Above: A previous Xmas drinks attended by Auckland cartoonists. To celebrate the end of yet another successful year of New Zealand Comics, From Earth's End will be hosting Xmas drinks in Auckland at Brooklyn Bar, 332 Queen Street (or 57 Lorne Street, just opposite the Central Library) on Thursday night, 12th of December from 7pm!
This will be a great chance to talk about some of the fine New Zealand comics and graphic novels that have been released this year and generally catch-up with other Auckland cartoonists to 'talk shop' and discuss the year that was. Everyone is welcome, so if you're a casual visitor to this site now is the perfect opportunity to meet some of Auckland's local cartoonist in person and share a couple of brews to celebrate! See you there, or you can officially join the Facebook event HERE. - AK!
Above: Baltimore Vol.3: A Passing Stranger and Other Stories HC, cover by Mike Mignola. Copyright Mike Mignola 2013.
Ben Stenbeck is one of the few local cartoonists to break through to 'mainstream' comics publishing, with his ongoing collaboration with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and writer Christopher Golden on Baltimore. A gothic horror in the classic tradition, it follows Lord Henry Baltimore on his quest of revenge - to destroy the dreaded vampire, Haigus.
This is the third collection in the series, following The Plague Ships (2010) and The Curse Bells (2011). In this volume a demented surgeon attempts to cure vampirism by creating greater horrors, and a perverse inquisitor reveals his own dark secrets, as Baltimore pursues the scarred vampire that he blames for all of it.
The collection is out now, and Ben will be signing copies of the new hardcover at Heroes For Sale (582 Karangahape Road, Auckland), Wednesday 4th of December, from 6pm-8pm. There will also be live music, with performances from punk band The Parents and indie-pop musician, Princess Chelsea!
Here's a five page preview from the collection to give you an idea of what you're in for:
You can find out more about Ben at his website HERE and join the Facebook signing event HERE.
Above: The first page of Musink Moves my Feet, by Lee Reid & Joshua Drummond. Copyright Lee Reid & Joshua Drummond 2013.
Since June this year, journalist/cartoonist Joshua Drummond has been posting a variety of comics over at his website Cakeburger. His latest comic strip, a press release for the free music notation software Musink, has attracted a huge amount of attention on social media this week - and rightfully so.
In comic strip form, the press release tells the inspirational story of software developer Lee Reid, a Neuroscience student and musician who developed a serve pain disorder in his arms, prevented him from working or carrying out almost any physical activity. With nothing but time on his hands, he conceived of Musink - a music notation software program, which he painstakingly created by using his feet to type, and voice recognition software. It took two years to complete the program and is a truly remarkable story, beautifully told through Drummond's thoughtful illustrations.
You can read the full comic strip release HERE. And if you're a musician interested in getting a copy of the software program Musink, the free version is available for download HERE.
Due to the stormy weather conditions last week, I've had to reschedule my book signings - so my appearances are now as follows:
- Wednesday, 13th of November at Whitcoulls Corner Store, 210 Queen St, Auckland, from 12.30pm-12.45pm.
-Thursday, 14th of November at Arkham Comics, Royal Oak Mall (upstairs near McDonalds) - Shop 45a/691 Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, Auckland, from 6pm.
- Saturday, 16th of November at Whitcoulls 226 Lampton Quay, Wellington, from 12.30pm - 12.45pm.
- Saturday, 23rd of November at Whitcoulls Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, 286 Mt Wellington Highway, from 12.30pm-12.45pm.
There may be more to be confirmed, so check back here for future dates.
In the meantime it's already gotten some pretty great media coverage and positive feedback, with a great review over at the NZ Herald that you can read HERE, and I did a fun interview with David Larsen on how I got into local comics in last week's NZ Listener (dated Nov 9-15th).
I've also just written a guest blog over at the Random House NZ website, talking a bit about the history of New Zealand comics and their (almost) demise due to a teenage sex scandal in the late 1950s - which could almost be ripped from todays headlines, as juvenile delinquency once again grips the nation. You can read this post HERE.
The official launch will be taking place next Wednesday, 30th of October at the Auckland Central Library, Whare Wananga Room on Level 3 from 6pm with nibbles and refreshments.
From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics is the first major publication dedicated to local comics culture. It features an in-depth overview of the history of comics in New Zealand, from the early pioneering cartoonists to the bestselling graphic novels of today. It features stories from 30 of New Zealand's best cartoonists and a look into the influence of comics on our culture, with exclusive interviews with artist Dick Frizzell, film-maker Vincent Ward and more!
Published by Random House NZ, it clocks in at a substantial 448 pages, with an RRP of $59.99! There will be exclusive copies available on the night (cash and eftpos available).
I'll be joined by Dylan Horrocks for an behind the scenes panel starting at 6.30pm in which we'll discuss the origins of the book, and take a retrospective look at New Zealand comics through the decades.
The panel will be followed at 7.20pm with a signing by myself and some of the attending featured artists.
There will be an After Party following the event at Brooklyn Bar, 332 Queen St, from 8pm (just across from the Library).
The event is free, but booking is recommended - you can RSVP at the Central Library by ph: 3770209 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can join the Facebook event page HERE.
If you can't make it on the night, the book will be available at bookstores everywhere from Friday 1st of November, and can also be pre-ordered online from Mighty Ape HERE.
I'll also be doing a bit of a signing tour in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out here for more details!
Above: Dick Frizzell at his Auckland studio, 2013. Photographed by Adrian Kinnaird, copyright 2013. "I’m amazed at how consistent I’ve been actually, over the years, with my interest and love of the comic book image — the line work, the whole thing. Everyone asks me, what drew you to commercial art or pop art, and if you look back it’s not a decision, it’s just what you are. For some reason you take that level of enterprise seriously — as a big deal, even though it’s just a comic."
