Saturday, December 12, 2009

Auckland Comic Book Club/From Earth's End Xmas Drinks! UPDATED

Above: Cartoonists at the Xmas gathering (from left to right): Matthew Kelly, Simon Adams, Dylan Horrocks, Karl Wills, Darren Sheehan, unknown guest (sorry, I didn't catch his name) and Ant Sang. Not pictured: Richard Fairgray and Chris Slane.

To celebrate the end of a very successful year of the ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT Auckland Comic Book Club (and my modest blogging efforts), a group of Auckland's finest cartoonists and enthusiasts gathered at Brooklyn Bar on Thursday night to toast the year that was.

It was great to see some new faces as well as regular attendees and catch-up with some of our busier members, who's work only allows them to drop by once in a blue moon. This gathering was also a welcome chance to get an update on everyones projects, and there's some great NZ comics coming your way in the near future.

Above: The cover of the new edition of 'Hicksville' by Dylan Horrocks from Drawn & Quarterly.

It's been out of print for many years, but the new-improved edition of Dylan Horrock's local masterpiece 'Hicksville' is finally available early next year from Drawn & Quarterly. Dylan has personally re-scanned and remastered the artwork for this edition which features a brand new 13-page introduction in comics form and a illustrated glossary. It's available to pre-order now from your local comic shop, so rush out and order this with your extra Xmas cash and reward yourself in the New Year!

Making a rare appearance away from his drawing board, Ant Sang stopped by for a few drinks and to give us an update on his in-progress graphic novel epic: 'Shaolin Burning'. Due to it's truly epic scale (each page is drawn on an A2 sheet, and for a recent double-page spread he jumped up to A0(!)), an extra year is being added to the production schedule to accommodate this mammoth undertaking. The good news is it will now be longer than previously reported, clocking in closer to two hundred pages. So keep an eye out for this in early 2011.

Above: A page of 'Connie Radar' by Karl Wills from 'Hotwire Comics' Vol.3, published by Fantagraphics.

Karl Wills is keeping busy, with a new 'Connie Radar' story in the latest 'Hotwire Comics' anthology from Fantagraphics, which is available to order now and should be in comic stores early next year. He's also recently animated a version of US cartoonist Kaz's 'Underworld' into an online cartoon (check it out here!). Comics aside, Karl also convinced me that maybe 'cows in cubicles' isn't so bad after all. "Damn cows won't do a 9 to 5 working stretch for us in a cubicle, but they're happy to contribute to global warming? F%$ cows".*
* Disclaimer: May not be an actual quote, or a highly sanitized version of an actual quote. I'll let you decide, but I'm pretty sure Karl has a beef with cows (and most living things).

Above: 'Blokes, Jokes and Sheds' by Chris Slane, published by Random House NZ.

I heard Random House was out of stock of Chris Slane's resent 'Blokes, Jokes and Sheds' comics collection. So if you're looking for a copy of this for a stocking stuffer this Christmas, you may have to shop around.

You can expect to hear an update sooner rather than later regarding Richard Fairgray's 'Blastosaurus' US reprint from Jeff Katz's American Original comics imprint. There's been some changes in the rollout of this company's books, but expect Richard's to be one of the first, as he's already got a full year's worth of material ready to go. It's already been announced that current 'Astonishing X-Men' artist Phil Jimenez will be contributing covers to the US editions of 'Blastosaurus', and now I understand 'The Boys' artist Darick Robertson is also interested in being involved in some capacity. It's not widely known, but Robertson also got his start self-publishing his own animalmorphic adventure comic, 'Space Beaver'. Richard also tells me he's been exchanging friendly emails with recent Armageddon '09 guest, Bill Sienkiewicz...hmmm...let the speculation begin!

I've got a few projects of my own on the boil, one involving an upgrade of this blog into a more physical form, but we'll have to wait and see what the New Year brings. Speaking of which, it was a great year to be part of the Auckland comics community, and I can only hope that the NZ comics community continues to grow in size and awareness in the New Year.

A BIG thanks to Matthew Kelly for tirelessly organising this year's meetings, and to Tim Kidd and the Auckland City Public Library for providing us with a great space and facility for us to conduct our meetings in every month. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in being involved in, be sure to make it your New Year's resolution to attend!


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