Friday, July 29, 2022

Rachel Smythe wins Eisner Award for Best Webcomic for Lore Olympus!

Above: Online publisher Webtoons congratulates Rachel on her win.

The 2022 Will Eisner Awards (aka the comics ‘Oscars’) were held last week during the San Diego Comic-Con, on July 22 at the Bayfront San Diego Hilton. This ceremony saw Wellington cartoonist Rachel Smythe take home Best Webcomic for her global webcomic sensation, Lore Olympus

An exquisitely illustrated romance, Lore Olympus is centred around the personal lives of the mythological gods. Here's the synopsis: Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories ─ The Taking of Persephone ─ as it’s never been told before. 


Above: Rachel Smythe with her Eisner at the awards ceremony.

Lore Olympus is one of the most read comics on the planet: since its launch in 2018 on Webtoons. The webcomic has attracted 1.1 billion views and 5.8 million subscribers to date. It has also become a best-selling graphic novel series in print, with hardcover and paperback editions launching last November, and volume 3 in the series is due out in October. An animated series based on the webcomic is also in development from the Jim Henson Company.

Above: Rachel Smythe with a display of the print graphic novels at a Barnes & Noble.

Congratulations to Rachel and her continued success! You can read Lore Olympus HERE and follow Rachel Smythe on Twitter HERE.


Monday, March 7, 2022

Remembering Joe Wylie

Above: Chris Knox, Joe Wylie and Barry Linton (via AudioCuture, I believe this picture may have been published in an issue of Strips).

I was saddened to hear today that cartoonist and animator Joe Wylie passed away on the 5th of March.

Above: an example of Joe's cartooning from the recent reprint of Maureen Cringe.

Wylie is probably best known in the local cartooning scene as a founding contributor to the comics anthology, Strips. His main contribution to Strips was his ongoing feature, Maureen Cringe, which was recently republished in limited editions by Spanko Comics publisher Matthew Campbell Downes (see my earlier posts HERE and HERE).

Above: Gig poster for Toy Love at Auckland's Glue Pot (1979), via AudioCulture.

Wylie had an extensive career as an artist and animator: he created artwork and album covers for such bands as Toy Love, Dalvanius Prime, Neville Purvis, Patea Māori Club and many more. In animation he worked on a variety of projects - from music videos to cartoons - notable projects included Hanna-Barbera's Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, Toy Love's ‘Bride Of Frankenstein’ music video and the short film, The Nightwatchman (1993), which he wrote, animated and directed (you can watch it HERE).

Above: Maui Records label designed by Joe Wylie (1984), currently in the Te Papa art collection.

In 2015 Arthur Baysting wrote a great career overview of Joe for AudioCulture which you can read HERE, and there is an extensive biography and screenography of Joe's work at NZ on Screen which can be read and viewed HERE. You can also visit his website HERE.

My condolences to his family, friends and fans - who will continue to enjoy the amazing legacy of work he has left behind.

- AK!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

New Release: The Kabuki Comic by Joe Wylie

Above: The Kabuki Comic by Joe Wylie. Copyright Joe Wylie 2021.

Following on from the limited edition release of Joe Wylie's The Adventures of Maureen Cringe comic book in February (read about it HERE), Spanko Comics publisher Matthew Campbell Downes has produced a follow-up, The Kabuki Comic - a second collection of Joe Wylie's comics originally published in Strips #7, 8, 9, 10 and 13. For the uninitiated, Joe Wylie was an original contributor to Strips, New Zealand's first widely distributed anthology comic series in the late 1970s, which featured a number of cartoonists who have gone on to have successful careers in the comics and arts scene, including Colin Wilson, Barry Linton, Judy Darragh, Grant Major and many more.

Above: Artwork from The Kabuki Comic by Joe Wylie.

Picking up where The Adventures of Maureen Cringe left off, The Kabuki Comic continues Maureen's adventures in the 26th century with Ultratibetan musical warrior Omo K'Chang in Kabuki, alongside other strips, Decline of the West parts 1 & 2 and  K'ta2. Wylie's artwork continues to evolve in these new chapters - the psychedelic energy is still present, but the details feel cleaner and more polished, with some great uses of Zip-A-Tone.

Above: A poster of the cover of Strips #8.

As a great bonus, there also a tipped in poster reproduction of Joe Wylie's Strips #8 (1978)!

Spanko Comics has also reprinted The Adventures of Maureen Cringe for those who missed out on the first edition. Both of these titles are a limited run of 100 copies, available now directly from Spanko Comics for $10 each via this TradeMe link HERE (or search on TradeMe for 'Joe Wylie').

The great news is the proceeds are going to Joe Wylie himself, so this is a great opportunity to support one of our great cartoonist and get your hands on some of his long out-of-print comics before they sell out!

- AK!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Bristle Annual 2021 Launch!

Above: The cover for Bristle Annual 2021 by Sara Riordan.

UPDATE: The launch is cancelled due to uncertainty relating to the current COVID-19 Alert Levels, but keep an eye out for this new issue of Bristle at local zine and comics events.

There's a new Bristle Annual launching this Saturday in Wellington (as long as the COVID-19 Alert Levels are eased by then...). The new issue features stories by: Matt Kelly, Lorenzo, Gus Mitchell, James James, Sanjana Khusal, Indira Neville, Bryce Galloway, Aaron Christiansen, David Tulloch, and Brent C Willis.

