Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Graphic Novels dominate New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards!

The nominations for this year's New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards were announced on Friday, and all three of the local graphic novels released last year have received nominations. Ant Sang's Shaolin Burning (Harper Collins) is up for Best Picture Book, and Kimble Bent: Malcontent by Chris Grosz (Random House) is competing against Nice Day For a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in World War I (HarperCollins) by Matt Elliott and Chris Slane for the Best Non-Fiction title.

Above: The nominated titles and authors: Shaolin Burning, Kimble Bent: Malcontent, and Nice Day For a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in World War I.

The nomination of Shaolin Burning may raise some eyebrows, as it's in a category generally dominated by picture books for the very young (I think it's safe to say it's the only book in the category this year to feature multiple decapitations!).

'Dominate' may seem like a strong word to use here, but for those playing at home, that's THREE nominations for THREE graphic novels out of the over 350 children's titles nominated. That's a pretty high batting average by any estimation, not to mention all three titles topped the Nielsen BookScan Bestseller charts on their respective releases. One would hope this sends a strong message to publishers who are still cautiously approaching graphic novels with a barge pole: they are here to stay, and you are missing out on surest thing in publishing since vampires hit puberty!

The winning titles will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday 16th of May. 


Above: All three nominated authors (with some other guys...) at Auckland Armageddon Expo 2011. 
From left: me, Dylan Horrocks, Chris Slane, Ant Sang and Chris Grosz.

Monday, February 27, 2012

EVENT: Fantasy & Pop Culture Panel with Denise Mina, Kelly Link & Robert Shearman

Above: Zine creator and writer Kelly Link, novelist Denise Mina & fantasy and screenwriter Robert Shearman.

As a part of the Wellington Writers & Readers Festival 2012, taking place from the 9th - 14th of March, a trio of writers whose work collectively covers a wide spectrum of pop culture, will be discussing their writing in a fantasy-filled hour at the Embassy Theatre on March 14th. The panel will be hosted by NZ cartoonist and fantasy writer Dylan Horrocks.

Above: Denise Mina's two Hellblazer collections, covers by Lee Bermejo. Copyright DC Comics/Vertigo 2012.

Scottish writer Denise Mina is best known for her hard-hitting crime novels, but to comics readers she's the author of a well-regarded run on Vertigo's flagship title, John Constantine: Hellblazer. Her run was collected in two volumes: Empathy Is The Enemy and The Red Right Hand. She's also written A Sickness In The Family for Vertigo's Crime line, and was just announced as the writer for the upcoming graphic novel adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series.

Above: Cover for Book One of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Graphic novel. Cover by Lee Bermejo. Copyright DC Comics/Vertigo 2012.

Robert Shearman is a writer with some serious geek credentials, having written the episode Dalek for the modern Doctor Who TV series, which re-introduced the Daleks to a whole new generation of viewers.

And rounding out the trio is Kelly Link, an award-winning writer and zine creator. Her collections of short stories include: Stranger Things HappenMagic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters.

The panel will be taking place at The Embassy Theatre, Wellington, Wednesday 14th of March at 3.30pm. Tickets are $18 ($10 for students). You can book through Ticketek HERE.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

WEEKEND LISTENING: Dylan Horrocks & Mike Dawson Interview

Above: Dylan Horrocks and Mike Dawson.

Mike Dawson, the US cartoonist behind Freddie & Me, Troop 142 and one half of the indie-comics podcast Ink Panthers, recently got on the phone to interview Dylan Horrocks for The Comics Journal's TCJ Talkies series.

They discuss the recent creator rights controversies: from DC's announcement to finally move forward with it's Before Watchmen series of prequels without Alan Moore's blessing, to Gary Friedrich's failed lawsuit to be recognised as the creator of Ghost Rider against Marvel Comics. Dylan has always been outspoken and honest with his views on creator rights in comics and intellectual property, and this conversation is no exception.

On a more personal front, Dylan starts off talking about the start of his career and the decision to move from part-time worker to full-time cartoonist. With New Zealand heading into another term of a National led government and a US election on the horizon, there's also an interesting discussion on the differences between our two electoral systems, and why we should perhaps get a vote in Uncle Sam's elections!

