Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sharon Murdoch Wins Cartoonist of the Year for 2017!

Above: Sharon Murdoch's Sunday Star Times cartoon from May 14th, featuring Paula Bennett and Maggie Barry. Copyright Sharon Murdoch 2017.

Sharon Murdoch was awarded 'Cartoonist of the Year' at last night's Canon Media Awards 2017. This was Murdoch's second consecutive win of the prestigious award for her cartoons that appear in The Sunday Star Times, The Dominion Post and The Christchurch Press


Above: The Getaway, a cartoon by Toby Morris, published on the RNZ website on May 12th. Copyright Radio New Zealand 2017.

Toby Morris was also awarded for his media cartoons, receiving 'Cartoonist of the Year (runner-up)' for his cartoons featured on the Radio NZ and The Wireless websites.

The NPA Outstanding Achievement Awards also recognised The NZ Cartoon Archive for its 25 years of archiving NZ cartoons.

If you would like to read more of Murdoch's outstanding work, a collection of Sharon Murdoch's cartoons, Murdoch: The Cartoons of Sharon Murdochwere published last year by Potton & Burton and is still available from all good booksellers and HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

EVENT: Cartoonists at Auckland Writers Festival 2017!


The Auckland Writers Festival is back for 2017, taking place this week at the Aotea Centre from May 16th - 21st. Alongside international and local authors, two of our most talented cartoonists will be taking part in the festival.


Sarah Laing, author of Mansfield and Me, will be featured in two events: 

EVENT 16: A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing: Two recent New Zealand works entwine the personal with the literary: Sarah Laing’s 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted graphic memoir Mansfield and Me plots her literary journey alongside that of our starry export Katherine Mansfield; and the shortlisted Adam Dudding’s My Father’s Island circumnavigates his father, the late great literary editor Robin Dudding. Laing and Dudding speak with Geoff Walker about memoir writing, and inescapable literary forces.

A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing, takes place Friday May 19th, from 10 - 11am at the Aotea Centre's Lower NZI Room. Tickets are on sale HERE.

EVENT 43: Walk On High: Walk on High is an intimate meandering journey, featuring a sampler of Festival talent on a word trail along High Street in the CBD. From 6.30pm to 8pm choose from four fifteen-minute events, repeated four times across the ninety minutes, individually crafted and each as delectable as the next. Formats take in games, Insta-essays, music, spoken word and theatre. Over 20 writers and performers take part, including: Jess Holly Bates, Anthony Byrt, Teju Cole, Glenn Colquhoun, Jonothan Cullinane, Mei-Lin Hansen, Ali Ikram, Simone Kaho, Sarah Laing, Last Tapes Theatre Company, Michelle Leggott, Lana Lopesi, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Doug Poole, Randa, Rosabel Tan, Apirana Taylor, Tourettes, Steven Toussaint, Ian Wedde, Rewa Worley and Sonja Yelich. 

Walk on High is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at various venues on High Street, Auckland Central, from 6.30pm - 8.00pm. Check out the AWF website HERE for more information.


Toby Morris, author of The PencilswordThe Day The Costumes Stuck and Capsicum Capsi Go will be taking part in three events:

EVENT 36: Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: Five writers recently went exploring at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, each seeking inspiration for a piece of writing. Hera Lindsay Bird, Anne Kennedy, Kelly An a Morey, Toby Morris, and Ngahuia te Awekotuku present their resulting takes on our archival past.
Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at the Aotea Centre's Upper NZI Room from 4 - 5pm.

EVENT 118: The Day The Costumes Stuck (5+): Iggy can’t get his party costume off, his parents haven’t noticed and weird happenings lie ahead. Toby Morris unfolds a fun family story with illustrations. Taking place on Sunday 21st from 11 - 11.30am at the Aotea Centre Heartland Festival Room, this is a FREE event but sessions are ticketed, so book early.

EVENT 123: Capsicum Capsi Go: Capsicum goes on holiday! Come on an adventure with the coolest Capsi around led by Toby Morris and featuring a chance to draw your own Capsi. This event takes place on Sunday 21st in the Aotea Centre's Herald Theatre from 1 - 1.30pm. There is FREE entry, no ticket required. 

