Saturday, December 21, 2013

Coming Attractions: NZ Comics to watch out for in 2014



Above: The cover of Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks. Copyright Dylan Horrocks 2013.

It's been another banner year for local comics publishing, and the future continues to look brighter with a very promising line-up of titles already announced for next year!

Recently Victoria University Press announced that in March they will be releasing Incomplete Works, a collection of short stories by Dylan Horrocks. Assembled together for the first time, these stories span the length of Horrocks' career, from early contributions to Fox Comics like 'Little Death (1986)', to rare Pickle gems - 'Letter from Catwoman (1991)', and other memorable stories like 'There Are No Words In My Mouth' (2000), 'The Physics Engine' (2006) and many more. It will come in at 192 pages, for an RRP of $35.00.

Horrocks' other major project, The Magic Pen (which you can read online for free HERE), is also nearing completion, with an eye to publish later next year.


Above: Morgan Goes to Nowhere, by Richard Fairgray, Terry Jones & Tara Black. Copyright Richard Fairgray, Terry Jones & Tara Black 2013.

Blastosaurus creator Richard Fairgray and his team of collaborators have recently turned their attention to publishing picture books, with their well received first effort, Morgan, the Moreporks and the Moon currently out now. Co-written by Fairgray, Tara Black and Terry Jones, Morgan's night-time adventure will surely be a hit with any child who enjoyed the picture books of the late Maurice Sandak (In the Night Kitchen would be a good comparison here). Morgan's next adventure, Morgan Goes to Nowhere, is due out in April.


Above: Moa #4, by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2013.

Over at Pikitia Press publisher/blogger Matt Emery has just announced an exciting line-up of forthcoming NZ comics for 2014. This includes a new issue of James Davidson's Moa and Sarah Laing's Let Me Be Frank; a collection of Tim Bollinger's Wellington Stories, Barry Linton's Lucky Aki, MVH's webcomic Die Popular, and Bob McMahon's Claire Melody.


Above: The New Supreme #2, by Harry Bennett (1940s). Copyright the Harry Bennett Estate 2013.

For NZ comics history buffs there will also be The Art of Harry Bennett, by Tim Bollinger, Geoff Harrison and Matt Emery, which will finally piece together the story behind one of NZ's most enigmatic cartoonists; and New Zealand Reprint Comics, a survey and catalogue of New Zealand's rich history of reprinting foreign material from the 1940's - 1970's, compiled by comics historian and collector Geoff Harrison.

There's still plenty more titles to look forward to in the New Year, but we are clearly already off to a great start.

- AK!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Goblin Quest marches forward!



Above: Goblin Quest panel 1, by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2013.

So what do cartoonists do to keep themselves busy over the summer holidays? Moa comic creator James Davidson was itching to start a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' comic, in the style of the classic Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone (which this author spent many and afternoon reading in the early nineties).


Above: Various books from the Fighting Fantasy series, by Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone. Copyright Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone 2013.

After receiving an enthusiastic response to the idea on the New Zealand Comics Facebook page, Davidson has set up a Goblin Quest Facebook page, and kicked this jam comic off with Page 1, introducing readers to our disgruntled protagonist, an unnamed Goblin recently banished from his village on a quest for riches:


Above: Goblin Quest page 1, by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2013.

There will be a new comic creator picking up the story from where the last page left off, with upcoming creators including: Michel Mulipola (page 2), Cory Mathis (page 3), Matt Emery (page 4), Sean Lewis (page 5), Stuart Hallam (page 6), and I'll be contributing page 7 - with more artists to follow. Expect lots of twists and surprises as the story evolves and a great variety of art styles!

If you would like to follow - or even contribute to the story! - join the Goblin Quest Facebook page HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

EVENT: From Earth's End Annual Xmas Drinks 2013!



Above: A previous Xmas drinks attended by Auckland cartoonists.

To celebrate the end of yet another successful year of New Zealand Comics, From Earth's End will be hosting Xmas drinks in Auckland at Brooklyn Bar, 332 Queen Street (or 57 Lorne Street, just opposite the Central Library) on Thursday night, 12th of December from 7pm!

