Wednesday, June 25, 2014

REVIEW: Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd

Above: The cover of Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd. Copyright Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd 2014.

The latest tijuana bible to roll off the ComicBook Factory press is Holocaust Rexa medieval fantasy comic by Karl Wills and co-writer Timothy Kidd (Came the Dawn).

After exploring space and superhero misadventures in Connie Radar and Princess Seppuku, this is a genre gear shift for Wills, who is more than up for the challenge. His trademark clear line work and attention to detail here is a treat, creating an immersive world - from the prop details (swords, armor), to appropriate buildings and extras, it's all there along with authentic rotting corpses and flies!

Above: Unlettered preview page from Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd. Copyright Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd 2014.

We enter with the story already in motion: Rex is in pursuit of an unknown quarry. His journey is increasingly paved with death, as he encounters a plague victim and then a graveyard, before reaching the quarantined Gates of Koch. Plot wise, we only get a few scenes to chew over, but as with every ComicBook Factory production it's the staging of these scenes that continue to entertain, with expertly drawn body language and actions selling the gallows humor - of which there's plenty to enjoy here.

Volume 2 is already in the works, so I'm looking forward to discovering more about the mysterious Rex (why is he seeking doctors from Nasso? Does it have something to do with his stitched up torso?) and the kingdom of Koch - there's a very handy map on the back of this issue to help you get the lay of the land.

Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd is available to order from the ComicBook Factory HERE for $9.95NZ. Also remember to join the ComicBook Factory Facebook HERE for a sneak peek at Book 2!

- AK!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Faction #3 is unleashed!

Above: The cover for Faction #3, by Ben Stenbeck. Copyright Ben Stenbeck/Faction Comics 2014.

The latest issue of NZ's premier comics anthology Faction is out now!

Issue #3 features a line-up of all-star local comics talent, including: Tim Gibson (Moth City), Li Chen (Extra Ordinary Comics), Katie O' Neill, Mat Tait & Michael Brown, Jonathan King, Cory Mathis, Toby Morris (Don't Puke on Your Dad), and Mukpuddy, with a cover by Ben Stenbeck (Baltimore) and an introduction by yours truly!

Its 86 pages of full-colour comics for $24.95 (+postage), which you can order online HERE or look for it at selected comics and bookstore retailers.

- AK!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vote Hicksville for the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books!

Above: The Whitcoulls Top 100 Books and Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks.

This week saw the launch of the latest Whitcoulls Top 100 Books voting campaign, asking local readers to vote for their favourite books. The Top 100 has been around for nearly 20 years, and in that time has been topped by perennial best sellers like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and more recent literary sensations like A Game of Thrones and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

In the past it has featured such New Zealand classics as Keri Hulme's The Bone People...and I wanted to list more, but a quick glance at the current Top 100 List reveals there is not a single NZ title on there, which is totally shocking to me! (apparently their place has been usurped by populist drivel like Fifty Shades of Grey...). Now before you go casting your vote for Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, I'd like you to consider the graphic novel Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks.

Above: Hicksville Author Dylan Horrocks. Photographed by Grant Maiden.

A bona fide New Zealand classic, Hicksville was first published in the US and Canada by Black Eye Press in 1998, and attracted international acclaim from comics and literary critics alike. The Comics Journal wrote, “New Zealand’s recent cultural revival, which has brought us Keri Hulme’s The Bone People in literature and Jane Campion’s The Piano in film, now has a new ambassador in comics: Dylan Horrocks.”

Since 1998 it has been translated into several languages, including French, Spanish, German and Italian. After much demand, it finally received a New Zealand edition from Victoria University Press in 2010. Over the years Horrocks has been selected from a very short list of celebrated local authors to represent our literature internationally at festivals and events in Germany, England, Italy and beyond, largely due to Hicksville's international reputation as a landmark graphic novel.

Given it's international and local standing, I think its well past time Hicksville made the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books!

To make this happen, it's very simple: you can vote at the Whitcoulls website HERE, or fill out an entry form in any Whitcoulls store. And for voting, you go in the draw to WIN 1 of 3 $1000 Whitcoulls Gift Cards! (see their website for full terms and conditions). 

You get to vote for your 3 favourite books and authors, so after voting for Hicksville and Dylan Horrocks, you might want to consider voting for some other very worthy NZ graphic novels currently in print: Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang, Don't Puke of Your Dad by Toby Morris, Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks, Kimble Bent: Malcontent by Chris Grosz, The Blastosaurus series by Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones, The Darwin Faeries by William Geradts and Richard Fairgray, Triumph by Greg Broadmore, Mr Unpronounceable Adventures by Tim Molloy, Nice Day For a War by Chris Slane & Matt Elliott, or ((shameless plug)) From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics by Adrian Kinnaird!

Voting ends Sunday 22nd of June, so lets get voting and make this happen! I'll also be tweeting about it, so join in at #VoteHicksville!

- AK!