For more information on the Auckland Writer's Festival, you can visit the event website HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

EVENT: Hamilton Zinefest 2017


Hamilton Zinefest returns for its triumphant fourth year, with a huge range of zine makers exhibiting and selling their work. There will also be creative talks and an array of workshops for aspiring zine creators of all ages. Hamilton Zinefest 2017 will be held this Saturday at Creative Waikato,131 Alexandra Street, Hamilton Central from 10am - 3pm. For more information you can visit the Hamilton Zinefest website HERE and their Facebook event page HERE.

This is a great opportunity to meet some of Hamilton's thriving zine and comics community and pick up some one-of-a-kind handcraft reading material!

- AK!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Reads: The Giselle Clarkson Comic


Above: An image from The Giselle Clarkson Comic Number 2 at The Sapling.

The Sapling is a new website dedicated to Children's Books and literature, which you can check out HERE. In addition to their regular news and reviews, they have a monthly comic strip by the very talented Wellington cartoonist Giselle Clarkson. You might be familiar with her artwork from such publications as The School Journal and Gecko Press' Annual. Her comic for The Sapling, simply titled, The Giselle Clarkson Comicis a monthly feature which so far has been partly autobiographic, as well as including fun nods to children's books and literature. You can read the first three comics at The Sapling website HERE.


Above: An image from The Flood by Giselle Clarkson.

You can also check out more comics by Giselle at her website HERE, so be sure to Bookmark both these pages for some great new comics reading!

- AK!

Comics Compulsion Under New Management!


Above: Kirsty Everett, Logan Freear and their cat Shere Khan. Photo credit: CHCH Press.

Christchurch's iconic comic book store, Comics Compulsion is now under new management. In March, previous owner Tim Driver put the 23 year old business up for sale, and this week it was reported in The Chrischurch Press that the store is now in the hands of new owners, Logan Freear and Kirsty Everett. The couple took over the running of the store during Easter weekend, and recently celebrated their first Free Comic Book Day, welcoming in new customers with a BBQ and plenty of free comics. You can read the full CHCH Press story HERE.

- AK!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Pencilsword #36: What About the Renters?


Above: Image from The Pencilsword #36 by Toby Morris.

Home ownership in New Zealand has become a hot topic of late, with increasingly inflated property markets making home ownership unaffordable for the vast majority of first-time buyers. As a result, many New Zealanders are renters; and even that market is becoming more difficult for many of us to find quality accommodation to live in.

In the latest Pencilsword, Toby Morris asks the question, 'What About the Renters?'; and gets the perspective of renter Elliot Ferguson and Robert Whitaker from renters rights group, Renters United. You can read the full strip at The Wireless website HERE.

- AK!

Interview: Creating Cartoon Capers


Above: James Davidson. Photo credit: Grant Matthew/Fairfax NZ.

In this weekend's Sunday Star Times, James Davidson spoke with Arthur Whelan to discuss the origins and years of hard work that went into creating his comic book series Moa. You can read the full interview at the STUFF website HERE.

The complete Moa hardcover collection is available now from Earth's End Publishing HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

EVENT: Free Comic Book Day 2017!


It's that time of year again...Free Comic Book Day! This worldwide comics initiative takes place on the first Saturday of May each year; with the initial aim of promoting public awareness of comics, it is now more firmly focused on promoting reading and creating a fun event where both parents and children can share their mutual love of the comics medium.

Here's a list of the comic book stores in NZ taking part:

Heroes For Sale 
582 Karangahape Road
Auckland

Arkham City Comics
Royal Oak Mall (upstairs near McDonalds)
Shop 45a/691 Manukau Rd
Royal Oak, Auckland

MK1: Mark One Comics
551 Victoria Street
Hamilton

Graphic
106 Cuba Street
Wellington

Comics Compulsion
58 Main N Rd, Papanui
Christchurch

There's plenty of titles to choose from (for a full list, check our the FCBD website HERE - titles may vary in availability), and each store has it's own in-store specials and events taking place, so this weekend head over to your nearest comic book store to join in the fun!

- AK!

Comicfest 2017: 5 Minute Interviews


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

In the lead-up to this Weekend's Comicfest 2017, the Comicfest blog over at the Wellington City Library website have posted a series of '5 Minute Interviews' with some of their upcoming comics guests and panelists featured in this weekend's events. They ask about their influences, art practice, and much more. Check out the interview links below:

- 5 Minutes with Dylan Horrocks HERE

- 5 Minutes with Jem Yoshioka HERE

- 5 Minutes with Sarah Laing HERE

- 5 Minutes with Ben Milsom HERE

- 5 Minutes with Hannah Benbow HERE

So there's plenty of information for you to pick up and become familiar with these cartoonists and their work before you see them at the event!

