Next week sees the release of Dylan Horrocks' long awaited second graphic novel, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, with a launch party happening at Heroes For Sale, 582 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, on Thursday 27th of November at 6.30pm.
Following 16 years after the release of his ground-breaking debut Hicksville (1998), The Magic Pen introduces us to Sam Zabel - a burnt out cartoonist who having lost his faith in the comics medium, begins a journey of rediscovery that takes him inside and beyond the boundaries of comic books and their established storytelling conventions. Accompanied by web-cartoonist Alice Brown, and the mysterious rocket-booted, manga-styled schoolgirl Miki, Sam's quest for the elusive Magic Pen takes them inside a series of comic books where they meet a tribe of sex-obsessed aliens, pirates, medieval monks, dragons, a room of tentacles, and of coarse, cartoonists.
Above: Sam and his friends encounter the She-Pirates of The Bloody Rose!
Thoughtful, erotic and surprising, The Magic Pen explores both the pleasures and consequences of creating fantasy stories - and asks the difficult questions. For example, should authors be held morally accountable for the fantasies they create? There are many troubling areas in the history of comic books relating to the depiction of gender roles, sexuality and violence among many others issues, which Horrocks boldly wrestles with in this book - challenging himself and his own expectations of comics in a way few of his international peers have.
This is Horrocks' first full-colour graphic novel, and the artwork is beautifully refined in its style and colour palette, making even the most raunchy sequence seem surprisingly tasteful! On that note, it will be interesting to see how the book is received by some critics, particularly those unfamiliar with comics who might assume Dylan's clear-line art style must be inherently child-friendly...big mistake! There are also stylistic tips of the hat to Tintin's Herge, Carl Barks, and even our own late pioneering cartoonist, Eric Resetar.
Above: Sam struggles with the responsibility of storytelling and fantasy.
If Hicksville represented the hopes and fears of a young cartoonist and his relationship to comics, The Magic Pen is its spiritual sequel - the work of a seasoned veteran at the height of his creative power exploring the language of comic books from the inside out, and reporting back to us what he has learnt about himself and the medium after almost two decades in the creative trenches.
Above: Sam and Miki blast off on their adventure!
There will be live entertainment on the night, with snacks and refreshments, and of coarse Dylan will be on hand to sign and sketch in your own personal copy! If you are on Facebook you can RSVP HERE.
And if you are in Wellington, don't despair - Dylan will be signing at Unity Books, 57 Willis St, on December 12th, from 12.00 - 12.45pm! And you can RSVP for that event HERE.
It is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the year, so come along and celebrate this landmark release!
On Friday it was confirmed that a body found in a stream in Henderson, West Auckland, was that of missing illustrator Adam Tan.
Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.
Adam Tan was a gifted and well known illustrator in the Auckland arts community. He was of Malaysian-Chinese descent, born and raised in New Zealand. A recent graduate of AUT, he had exhibited and sold prints of his artwork at such events as Zinefest and Chromacon.
He had been missing since the 27th of October after running away from Waitakere Hospital, where his family had taken him after he became distressed, and voluntarily admitted himself to the mental health ward on arrival. During an escorted transfer to the ward he unexpectedly broke away from a security officer and nurse, scaled a metal fence and ran through a car park before disappearing. His family and friends mounted a search for him, coordinating their efforts via a page on Facebook, while the police continued their search.
On Monday 3rd of November a body was discovered in a stream behind the Trusts Stadium on Central Park Drive in Henderson, which was later identified as Adam Tan.
Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.
His sudden, tragic passing, leaves behind a portfolio of amazing artwork - some of which you can still view HERE at his website, and what would have no doubt have been a very successful career as an illustrator. Dylan Horrocks was one of his tutors at AUT and posted this tribute on Facebook page: "I was in awe of Adam's ability and vision, and always enjoyed chatting with him. My thoughts and love go out to his family and friends, his former teachers and especially to his fellow students in the class we shared. You're all amazing, and I wish you all plenty of love and strength".
Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.
I had the pleasure of meeting Adam a few years ago during a visit to a Queen St studio space he shared in Auckland with his some of his fellow AUT design students. He was softly spoken as he showed me some of the remarkable artwork he was working on, it was energising to be in the presence of such creativity. He will be greatly missed, and my thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. His life and artwork will continue to inspire us all.
