Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kickstarting Echoes From the Drift

Above: Echoes From the Drift by Craig Petersen.

Echoes From the Drift is a new comic book series that expat NZ comics creator Craig Petersen is hoping to launch via a currently underway Kickstarter campaign. Petersen was a prominent local comics creator in the 1990s, producing the fondly remembered superhero series, Southern Tribe (1995-98), and more recently the horror/comedy strip, Close To Midnight (2008-09), for Rip It Up magazine.

Above: Jenni and Zayf, from Echoes From the Drift by Craig Petersen.

His proposed new series, Echoes From the Drift, follows two young adventurers - Jenni and Zayf, as they explore parallel worlds. Jenni is an impulsive, adventure-seeker from the 1980s. She totally loves using '80s slang and uses way too much hairspray. But when the chips are down, Jenni has one of the best hearts around and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in a fight. Zayf is from a far-flung future. He's driven and determined but has a habit of flying by the seat of his pants. However, Zayf has a strong sense of what's right and what's not and will act upon those feelings. In Echoes #1 you’ll discover how they first met and follow them on their adventures through the dimensions. 

Inspired by his love of TV shows from the late 1970s and 80s, Petersen hopes to infuse this comic series with the same spirit of fun and adventure, with a health dash of drama and tragedy on the side!

With this Kickstarter, Petersen is planning to create the first 22-page issue of a five issue story arc. As an added bonus, he'll be including the 10-page In Ruins prequel to the first issue.

The main goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to create a digital copy of the first issue, with exclusive artwork and prints as Rewards. If the first Stretch Goal is hit, then additional behind-the-scenes content will be added to the digital comics. If the second Stretch Goal is hit, then print copies of the comic will be created for 'Visionary Backers' (€20) and above.

To get an idea of what to expect, you can check out the 10-page prequel comic, In Ruins HERE.

Above: He's a breakdown of how the Kickstarter funding will be used.

There are some great rewards for this Kickstarter - including original pages of artwork from the completed comic! You can visit and support this Kickstarter HERE. It's almost halfway to its goal after one week, so support this project and grab an awesome page of artwork while you can!

- AK!

Friday, March 18, 2016

EVENT: A Change Comic Launch

Above: The cover for A Change, artwork by Ant Sang.

Launching this Tuesday at Graphic Comics, A Change is a comics collaboration between a group of young people from BGI (Wellington Boys' and Girls' Institute), the Victoria University's Youth Wellbeing Study and cartoonist Ant Sang (The Dharma Punks).

A Change tells the story of Ash, a young person who struggles with self-injury. Ash navigates through the experience of being misunderstood, judged and stereotyped, and the barriers created around seeking help - all common themes for those who self-injure. This graphic novel has been written by youth for youth, and illustrated by Ant Sang to promote awareness and conversation around this topic. The comic will be free for everyone.

The launch is taking place on Tuesday 22nd of March, at Graphic Comics, 106 Cuba Mall, Wellington, at 3.30pm. Come along to pick up a free copy and get it signed by the creators! For more information on the event, visit the Facebook event page HERE. You can also read/download a PDF version of the comic online HERE.

If you or anyone you know needs support or information relating to self-harm, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website HERE for information and links to support groups and help lines.

- AK!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi by Paul Martin

Above: The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi by Paul Martin.

It seems like an obvious go-to for local comics, but there have been few examples of comic books or graphic novels starring our furry national icon - the Kiwi - as the main protagonist. One of the most recent and notable is The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi (2013), the first graphic novel by Paul Martin. A former Rugby player for Waikato and the Chiefs, Martin has always been an avid cartoonist, and developed the idea for his graphic novel while on a Rugby sabbatical in France. 

Above: A page from The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi by Paul Martin.

The story opens in Whale Bay, where Kory the Kiwi and his friend Bert the Gecko enjoy spending their afternoons surfing and basking in the sunshine. Meanwhile, a world away in the Swiss Alps, a game hunting wolf named Gregor is seeking new and exotic prey to hunt, and set his sites on the brown kiwis of New Zealand. Armed with a ship manned by a motley crew of dogs and stouts, Gregor sets sail for New Zealand, and in short order kidnaps Kory's family and returns to Europe where they await a gruesome fate unless Kory and Bert can use their 'kiwi ingenuity' to save them.

Above: A page from The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi by Paul Martin.

Taking inspiration from other 'album style' graphic novels like Tintin or more locally, Kerr and Ballantyne's Terry Teo and the Gunrunners, this is a fairly straightforward adventure yarn, with plenty of colourful characters and a snowboarding finale in the Swiss Alps which will surely entertain the younger target audience. With the added experience of having lived in France, Martin is able to add enough authentic details in the story to make the shift in locations from New Zealand to Europe feel natural, and enrich proceedings. Older readers may find the flow of the dialogue a little stilted in places, but younger readers tackling this on their own shouldn't have any problems following this upbeat adventure.

Handsomely presented in full-colour hardback, this is a fun read for younger readers who are just discovering graphic novels and looking for something set closer to home.

The Adventures of Kory: Flight of the Kiwi HC
Paul Martin
ISBN: 9780473265113

For more information and to order a copy, you can visit the book's official website HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Event: Mariko Tamaki: Drawing on Life

Above: Canadian graphic novelist Mariko Tamaki. Image by Sorrell Scrutton.

The New Zealand Festival Writers Week 2016 is currently on in Wellington, with a variety of local and international writers descending on the capital for a full week of book launches, discussion, and literary goodness! One of the visiting authors happens to be award-winning Canadian graphic novelist Mariko Tamaki.