- AK!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Mail Drop Review: The Adventures of Maureen Cringe

Above: The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie. Copyright Joe Wylie 2021.

I was recently lucky enough to receive a limited edition copy of The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie, collecting the complete Maureen Cringe comics that appeared in the iconic NZ comics anthology series Strips, issues #2, 3 and 4/5 in the late 1970s. Maureen Cringe is a Penrose Shoe Factory worker who is on a flight to Kathmandu, when she is inexplicably transported to the 26th century. Rescued from Martians by the Ultratibetan musical warrior Omo K'Chang, she joins the crew of the spaceship Karma Dzong and becomes a celebrity musician in the distant future. 

Above: Artwork from The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie. Copyright Joe Wylie 2021.  

Cartoonist Joe Wylie had visited Nepal, and the traditional Buddhist art techniques he studied there informed his artwork for the strip, which captures the psychedelic flavour of the sixties and seventies music scene, and even hints at the art direction associated with rave music 20 years later - which feels suitably appropriate for a time-travelling musician stranded in the distant future.

It's great to see these strips all compiled together in one place by designer/artist Matt Campbell Downes. The copy I have was from a limited print run of 100 copies, but I've heard there are rumblings of potentially making this available in a larger print run so that everyone can enjoy this lost kiwi comics classic. If and when this happens I'll be sure to update this post with a link for purchase.

- AK!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Summer Reads: Lockdown, This is Not a Pipe and The Side Eye 2020 Annual

There were some great local graphic novels released towards at the end of last year, so while the weather is still fine, here's three graphic novel titles by New Zealand authors to catch up on - preferably somewhere comfortable with a cold drink on hand!

Like scenes from a science fiction novel, COVID-19 spread like a dark storm across planet Earth. When the virus came to the faraway islands of Aotearoa New Zealand, the nation’s team of five million went into lockdown.

Nineteen of the best comic artists from around Aotearoa New Zealand have created stories to mark this time. Featuring: Alex Cara, Hana Chatani, Li Chen, Miriama Grace-Smith, Sloane Hong, Ruby Jones, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Toby Morris, Sharon Murdoch, Ross Murray, Ant Sang, Coco Solid, Anthony Stocking (Deadface Comics), Mat Tait, Jessica Thompson Carr (Māori Mermaid), Zak Waipara, Tokerau Wilson and Jem Yoshioka!

Above: Artwork by Ross Murray from  Lockdown: Tales from Aotearoa.

ISBN: 978-1-877375-65-1  
108 pages
Hardback, 275 x 195mm
Published by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū 
Available from all good bookstores and the Christchurch Art Gallery HERE

This Is Not A Pipe by Tara Black

I’ve decided to document my life in pictures. It’s hard to draw the pole, because of the pole. Beth has a pole through her arms. This is not a metaphor. A metaphor would be a lot less inconvenient. On the other side of the room, Kenneth is creating a new religion. He thinks narrative is the operating principle of the universe. He also thinks he’s the hero of Beth’s story. Beth is worried he’s going to leave her. The creatures living in the pole may have stolen her cat.

Tara Black’s comic is surreal, dark, sad, perversely joyful, and if you bet someone they couldn’t find another book remotely like it, you would win. It’s a little bit about being married to Kenneth. It’s a little bit about losing your cat. It’s definitely not about the pole.

I’ve been told I hold my pen wrong. But it’s the only way I can.

‘One of the most potent, unsettling texts I’ve encountered.’  —Tracey Slaughter

'Poetic, whimsical and painfully honest.' —Dylan Horrocks

Above: Artwork from This Is Not A Pipe by Tara Black. 

ISBN: 9781776563227  
160 pages  
Paperback, 165 x 210mm
Published by Victoria University Press
Available from all good bookstores and VUP HERE

The Spinoff is excited to release the first edition of The Side Eye Annual - a printed collection of Toby Morris' outstanding Side Eye comics published on The Spinoff throughout 2020.

From a dentist's office to a glow-worm cave to a recording studio with beloved band, 'The Beths', Toby Morris’s monthly comic, The Side Eye has been everywhere in 2020. Juggling a pandemic, an election and a few rare months in between, this year Toby’s blend of reporting, opinion and visual journalism has been more crucial than ever. This edition also features a special introduction from managing editor Duncan Greive.

Above: A montage of artwork from this year's 
The Side Eye comics by Toby Morris.

Published by the Spinoff and available to order from their website HERE, and if you're lucky Unity Books in Auckland and Wellington may also have some copies in store.

So do yourself a favour and pick up these books while there's still some free time to read before 2021 really gets going!

- AK!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

EVENT: The COVID-19 Diaries, New Comics by Sarah Laing

Sarah Laing, Wellington cartoonist and author of the graphic novels Mansfield & Me and Let Me Be Frank, is having an exhibition to showcase The COVID-19 Diaries, comics she created during and about the first COVID-19 Lockdown. The exhibition includes watercolours and some GIANT comics (we're talking A0 sized comics, people!).

The opening is this coming Monday, 7th of September between 4.30pm and 7pm at Bowen Galleries, 39 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington. If you can't make it to the opening, the exhibition will be on until the 27th of September. It sounds like there will also be printed comics for sale, so get along and view/buy some great local lockdown comics!

You can also read Sarah's COVID-19 Diary comics and other stories on her website HERE.

- AK!