Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Road To Armageddon Auckland 2010: NZ Comic Creators

Above: The Imposter by Lee-Yan Marquez. Copyright Lee-Yan Marquez 2010.

The Auckland Armageddon Expo 2010 is once again crashing down upon us; like a tidal wave of pop culture madness, overloading the senses and emptying our pockets! The Expo will be taking place over Labour Weekend, October 23rd-25th at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane. It features a wide variety of popular culture guests and attractions from the latest videogame releases, to film, animation and comic guests.
As well as international comics guests (which you can read about HERE), the Expo will also be feature some of NZ's finest cartoonist, signing at the New Zealand Comic Creators Booth (booth 86, Pavilion #1).

Above: A spread from Into the Dark Woods a new graphic novella by the Sheehan Bros. Copyright Sheehan Bros 2010.

So let's have an exclusive look at some of the new local comics releases on offer at this year's Expo:

First up, the Sheehan Brothers have two new graphic novellas debuting at the show: Into the Dark Woods and Frozen. Hot off their Eric Award winning series The Inhabitants, these dark fantasy offerings are the first two chapters of an interconnected series of short stories, which will form a future boxed collection. It marks a return to the more lyrical nature of their first collaboration The Longman, which is where an earlier version of Frozen originated (as an insert in Longman #5).

Above: A spread from Into the Dark Woods a new graphic novella by the Sheehan Bros. Copyright Sheehan Bros 2010.

Darren Sheehan's artwork continues to evolve in both detail and atmosphere, reaching an Aubrey Beardsley level of mastery in the dark art of inking. If you drop by the booth may get to see some of the original artwork, which is even more stunning up close. Both writer Kelly and artist Darren Sheehan will be appearing during the weekend.

Above: The cover of Dr. Connie Radar PH.D Daily Funnies by Karl Wills. Copyright The ComicBook Factory 2010.

After an extended leave in advertising, the twisted comic strips of Karl Wills, creator of Jessica of the Schoolyard, returns with Dr. Connie Radar PH.D. Collecting his online daily strips from The ComicBook Factory website, it features the scientific adventures of space babe Connie Radar and her brainy robot sidekick, Julius.

Available in the same Tijuana Bible format as Jessica, your collection won't be complete without it. It's a limited edition run, so make sure you get in quick! Karl will also have some very affordable original artwork for sale, so stop by the booth to pick up some great artwork, from one of NZ's most polished cartoonists.

Above: The cover of Funtime #25. Copyright Funtime Comics Collective 2010.

The latest issue from New Zealand's longest running Comics Collective is out in time for the convention season! The Christchurch based Funtime gang, have produced what looks like another winner with this literally earth-shattering cover (what...too soon for bad puns?). Featuring a variety of creators and stories for all tastes, Funtime never fails to entertain, and issue #25 looks like it won't be any exception. Funtime editor Isaac Freeman will be on hand all three day of the Expo, to regale you with stories of cartooning from NZ's earthquake central, and get you to participate in what's sure to be another classic round of Jam Comics! (who could forget Welly Armageddon's Dr. Cheetah?).

Above: The cover of Bristle #7 by Brent Willis. Copyright Brent Willis 2010.

This Wellington based anthology continues to go from strength to strength, as Brent Willis heads up a team of talented contributors in Bristle #7, including: Chris Cudby, David Piper, Matt Kelly, Ari Freeman, Renee Lyons and others. At $5 this is a steal, and since it takes a pot-shot at Paul Henry on the cover, you just know this is going to move fast! Editor Brent Willis will also be on hand for all three days of the Expo, no doubt bringing with him a wide variety of his solo efforts including a selection of 'blue' comics which are always a hit with our mature readers (perhaps a reprint of the rare 'double blue' rated Man Hole? can only dream...).

Above: The Imposter by Lee-Yan Marquez. Copyright Lee-Yan Marquez 2010.

Lee-Yan Marquez made a splash last year with part one of her mystery/psychological thriller series The Imposter, and issue #2 will be making it's debut at this convention.

Set in the totalitarian state of New Haven, social worker Lucy is rescued from a robbery by a mysterious stranger know only as 'K'. Their brief meeting lingers with Lucy, who has her own secrets that continue to haunt her waking world. Does she have more in common with this vigilante than she'll willing to admit, or will her attraction to 'K' lead her closer to danger instead of answers? Issue #2 ratchets up the tension as Lucy is drawn further into 'K's world. If you want to find out what happens next, as Jack Kirby would say, "don't ask, just buy it!".