- AK!

EVENT: Comicfest 2017


Wellington City Libraries and GRAPHIC comic store are joining forces to celebrate International Free Comic Book Day with Comicfest 2017, held this coming Saturday, 6th of May! From workshops and panel discussions with leading local cartoonists, to costume and drawing competitions, exhibitions and free comic giveaways - there's something for comic lovers of all ages at this multi-event comics festival!

Here are a rundown of the Comicfest events:

9.30am onwards Free Comic Book Day:
Sponsored by GRAPHIC comics

Grab some free comics from us and chat comics with our librarians at the Central Library!
Comics from all different publishers and for all age ranges are included in the selections, so there will be something for everyone. Thanks to Graphic for providing us with all the awesome free comics!

Comic drawing competition:

On Free Comic Book Day, come to the library and draw a comic story using just 4 panels and you could win an armful of comics! Feel free to come to Sarah Laing's character creation workshop on Saturday morning for inspiration. Entry forms available from Central Library on the day. All ages and drawing levels welcome.

Comics go to school:
Sponsored by The Ministry of Education
Over the course of its hundred-year history, the School Journal has included work from New Zealand's greatest authors and illustrators. In recent times, this has included comics from the likes of Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, and Andrew Burdan. Visit the Central Library to view a few highlights, new and old, in the lead up to ComicFest.

10am–11.00 Workshop: Comics character development workshop with Sarah Laing
Mezzanine Meeting Room, Central Library
Sponsored by Wellington City Libraries
Who's going to star in your comic? A superhero, a cybernaut, a talking sausage or a kid like you? Come to this comics workshop and we'll work on your character, from its backstory to the way it's drawn. Bring your own pens and pencils, and we'll have mountains of paper. Work on different expressions and poses, experimenting with line weight and form. We'll put them in some tricky situations to see how their story plays out in panels. All drawing levels welcome! Event info HERE.

10.30am–11.30am National Library: From where we started: Reading New Zealand's Comic History:
Session held at the National Library (Douglas Lilburn room, Level 1) to enable access to heritage collections
Sponsored by Alexander Turnbull library

The Alexander Turnbull Library collects New Zealand's documentary heritage and is home to a comic treasure trove. From early newspaper strips and children's annuals, through to contemporary graphic novels and zines, the Library offers a window into this unique and fascinating part of our history. Join research librarian Hannah Benbow for a hands on look at almost a century of New Zealand comics. Event info HERE.

11am-12noon Thunderbirds Are Go: Re-imagining the much loved brand for a new audience:
Sponsored by Pukeko Pictures

Ben Milsom, Production Designer and Episodic Director for Thunderbirds Are Go takes you through the process of re-imagining the 1960's classic for a new generation. Ben will guide you through the unique production process of this multi-media (CGI animation with live action miniature sets) series paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series.

Ben will showcase the inspiration taken from the original series and discuss how Thunderbirds Are Go was brought to life in animation, toys and comics through slides and video and present an opportunity to have your questions answered with a Q&A section. All attendees of this presentation go in to a draw to win a family pass to the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go from Weta Studio Tours. Event info HERE.

12noon–1pm Panel: Creating graphic novels with Sarah Laing and Dylan Horrocks
Sponsored by NZ Book Council

Both Dylan Horrocks and Sarah Laing have authored popularly received and well regarded long form graphic novels including recent publications, Mansfield and Me and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. This informal, personal conversation will highlight the creative process involved in making a graphic novel, but also examine publishing, the graphic novel format and comics in New Zealand. Event info HERE.

1pm–1.30 Cosplay competition
Sponsored by Unity books

Dress up as your favourite character for a shot at a comic prize! There are prizes for all categories, including children, teens and adults. Event info HERE.

1.30pm–2.30pm Panel: A Wellington view – Local Cartoonists

What's it like to be making comics in New Zealand? Join us for a discussion between local Wellington comic artists Jem Yoshioka, Giselle Clarkson and Sally Bollinger about their unique experiences making comics about life, nature, tradition, culture, and doing all this from Wellington. Moderated by Robyn Kenealy. Event info HERE.