All this plays out to the occasional Tui tune from Dylan's backyard in Maraetai. You can listen to the full recording HERE.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GO READ: Under The Bridge by Tim Molloy

Above: A panel from Under The Bridge by Tim Molloy. Mr Unpronouceable is copyright Tim Molloy 2012.

While you're waiting for the imminent release of Tim Molloy's upcoming strip collection, It Shines And Shakes And Laughs, here's a brand new Mr Unpronouceable
strip! I understand a collection of this cult character's complete adventures is also in the works sometime in the future, but until then here's a squirming taste of things to come! 

For the full story, check out Tim's Deviant Art page, as well as his blog HERE (where you'll also get to see a colour treat from this story!).

Now join everyone's favourite homeless Necromancer as he encounters a Bridge Troll, Demonic inter-dimensional entities and some very questionable reading material! Grim Hilarity Ensues...


Saturday, February 11, 2012

EVENT: White Cloud Worlds Exhibition

Based on last year's fantastic NZ fantasy art collection White Cloud Worlds, published by HarperCollins NZ/Ignite Inc, an exhibition featuring artwork and sculptures from the collection will be touring the country, kicking off with an opening this week at Lopdell House Gallery in Titirangi, West Auckland. Here's the official announcement:

White Cloud Worlds is a first-of-its-kind popular culture exhibition, which showcases the diverse and unique work created by New Zealand science fiction and fantasy artists. Working with over 20 artists and illustrators who work within the digital, new media and film genre, this ground breaking exhibition showcases the conceptual artwork and illustrations which have graced the screen, graphic novels and games around the world.

White Cloud Worlds is a partnership project, developed by The Dowse Art Museum and Ignite Inc: artist Paul Tobin and Project Manager Kate Jorgensen, both of whom are leaders in the New Zealand science fiction and fantasy art community. Ignite Inc. has produced a lavish hardcover book titled White Cloud Worlds: An Anthology of Fantasy and Science Fiction Artwork from Aotearoa New Zealand, published by Harper Collins in 2010. The exhibition includes a selection of artwork from the book, which was launched in conjunction with the exhibition.

With the creation of The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson’s multi-award winning trilogy and James Cameron’s recently released Avatar, the creative energy, sophistication and technical prowess of New Zealand’s Film industry has been thrust into the international spotlight. This success has inspired great energy within the fantasy art community and allowed the genre a much more widespread, and popular, profile. White Cloud Worlds is the first time fantasy art will be seen in a contemporary gallery context and we envisage it will be especially popular with regular visitors, while encouraging new audiences to visit the gallery.

Featuring artwork by: Gino Acevedo, Guido Anton, Aaron Beck,  Jeremy Bennett, Jamie Beswarick, Greg Broadmore, Dylan Coburn, Stephen Crowe, Claire Hackett, Rebekah Holguin, Gus Hunter, Nick Keller, Jeffrey Lai, Stephen Lambert, Warren Mahy, Simon Morse, Christian Pearce, Matty Rodgers, Andrew Shaw, Thomas Simpson, Ben Stenbeck, Stuart Thomas, Paul Tobin, Frank Victoria and Ben Wootten.

The exhibition opens this Thursday 16th of February at 6pm, and runs until Sunday 15th of April at Lopdell House Gallery, 418 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, West Auckland. For more information, you can visit the Gallery website HERE or the official White Cloud Worlds website HERE.


Below: Still available, the White Cloud Worlds collection at a bookstore near you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming Attractions: It Shines And Shakes And Laughs

Above: The cover of It Shines And Shakes And Laughs by Tim Molloy. Copyright Tim Molloy 2012.

Making it's debt next month, It Shines And Shakes And Laughs collects the silent and surreal comics of Tim Molloy! This covers his work from 2007-2012, as Tim describes it, "its a collection of all my silent work for the last five years or so. It's very esoteric and experimental in it's entirety and reflects a big transition period in my life... On the other hand, it is very eclectic and very much a 'collection." Published by Australian indie-press specialist Milk Shadow Books, it comes with an introduction by Dylan Horrocks. 
Above: A silent strip by Tim Molloy. Copyright Tim Molloy 2012.

Look for it next month, and I'll keep you posted on where you'll be able to pick this up in New Zealand. For more updates check out the Milk Shadow Books website HERE.