Thursday, May 24, 2012

GO READ: City Lights 2: Planet Of Fear

Above: City Lights 2: Planet Of Fear, cover by Jonathan King. Copyright Chad Taylor & Jonathan King 2012.

The second chapter of the thoughtful sci-fi serial City Lights by Chad Taylor & Jonathan King is now available to read at The Brighter Future website HERE (and Chapter 1 HERE). In this chapter, scientist Jim Green debriefs Pentagon military generals on his potential discovery of alien life on a distant planet, and what it may mean for mankind.
Above: Dr Green debates the potential threat to Earth from the existence of alien life-forms. Art by Jonathan King. Copyright Chad Taylor & Jonathan King 2012.

Once again this strip nicely skews the conventions of the sci-fi genre, playing off the fantasies of alien invasions embedded in our popular culture and contrasting it with the reality of our planet's limited safe guards and technological reach. It will be interesting to see where this goes next. As the saying goes: To be continued...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

EDUCATION: Creating Comics: From Webcomics To Graphic Novels

Above: Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones by Richard Fairgray.

If you live in the Auckland area and have always wanted to give comics creation a go, here's your chance: a five week night class with the creators of Blastosaurus

Taking place at Rangitoto Collage from Tuesday 29th of May, the course will fill you in on everything you need to know about creating comics. A look at the conventions of the comic book from the past to the present; learn how it has developed through history, and apply this to the production of a comic/graphic novel or comic strip. With practical exercises during each class.

Above: A page from the Blastosaurus webcomic, by Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones. Copyright Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones 2012. 

The tutors are Richard Fairgray, writer/artist of Blastosaurus, and his co-writer Terry Jones. Together they have been publishing Blastosaurus for over four years, as a comic and a successful webcomic which you can view HERE. Fairgray has also co-written the webcomics The Inspiration Duncans and The Darwin Fairies for Beyond Reality Media, which you can read HERE.

The tuition fee for the complete 5 week course is a very reasonable $159.00 incl GST, which includes material costs. Registration closes soon, so to enroll or find out more, visit the Rangitoto Collage website HERE.


Above: The recently released Blastosaurus Issue 00, by Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones. Copyright Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones 2012. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

NZ Graphic Novels rule the NZ Post Children's Book Awards!

Above: Nice Day for a War, by Matt Elliot and Chris Slane.

The winners of the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2012 were announced on Wednesday night at a Wellington ceremony, with three of the major prizes going to comics related books. Nice Day for a War, by Matt Elliot and Chris Slane took out the top prize of Children's Book Of The Year, and won the Non-Fiction category. Nice Day for a War is based on the World War I diaries of writer Matt Elliot's grandfather, Corporal Cyril Elliot. The diary entries are complimented by gritty narrative comic sections depicted in stunning watercolour art by Chris Slane, that clearly made an impact on the judges. Gillian Candler, the Awards Convenor of Judges praised its unique approach to its subject, "Nice Day for a War is a stand-out book which offers young readers an honest glimpse into the lives of soldiers during World War I. The beautiful fluid line drawings and muted watercolour washes bring the diary to life. The interplay between the illustrations and text creates a powerful, emotionally engaging story for young readers".

Above: Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang.

Ant Sang's powerful debut graphic novel Shaolin Burning received the runner-up Honour Award in the Picture Book category. This is a great result, as Shaolin Burning was something of a surprise entry into the Picture Book category, with many industry watchers commenting that its subject matter really places it closer to the YA fiction category than anything else. As Ant commented, "I thought it would be tough for Shaolin Burning to compete in the Picture Book category, so was really pleased to receive the Honour Award. And fantastic that Elliot and Chris' Nice Day For a War scooped the top award of the night. NZ comics represent!"

However, If there was a prize for media coverage, Shaolin Burning would have certainly come out on top. It was easily the most talked about book leading up to the Awards, bringing some attention back to what can occasionally be a fairly predictable and safe line-up. With these results I expect we'll be seeing a lot more local graphic novels in the pipeline as publishers love award magnets, especially books that capture the public imagination.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

That Time Superman Fought a Moa!