This will be a great chance to talk about some of the fine New Zealand comics and graphic novels that have been released this year and generally catch-up with other Auckland cartoonists to 'talk shop' and discuss the year that was. Everyone is welcome, so if you're a casual visitor to this site now is the perfect opportunity to meet some of Auckland's local cartoonist in person and share a couple of brews to celebrate!

See you there, or you can officially join the Facebook event HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EVENT: 'Baltimore Vol.3: A Passing Stranger and Other Stories' Book signing!



Above: Baltimore Vol.3: A Passing Stranger and Other Stories HC, cover by Mike Mignola. Copyright Mike Mignola 2013.

Ben Stenbeck is one of the few local cartoonists to break through to 'mainstream' comics publishing, with his ongoing collaboration with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and writer Christopher Golden on Baltimore. A gothic horror in the classic tradition, it follows Lord Henry Baltimore on his quest of revenge - to destroy the dreaded vampire, Haigus.

This is the third collection in the series, following The Plague Ships (2010) and The Curse Bells (2011). 
In this volume a demented surgeon attempts to cure vampirism by creating greater horrors, and a perverse inquisitor reveals his own dark secrets, as Baltimore pursues the scarred vampire that he blames for all of it.

The collection is out now, and Ben will be signing copies of the new hardcover at Heroes For Sale (582 Karangahape Road, Auckland), Wednesday 4th of December, from 6pm-8pm. There will also be live music, with performances from punk band The Parents and indie-pop musician, Princess Chelsea!

Here's a five page preview from the collection to give you an idea of what you're in for:


You can find out more about Ben at his website HERE and join the Facebook signing event HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Webcomics Spotlight: Musink Moves my Feet by Cakeburger


Above: The first page of Musink Moves my Feet, by Lee Reid & Joshua Drummond. Copyright Lee Reid & Joshua Drummond 2013.

Since June this year, journalist/cartoonist Joshua Drummond has been posting a variety of comics over at his website Cakeburger. His latest comic strip, a press release for the free music notation software Musink, has attracted a huge amount of attention on social media this week - and rightfully so.

In comic strip form, the press release tells the inspirational story of software developer Lee Reid, a Neuroscience student and musician who developed a serve pain disorder in his arms, prevented him from working or carrying out almost any physical activity. With nothing but time on his hands, he conceived of Musink - a music notation software program, which he painstakingly created by using his feet to type, and voice recognition software. It took two years to complete the program and is a truly remarkable story, beautifully told through Drummond's thoughtful illustrations.

 You can read the full comic strip release HERE. And if you're a musician interested in getting a copy of the software program Musink, the free version is available for download HERE.


Above: Joshua Drummond (self portrait). Copyright Joshua Drummond 2013.

Cakeburger is updated weekly, so be sure to come back for another serving of delicious comics soon! You can also follow Cakeburger on Facebook HERE.

-AK!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

UPDATED: From Earth's End Book Signings!



Above: A display of From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, in-store at Paper Plus, Newmarket, Auckland.

From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics should be available now from your local bookstore! And of coarse all good comic-book stores - particularly Arkham Comics Auckland, Retrospace AucklandMark One Hamilton and Graphic in Wellington!


Due to the stormy weather conditions last week, I've had to reschedule my book signings - so my appearances are now as follows:

- Wednesday, 13th of November at Whitcoulls Corner Store, 210 Queen St, Auckland, from 12.30pm-12.45pm.
-Thursday, 14th of November at Arkham Comics, Royal Oak Mall (upstairs near McDonalds) - Shop 45a/691 Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, Auckland, from 6pm.
- Saturday, 16th of November at Whitcoulls 226 Lampton Quay, Wellington, from 12.30pm - 12.45pm.
- Saturday, 23rd of November at Whitcoulls Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, 286 Mt Wellington Highway, from 12.30pm-12.45pm.

