Friday, June 18, 2010

EVENT: Talking Pictures - The Graphic Novel with Dylan Horrocks & Ant Sang

This coming Monday, as part of the 'Writers on Mondays' lunchtime lecture series being held at Auckland New Gallery Art Lounge, Dylan Horrocks and Ant Sang will be discussing graphic novels (relating to their own work and the form in general) with host Mike Loder.

Above: A page from 'Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen', by Dylan Horrocks.

Dylan Horrocks is of course one of New Zealand's most highly regarded cartoonist, the author of the award-winning graphic novel 'Hicksville', which finally received it's first local printing this year from Victoria University Press (and is required reading here at Earth's End!). He is currently serializing two new graphic novels-in-progress at his website: 'The American Dream' and 'Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen'. The latter story follows a cartoonist through a creative crisis, as he struggles to write corporate superhero comics and retain his personal 'voice' as a creator. A dilemma which is all too familiar to Horrocks, who went through a similar ordeal writing for the 'Bat-family' of titles for DC Comics ('Batgirl', 'Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight'). While this is not a straight autobiography of his experiences writing corporate super-heroics, it's certainly informed by them, offering a fascinating and honest account of a writer wrestling to reconnect with his craft, and the potential pitfalls of genre writing.

Above: Ant Sang with a page of his artwork from his up-coming graphic novel, 'Shaolin Burning'.

Ant Sang's artwork has quickly become iconic in New Zealand, as the lead designer of the hugely successful TV series 'Bro' Town'. He's also know for his cult comic series 'The Dharma Punks', one of the top selling NZ comics ever published, at it's peak it was locally outselling such bestselling comics as 'Uncanny X-Men'. Currently working on his first original graphic novel 'Shaolin Burning', which is to be released early next year, it should finally establish Ant as a house-hold name (and rightly so).

The talk is hosted by comedian and occasional comic-book writer Mike Loder, and takes place at the Art Lounge in the New Gallery from 12 noon, so feel free to bring your lunch and friends! You can find more details and information HERE at the Gallery website.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chris Slane awarded 'Cartoonist of the Year'

Above: One of Chris Slane's award-winning cartoons from 'The Listener' magazine. Copyright Chris Slane 2010.

Congratulations to cartoonist Chris Slane, who was awarded the prestigious title of 'Cartoonist of the Year' at the Qantas Media Awards last week. His award-winning entries came from 'The Listener' magazine. The judges praised Chris' artwork as having 'a distinct, effective edge to the cartoons that curries no favours. Strong views expressed, no fence-sitting. Savage caricature, but those portrayed instantly recognisable'.

Above: 'The Gordon Minhinnick Memorial Trophy For Cartooning'.

Presented with 'The Gordon Minhinnick Memorial Trophy For Cartooning' by The New Zealand Herald (best described as a 'shiny platter of cartooning excellence'), I'm sure it will make a fine addition to Chris' mantelpiece or a VERY classy tray to hold art materials if one was so inclined. The reverse side of the trophy features the names of previous winners, revealing this is in fact the second time Chris has taken home the prize, the first occasion was in 1998.

Above: Details from 'The Gordon Minhinnick Memorial Trophy For Cartooning'.

So congratulations to Chris for his continued fine cartooning, which you can see regularly in such magazines as 'The Listener', 'Metro' and 'The Shed magazine'. You can also check out more of his cartoons at his official website HERE.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Medikidz Comics launch in NZ market STAT!

Above: a 'Medikidz' comic focusing on HIV. Copyright Medikidz 2010.

The medical education comic-book series 'Medikidz', created by former Hawke's Bay doctor Kim Chilman-Blair, was officially launched in New Zealand this week.

The 'Medikidz' are a team of five superheroes from outer space, who each specialize in different parts of the human body. They inhabit a living planet shaped like the human body called 'Mediland', and go on adventures designed to entertain and educated children about their bodies and the causes and effects of serious illnesses.

Dr.Chilman-Blair conceived of the series while training at Auckland's Starship Hospital. She realised there was a need for an education resource specifically aimed at children to help explain, in terms they can understand, the often complex world of medical issues, procedures and treatments. She partnered with a fellow medical graduate Dr Kate Hersov to form the publishing company 'Medikidz Limited' in 2006, and moved their business to London to trial it on a larger market. Since it's official launch last year, they have sold more than 600,000 comics to hospitals, clinics and families based in the UK, Europe, India, Australia, and the United States.

The comics are co-produced by the doctors with John Taddeo a long-time comics enthusiast, once employed as a Marketing Manager for Marvel Comics. All the material produced is peer reviewed by doctors and specialists in the medical field to keep it accurate and accessible. So far topics covered by the comics include: Leukaemia, Breast Cancer, Swine Flu, ADHD, Childhood Overweight, Epilepsy, Type 1 Diabetes, HIV, Asthma, Osteosarcoma, Autism, Food Allergy, and Scoliosis.

To celebrate the New Zealand launch, local businessman Owen Glenn purchased 500 issues, which have been donated to the Starship Hospital.

Published in New Zealand by HarperCollins, the series of graphic novels should be available from all good booksellers this month and retail for $16.99. If you would like more information regarding upcoming titles or resources, you can visit the 'Medikidz' official website HERE.

Above: The Medikidz take on HIV. Copyright Medikidz 2010.