2.30pm–3.30pm Workshop: Taking your comics to the next level, with Dylan Horrocks
Sponsored by NZ Book Council

Gather up your comics (or that graphic novel plan) and bring them along to the Central library for a sit-down chat with Dylan Horrocks. This is a chance to examine your ideas and process, to share ideas and techniques and to take things to the next level. Limited to 10 participants. Email at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz to book your place. Event info HERE.

3.30pm–4.30pm Panel: Should we all be writing political comics?
Sponsored by Alexander Turnbull library

In spite of their subject matter, artistic responses to Trump and the current political climate have been witty, elegant, colourful and empowering. Join a group of panellists including Sam Orchard, Grant Buist and Toby Morris to discuss how they have responded to recent events in their work, and the ongoing power of comics to satirise and protest. Panel discussion moderated by Hannah Benbow. Event info HERE.

All events are free and unless stated, and open to participants of all ages. So if you're in Wellington this weekend and love comics, this is going to be a great day to celebrate the local comics community and the comics medium itself! You can find out more about Comicfest 2017 HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Eisner Award Nomination for Incomplete Works


Above: The cover for Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks.

Congratulations are in order today for Dylan Horrocks, whose short story collection, Incomplete Works has been nominated for 'Best Graphic Album - Reprint' at the 2017 Eisner AwardsIncomplete Works collects some of Dylan's hard-to-find short stories, spanning his comics career from early efforts in 1986 to short diary comics from 2012. Incomplete Works was first published in New Zealand by VUP in 2014, and more recently in the US/CAN market by Alternative Comics (making it eligible for the Eisners) and in Europe by Casterman (re-titled At Work) in 2015.

I reviewed Incomplete Works when it came out for Radio NZ Nights, which you can listen to HERE. You can still buy copies of the NZ edition of Incomplete Works from the VUP website HERE. The 2017 Eisner Awards will be announced at a ceremony at Comic Con International on Friday July 21st. You can view the full list of nominees HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

EVENT: Chromacon 2017



Chromacon, the indie arts festival returns this weekend! Taking place at the Aotea Centre in the heart of the Auckland CBD, Chromacon celebrates the coming together of creativity, artistic excellence and community. Freely open to the wider public, Chromacon connects all New Zealanders with the best homegrown illustrators, comic artists, designers, animators, game developers and more.

At Chromacon, you will find original artwork and creative projects from independent creators of different media, styles, and genres. You will also be able to purchase self-published work or even one-off originals directly from the creatives themselves. The intimate nature of the event offers you the chance to meet and connect with creatives you may already admire or others creating new and exciting work that you weren't aware of. Furthermore, the event will be hosting live events, drawing/painting demos, and artist talks/panels on a variety of subjects throughout the weekend.



Chroma Connect will be returning in the form of industry sessions running in parallel with the main festival - featuring top local and international speakers. International guests include: OJIRO FUMOTO aka 'MOPPIN' [JP]  - Creator of the award-winning indie hit game Downwell, JOHN MUELLER [US] - Art Director at Blizzard Entertainment, creator of OINK - Heaven's Butcher and founder of Skyshine Games, creators of BEDLAM, KEI ACEDERA [CA] - Award-winning artist specialising in concept art, visual development, and character design for film, Art Director at Imaginism Studios, BOBBY CHIU [CA] - Award-winning artist, Founder and Creative Director of Imaginism Studios, Schoolism and host of the CHIUSTREAM, and DAVID FOLLETT [AU] - Prolific character designer, comic creator and illustrator. Creator of Uncle Silas published by Dark Horse Comics. 

On the local front, cartoonist Toby Morris - best known for his regular non-fiction comic, The Pencilsword (serialised on ‘The Wireless NZ’) - will be discussing his creative journey from developing his craft to quitting the day job and pursuing an independent artistic career full-time. Toby will give his personal insights into his life as an father, illustrator, cartoonist, comic artist and using comics as a medium for accessible journalism, social advocacy and raising awareness of important social issues. His talk will be hosted by Hicksville author, Dylan Horrocks.

NZ animation studio Mukpuddy will also be giving an in-depth retrospective of their animated series, The Barefoot Bandits, from development process/pipeline and 'script to screen', to designing memorable characters and bringing this ambitious passion project to life.