If you suffer from depression or feel you are in crisis and need to talk to someone, please consider calling one of the following help lines:
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Above: Ant Sang at the Earth's End booth at Auckland Armageddon Expo 2014. Photo by Damon Keen.
After a successful launch last week at Heroes For Sale and Auckland Armageddon Expo, The Dharma Punks graphic novel from Earth's End Publishing is now available nationwide at selected bookshops! Retailing for $39.99 NZ, you can find it at the following booksellers:
So head down to your local bookseller and pick up a copy today!
And to all our patient Kickstarter pledges: Ant is currently hard at work signing around the clock to get your copies and rewards finished, and they will be on there way to you as soon as they are done - this wouldn't have been possible without your support, so thank you again!
Above: Ant Sang and his new graphic novel collection of The Dharma Punks.
This is a late breaking announcement due to all the work surrounding the launch of Earth's End Publishing, but if you follow this blog and live in Auckland, chances are you already have your tickets for this long weekend's Auckland Armageddon Expo! It all kicks off with a preview night on Friday 24th (tomorrow) - from 6pm-9pm, and then three full-on days of pop culture madness, from Saturday 25th - Monday 27th of October!
This will be one of the most well attended conventions by local creators in several years, so I wanted to take this opportunity to spotlight the many great local comics releases you can get your hands on this weekend!
As seen above, Ant Sang will be attending Armageddon to sign advance copies of The Dharma Punks collected edition, the first graphic novel offering from Earth's End Publishing! (booth 95).
I'll also be there with copies of From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, along with Damon Keen from the Faction Comics Anthology (3 issues available), and the Sheehan Brothers - creators of The Inhabitants, who also happen to have a new mini-comic debuting at the Expo.
Above: The latest Morgan children's book, Morgan Goes To Sleep, by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black and Terry Jones.
Square Planet will once again be attending with a variety of new comics and creators, which you can discover at Mega-booth 100! Richard Fairgray - best known for Blastosaurus, Ghost Ghost, Anoraks & Acolytes and now the Morgan series of children's books, will have new entries available for all of his titles, as well as some more surprises.
Above: Ralphi by Richard Fairgray.
Above: Robyn Kenealy by Richard Fairgray.
Above: Tara Black by Richard Fairgray.
Square Planet will also be launching exclusive cartoonist sketchbooks this year, featuring artwork from some of their upcoming collaborators, including Ralphi - creator of Ricky & Lyle, Robyn Kenealy - creator of American Captain, Tara Black - creator of I Fight Crime.
Above: Nothing Fits by Mary Tamblyn & Alex McCrone.
New this year at the NZCC booth 169, we will have the graphic novel Nothing Fits from Christchurch creators Mary Tamblyn & Alex McCrone, as well as the latest edition of NZ's longest running comics anthology Funtime, edited by Jason Lennie. We'll also have the latest Bristle Annual #2, edited by Brent Willis.
Above: THRUST JUSTICE! by Brent Willis.
Speaking of Brent Willis, he has a new comic launching at Armageddon courtesy of Pikitia Press booth 153, the irreverent THRUST JUSTICE! Get a copy before it gets you!
Above: Moonbeard by Squires.
Pikitia Press will also be selling Moonbeard by Squires - a 132 page comics collection, as well as titles from Sarah Laing, Barry Linton, James Davidson and more!
Above: The Time Traveling Tourist from Beyond Reality Media.
BRM will have a host of graphic novels and comics available from the Mega-Booth 100, including: Prepocalypse Vol.1, Warden Vol.2, The Time Traveling Tourist, and many more! Artist Alan Robinson will also be in attendance.
Above: Copies of the graphic novel Headlocked: The Last Territory by Michael Kingston & Michel Mulipola.
One of our friends Michel Mulipola has a new graphic novel out, Headlocked: The Last Territory - set in the world of professional wrestling. You can pick up a signed copy from him at the Arkham City Comics booth 95. Darick Robertson - artist of Transmetropolitian, The Boys and many of US titles will also be signing at the Arkham City Comics booth throughout the weekend.
Above: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as illustrated by co-creator Kevin Eastman.