Above: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki.

Tamaki's first graphic novel, Skim (2008), was a collaboration with her cousin, artist Jillian Tamaki. The story is about a teenage girl and her romantic feelings towards her female teacher, which went on to win an Ignatz Award, a Joe Shuster Award and a Doug Wright Award. In 2014 they reunited to collaborate on This One Summer, about two young girls on summer holiday who begin to navigate the complexities of teen love, and the unspoken secrets of the teens and adults in their lives.

In 2015, the American Library Association awarded This One Summer one of its highest recognitions for both illustration and young adult literature – a Caldecott Honor and Printz Honor. This marks the first time a Caldecott Honor has been awarded to a graphic novel.

Above: A page from This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki.

Mariko Tamaki will be discussing her books with children’s writer and critic Kate De Goldi at a one hour panel, Drawing on Life, this Sunday 13th of March at the Embassy Theatre at 12.30pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek HERE.

In addition to her writing, Tamaki is also a performance artist. As a multi-talented storyteller, she will be joining local multi-genre artists: Kerry Ann Lee, Sarah Laing and Courtney Sina Meredithon in Taking Form, a conversation about letting a story find its form. Should your story become a book, a song or a play? Is it a solo project or a collaboration? Listen in on this talk to find the answers that work for you. Taking Form takes place at the BATS Theatre, on Saturday 12th of March, at 12.30pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek HERE.

Above: Artwork from The Pencilsword #23 by Toby Morris.

And as an added bonus: in this month's edition of The Pencilsword, Toby Morris conducts a 'graphic' interview with Mariko, which you can read in full HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

EVENT: Three Words Book Launch!

Above: Three Words Auckland book launch poster by Alie Mcpherson.

The long awaited, all-female NZ comics anthology Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women's Comics will launch this Saturday night, 5th of March at The Audio Foundation, 4 Poynton Tce, Auckland, from 7pm. Edited by Rae Joyce, Sarah Laing and Indira Neville and published by Beatnik, this anthology highlights the work of over 60 female cartoonists across a range of styles and content, from professional illustration to homemade zines, and everything in between. 

The launch will feature entertainment from some of the book's talented contributors: The Doll!, Rachel Shearer, Ducklingmonster, Ralph and poets Andra, Rachel Fenton, and Raewyn Alexander.

Above: Wellington Three Words book launch poster by Becca Hawkes.

If you can't make it to Auckland, there will also be a Three Words Wellington Launch! In association with the New Zealand Festival Writers Week, the Three Words Wellington launch will be taking place on Saturday 12th of March at Meow, 9 Edward Street, Wellington, from 3pm. So drop by to show your support for this history making publication!

Here's the official press release:

Women in Aotearoa New Zealand make comics. They make slick professional comics and homemade crafty ones. some are conventionally attractive and some are beautifully ugly. Some have logical linear narratives and some are cerebral visual leaping swirls. There are big proud comics and small humble ones, widely distributed comics and one-offs, comics that are deep and meaningful and some that are light and silly. There are physical, emotional and intellectual comics, intentional and accidental comics, happy, sad, funny, angry, scary, confusing and wondrous comics.

For some it may be a surprise to find so many comics by women cartoonists, since conventional wisdom would have us believe that the comics scene is a boys’ club. But it’s not a surprise to us. Although women’s comics haven’t been represented much in New Zealand history books, they have been found in zines and magazines, tumblrs, twitter feeds, shoe boxes, art galleries, painted on old tea trays and brochures, magneted to fridges, tattooed on forearms. And now they’re also here. In this book. A whole bunch of them, up front, visible, available and MAKING HISTORY.

With comics by: Adele Jackson, Alex McCrone, Alex Wild, Alice Tumblescribbleson, Alie Mcpherson, Anna Critchton, Andra Jenkin, Bek Coogan, Beth Duckingmonster, Beth Sometimes, Caroline Anderson, Celia Allison, Claire Harris, Dawn Tuffery, Demarnia Lloyd, Diane Rimmer, Elsie Jolliffe, Emma Blackett, Erin Fae, Debra Boyask, Giselle Clarkson, Indira Neville, The Rabbid, Jem Yoshioka, Jessica Dew, Jessica Hansell, Joanna Anderson, Judy Darragh, Kayla Oliver, Kerry Ann Lee, Margaret Silverwood, Olga Krause, Linda Lew, Lisa Noble, Liz Mathews, Loux McLellen, Lucy Meyle, Maiangi Waitai, Marina Williams, Mary Tamblyn, Mengzhu Fu, Mirranda Burton, Miriam Harris, Pritika Lal, Rachel Benefield, Rachel Shearer, Rae Joyce, Raewyn Alexander, Ralphi, Rebecca Hawkes, Renee Jones, Rosemary McLeod, Warsaw, Sally Bollinger, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Sharon Murdoch, Sophie McMillan, Sophie Oiseau, Stella Corkery, Susan Rugg, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Suzanne Claessen and Zoe Colling.

And essays by Robyn Kenealy, Rae Joyce, Ruth Boyask, Jem Yoshioka and Miriam Sapphira.

TITLE:  Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women's Comics
EDITED BY: Rae Joyce, Sarah Laing, Indira Neville
SOFTCOVER: 264 pages
SIZE: 160mm x 210mm
PUBLISHER: Beatnik Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9941205-0-2
PRICE: $50.00NZ

And if you can't make it to either event, you can also order it online now through the Beatnik website HERE. For more information and updates, visit the Three Words blog HERE.

- AK!