For tickets and information on the Chroma Connect talks, visit the Chromacon website HERE.

Anyone with an interest in art, in particular storytelling in visual and interactive mediums, is invited to this weekend celebration of Kiwi creativity. Whether you’re a fledgling artist yourself, or simply curious about the amazing original work created by independent creators right here in New Zealand, this event is for you! There is over 100 local creatives attending - check out the full line up HERE, so make sure you clear your weekend schedule and bring some cash to pick up some one-of-a-kind artwork!

Chromacon is open April 8th - 9th at the Aotea Centre, from 10am - 5pm daily. For more information and updates, visit the Chromacon event page on Facebook HERE, and the official website HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Announcing Earth's End Publishing's New Title: Moa by James Davidson!


Above: The cover for Moa by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2017.


Earth's End Publishing is proud to announce our latest release, a collection of James Davidson's acclaimed children's comic book series, Moa. Set in colonial New Zealand, Moa chronicles the wild adventures of the Moa Rangers, Kiwi Pukupuku and Possum Von Tempsky, defenders of our native forests. Moa combines the fun and humour of classic Disney comic books with New Zealand's historical past and Maori mythology to create a classic adventure series sure to delight and entertain readers of all ages. This deluxe treasury collection contains the complete Moa story in a hardback edition that is destined to become a family favourite.


Above: Artwork from Moa by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2017.

James Davidson is an educator, serving as the Head of the Arts Faculty at Opunake High School. Moa has been a way for him to explore the layered history and mythology of New Zealand through the medium of comics, and to create stories that can entertain and educate kiwi kids about the land they live in.


"Moa is hands-down my favourite New Zealand comic book, and being able to bring James' wonderful stories and characters to a wider audience of kiwi kids is exactly why we formed this publishing house," says Earth's End Editorial Director, Adrian Kinnaird. "As an educator James knows his audience and how to appeal to their sense of fun. It's going to be a real treat to see young readers discover the adventures of Kiwi and Possum, a comic series that could take place in their own backyard."

Moa will be released in April 2017, and will be debuting with an exclusive author signing at thebChromacon Arts Festival, held April 8-9th at the Aotea Centre, Auckland.


Above: Artwork from Moa by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2017.
Synopsis:

When a sacred Maori treasure is stolen by the dastardly Otto, it's up to the Moa Rangers, Kiwi Pukupuku and Possum Von Tempsky, to return the taonga and save the day! Ride along with Kiwi and Possum on their side-splitting adventures battling mythical creatures and dangerous hunters in colonial New Zealand!

Ordering Information:

Copies of Moa are now available for order from Earths End Publishing. Email: earthsendpublishing@gmail.com. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or require further information. You can also follow us on Twitter: @EarthsEndComics and Facebook: www.facebook/EarthsEndPublishing.


Publishing Details:

Moa
James Davidson
Hardback
170mm x 235mm
Full Colour, 120 pages
RRP: $32.99
ISBN: 9780473386351
Ages: 5+
Release Date: April 1st, 2017


Praise for Moa:


"It's the type of book that ought to be in every single school library, every public library children's section and ideally in every bookshop in the country. I'm really excited by it, to me it's the first time we have had a good, all-ages, New Zealand comics series since the days of Terry and the Gunrunners in the 1980s."
- Dylan Horrocks, Radio NZ Nights


Above: Artwork from Moa by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2017.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

EVENT: Sonic Comic Launch!


new and innovative comics anthology, Sonic Comic, will be launching at the Audio Foundation on Saturday 18th of March at 7pm, with a publication & compilation release, exhibition opening and live performances. 

Sonic Comic is a diverse and fascinating collection of single works that are both comics and sounds. It’s a publication, playlist and exhibition; a celebration of musicians who make comics and comic artists who make music. In Aotearoa/New Zealand there have always been artists who make both comics and music. While the work of a few individuals has been showcased there have been no opportunities to explore and celebrate the comics-music tradition as a whole; as an activity or community with its own interesting and rich works and approaches. Sonic Comic aims to do exactly this, inviting a number of diverse and established comics-and music-making individuals and groups to contribute works to the book, album and exhibition. 