There may be more to be confirmed, so check back here for future dates.


In the meantime it's already gotten some pretty great media coverage and positive feedback, with a great review over at the NZ Herald that you can read HERE, and I did a fun interview with David Larsen on how I got into local comics in last week's NZ Listener (dated Nov 9-15th).


I've also just written a guest blog over at the Random House NZ website, talking a bit about the history of New Zealand comics and their (almost) demise due to a teenage sex scandal in the late 1950s - which could almost be ripped from todays headlines, as juvenile delinquency once again grips the nation. You can read this post HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EVENT: From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics Book Launch!



Above: The cover of From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics. Copyright Adrian Kinnaird 2013.


Its been a long time coming, but From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics is finally here!
The official launch will be taking place next Wednesday, 30th of October at the Auckland Central Library, Whare Wananga Room on Level 3 from 6pm with nibbles and refreshments.

From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics is the first major publication dedicated to local comics culture. It features an in-depth overview of the history of comics in New Zealand, from the early pioneering cartoonists to the bestselling graphic novels of today. It features stories from 30 of New Zealand's best cartoonists and a look into the influence of comics on our culture, with exclusive interviews with artist Dick Frizzell, film-maker Vincent Ward and more!

Published by Random House NZ, it clocks in at a substantial 448 pages, with an RRP of $59.99! There will be exclusive copies available on the night (cash and eftpos available).

I'll be joined by Dylan Horrocks for an behind the scenes panel starting at 6.30pm in which we'll discuss the origins of the book, and take a retrospective look at New Zealand comics through the decades.

The panel will be followed at 7.20pm with a signing by myself and some of the attending featured artists.

There will be an After Party following the event at Brooklyn Bar, 332 Queen St, from 8pm (just across from the Library).

The event is free, but booking is recommended - you can RSVP at the Central Library by ph: 3770209 or by emailing: karen.craig@aucklandlibraries.govt.nz. Or you can join the Facebook event page HERE.

If you can't make it on the night, the book will be available at bookstores everywhere from Friday 1st of November, and can also be pre-ordered online from Mighty Ape HERE.

I'll also be doing a bit of a signing tour in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out here for more details!

- AK!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

From Earth's End Spotlight: Dick Frizzell




Above: Dick Frizzell at his Auckland studio, 2013. Photographed by Adrian Kinnaird, copyright 2013.

"I’m amazed at how consistent I’ve been actually, over the years, with my interest and love of the comic book image — the line work, the whole thing. Everyone asks me, what drew you to commercial art or pop art, and if you look back it’s not a decision, it’s just what you are. For some reason you take that level of enterprise seriously — as a big deal, even though it’s just a comic."

As one of New Zealand’s most popular fine artists, Dick Frizzell’s artwork is both iconic and engaging in its ability to communicate ideas through imagery. This particular facility to compress information into a series of highly memorable images has served Frizzell well in a career that has spanned the popular culture spectrum - from fine arts to advertising and illustration.

The follow is an exclusive excerpt from From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, in which I go in-depth with Frizzell on his art, advertising and his life-long love of comic book imagery.


Above: Mickey To Tiki (1997). Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.

It should come as no surprise that Frizzell has drawn on imagery from comics for some of his most well-known artworks, including pieces inspired by The Phantom comic books, or the controversial Mickey To Tiki (1997). Unlike other pop artists who were simply intent of borrowing imagery from comics in passing – most notably Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Dick Frizzell has had a life-long appreciation for comics, which has inspired and informed his approach to art in a profound way – reflecting a deep understanding of the visual language and medium of comics.


Above: A childhood cartoon by Dick Frizzell. Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.

“I was into comics as far back as I can remember,” recalls Frizzell. “My father was quite keen on a couple of comics that he must have read in America when he was a sailor. He somehow managed to track them down, and he’d come home and give me these copies of newspaper cartoon reprints, in the style of Bringing Up Father – very clever, literate drawings and writing. The quality of the work was very high, these guys were classically trained illustrators.”

