Friday, January 31, 2014

From Earth's End and Alison Bechdel come to Writers Week 2014!

The New Zealand Festival is on once again in Wellington this February & March, with the Writers Week section taking place from Friday 7th - Wednesday, 12th of March. And I'm pleased to report there will be a very healthy showing of comics related events this year!

Above: The 'Comicsville' line-up: (from left) Adrian Kinnaird, Robyn E. Kenealy, Dylan Horrocks and Jonathan King.

From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics will be spotlighted at the 'Comicsville' panel, on Monday, March 10th at 10.45am at the Hannah Playhouse (formally Downstage Theatre). I'll be joined on stage with three of the featured cartoonists from the book: Dylan Horrocks - author of Hicksville; Robyn E. Kenealy - author of Roddy's Film Companion and the webcomic American Captain; and cartoonist/film director Jonathan King - author of Threat Level. We'll be discussing the exciting developments and growth of the New Zealand comics scene of the last few years, including the publication of From Earth's End and Dylan Horrocks' latest collection, Incomplete Works.

Tickets are $18, check out the Festival page HERE for more details.

Above: The cover of Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks.

As mentioned, Dylan Horrocks has a new comics collection on the way, Incomplete Works, which will be launched at the Festival with a party celebrating its release - as well as Caoilinn Hughes' new poetry collection, Gathering Evidence, hosted by publisher Victoria University Press. This is a free event, taking place Saturday, 8th of March at the Exchange Atrium, 24 Blair St, Wellington Central, from 7.30pm.

See the event page HERE for more details. There are also plans for a Incomplete Works launch in Auckland later in March, so keep an eye out for that.

Above: American cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

The Festival will also be hosting acclaimed US cartoonist, Alison Bechdel. Creator of the widely published comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she has also produced two bestselling graphic memoirs, Fun Home (2006) - which chronicles her childhood memories and her difficult relationship with her father, and Are You My Mother? (2012) - an exploration of her relationship with her mother and her time spent in therapy. Bechdel will be discussing her work and more, with community art space director Moira Clunie. The panel 'Drawing From Life' will take place on Sunday, 9th of March at 1.45pm at the Embassy Theatre.

Tickets are $18, check out the Festival page HERE for more details.

Online ordering for all of these events is available from February 7th. So lots of great comics events to enjoy, so start saving and if you aren't based in Wellington, make your travel plans now!

- AK!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Life with Comics, Chapter 3: Escape To New York

It's been a long time coming, but the third chapter of auto-bio comic strip, My Life with Comics is here! Since it's been a while, I've included the first two chapters here to get everyone back up to speed.

In this chapter I discover Marvel Comics, specifically The Amazing Spider-Man. I was getting these issues from a second-hand store, so there was a good mix of current (early 80's) and older issues (70's and 60s reprints like Marvel Tales), so I got to really experience some of the best Spidey comics created - from the classic Lee/Ditko material, to John Romita Sr. (who I'm channelling for this strip), Gerry Conway & Gil Kane, Ross Andru and more.

This strip is also dedicated to my grandmother, May Kinnaird, who passed away last year at the age of 93.

- AK!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

EVENT: Dr. Grordbort's Exceptional Exhibition

For the second time in New Zealand, the science fiction world of Dr. Grordbort comes to Christchurch, with an exhibition of artwork, sculptures and memorabilia. The brainchild of Wellington artist/conceptual designer Greg Broadmore, the Dr. Grordbort universe takes the classic colonial explorer/hunter to deep space for an intergalactic safari of discovery - to encounter new forms of life...and mount their heads above the mantlepiece.

Broadmore has so far produced three Dr. Grordbort graphic novels, Dr. Grordbort’s Croudbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory (2008), VICTORY: Scientific Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Woman (2009), and TRIUMPH: Unnecessarily Violent Tales of Science Adventure for the Simple and Unfortunate (2012), as well as a series of collectible replica rayguns. “I wanted to satirize pulp fiction that spans the era from the 1890s to the 1940s”, Broadmore explains, describing the Dr. Grordbort graphic novels as, “basically propaganda aimed at children in Grordbort's world”.

Above: The '4th Law' raygun! Copyright Greg Broadmore 2013.

The exhibition opens today at The Colombo, 363 Colombo St, Sydenham, Christchurch, and will display many of Broadmore's original paintings and concept art, along with sculptures and an impressive collection of Dr. Grordbort rayguns. Entry is from $10, with the exhibition open daily from 10.30am-6.30pm, January 23rd - 28th of February.

You can check out the Eventfinder page HERE for more details, and find out more about the world of Dr. Grordbort at the official website HERE.


Friday, January 17, 2014

The Mighty NZ Comics Digital Update: Part 1

Above: The cover of Rena's Journey by Karl-Heinz Schradt. Copyright Karl-Heinz Schradt 2013.

The global audience for digital comics continues to grow exponentially, thanks to the ever increasing affordability of e-Readers, tablets and other digital viewing platforms. Over the last 15 years, webcomics and digital downloads have grown from a curious side development to an essential component of the comics industry. This development has offered huge opportunities for upcoming cartoonists to get their comics seen without the high costs of printing; a particularly great development for cartoonists from countries like New Zealand - which are too small to support a local print industry, offering the potential to court an international audience by sharing their work online.

There's such a growing wave of NZ digital comics available that I'm going to have to make this a multi-parter!

Above: A trailer for Rena's Journey by Karl-Heinz Schradt. Copyright Karl-Heinz Schradt 2013.

First up, Karl-Heinz Schradt spent several years completing his first graphic novel, Rena's Journey. The 148 page graphic novel is an adventure story set in modern day New Zealand, drawing on the rich history of Maori mythology. You can read the  complete story on Schradt's website HERE, and if you'd like to enjoy the story in print form, you can order it HERE for $29.99NZ or at participating Auckland booksellers.

Above: The return of Kiwiman, by Matthew Kelly. Copyright Matthew Kelly 2013.

Kiwiman, the Wingless Wonder returns! Matthew Kelly's satirical take on a local superhero goes weekly, starting today with the first page of 'Crossover on Finite Islands'. Check back in every Friday for the latest update from the Kiwiman website HERE.

Above: A promo piece from The Aegean Era: Origins, by Mark Holland with Brad Goff. Copyright Mark Holland 2013.

If you're a reader of Faction Comics, you may recall the short intro piece for Mark Holland's The Aegean Era: Origins that appeared in issue #1. The first chapter of this mythology based 'Mythpunk' adventure is now completed and available to read HERE.

Above: Sarah Laing looks back at her time as a radio DJ. Copyright Sarah Laing 2013.

Over at he blog Let Me Be Frank, Sarah Laing has produced a four part series on her experiences working as a radio DJ. You can read them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4!

Above: More unsettling adventures for Mr. Unpronounceable! Copyright Tim Molloy 2013.

Tim Molloy's Mr Unpronounceable Adventures collection was a sleeper hit when it was released last year, and he's an opportunity to read a brand new story via Molloy's Tumblr page HERE.

There's plenty more local comics material out there in cyberspace, so read up and I'll have another update for you to check out next week!

- AK!