Above: The panel lineup from the left: Chris Slane, Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, Karen Healey and myself.
2011 has already proven itself to be a landmark year in New Zealand Comics publishing, with two graphic novels achieving wide release in bookstores and a growing host of great self-published comics becoming increasingly available through festival and expo distribution. With such a wealth of new material and increasing public interest in the graphic novel medium, it seemed only natural that a discussion on the subject would make a great addition to any literary celebration, and that's exactly what will be taking place next month at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2011!
On Sunday 15th of May, I'll be hosting event #47 of the Festival: Graphic Novels, Comics & Cartoons, in which I'll be moderating a panel featuring some of the best cartoonist and writing minds in New Zealand: Dylan Horrocks, Chris Slane, Ant Sang and Karen Healey. We'll be discussing our love of this special medium, plus an exclusive illustrated look inside the process of comics creation and graphic novel writing, invaluable information for the aspiring cartoonist that you won't find anywhere else!
Tickets for this event are on sale now from THE EDGE Box Office on level 3 of the Aotea Centre in Auckland, or online at www.buytickets.co.nz. It's $20.00* for Earlybird pre-sales, or $25.00* after May 11th (*booking fees may also apply). For more information on this event, you can visit the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival page HERE.
Now for a brief biography of the featured writers:
He really needs no introduction at this point, Dylan is the author of the seminal graphic novel Hicksville. Universally praised by the international comics community upon it's release in 1998, it has only recently been published locally for the first time last year by Victoria University Press, insuring it's place as a contemporary classic of New Zealand literature.
He also spent several years of the last decade writing for DC Comics, putting the speech bubbles in the mouths of such well recognised characters as Batman, Batgirl, Supergirl, John Constantine, Tim Hunter and more. After his corporate comics experience he was happy to return to creating his own comics, which he currently publishes weekly through his website hicksvillecomics.com. These include the two serials Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen and The American Dream.
Ant has long been a pillar of the Auckland comics community, producing one the best selling NZ comics series of all time, The Dharma Punks, which was published between 2001-03. It was this series that brought him to the attention of the producers of the animated TV series Bro'Town, who hired Ant as art director and production designer for the show, winning him several awards for his dedicated work. Earlier this year saw the release of his first original graphic novel Shaolin Burning from HarperCollins, a kung-fu infused meditation on revenge and destiny in ancient China. It was an instant hit upon release, making the top ten NZ Bestsellers fiction list four weeks running and the #1 book for it's publisher that month.
Chris is an award-winning cartoonist whose work has appeared in countless magazines and newspapers including: The Listener, The New Zealand Herald, Metro and many more. His editorial cartoons have won him the prestigious Qantas Cartoonist Of The Year award three times and the Qantas Editorial Graphics Artist Award twice. In the mid-nineties he produced arguably New Zealand's first original graphic novel Maui: Legends of the Outcast, with writer Robert Sullivan. Last month saw the release of his second graphic novel Nice Day For a War: Adventures of a Soldier in World War 1, co-authored with Matt Elliott from HarperCollins.
Karen is the author of the highly acclaimed novel Guardian of the Dead, a paranormal thriller heavily influenced by Māori mythology, which takes place in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her well received debut novel is a finalist for the American Library Association's prestigious William C. Morris Award. She is also the co-founder of the feminist comics website Girl-Wonder.org, and is currently writing a PhD on american superhero comics. Her next novel The Shattering, is due to be published by Allen & Unwin later this year.
Well, if you are reading this, you know who I am ('Nuff said!).
The panel will run for 45 minutes of comics goodness, so don't delay and book your tickets today! It's probably also a good idea to read up on the main books which will be discussed at the panel, which are all available now from bookstores everywhere: Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks, Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang, Nice Day for a War by Chris Slane & Matt Elliott, and Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. All the authors will be available to sign copies at the conclusion of the panel. I look forward to seeing you all there on the day!