Frizzell taught himself to draw by coping his favourite examples. “Growing up I used to copy from comics all the time. In my little bedroom in Hastings I had a desk set up by the window, and I would copy comics artists like Carmine Infantino from The Flash. I could sit there all afternoon re-drawing an entire comic on loose sheets, and then pin them around the wall in my bedroom. When I went to Varsity, my mother took them all down and burnt them! I’ve still got a few random cartoons that I managed to save.”


Above: An Frizzell drawn advertisement for Levi's Jeans (1970s). If you look closely, you can see the stylistic influence of Batman artist Bob Kane, one of Frizzell's favourites.

His interest in comics would later influence his advertising career, with many clients gravitating towards 'comic book style’ solutions, convinced that "nobody could resist that graphic clarity, the framed narrative”. This belief proved right, and he created comic style artwork for clients like Tip Top ice cream and Levi’s Jeans.


Above: Tiwa Chief (1976), enamel on canvas. Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.

When Frizzell returned to painting in the late 1970's, it was an image from a comic book that would provide the inspiration for a new direction in his artwork. “One night out in the garage, when no one was watching, I painted this Tiwa Chief, just transposed it straight from a Phantom comic onto a little canvas I had lying around. Just drawing loosely with enamel paint out of these tins, and it was just incredibly exciting doing it – and it worked. I thought it was amazing, all I had to do was transmute it from this little drawing to an actual canva in paint, and that just did it. And then I experimented with something else, and another image…and as they say, the rest was history.”

So what is it at about certain comic images that Frizzell responds to? “I figured out over time that it’s always about looking for an archetype. Images like the running man, or the jumping horse, a vase of flowers…images that are completely inert, but communicating volumes at the same time. That’s what I look for when I’m going through those Phantom comics, a narrative archetype. I like the ones that are like a finger going up to turn on the light switch, or a cutaway…the panels between the action. Those little frames, the compositions were just so immaculate”.


Above: Dick Frizzell at the opening of his current exhibition, The Dance of the Hooligans.

Dick Frizzell's current art exhibition, The Dance of the Hooligans, currently on at the Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland, features several pieces infused by Frizzell's interest in comics imagery, and should not be missed! Gow Langsford Gallery is located at 26 Lorne st, with the exhibition running from October 2 - 26th. 

If you'd also like to find out more about Dick Frizzell, you can interact with him on his newly launched Facebook page, Dick's World, right HEREFrom Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics is available for pre-order from a bookstore near you right now, and will be hitting the streets November 1st!

-AK!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

News From Earth's End: September Edition



Above: The cover of Faction #2, by Christian Pearce.

The second issue of the latest NZ comics anthology, Faction #2 is out now! It's 90 pages of kiwi comics goodness, featuring: Allan Xia, Cory Mathis, Damon Keen, the Sheehan Bros, Rachel Royale, Michel Mulipola, Ned Wenlock, James Squires, Mukpuddy and myself!

It's available from selected retailers and the Faction website HERE for $24.95 (+ postage).


Above: The cover of Moth City: Volume 3 Part 1, by Tim Gibson. Copyright Tim Gibson 2013.

Tim Gibson's webcomic Moth City continues to draw great reviews and industry attention, with it's fifth issue dropping on ComiXology next Wednesday HERE.



Above: Let Me Be Frank #4: Celebrity by Sarah Laing. Copyright Sarah Laing 2013.

As a part of the Auckland Libraries' Comic Book Month, author and cartoonist Sarah Laing will be giving a talk about he latest novel, The Fall of Light, and comic books in general at the Point Chevalier Library, this Saturday Sept 28th from 2.30pm -3.30pm. She has currently released four issues of her excellent comic series Let Me Be Frank through Pikita Press, that can be purchased online HERE.


Above: Issues of Let Me Be Frank on the Earth's End Spinner Rack!