Other international comics guests appearing at the Expo include the legendary co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Kevin Eastman (Sunday only); the writer of Chew - John Layman, and James Tynion IV & Kyle Higgins, co-writers with Layman of the weekly series, Batman Eternal.
So if you love comics, this weekend make sure you get along to Auckland Armageddon Expo, held at the ASB Showgrounds Greenlane, from October 24th - 27th. For more information visit the Armageddon Expo website HERE.
Above: The cover of The Dharma Punks graphic novel by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2014.
Its been crazy busy here at Earth's End Central, with the launch of Earth's End Publishing's first graphic novel, the long awaited collected edition of The Dharma Punks by Ant Sang!
It will launch tonight (October 23rd) at a special signing event at Heroes For Sale, 582 Karangahape Road, Auckland, from 6.30pm. Ant Sang will be on hand to sign copies, there will be refreshments, and even a music set from the PCP Eagles!
If you pledged on Kickstarter, you will be able to collect your special editions with exclusive extras from this event, and also from the Earth's End booth 95, this weekend at the Auckland Armageddon Expo 24th-27th October. We will also have copies on sale at Armageddon Expo all long weekend, with Ant Sang signing, along with myself with copies of From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, Damon Keen from Faction, and the Sheehan Brothers of The Inhabitants fame!
If you don't live in the Auckland area you will still be able to pick up a copy of The Dharma Punks from your local retailer when it is released next Friday, 31st of October. You can pre-order it now at your retailer - as word of mouth will help get this book out there - and if they need directions on where to find us, you can send 'em to: firstname.lastname@example.org!
So hope to see you tonight or over the long weekend, as The Dharma Punks makes its long awaited return to a bookshelf near you!
Now for something completely different: the UK based performance company, The Paper Cinema, will be bringing their unique interpretation of Homer's The Odyssey to our shores this month for a limited season!
Founded in 2004 by Nicholas Rawling, with Imogen Charleston and Christopher Reed, The Paper Cinema uses a combination of animation, music, film and theatre to lead the viewer through a variety of stories. Intricate pen and ink illustrations are manipulated in real-time in front of a live video camera and projected onto the big screen alongside the performed music, to deliver a truly unique storytelling experience.
Above: A multi-layered frame from The Paper Cinema's The Odyssey.
Their staging of The Odyssey has already drawn rave reviews internationally from The Guardian and Timeout - 'An epic, imaginative voyage'; here is the official synopsis:
Raging storms and supernatural forces prevail over one man’s almighty quest to get home. Immerse yourself in a journey through the high seas, soak up the adventure and encounter danger and exhilaration.
Homer’s cornerstone of literature is vividly told with beautiful illustration and masterful puppetry. Cinematic projection and cunning tricks transform a suitcase full of cut-out paper puppets into an array of living characters and striking landscapes. A silent film is created before your eyes, set to a captivating live score from exceptional musicians.
The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey will be taking place live at the Lower NZI, Aotea Centre in Auckland, from October 29th - November 1st at 7pm. Tickets range from $25 - $48 (service fees apply). For more information and to book tickets visit the Auckland Live website HERE.
There will also a free post-show talk Paper Cinema Revealed, after the Thursday performance. So if you're keen to see cartooning, music and film combined in new, ingenious ways - this show is definitely for you!
Above: Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks. Copyright Dylan Horrocks 2014.
Its been a while since I had a chance to update this blog, so here's a round up of all the latest NZ comics and graphic novels coming out in the next few months!
First up is the print edition of Dylan Horrocks'Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. Beginning life as a back-up story in Atlas #2 (2005), it was revived in 2009 as Horrocks' first ongoing webcomic. Here's the official synopsis:
Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen, encountering sex-crazed aliens, medieval monks, pirates, pixies and—of course—cartoonists. Funny, erotic, and thoughtful, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen explores the pleasures, dangers, and moral consequences of fantasy.
As his first major work since Hicksville, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen will be released in late November as a 208 page, full-colour paperback from Victoria University Press for $35.00 NZ.
Above: Abigail and the Snowman by Roger Langridge. Copyright Roger Langridge 2014.
Another kiwi cartoonist with an international following is Roger Langridge, who has two new projects on the horizon.
