Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Road To Armageddon 2011 Part 2: New Zealand Comic Creators

Above: The NZ Comics booth from Armageddon 2010.

It's been a landmark year for New Zealand Comics in 2011, with three original graphic novels seeing print: Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang, Nice Day For a War by Chris Slane, and Kimble Bent: Malcontent by Chris Grosz. This weekend all three authors, along with NZ Comics mainstay Dylan Horrocks, will be attending the Armageddon Expo, appearing exclusively at the New Zealand Comics booth #90.

Ant Sang has long been a pillar of the Auckland comics community, producing one the best selling NZ comics series of all time, The Dharma Punks, which was published between 2001-03. It was this series that brought him to the attention of the producers of the animated TV series Bro'Town, who hired Ant as art director and production designer for the show, winning him several awards. Earlier this year saw the release of his first original graphic novel Shaolin Burning from HarperCollins, a kung-fu infused meditation on revenge and destiny in ancient China. It was an instant hit upon release, making the top ten NZ Bestsellers fiction list four weeks running and the #1 book for it's publisher that month.

Chris Slane is an award-winning cartoonist whose work has appeared in countless magazines and newspapers including: The Listener, The New Zealand Herald, Metro and many more. His editorial cartoons have won him the prestigious Qantas Cartoonist Of The Year award three times and the Qantas Editorial Graphics Artist Award twice. This year saw the release of his second graphic novel Nice Day For a War: Adventures of a Soldier in World War 1, co-authored with Matt Elliott from HarperCollins.

Chris Grosz has worked in a variety of creative mediums over the years, as an illustrator, political cartoonist, art director, teacher and animator in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. A collection of his political cartoons with writer Shane Maloney called Australian Encounters, for Australian magazine The Monthly, was published in December 2010. His first graphic novel, Kimble Bent: Malcontent was released this year from Random House.

Dylan Horrocks is the author of the seminal graphic novel Hicksville. Universally praised by the international comics community upon it's release in 1998, it has only recently been published locally for the first time last year by Victoria University PressHe also spent several years of the last decade writing for DC Comics, putting the speech bubbles in the mouths of such well recognised characters as Batman, Batgirl, Supergirl, John Constantine, Tim Hunter and more. After his corporate comics experience he was happy to return to creating his own comics, which he currently publishes weekly through his website hicksvillecomics.com. These include the two serials Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen and The American Dream.

All four authors will be signing and selling their graphic novels and comics Saturday and Sunday at the New Zealand Comics booth #90, so make sure you stop by for the best of homegrown comics! There will also be a special panel on New Zealand Graphic Novels, held Sunday October 31st at noon on Stage Two. This panel will give you an exclusive look inside the creative process of creating a graphic novel, from concept to script and finished artwork. If you're an aspiring cartoonist or have an interest in finding out more about New Zealand Comics in general, you won't want to miss this! It was one of the most popular panels at this year's Writers & Readers Festival and is available this weekend at Armageddon FREE of charge! So make sure you get in early for a good seat.

Above: The Inhabitants comic series by the Sheehan Bros. Copyright Sheehan Bros 2011.

The NZ Comics booth will also be showcasing a wide variety of NZ Comics from across the country, from DIY zines through to indie favourites, like The Inhabitants comic series by the Sheehan Bros.

Above: The cover of The Official Authorised Blastosaurus Super Happy Awesome Time Rainy Day Activity and Indoor Excitement Booklet ((whew!)). Copyright Richard Fairgray 2011.

Blastosaurus creator Richard Fairgray will once again be attending with a wide range of new titles, including: The Blastosaurus Hallowe'en Special,  The Official Authorised Blastosaurus Super Happy Awesome...etc (see above!), the Blastosaurus: A Wee Bit Special: A collected edition of the first four convention specials from 2009-2011, I Fight Crime Volumes 12-14, and finally, Richard and Terry's Animation Compilation: Special Burglary Edition DVD (!).

Yes, you read that right. Here's Richard to explain: 'Recently the Blastosaurus offices were robbed. The thieves took all our computers and all our back up drives and now the insurance company won't cover all the replacement costs. The only files we were left with (on a thumb drive in Richard's pocket) were our animations (though some had to be downloaded from Youtube to complete the set). As a fundraiser we are selling a DVD that contains all 62 episodes of Chewing Zombies, Stavros The Contractor and Jake's Never The One To Go Crazy for $10. Also on the set are a bunch of special features such as Audio Commentaries from Terry and I on all the shows, a second rap by Rapscallion, a Behind The Scenes look at Chewing Zombies, an animated Documentary about Richard and Terry, the trailer for Blastosaurus and a hidden Easter Egg.'

Blastosaurus is booth #38, so stop by and show your support by buying some comics and DVDs (I'm sure the DVD is worth it for the Rapscallion rap alone: you've been warned! And who knows what's on the hidden Easter Egg...).

Richard Fairgray will also be appearing next door at the Beyond Reality Media booth #39 to promote his webcomic The Inspiration Duncans with co-creator and BRM/Armageddon head-honcho William Geradts. The BRM booth will showcase their current range of webcomics on viewing tablets. Their current titles include: The Inspiration Duncans, Attica, Warden, The Red Star and Robert Rankin's EmpiresYou can read these titles for free right now over at the BRM website HERE. And as a bonus, here's a look at their first motion-comic for Warden:

As you can see, there's a ton of great locally produced comics available at the Expo this Friday to Monday, so make sure you come down and check it out! Armageddon Expo: October 28th-31st at the ASB Showgrounds. Friday Preview only $10 a ticket, Saturday to Monday- Adults $20, Student $17 (with ID), Child (5-12) $10 or FREE with full paying adult. For more details visit the Armageddon Expo website HERE.


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