Overload, the annual NZ Comic & Manga convention returns in 2013 with a much larger venue, the ASB Stadium, Kohimarama road, Auckland. The event features a range of comic creators and illustrators selling their work as well as a cosplay contest, and special guest manga artist Range Murata. It takes place this Saturday 28th of September, from 10am - 6pm. Entry is $5, with FREE parking available!

For more details on what to expect from Overload this weekend, visit the website HERE.


The From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics collection is on the way; I'll have news in the coming weeks for the exclusive book launch in Auckland and signings taking place in November! For more updates and exclusive content make sure you LIKE the Facebook page HERE, and follow me on Twitter: @adriankinnaird. More to come soon...

-AK!

Friday, September 20, 2013

From Earth's End Spotlight: Barry Linton's comics report of ICONZ '94





Auckland cartoonist Barry Linton produced this illustrated report of New Zealand's first comic convention - ICONZ, published in the NZ Listener, 7th of October 1994. The convention took place at the Avondale Racecourse in Auckland, August 1994. Organised by promoter Dwayne Lucas, the event was a success and spawned three more events in successive years before giving way to a rival event Armageddon Expo - initiated by William ‘Bill’ Geradts, which continues to this day.

You can check out more of Linton's work on this Tumblr HERE.

And as a bonus: here's a rare TV report on ICONZ 2, from July 1995. Featuring brief interviews with Cornelius Stone (Knuckles the Malevolent Nun) and Craig Petersen (Southern Tribe).



-AK!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

EVENT: The Kiwi Comics Experience - A Panel Discussion



Above: A page from the comics anthology Faction #2, artwork by Damon Keen. Copyright Damon Keen 2013.

As a part of Auckland City Libraries annual Comic Book Month, there will be a panel on New Zealand comics and culture taking place at the Auckland Central Library from 6.30 - 7.30pm.

I'll be moderating the panel which will be a free form discussion on New Zealand comics, the unique local comics community and its many avenues of creativity.

I'll be joined by a diverse panel line-up, who have all approached creating comics from a different perspective:

Damon Keen: Editor of the crowd-sourced comics anthology Faction, and an accomplished designer and filmmaker.

Alex Wild Jespersen: Writer of the innovative novel The Constant Losers, she currently teaches writing studies at the University of Auckland. She has also self-published a variety of zines and contributed to the NZ/Australian comics anthology Dailies.

Sam Orchard: Has been drawing since he was a little girl. He is an artist, activist, queer transman and geek. He spends his spare time drawing comics about being queer and transgender, especially for his comics blog www.roostertailscomic.com.

Ant Sang: Author of the bestselling graphic novel Shaolin Burning and the cult comic series, The Dharma Punks,  Sang has illustrated numerous children’s books and also worked in television, achieving awards for his designs on animated show Bro’Town.

This free event will be taking place at the Central City Library, Whare Wananga on Level 2. There will be drinks and nibbles available from 6pm, with the panel getting underway at 6.30pm.

So come out and enjoy a rare private audience to discuss the local comics scene!

-AK!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

EVENTS: Once Launch & Girl Comics Exhibition



It's another big week for NZ comics, with two separate events this week. The first is the NZ release party for Tim Danko's latest graphic novel Once. Originally created and published for a French publisher, Danko utilized Australian crowd sourcing website Pozible to fund the printing of an English language version. Drawn over a four year period while living on Great Barrier Island, Once is a 56-page tour de force of Danko's mastery of the comics form - exploring the line between comics and visual arts, a direction few cartoonists have travelled as confidently and imaginatively as Danko.


Above: A page from Once by Tim Danko. Copyright Tim Danko 2013.

The New Zealand launch for Once takes place this Tuesday night at The Wine Cellar (St Kevin's Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland) from 6-8pm. Also copies of Danko's Dead Xerox Press comic series Sup – Ho will be available, as well as many other rare items and hand-printed bookmarks for sale. For more information, visit the Once Facebook page HERE, or if you can't make the event, you can order it online through the Dead Xerox Press website HERE.