Abigail and the Snowmanis Langridge's latest project for US publisher Boom Studio's all-ages imprint Kaboom! Launching in December this four issue mini-series focuses on Abigail, a young girl moving to a new town in need of a friend - which she finds in the form of a yeti named Claude. Unfortunately, Claude (known as 'Specimen 486' to the authorities), happens to be an escapee from a nearby government facility that wants him back. To keep her new friend safe, Abigail and Claude go on a journey to find his home.
Above: Jim Henson's The Musical Monsters Of Turkey Hollow, adapted by Roger Langridge. Copyright the Jim Henson Company 2014.
And coming out next week, Langridge makes a welcome return to the world of Jim Henson, with Jim Henson's The Musical Monsters Of Turkey Hollowgraphic novel from Archaia. The story is adapted by Langridge based on an unproduced teleplay by Jim Henson & Jerry Juhl, which is sure to be a treat for any fan of Henson's work and Langridge's fantastic comic adaptation of The Muppet Show.
Above: Capture Creatures by Frank Gibson & Becky Dreistadt. Copyright Frank Gibson & Becky Dreistadt 2014.
Frank Gibson & Becky Dreistadt of Tiny Kitten Teeth also have a new comic series coming out from Kaboom! in the form of Capture Creatures! It began life as an art blog project, with Dreistadt sketching new creatures which Gibson would provide a back-story for. After a very successful Kickstarter Art book, the concept will be graduating to an ongoing series in November. The series will follow two teens who set out to investigate the mysterious arrival of over a hundred new creatures on earth, and to stop those who would have them destroyed. For more updates visit the Capture Creatures website HERE.
Above: Ricky & Lyle by Ralphi. Copyright Ralphi 2014.
Above: Patient Lab by Tim Danko. Copyright Tim Danko 2014.
Above: Holocaust Rex and the Plague Lords of Koch: Book 2, by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd. Copyright Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd 2014.
The next installment of the excellent mini-comic series Holocaust Rex from The Comicbook Factory will be available from October 1st, and will be able HERE and from selected retailers.
Above: Ant Sang with an advance proof copy of The Dharma Punks graphic novel! Photographed by Damon Keen.
There was excitement at the Earth's End office this week as the first proof copies of The Dharma Punks collected edition arrived! It came out great, and we are looking forward to punters getting there hands on it when it releases nationwide on October 31st. If you live in Auckland, stay tuned for an announcement regarding the release party in late October!
Above: The panel line-up of comic creators: Li Chen, Richard Fairgray, Sarah Laing and Dylan Horrocks.
Comic Book Month is currently taking place at Libraries across the Auckland region, celebrating the ever-growing interest in comics and graphic novels available through libraries. To find out more about what events are happening at a library near you, check out the Comic Book Month events page at the Auckland City Libraries website HERE.
Highlights include: Librarycon, a one-day comic convention happening at Onehunga Library & Community Centre on Saturday, 27th of September, from 11am-4pm. You'll be able to browse stalls featuring local comics, zines, art and craft displays and more (Cosplay is welcomed!), more details HERE; and there's also a 'Create a Character' competition HERE.
Above: The latest comic strip from Extra Ordinary Comics by Li Chen. Copyright Li Chen 2014.
To discuss this topic, I'll be joined by an all-star line-up of local comics creators - Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville, and Incomplete Works; Li Chen, author of the webcomic Extra Ordinary Comics; Richard Fairgray, creator of Blastosaurus and Ghost Ghost; and Sarah Laing, author of Let Me Be Frank and The Fall of Light - we'll discuss the impact of digital technology on comics. How has it advanced and improved the way we create, distribute and share our comics? Is there still a place for printed comics in the ever-evolving world of digital reading devices and file sharing?
Above: A panel from Blastosaurus by Richard Fairgray, Terry Jones & Tara Black. Copyright Richard Fairgray 2014.
This FREE panel event will be taking place at the Whare Wananga room on Level 2 at the Auckland Central Library (44 - 46 Lorne Street), from 6pm - 7.30pm. There will be light refreshments before the talk begins, and the authors will have copies of their books available to buy and sign after the talk, so bring some cash along if you'd like to pick up some great local comics!
There are plenty of other Comic Book Month events happening across the region, so check out the events page at Auckland City Libraries HERE for more information.