Edited by Beth Dawson, Chris Cudby, and Indira Neville, Sonic Comic includes contributions from sound and visual artists: 7 Keys, Adrian Ganley, Bek Coogan, Benedict Quilter, Brendan Philip, Brent Willis, Caroline Anderson, Clayton Noone & Stefan Neville, Cookie Stains, Daniel Canada, Dean Ballinger, Demarnia Lloyd, Edward Gains, Glen Ross, G. Frenzy, Greg Page, Grits 'n Grams, Jade Farley, Liz Mathews, M.F Joyce, M. Emery, Matthew Davies, Mitch Marks, Octopus, Oliver Stewart, Omit, Robert Scott, The Futurians, The Rabbid & The Doll, Toby Morris, Tokerau Wilson, and Wendyhouse. 

The Sonic Comic launch features contributor performances by 7 Keys, Big Fat Raro, Strange Stains and Vampires and the opening of the accompanying exhibition in the Audio Foundation gallery. Copies of the Sonic Comic publication and music compilation will be available for the special launch price of $20 (they will be $25 plus postage afterwards – pre-orders available). 

Special thanks to Mark One Comics for sponsoring the launch of Sonic ComicSonic Comic launch and exhibition opening: Saturday 18 March, 7pm start, at the Audio Foundation, 4 Poynton Terrace, Auckland Central. You can RSVP on their Facebook event page HERE, and for more information on Sonic Comic, contact: znsoniccomic@gmail.com.

You can also listen some of the tracks from Sonic Comic right now at: www.soniccomic.bandcamp.com

- AK!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EVENT: Golden Summer: Ross Murray & Greg Straight




This Friday, come along to the opening night of Golden Summer, a joint exhibition featuring new artworks by Greg Straight & Ross Murray (Highwater, Rufus Marigold).

An ice-cream run to the corner dairy; that road trip up the coast; a cold one on a long, hot afternoon. Golden Summer celebrates all this and more on a nostalgic journey around New Zealand.

Greg Straight’s artwork embodies a longing for simple pleasures from days gone. And Ross Murray’s work explores the way contemporary ideas of nostalgia are linked to the things we consume. Both celebrate collective memories of the New Zealand summer.

The exhibition will be held at Endemic World (62 Ponsonby Road, Auckland), kicking off at 5pm and is sponsored by some iconic NZ brands: Tip Top, L&P, Eta and Garage Project. 

The opening is from 5pm-8pm, and the exhibition will run from March 3rd - 14th. So head along and bask in the presence of iconic images capturing the great Golden Summer

- AK!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Road to Armageddon 2017: Colin Wilson



Above: Captain Sunshine (1979) by Colin Wilson.

Recently announced as a Comics Guest for the upcoming Armageddon Expo shows in Christchurch and Dunedin in March, Colin Wilson is one of the country’s most successful cartoonists.

He started his career in 1977 editing and self-publishing Strips, the first locally produced comics anthology. In 1979 he also co-created New Zealand’s ecological superhero comic, Captain Sunshine – which featured in my book, From Earth’s End: The Best of New Zealand Comics. Wilson soon realised that to become a professional comic artist he would need to move overseas.


Above: Judge Dredd: The Colin Wilson Collection.

Arriving in London in 1980, Wilson began working for the UK weekly 2000AD, drawing Judge Dredd alongside artists like Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland. While his colleagues looked to the States, Wilson’s eye turned to Europe, as he began a 15-year career drawing his own series Dans l'Ombre du Soleil, and realizing a personal dream by drawing the western Blueberry alongside his artistic idol Jean Giraud aka Moebius.

Wilson returned to Australia in 1996, and while he continued to produce work for the European market (Tex, Du Plomb Dans La Tête), his art also appeared regularly via US comics publishers, on such titles as The Losers, Battler Britton, The Rocketeer Adventures and Bionic Commando



Above: The Example by Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson.

Forming a creative partnership with Australian writer Tom Taylor (who will also be appearing at Armageddon Expo), they have collaborated together on numerous projects. Including such titles as: Star Wars: Invasion, The Example, Jour J, and donated a short story to Funtime #26, Darkest Day: Comics For Christchurch – a comics anthology created to raise funds for the Red Cross in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake in 2010.