Then on Thursday night, rising comics star Ralphi has an exhibition opening at the Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery called Girl Comics. Probably best known in the local comics scene for her standout contribution to last year's Faction #1 anthology (Ricky & Lyle), Ralphi is quickly becoming a talent to watch, with her sharp design sense and dab hand at creating engaging and memorable characters.

From the exhibition description: 'Ralphi's work uncovers a strong sense of narrative, drawn from events and observations in both her own life and the lives of her numerous, unwitting muses. Referenced in both appearance and antics, their vices are glorified, limbs lengthened, and additional bad language inserted. Themes of friendship, substance abuse, cosmic voyages, and everyday human and animal truths are perceptively captured, impatiently inked and laced with a dark wit.

The ever growing cast of characters are part of a disjointed, motley family. All connected somehow, however tenuous the threads, in the mess that is Ralphi's curly head.'


Above: Ricky & Lyle by Ralphi, from Faction #1. Copyright Ralphi 2013.

The exhibition opening takes place at the Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery (123-125 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland), from 6-8pm. If you can't make the opening, the exhibition will run from the 29th of August to the 10th of October. For more information visit the Facebook page HERE.

It's shaping up to be a landmark year for New Zealand comics, so make sure you get along to these exciting events and support your local cartoonists!

-AK!

Friday, August 23, 2013

From Earth's End Spotlight: The Adventures Of Captain Sunshine



Above: The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 (1979) by Colin Wilson. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

Before New Zealand became a nuclear-free zone in the eighties, or promoted itself to the world as ‘100% Pure’, there was Captain Sunshine.

In the late seventies, Reuben Sandler and Roy Middleton were two young, environmentally aware entrepreneurs, looking to develop a project that would promote their ecological interests – solar power, saving the whales - and become a financially successful business. Together with their friend Peter Farrell, they brainstormed ideas. Middleton pitched the idea of a superhero mascot character 'Captain Sunshine', which Farrell immediately recognized as having potential as a marketing tool. “We were hoping to create a world-wide hero who was involved in fighting pollution and working for environmental goodness in general”, Reuben recalled. “Isn’t it nice to be young? We were also hoping to support ourselves financially from the project”.


Above: an advert for the Sundial Wristwatch(!), 1979. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

Farrell came up with the idea for a Sundial wristwatch to promote solar energy awareness, and the two concepts were combined. They formed the company ‘Sunshine Watches Limited’ and made plans to manufacture the Sundial wristwatches, which would be promoted in dairies and bookstores by a 32 page full-colour comic book, The Adventures of Captain Sunshine.


Above: Captain Sunshine in action! From The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 (1979), artwork by Colin Wilson. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

To create the comic book they needed an artistic collaborator, and approached artist Colin Wilson. Wilson had gained a reputation for his comics work as the editor and major contributor of Strips, New Zealand's first comics anthology since the early 1960s. He was interested, but daunted by the task that lay ahead, “back in those days I was up for just about anything. Of course I said yes to the work offer, but realistically there was no way that I was capable of turning out a 32 page full-colour comic by myself in the time we had available”.


Above: A painted sequence by French artist Jean-Luc Bozzoli, from The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 (1979). Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

To meet the deadline, Wilson assembled a team of his best Strips collaborators to help him complete the task. Laurence Clark (credited as Helen Cross) came on board to handle the lettering. Joe Wylie pitched in on the colouring, and a visiting French artist Jean-Luc Bozzoli, produced paintings for the story’s underwater diving sequence, in which Captain Sunshine communicates with whales – it’s not a coincidence that the inside back-cover features an advertisement for the whale protection group, ‘Project Jonah’.


Above: The Splash page for The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1, which was also used as a promotional poster, artwork by Colin Wilson. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

In addition to producing the comic’s interior artwork, Wilson also have to come up with in-store promotional items: a full-colour poster, and stand up display figures of Captain Sunshine and his vehicle, the Sunchariot spacecraft. With the deadline looming, the splash-page of the comic book was selected for the 2 X 3ft poster – with additional time lavished on the artwork; and the cover image of Captain Sunshine was blown up to created the standees.