Above: The Cover of Clip Show, a collection of Richard Fairgray's early uncollected cartoons. Copyright Richard Fairgray 2010.

And an Armageddon Expo would be complete without a round-up of Blastosaurus creator Richard Fairgray's latest offerings. Never one to rest on his laurels (...or sleep for that matter), Richard has a wide variety of new products on offer at this year's convention. So rather than rattle off the list, I'll turn things over to Richard to expertly showcase his wares:
Above: A page from Blastosaurus Halloween Special 2. Copyright Richard Fairgray 2010.

Blastosaurus Halloween Special 2: The four kids get trapped in an abandoned amusement park ride with an escaped monster and a child murderer with a foot fetish and only blastosaurus might save them. It's like a really fucked up Scooby Doo story...and has a board game on the back cover.

I Fight Crime: Three new books of I Fight Crime (plus the 2 that came out at the Wellington show but haven't been seen in Auckland yet). This takes us to strip #450 of the web series.

Clip Show: An anthology of my early work, some that was published in New Ground, some that has been out of print for a number of years and some stuff that has never been seen before. Every year I get a number of people asking for stuff of mine that I did years and years ago that they've seen in friends' collections or...I don't know...dumpsters or
something so I figured I might as well release what I still had access to. The whole thing is tied together by a new story that links all the separate pieces and is in fact about Terry and I and our adventures as comic writers...yeah, it's THAT self indulgent.

Yellow Girl: This is a webcomic that made it to #30 on before the site stopped existing. Now, forthe first time we have collected all 90 of the completed strips. It's about a brother and sister who fall through a mirror into a world of ravenous mutant lemmings, incest jokes and creepy troll things.

We'll also have the first season of Chewing Zombies on DVD which includes 4 bonus episodes of Stavros the Contractor and a 1 minute animated documentary about Terry and I and the creation of Blastosaurus.

We've also reprinted the final 4 issues of the NZ run of Blastosaurus because they were my favourites and haven't been available for quite awhile. We'll also have the usual duck throwing game and (the new and exciting feature) dinosaur candy!

-Richard Fairgray

There you have it. If you haven't checked out Richard's web-cartoon, Chewing Zombies, it's well worth a look! (and it's a surprising accurate primer on what to expect from a comic convention if you're a newbie...but we're preaching to the converted here, right?;)

Above: The cover of the new edition of Hicksville, by Dylan Horrocks.

And of coarse no NZ Comics booth would be complete without copies of the perennial favourite, Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks. Unfortunately Dylan won't be in attendance this year, as he'll be in Toronto for the International Festival of Authors (rubbing shoulders with indie comics royalty: Charles Burns and Seth, no less!). But to make up for this we'll be selling his exclusive mini-comic collaboration with Emily Perkins, All Hail Ellie, Destroyer of Worlds! (previously only available at the Orcon Great Blends event). This will be a rare item, and is Emily's first stab at creating comics, so seek out a copy, it's a steal at only $5!

Above: The Cover of All Hail Ellie, Destroyer of Worlds!, by Emily Perkins & Dylan Horrocks.

Above: ActionMan Adam by Marc Streeter. Copyright Mark Streeter 2010.

Marc Streeter, author of the always appealing webcomic ActionMan Adam will be appearing at the booth on Sunday, be sure to stop by to check out his artwork and related ActionMan Adam merchandise!

Above: An Anime inspired print by Jianran Pan. Copyright Jianran Pan 2010.

And to showcase a slightly different side of NZ Comics, illustrator and concept artist Jianran Pan will be selling prints of his highly polished manga/anime inspired artwork. It caught my eye earlier this year at Auckland's Doujin Overload Anime Convention, and I think you'll agree it's pretty top notch stuff.

I'll also be at the NZCC Booth on Saturday and Monday reporting on the event; so stop by and say hi, and I may even share with you some NZ Comics gossip, and hints about what's coming up in the new year (new projects and plans for a NZ Comics Convention!).

There's a massive amount of local talent at the Auckland Armageddon Expo this year, so make sure that after you've fought your way through a wall of stormtroopers and goth vampires, you take the time to come down to Booth #86 in Pavilion #1 for some of the best NZ Comics on offer this year! For more information visit the official Armageddon Expo website HERE.



  1. Damn it, Adrian! Now I wish I was going.

  2. I know, right? NZ Comics are ruling this Convention!

  3. Nice write up... looks like a great lineup of talent this year!