Monday, March 1, 2021

Bristle Annual 2021 Launch!

Above: The cover for Bristle Annual 2021 by Sara Riordan.

UPDATE: The launch is cancelled due to uncertainty relating to the current COVID-19 Alert Levels, but keep an eye out for this new issue of Bristle at local zine and comics events.

There's a new Bristle Annual launching this Saturday in Wellington (as long as the COVID-19 Alert Levels are eased by then...). The new issue features stories by: Matt Kelly, Lorenzo, Gus Mitchell, James James, Sanjana Khusal, Indira Neville, Bryce Galloway, Aaron Christiansen, David Tulloch, and Brent C Willis.

- AK!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Mail Drop Review: The Adventures of Maureen Cringe

Above: The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie. Copyright Joe Wylie 2021.

I was recently lucky enough to receive a limited edition copy of The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie, collecting the complete Maureen Cringe comics that appeared in the iconic NZ comics anthology series Strips, issues #2, 3 and 4/5 in the late 1970s. Maureen Cringe is a Penrose Shoe Factory worker who is on a flight to Kathmandu, when she is inexplicably transported to the 26th century. Rescued from Martians by the Ultratibetan musical warrior Omo K'Chang, she joins the crew of the spaceship Karma Dzong and becomes a celebrity musician in the distant future. 

Above: Artwork from The Adventures of Maureen Cringe by Joe Wylie. Copyright Joe Wylie 2021.  

Cartoonist Joe Wylie had visited Nepal, and the traditional Buddhist art techniques he studied there informed his artwork for the strip, which captures the psychedelic flavour of the sixties and seventies music scene, and even hints at the art direction associated with rave music 20 years later - which feels suitably appropriate for a time-travelling musician stranded in the distant future.

It's great to see these strips all compiled together in one place by designer/artist Matt Campbell Downes. The copy I have was from a limited print run of 100 copies, but I've heard there are rumblings of potentially making this available in a larger print run so that everyone can enjoy this lost kiwi comics classic. If and when this happens I'll be sure to update this post with a link for purchase.

- AK!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Summer Reads: Lockdown, This is Not a Pipe and The Side Eye 2020 Annual

There were some great local graphic novels released towards at the end of last year, so while the weather is still fine, here's three graphic novel titles by New Zealand authors to catch up on - preferably somewhere comfortable with a cold drink on hand!

Like scenes from a science fiction novel, COVID-19 spread like a dark storm across planet Earth. When the virus came to the faraway islands of Aotearoa New Zealand, the nation’s team of five million went into lockdown.

Nineteen of the best comic artists from around Aotearoa New Zealand have created stories to mark this time. Featuring: Alex Cara, Hana Chatani, Li Chen, Miriama Grace-Smith, Sloane Hong, Ruby Jones, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Toby Morris, Sharon Murdoch, Ross Murray, Ant Sang, Coco Solid, Anthony Stocking (Deadface Comics), Mat Tait, Jessica Thompson Carr (Māori Mermaid), Zak Waipara, Tokerau Wilson and Jem Yoshioka!

Above: Artwork by Ross Murray from  Lockdown: Tales from Aotearoa.

ISBN: 978-1-877375-65-1  
108 pages
Hardback, 275 x 195mm
Published by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū 
Available from all good bookstores and the Christchurch Art Gallery HERE

This Is Not A Pipe by Tara Black

I’ve decided to document my life in pictures. It’s hard to draw the pole, because of the pole. Beth has a pole through her arms. This is not a metaphor. A metaphor would be a lot less inconvenient. On the other side of the room, Kenneth is creating a new religion. He thinks narrative is the operating principle of the universe. He also thinks he’s the hero of Beth’s story. Beth is worried he’s going to leave her. The creatures living in the pole may have stolen her cat.

Tara Black’s comic is surreal, dark, sad, perversely joyful, and if you bet someone they couldn’t find another book remotely like it, you would win. It’s a little bit about being married to Kenneth. It’s a little bit about losing your cat. It’s definitely not about the pole.

I’ve been told I hold my pen wrong. But it’s the only way I can.

‘One of the most potent, unsettling texts I’ve encountered.’  —Tracey Slaughter

'Poetic, whimsical and painfully honest.' —Dylan Horrocks

Above: Artwork from This Is Not A Pipe by Tara Black. 

ISBN: 9781776563227  
160 pages  
Paperback, 165 x 210mm
Published by Victoria University Press
Available from all good bookstores and VUP HERE

The Spinoff is excited to release the first edition of The Side Eye Annual - a printed collection of Toby Morris' outstanding Side Eye comics published on The Spinoff throughout 2020.

From a dentist's office to a glow-worm cave to a recording studio with beloved band, 'The Beths', Toby Morris’s monthly comic, The Side Eye has been everywhere in 2020. Juggling a pandemic, an election and a few rare months in between, this year Toby’s blend of reporting, opinion and visual journalism has been more crucial than ever. This edition also features a special introduction from managing editor Duncan Greive.

Above: A montage of artwork from this year's 
The Side Eye comics by Toby Morris.

Published by the Spinoff and available to order from their website HERE, and if you're lucky Unity Books in Auckland and Wellington may also have some copies in store.

So do yourself a favour and pick up these books while there's still some free time to read before 2021 really gets going!

- AK!