff to help educate the public on COVID-19: how the virus spreads, best practice to protect ourselves from infection, and generally boiling down complex ideas related to the virus into easy to understand articles.

Above: NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holding up a printed copy of Toby Morris'  'Flatten the Curve' illustration at a press conference.

The most widely shared of this would be the 'Flatten the Curve' GIF, accompanying the article, 'The three phases of Covid-19 – and how we can make it manageable', published on the 9th of March. Within days of publication it was used as an example to follow by NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a press conference, and has since been used or adapted by foreign governments including Australia, Germany, Argentina and many more. You can read all of  Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris' informative articles and updates on COVID-19 at The Spinoff HERE.

Dylan Horrocks has also started an interview series on youtube, Quarantoon, in which he interviews cartoonists about their work during the pandemic. His first episode is an in-depth chat with Toby Morris about his collaboration with  Dr Siouxsie Wiles for The Spinoff articles. It's honest and revealing, making it essential viewing if you want to hear more about what goes into the creation of these articles and the extraordinary response they have received from around the world. You can view the first episode HERE.

Above: Artwork by Sarah Laing from The COVID-19 Diaries.

Cartoonist Sarah Laing has responded to the pandemic with a more personal expression, a daily comic strip published on her website, The COVID-19 Diaries. A raw and honest account of daily life under Level 4 lock-down, Laing's comics are extremely relatable, illustrating the daily anxieties and humour arising from this unique situation. You can read  The COVID-19 Diaries daily on Sarah's website HERE. Sarah will also be appearing on Horrocks' Quarantoon series, so keep an eye out for that episode soon!

- AK


Monday, March 9, 2020

NZ Graphic Novel Picks for Best International Comics of 2019!

Above: The Adventures of Tupaia by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait. Copyright  Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait 2020.

Every year I contribute some New Zealand graphic novel picks for Paul Gravett's 'Best Comics of the Year: An international Perspective', highlighting some of the standout graphic novel from around the world. There's some great international reads on this list from such countries as: Argentina, Poland, Finland, South Korea, Serbia, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Portugal, Denmark and Brazil.

The New Zealand titles I included this year were: The Adventures of Tupaia by Courtney Sina Meredith & Mat Tait, published by Allen & Unwin NZ; Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby & Piripi Walker, published by Lift Education; Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh, published by Aotearoa Books, The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill, published by Oni Press, Palimpsest: Documents From a Korean Adoption by Lisa Wool-rim Sjöblom, published by Drawn & Quarterly; Let Me Be Frank by Sarah Laing, published by Victoria University Press; and Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray, published by Earth’s End Publishing.

You can read Best Comics of 2019: An International Perspective Part 1 HERE, and Part 2 HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

EVENT: Chip Zdarsky at Graphic Comics!

Above: Comics writer/artist Chip Zdarsky.

The NZ 2020 comics event calendar kicks off this month, with a surprise visit from US comics writer/artist Chip Zdarsky!

Zdarsky is an Eisner, Harvey and Shuster Award winning cartoonist, and co-creator (with Matt Fraction) of Sex Criminals from Image Comics. He is the current writer on Daredevil and the upcoming X-Men/Fantastic Four mini-series for Marvel Comics, and has also written acclaimed runs on: Spider-Man: Life Story, Howard the Duck, Invaders, Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Two-In-One and Jughead for Archie Comics.

He will be making an appearance at Graphic Comics in Wellington, on Thursday 30th January from 4.30-5.30pm to chat and sign comics. It sounds like this will be his only NZ appearance, so if you're in the Welly area, stop by and get some comics signed! You can visit the Graphic Facebook event HERE for more information, and visit Chip's amusing website HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

NEW RELEASE: Let Me Be Frank by Sarah Laing

Above: The cover of Let Me Be Frank by Sarah Laing. Copyright Sarah Laing 2019.

Hi folks, sorry I've been snowed under with day-job work, so it's time to catch-up on the recent comics related new releases, starting with Let Me Be Frank by Sarah Laing!
This is a full-colour collection of almost ten years of her blog comics, from 2010 to today, published by Victoria University Press. Here's the press release:

Let Me Be Frank brings Sarah Laing’s popular autobiographical comic series together for the first time. Sarah Laing began blogging her comics in 2009 as a way to shed light on her fiction writing and to record life before it evaporated. The comics soon had a large audience, eager for the next installment about Sarah’s parenting fails and successes, writing, her obsession with Katherine Mansfield, her family’s history, pet mice, sex, clothes and more. Let Me Be Frank is a witty, whip-smart comic collection that is ever disarmingly frank.

I'll look to have a review for it up soon, in the meantime, here's some press Sarah has done to promote the book:

Over at The Sapling she did an illustrated interview with cartoonist Giselle Clarkson, which you can read HERE
She featured on RNZ's Standing Room Only interview show, which you can listen to HERE
She has also written an essay featured on The Spinoff about her 'secret origin' as a cartoonist and creativity, which you can read HERE

Let Me Be FrankSarah Laing
352 pages, full colour
ISBN: 9781776562909
Available now

- AK!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chromacon indie arts festival 2019!

The biennial Chromacon indie arts festival returns to Auckland in 2019, offering the public 2 FREE days of arty market goodness, with some of NZ's finest art creators selling and showcasing: Illustration, Comics, Concept Design, Animation, Board Games, Sculpture, Designer Toys, Mural & Street Art, Video Games and more!

Taking place at the Aotea Centre from June 1st - 2nd (Queen's Birthday Weekend),this year the event boasts 188 exhibitors, including special guests: Concept Art/Designer Andrew Domachowski [Canada]; illustrator/animation guests Cloud Yang 人狼 and Clover Xie 无言  [Wolf Smoke Studio | China]; Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Katie O'Neill [New Zealand]; and Illustration/Mural/Street Artist Nate Frizzell [US]. You can find a full line-up of exhibitors HERE.

Hosted alongside Chromacon, the Chroma Art Awards recognises creative excellence from Aotearoa’s leading and emerging independent creators.This year they will celebrate the best independent work across 5 disciplines, with Open and Student categories for each award: Illustration, Concept Design, Comic Art, Animation, & Video Games. Winners will be announced at the Chroma Art Awards Evening, 1st June 2019. The Awards are open to all New Zealanders of all ages (no, you don't have to be a Chromacon exhibitor). Entries close this Friday, 24th May (11:59PM NZST), so get submitting now as there are some great prizes up for grabs! Check out the full details HERE.

It's going to be a great weekend of creativity, so save the date on your calendar and visit the Chromacon website for more details HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

LISTEN UP: Ross Murray discusses Rufus Marigold on Nine to Noon

Above: Rufus is the life of the party... from Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray. Copyright Ross Murray 2019.

Mount Maunganui based illustrator Ross Murray has produced a graphic novel broaching the subject of social anxiety, a story he tells from his own tough experience. Rufus Marigold is Ross' first book, featuring a self-loathing nervous wreck of a man-monkey chimpanzee, who works in an office brimming with apparently socially competent people.  In comic form we see the eponymous hero of the book, Rufus Marigold continuously facing awkward social situations, enduring sleepless nights, battling with his negative interior voice and struggling with small talk.

As Ross tells Kathryn Ryan, Rufus Marigold is both funny and dark. You can listen to the Nine to Noon show HERE.

Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray is published by Earth's End Publishing and available now for $34.99 from all good bookstores and can be purchased online HERE.

- AK!