In 2013, his European comic series Du Plomb Dans La Tête (published in the US as Bullet To The Head) was made into a major motion picture, directed by Walter Hill, starring Sylvester Stallone, Christian Slater and Jason Momoa. Wilson is currently completing the art for Martha, a book in the very successful European series XIII Mystery, before starting work on a new, original series for Delcourt.

Above: The cover of The Adventures of Captain Sunshine (1979) by Colin Wilson.

This will be a great opportunity for local comics fans to meet and talk to one of our own who has made a career from comics, working at the top of the global comics industry. And maybe also get a rare copy of The Adventures of Captain Sunshine #1 signed! (I believe there are still copies surfacing on TradeMe from time to time…).

Armageddon Expo Christchurch takes place in March 11-12th at the Horncastle Arena, and Armageddon Expo Dunedin follows on March 18-19th at the More FM Arena. For tickets and information visit the Armageddon Expo website HERE.

 – AK! 

Review: Mansfield and Me by Sarah Laing


Above: The cover of Mansfield and Me by Sarah Laing.

One of the great delights of the NZ Summer Holidays is the opportunity to take the time to sit back in the sun and enjoy reading some of the great books released over the Christmas period. When it comes to new graphic novel releases, Sarah Laing’s Mansfield and Me was the ‘must read’ of the summer. Released in October, it spent over 10 weeks on the Booksellers Top Ten List, with strong sales ensuring the book made it into plenty of Christmas Stockings over the holidays.

A graphic memoir, Mansfield and Me traces Laing’s journey to becoming a writer alongside the life of Kathrine Mansfield, one of her literary idols. Memoirs have become a hugely popular sub-genre of graphic novels – drawing praise and recognition from the literary community, from titles as diverse as Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home to the likes of Freddie and Me by Mike Dawson. Laing has a similar starting point to Dawson, whose book discussed his adolescence and fan obsession with Freddie Murcury. Laing mentions her own teen idols - Morrissey, Madonna and Frida Kahlo, but it is Mansfield whose presence is most felt in the background of her everyday life, from community stories to sharing geographically linked childhood experiences.

While Dawson’s book was primarily about a fan experience, Laing’s memoir goes deeper: tracking the intersections between her own life and literary ambitions and Mansfield’s. There are passages in the book where she imagines interacting with Mansfield, almost haunted by her presence - at times Mansfield pops up to offer commentary and faint praise as Sarah’s writing career progresses. These interactions drive one of the most compelling themes of the book: how do we measure ourselves against our idols?

Laing does a great job of seamlessly weaving her life with Mansfield’s, finding places where they intersect (both professionally and personally): both Laing and Mansfield left New Zealand to pursue a career in writing – Mansfield to England, Laing to New York. There’s a passage where Laing writes about moving to the country to flat with her first boyfriend and a difficult flatmate, contrasted to Mansfield’s own country living experience with her second husband John Middleton Murry, and their neighbour novelist D.H. Lawrence, who also turned out to be difficult and demanding host (at one point challenging Murry to a naked wrestling match – as one does).


Above: A page from Mansfield and Me by Sarah Laing.

Laing shares from her own life and experiences very candidly – the eventful missteps in relationships and jobs, and the changing circumstances that ultimately brought her back to New Zealand and her dream of becoming a published writer. A goal she achieved in 2007 with her short story collection, Coming up Roses. She was 34, the same age Mansfield was when she died.

This is a very personal memoir, produced in vibrant watercolour artwork written in Laing’s own handwriting, which really gives you that tactile feel, like you’re reading from a private diary and sketchbook.

It’s a book about that compelling urge to be creative with the time you have – Mansfield achieved so much in a short time, but it was extremely difficult in her last years with tuberculosis. She never got to write that great novel, as she bitterly laments to Sarah after reading her short story collection: “you still have time…unlike me”. Laing has since written two novels and an ongoing blog with plenty of new comics to come.

It’s a remarkable ode to creativity and a personal journey to achieving one’s ambitions. If you love great memoirs and want to experience one that’s a bit unconventional but highly entertaining, this is the one for you.
You can visit Sarah Laing's blog, Let Me Be Frank HERE for more of her comics and out-takes/bonus material from Mansfield and Me. You can also listen to my review of Mansfield and Me featured on Radio NZ HERE.

Mansfield and Me Sarah Laing
336 Pages
Paperback, colour
160x245mm
ISBN: 9781776560691
Published by Victoria University Press
RRP: $34.99

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