Monday, October 15, 2018

NEW RELEASE: The Permanence of Warmth by John Carsey

Above: The cover of The Permanence of Warmth by John Carsey.

There's a new limited release available now from the folks at The Comicbook Factory: presenting The Permanence of Warmth by John Carsey. If you like gag cartoons that are as hilarious as they are grotesque, then this is the mini-comic for you! 

Above: Artwork from The Permanence of Warmth by John Carsey.  

Presented in the sharp design standards expected from The Comicbook Factory, this mini-comic is limited to 100 copies. It's 32 pages - black and white (with 6 pages of colour), written and illustrated by John Carsey for $9.95 (+ postage). You can order it HERE while stocks last.

- AK!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Remembering Barry Linton 1947-2018

Above: Barry Linton self-portrait from 2011. Copyright the Barry Linton Estate 2018.

Cartoonist Barry Desmond Linton passed away on Tuesday 2nd October 2018, aged 71, at Auckland Hospital. I met Barry in the early 2000s, at one of the monthly NZ comics meet-ups - usually held at the Alleluya Bar & Cafe in St Kevins Arcade off Karangahape Road in Auckland. Barry was short in stature and softly spoken, but always inquisitive and articulate about his love of comics and meeting new cartoonists. From my first encounter with Barry, it was clear from the reaction of others in the community how influential his work was to a whole generation of cartoonists.

Above: A page from Spud Takes Root. Copyright the Barry Linton Estate 2018.

He was one of the founding members of the first real home-grown comics anthology Strips released in the late 70s, where his idiosyncratic drawing style and distinctly locally set comic strips inspired young upcoming cartoonists like Dylan Horrocks. His comics of the time like Spud Takes Root perfectly captured the chaotic and jubilant atmosphere of the 70s gig scene - smoky nights out on the town at a crowded pup, followed by a sweaty summer morning hangover. Reading the strips you could almost hear someone's baby crying from the flat next door, a dog barking down the street and the noise of cars on the motorway off to work, the soundtrack of aotearoa urban suburbia. Twenty years later, young cartoonists I was meeting were still drawing inspiration from Barry's work - the youthful energy he captured on the page was as relevant today as it ever was.

Above: Aki in Tiko by Barry Linton. Copyright the Barry Linton Estate 2018.

Barry also drew from more than just his surroundings, he had a wide ranging list of interests that he explored in his comics. His interest in ancient history and archaeology inspired comics like 20th Century B.C. and the comic series Lucky Aki. The level of research he did for his comics could be described as obsessive, in the best possible way. For Aki - a comic about seafaring in the Neolithic Age - he painstakingly created a series of model ships out of paper and cardboard to accurately depict his designs for the comic. He was also interested in space and life on other planets, resulting in radiantly colourful comics about U.F.Os, aliens and space exploration. He also dabbled in pornographic comics that brimmed with good natured sexual mischief, generally produced for his own amusement and the occasional erotic anthology.

When I began planning my anthology of New Zealand cartoonists in 2008 (which became From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, when it was published in 2013), Barry was one of the first cartoonists I approached to take part. I was excited to have Barry on board, because more than any other cartoonists I knew, Barry's work went largely unknown to the public. This was no accident of coarse, aside from the occasional comics anthology, Barry was really only producing comics for one reader - himself. He had little interest in fame, or the constant struggle to find a publisher and deal with printers. He told me that once he finished a comic, he would print up a few copies, read it, and if it pleased him, set it aside and immediately start the next one. He was a comics industry of one, and this pure dedication and enjoyment of the comics form was a huge inspiration to me.

Above: A page from Aki in Tiko by Barry Linton. Copyright the Barry Linton Estate 2018.

The following biography is based on my interviews conducted with Barry in 2012:

Barry Linton was born in Auckland in the year 5707 (Barry prefers to judge time by the ancient Sumerian Calendar of Nippur), to a naval family with a global outlook. He was educated in Christchurch and Hamilton, before attending Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1967. He stayed only one year, before dropping out to travel and hitchhike his way across the country.

This ‘vision mission’ was a blur of hick towns, pubs, parties and hippie communes, that lasted till the mid-1970s. Along the way Barry discovered New Zealand’s thriving music scene, and produced a variety of related gig posters, record covers, and magazine artwork. Upon his return to Auckland, Barry deciding that his strength lay in combining words and pictures rather than music and lyrics, and set about creating experimental comic strips for the Auckland University newspaper Craccum and other alternative papers.

Inspired by the underground comix that were creeping in from America, he infusing their psychedelic graphics with the flavour of the local music scene for his own comics. His first mini comic, Spud Takes Root appeared in 1977, the same year the Strips comic anthology was formed. Barry was a founding member, contributing around 106 pages of comics during its decade long run. After Strips concluded in 1987, Barry continued to produce commercial artwork and comics for a range of publications like Landfall, Razor, the NZ Listener and The Auckland Star newspaper. In 1994 he collected all of his Strips stories into one self-published collection, Chok Chok! which quickly sold out.

Since 2000 he’s been studying ancient archaeology, which has inspired The Akia  – a series of adventures chronicling the lifetime of Aki, a seafarer from a fictionalised Neolithic land of Oceania. Starting with Lucky Aki, three volumes have so far been completed, but have yet to be widely published. The world of Aki is meticulously researched, with each volume containing detailed paper-craft models of ancient ships for the reader to cut out and assemble, as well as maps of visited islands and towns charting Aki’s exploits. Barry lived in Ponsonby, Auckland, where he slept during the day and created comics all night.

Barry is the much loved son of Robert, Dorris and Judith. Adored older brother to Greg, Diana and Brenda, and admired uncle to their families. Cherished spiritual advisor to daughter Lily. A dedicated artist and insightful member of the Ponsonby community.

Above: A model boat created by Barry Linton. Copyright the Barry Linton Estate 2018.

Above: Barry Linton at Chromacon 2017.

A memorial gathering to celebrate Barry's life and work will be taking place on Saturday 13th October, from 2pm – 4pm, at the Herne Bay Petanque Club, 19 Salisbury Street, Auckland 1011. For more information and updates you can visit the Barry Linton Communication Page on Facebook HERE. I hope to see you there.

- AK