Friday, August 26, 2011

COMIC STRIP: From Earth's End: A Life With Comics #1

Above: My Life With Comics #1: Origins (CLICK ON THE ART TO ENLARGE).
Copyright Adrian Kinnaird 2011.

Hi everyone, welcome to my new regular comic-strip feature! Some of you may not have been aware, but long before I was a blogger, I was first and foremost a cartoonist. I've continued to work on graphic novel projects alongside my blogging for the last few years, but due to the long-form nature of those projects and the ins-and-outs of publishing, I've shown very little of that work publicly. Now for a while I've had people needling me to put something new out there, and I've been keen to do that, but it was just a matter of finding the right project and format...

I've never done a full autobiographical comic before, so that idea was really appealing to me. Comics have always been a part of my life, both as an interest and a form of expression, informing my view of the world around me in quite unexpected but profound ways. The more I thought about it, framing my formative years growing up in New Zealand alongside my experiences relating to comics quickly gave way to an avalanche of story material. From the amusing stories of backyard superheroics to the teen years of DIY comics creation, it will all be covered here. After a week working on this project I've already uncovered surprising memories of the unexpected effects comics have had on my life and development as a person that I haven't seen covered elsewhere, so it should make for an interesting journey.

I chose the Sunday Comic Strip format as it seemed like a good fit for short chapters and allowed me to publish it in a regular fashion (and one day soon print it in a cool large newspaper format!).

Above: My script/Rough for A Life With Comics#1. Copyright Adrian Kinnaird 2011.

Now for some behind the scenes extras: above is my script/rough for chapter #1.
Usually if I'm writing for a comic or graphic novel I write a full script, but for comic strips I find the space is so limited it's best to start by sketching out the room you have to work with first (in this case, I went with an A4 page space of two tiers). This way you can sketch in the panels you know you'll need to tell the story, and figure out how best to use the remaining space to fill in the blanks. The same goes with the dialogue, the space is limited so if you can't fit it on the page in the sketch you've probably over-written.

Since this strip is charting my way through comics history, I had considered drawing it in different styles depending on the content eg. drawing this first 'origin story' in the style of Superman artist Joe Shuster etc. I ultimately decided against it, as I feel it will be more interesting to capture my likeness growing up over time, rather than adjusting to the style of different comic artists. But I will try to capture the feel of those comics in pacing and style; in this one I looked to early issues of Action and Detective Comics for the description boxes, flat colours and balloon tails, so keep your eyes peeled for subtle references!

Above: Some reference photos of me from the early 80s (yes kids, that's what telephones used to look like!).

And of course reference photos from the time period were also helpful to recapture the memories as close as possible to the way I remember them (and having them on the drawing board generally helps put me in the right head-space).

Ok, well I hope you enjoy this first one, and come back for more soon!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Roger Langridge cleans up at the 2011 Harvey Awards!

Above: The Muppets have a reason to celebrate, as drawn by Roger Langridge. Copyright Disney/The Jim Henson Studio 2011.

Last night saw the winners announced for the 2011 Harvey Awards, with two awards going to New Zealand cartoonist Roger Langridge. He came away with Best Writer for his work on Marvel's acclaimed all-ages series Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and the Special Award For Humour In Comics for his groundbreaking comics adaptation of The Muppet Show from Boom Studios.
Above: A tender moment from Thor: The Mighty Avenger, as written by Roger Langridge with art by Chris Samnee. Copyright Marvel 2011.

Roger's artistic collaborator on Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Chris Samnee, was also awarded Most Promising New Talent.
This series was well received by critics and fans alike, but only lasted eight issues. Following the early adventures of Thor the god of thunder, it managed a fine balance of adventure, humour, and a beautifully handled romance. Basically this book has a hell of a lot of heart, and puts most of it's fellow 'mature' superhero comics to shame. It's available in two very affordable volumes now, so make sure you pick them up today and find out what all the fuss is about!

Also available now is the first issue of Roger's new comic series Snarked! #0, from Boom Studios. This zero issue only $1US, which given the strength of our NZ dollar at the moment makes it next to nothing, so grab a copy while it's cheap! For more in-depth information on the world of Snarked!, you can now visit the new website Snark Island for character information, preview art and lots of other goodies HERE.

So congratulations to Roger on some well deserved awards!

PS: If you're listening Marvel: now would be a good time to announce that complete Thor: The Mighty Avenger oversized hardcover;)

PPS: Word to the wise: If you don't already have a copy of The Muppet Show in paperpack, it's currently 60% OFF on Amazon HERE!