The sundial wristwatch and comic book went on sale in November, 1979. The comic was well received, selling a staggering 100,000 copies, along with 20,000 watches. Considered a success, a second issue was quickly put into production, with an aim to be out by late February of 1980.

Completing the artwork for the second issue, Wilson departed for England to seek full-time work in the British comics industry. Shortly after his arrival, news reached him that the project was cancelled. “the first issue worked really well, and it was my understanding that it was the lack of success for the solar watch that finally torpedoed the whole operation", recalls Wilson. "No watch, no comic required”.

The artwork for the unpublished second issue has been lost over time. According to legend, there may still be a warehouse somewhere in Auckland filled with boxes of Captain Sunshine memorabilia: sundial wrist watches, comics, and standees destined for Australia, currently gathering dust. Wilson never wore a watch, so failed to keep any from the promotion, “which is a pity, as I’m sure that, like the comic, any surviving examples are real collector’s items now”.

Both Reuben Sandler and Roy Middleton went on to be involved in many entrepreneurial business ventures, some failures and significant successes. Looking back on Captain Sunshine, Sandler reflects, “we didn’t know any better. All great entrepreneurial projects work on misguided optimism. Many work out, more fail”.


Above: A double page spread of a gathering of intergalactic Sunshine protectors, heavily influenced by the art of Jean Giraud. From The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 (1979), artwork by Colin Wilson. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

Colin Wilson went on to become an internationally acclaimed comic artist. Starting in the UK, he draw Judge Dredd for the popular British weekly 2000AD, before moving to Europe to work alongside Jean Giraud aka Moebius, one of the artists who directly inspired Wilson’s artwork in Captain Sunshine.



Above: Caption Sunshine ponders his future on the last page of The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 (1979), artwork by Colin Wilson. Copyright Sunshine Watches Limited 2013.

"The whole project was a blur of excitement" recalls Wilson. "Looking at that first issue now, all I see now are the glaringly obvious shortcomings of a immature comic artist, but we produced New Zealand's first ecological superhero comic, and I'm sure proud of that. And 35 years later, people still remember Captain Sunshine, so perhaps, maybe, we actually got a few things right."

From Earth's End will be the first occasion an extended excerpt from The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 has been reprinted since it's original publication in 1979. Perhaps it's time this long forgotten kiwi comics icon had his rightful time in the sun...

- AK!

Monday, August 19, 2013

EVENT: Don't Puke On Your Dad Book Launch!




Above: Don't Puke On Your Dad by Toby Morris. Copyright Toby Morris 2013.

Toby Morris was one of the defining voices of New Zealand comics in the early 2000s, with his ambitious and highly stylish comics Dreamboat Dreamboat and Pirate Technics. After several years in advertising, Morris returned to self-publishing with Alledaags, a collection of diary comics chronicling his time spent living in Amsterdam.


Above: Toby assisting his son Max on a walk. Copyright Toby Morris 2013.

Since returning to New Zealand in 2012, Morris has been working on a second collection of diary comics, this time focusing on his first year of fatherhood, raising his son, Max. Don't Puke On Your Dad is a wonderful collection of daily comics with commentary sharing the highs and lows of parenting. Follow Morris' adventures as he masters manly baby talk; becomes that guy who talks about his kid at parties (to anyone who will listen) and discovers that “lying on the couch making fart noises” to entertain the baby “is a legitimate weekend activity.”

Don't Puke On Your Dad is the perfect gift for new or expecting parents - and just in time for Father's Day! It's published by Beatnik Publishing and is available to order through their website HERE for $30.00 NZ.


Or if you happen to live in Auckland, there will be a Launch Party this Thursday evening at Beatnik Publishing, 11 New North Rd, Auckland from 5pm! Morris will be on hand to sign copies, as well as live music - so drop in and celebrate this great new NZ comics offering!

Check out Toby Morris in action, creation of the Launch Party poster below (with a cameo from Max):

-AK!