Above: Superman VS a Moa. Copyright DC Comics 2012.

Via BoingBoing: well, the headline really speaks for itself.
Ironically, there's a cafe around the corner from me that features a screen-printed painting of this on the wall, so I guess it's not as obscure a comics event as one would suspect...


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012!

Above: Free Comic Book Day banner by Michel Mulipola.

Free Comic Book Day returns this Saturday 5th of May at a comic store near you! This worldwide comics initiative takes place on the first Saturday of May each year; with the initial aim of promoting public awareness of comics, it is now more firmly focused on promoting reading and creating a fun event where both parents and children can share their mutual love of the comics medium.

Featured titles this year include: hot on the back of the hit film Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the DC Comics New 52 Special, the Valiant Preview, Grant Morrison's Dinosaurs VS Aliens and many more.

There's also a great range for younger readers: the Moomin Colour Special, Bongo Comics Free-For-All, Barnaby, Superman Family, and a very limited Mouse Guard/Labyrinth hardcover!

Local shops are also making an extra effort to make this an event for the whole community, with bonus prizes for dressing up and lots of other fun activities. Here's a breakdown of what's happening at comic shops across the country:


Gotham Comics: 
264 The Mall, Onehunga, Auckland. Ph/Fax: +64 9 634 4399
Open: 10am - 4pm

- For walking in-store between 10am-4pm you get 2 FREE comics!
- For wearing a Superhero (or Super Villain) Costume you get 2 more FREE comics!
- For a Gold Coin Donation to Royal Oak Intermediate you get 2 more FREE comics!
- Plus Bargain deals in-store!
- Cheap Comics! Cheap Trade Paperbacks! Cheap Cool T-shirts!

277 Karangahape Rd
Newton, Auckland.
PH: 6493070682
Open: 10am - 5pm


MK1: Mark One Comics:
551 Victoria Street, Hamilton. PH: 07 8393728
Open: 9am - 5pm

Reasons why you should visit Mark One on Free Comic Book Day:

Reason #1: We are giving away 4000 comics this year! That’s 2000 more than last year! There really will be something for everyone – and a few surprises to boot!

Reason #2 (although you are going to have to be early to take advantage of this one!): Small press publisher Archaia (known for producing beautiful comics in high quality formats like Mouse Guard, Okko and Rust) are offering the very first hardcover book in Free Comic Book Day history!

Reason #3: DC wraps up one of their best year’s in publishing (and that’s saying something for this 85 year old company) with a major sneak peak at the next wave of DC’s full line relaunch (the new 52!) If you’ve been enjoying the new 52 (and so many out there are – it’s been a great Mk1 sales success!) you will want to check out DC’s main FCBD offering (and yes there are others!)

Reason #4: Marvel are on the cusp of what will be one of their best years (thanks to the new AVENGERS movie) look for lots of Avengers comics and Spider-man offerings!

Reason #5: Star Wars, Superman, Transformers, Smurfs, Simpsons, Spongebob, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Yo Gabba Gabba, Joss Whedon’s Serenity, Walt Disney’s Donald Duck, and lots, lots more. All the best in comics on the best comics day of the year.

Reason #6: Mk1 celebrates 23 years in Hamilton with our now traditional (and only annual store wide sale!)  Hint: the discount matches our age!


Comics Compulsion: 
58 Main North Road, Papanui, Christchurch.
PH: 3797866 or email: for details.
Open: 10am-4pm

On the 5 May 2012 we will again be participating in the world wide event, and like last year when we were still working out the back of my house we will fire up the BBQ and make a fun day of it. Hope you can make it along and celebrate with us.

Could be a good day to break out the superhero costumes!


The Badcave:
86 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North. PH: 06 3566779
Open: 10am-4pm


106 Cuba Mall PH: 04 3842 691
Open: 10.30am-3.30pm

So head to your nearest comic shop this Saturday and enjoy sharing some great FREE comics!