As one of New Zealand’s most popular fine artists, Dick Frizzell’s artwork is both iconic and engaging in its ability to communicate ideas through imagery. This particular facility to compress information into a series of highly memorable images has served Frizzell well in a career that has spanned the popular culture spectrum - from fine arts to advertising and illustration.
Above: Mickey To Tiki (1997). Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.
It should come as no surprise that Frizzell has drawn on imagery from comics for some of his most well-known artworks, including pieces inspired by The Phantom comic books, or the controversial Mickey To Tiki (1997). Unlike other pop artists who were simply intent of borrowing imagery from comics in passing – most notably Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Dick Frizzell has had a life-long appreciation for comics, which has inspired and informed his approach to art in a profound way – reflecting a deep understanding of the visual language and medium of comics.
Above: A childhood cartoon by Dick Frizzell. Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.
“I was into comics as far back as I can remember,” recalls Frizzell. “My father was quite keen on a couple of comics that he must have read in America when he was a sailor. He somehow managed to track them down, and he’d come home and give me these copies of newspaper cartoon reprints, in the style of Bringing Up Father – very clever, literate drawings and writing. The quality of the work was very high, these guys were classically trained illustrators.”
Frizzell taught himself to draw by coping his favourite examples. “Growing up I used to copy from comics all the time. In my little bedroom in Hastings I had a desk set up by the window, and I would copy comics artists like Carmine Infantino from The Flash. I could sit there all afternoon re-drawing an entire comic on loose sheets, and then pin them around the wall in my bedroom. When I went to Varsity, my mother took them all down and burnt them! I’ve still got a few random cartoons that I managed to save.”
Above: An Frizzell drawn advertisement for Levi's Jeans (1970s). If you look closely, you can see the stylistic influence of Batman artist Bob Kane, one of Frizzell's favourites.
His interest in comics would later influence his advertising career, with many clients gravitating towards 'comic book style’ solutions, convinced that "nobody could resist that graphic clarity, the framed narrative”. This belief proved right, and he created comic style artwork for clients like Tip Top ice cream and Levi’s Jeans.
Above: Tiwa Chief (1976), enamel on canvas. Copyright Dick Frizzell 2013.
When Frizzell returned to painting in the late 1970's, it was an image from a comic book that would provide the inspiration for a new direction in his artwork. “One night out in the garage, when no one was watching, I painted this Tiwa Chief, just transposed it straight from a Phantom comic onto a little canvas I had lying around. Just drawing loosely with enamel paint out of these tins, and it was just incredibly exciting doing it – and it worked. I thought it was amazing, all I had to do was transmute it from this little drawing to an actual canva in paint, and that just did it. And then I experimented with something else, and another image…and as they say, the rest was history.”
So what is it at about certain comic images that Frizzell responds to? “I figured out over time that it’s always about looking for an archetype. Images like the running man, or the jumping horse, a vase of flowers…images that are completely inert, but communicating volumes at the same time. That’s what I look for when I’m going through those Phantom comics, a narrative archetype. I like the ones that are like a finger going up to turn on the light switch, or a cutaway…the panels between the action. Those little frames, the compositions were just so immaculate”.
Above: Dick Frizzell at the opening of his current exhibition, The Dance of the Hooligans.
Dick Frizzell's current art exhibition, The Dance of the Hooligans, currently on at the Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland, features several pieces infused by Frizzell's interest in comics imagery, and should not be missed! Gow Langsford Gallery is located at 26 Lorne st, with the exhibition running from October 2 - 26th.
Above: The cover of Faction #2, by Christian Pearce.
The second issue of the latest NZ comics anthology, Faction #2 is out now! It's 90 pages of kiwi comics goodness, featuring: Allan Xia, Cory Mathis, Damon Keen, the Sheehan Bros, Rachel Royale, Michel Mulipola, Ned Wenlock, James Squires, Mukpuddy and myself!
It's available from selected retailers and the Faction website HERE for $24.95 (+ postage).
Above: The cover of Moth City: Volume 3 Part 1, by Tim Gibson. Copyright Tim Gibson 2013.
Tim Gibson's webcomic Moth City continues to draw great reviews and industry attention, with it's fifth issue dropping on ComiXology next Wednesday HERE.
Above: Let Me Be Frank #4: Celebrity by Sarah Laing. Copyright Sarah Laing 2013.
As a part of the Auckland Libraries' Comic Book Month, author and cartoonist Sarah Laing will be giving a talk about he latest novel, The Fall of Light, and comic books in general at the Point Chevalier Library, this Saturday Sept 28th from 2.30pm -3.30pm. She has currently released four issues of her excellent comic series Let Me Be Frank through Pikita Press, that can be purchased online HERE.
Above: Issues of Let Me Be Frank on the Earth's End Spinner Rack!
Overload, the annual NZ Comic & Manga convention returns in 2013 with a much larger venue, the ASB Stadium, Kohimarama road, Auckland. The event features a range of comic creators and illustrators selling their work as well as a cosplay contest, and special guest manga artist Range Murata. It takes place this Saturday 28th of September, from 10am - 6pm. Entry is $5, with FREE parking available!
For more details on what to expect from Overload this weekend, visit the website HERE.
The From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics collection is on the way; I'll have news in the coming weeks for the exclusive book launch in Auckland and signings taking place in November! For more updates and exclusive content make sure you LIKE the Facebook page HERE, and follow me on Twitter: @adriankinnaird. More to come soon...