Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ant Sang's The Dharma Punks graphic novel available at last!


Above: The cover of the collected edition of The Dharma Punks by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2014.

Today I can announce the publishing date for Ant Sang's The Dharma Punks graphic novel will be October 31st, 2014! This will be the first publication from Earth's End Publishing, a new boutique publishing house formed by myself, Damon Keen and Kelly Sheehan!
Originally published as an eight issue comic series between 2001-2003, The Dharma Punks has been out of print for over a decade,  and has since gained a reputation as a local comics classic. Collected under one cover for the first time, this 424 page volume features re-mastered artwork, exclusive bonus material, and an introduction by Elizabeth Knox (Wake, The Vintner’s Luck).

For the uninitiated, Ant Sang is an award-winning designer & cartoonist. His previous graphic novel Shaolin Burning spent eight weeks in the Booksellers Top Ten List, and was a winner of the Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Award in 2012.



Above: A preview page from The Dharma Punks by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2014.

Synopsis:

Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day.

Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the opening, but when he is separated from his accomplice, Tracy, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand.

Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and blowing things up!


Above: A preview page from The Dharma Punks by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2014.

About Earth’s End Publishing:

Earth’s End Publishing is a newly formed boutique publishing house, aimed at bringing into print comics and graphic novels by some of New Zealand’s best cartoonists. Formed by Adrian Kinnaird, founder of the From Earth’s End blog and writer of From Earth’s End: The Best of New Zealand Comics; Damon Keen, designer and co-publisher of the NZ comics anthology Faction; and Kelly Sheehan, experienced bookseller and writer of the comics series The Inhabitants. Our modus operandi is to produce beautiful, exceptionally designed comics, and to make them available throughout New Zealand and the world.

Copies of The Dharma Punks are now available for order from Earths End Publishing. Email: earthsendpublishing@gmail.com. A special retailer price is available. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or require further information. 

Publishing details:

The Dharma Punks
Ant Sang
Trade paperback, 424 pages
RRP: $39.99
Released: 31st October 2014
ISBN: 978-0-473-28906-5

So check out our new Facebook page HERE, or follow us on Twitter for future Earth's End Publishing announcements and updates!

- AK!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Zealand/Taiwan Graphic Novelists Exchange!



Above: A selection of New Zealand and Taiwanese comics.


The New Zealand Book Council and The Publishers Association of New Zealand - with the participation of Creative NZ, have announced a graphic novelist/cartoonist residential exchange between Taiwan and New Zealand.

The exchange will enable three New Zealand cartoonists to collaborate on the creation of a single graphic novel with three of their peers from Taiwan. The completed work will be published in a joint initiative by the Publishers Association of New Zealand and the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, and launched at the Taipei International Book Exhibition in February 2015 - where New Zealand will be the Guest of Honour.

This is a fantastic opportunity for three local cartoonist/graphic novelist to participate in a unique comics collaboration, and to engage and explore the culture of Taiwanese comics.

The first phase of the residency will take place in the Auckland region from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th of October 2014. The second phase will be in Taiwan and will take place from Monday 2nd to Friday 6th of February 2015. The successful applicants will also be invited to remain in Taiwan for part of the Book Fair which will take place from 11th–16th of February 2015. Occasional video conferencing or Skype opportunities between the collaborators will also be made available.

The aim of this exchange is to foster collaboration between artists through the creation and publication of a cross-cultural graphic novel, which in turn provides an opportunity for graphic novels to be discussed and explored within an international context.

A fee of $2,500 is offered to each participating graphic novelist. This fee includes the cost of any artist materials required. If necessary, travel expenses to Auckland will be covered. Accommodation and meals will be provided during the period of the residency. Travel to Taiwan and accommodation and per diems in Taiwan will also be covered.

The opportunity is open to graphic novelists and comic artists who can demonstrate a successful track record in the genre. This is likely to include a publication, either online or in print.

To be eligible to participate, applicants must be a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident, and be available to participate and travel to both Auckland and Taiwan on the appropriate dates.

Applicants should provide a covering letter which includes the following details:

- An outline of the applicant’s strengths and suitability for the residency.
- Ideas on how to create a successful collaborative process within the context of this project.
- Details of any experience of working on a collaborative artistic project.
- Confirmation of availability on the stipulated dates.

Applicants are also asked to provide a relevant CV. If appropriate, please also include one copy of a recent publication.

Two letters of support which outline the applicant’s suitability for the project may be included with the application.

Applications close at 5.00pm this Monday, 11th of August, 2014.

Please send your cover letter and CV to Book Council Chief Executive Catriona Ferguson by email: director@bookcouncil.org.nz or post applications to:

Graphic Novelist Residency
New Zealand Book Council
Level 4, 156–158 Victoria St
Te Aro Wellington 0630

If you have any questions please email Catriona Ferguson at director@bookcouncil.org.nz or call her on 021 0248 2637.

Get your applications in now, and best of luck! Earth's End will follow the progress of this project as it develops.

- AK!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

EVENT: Auckland Zinefest 2014!




Auckland Zinefest is back, look for the NZCC and fifty other great local comics, zines and small press stalls & workshops this Saturday July 19th, at the Old Folks Association, 8 Gundry street, off of K road! It kicks off from 12pm - 5pm, so we'll see you there!

- AK! (run off his feet with lots of crazy publishing/comics things going on, so more updates soon!).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Contains Graphic Content: Comics Related Films at the NZIFF!



Above: John Hurt, Chris Evans and Jamie Bell in the film adaptation of Snowpiercer.

The 2014 New Zealand International Film Festival is rapidly approaching, kicking off in Auckland from July 17th - 3rd August, before going on the road to twelve other venues around the country. For those viewers with a love of comics and animation, I'm going to highlight some of great comics/graphic novel related film in this year's Festival line-up.


Above: A page from the French graphic novel Snowpiercer, by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.

One of the most talked about films of the year so far is Snowpierceradapted from the French graphic novel series by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, and directed by Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho (The Host). Set in a dystopian near future, Snowpiercer is mankind's last refuge from a new ice age, a lone, massive train circling the globe in a non-stop journey of survival against a now uninhabitable environment. Inside the train is segregated, with the poor lower class workers in the back carriages, and the elite class living in luxury at the front. This imbalance is about to be challenged when one of the workers, Curtis (Chris Evans), leads a desperate rebellion to take control of the train - by fighting their way to the front.

Described as 'visually stunning' and 'groundbreaking' by critics, this film has proven to be an instant cult classic, and well worth catching on the biggest screen you can find! More details and show times can be found HERE.


Above: A still from We Are the Best!, directed by Lukas Moodysson.

Coming from Sweden, We Are the Best! follows two rebellious teenage girls, Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), who cut school to form their own punk band. They don't let the fact they are 'musically challenged' get in the way, and recruit a third, more experience musician - Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne), to complete their trio. 


Above: A page from Never Goodnight by Coco Moodysson. Copyright Coco Moodysson 2014.

This punk 1980's era coming-of-age story is written and directed by Lukas Moodysson, adapted from his wife's graphic novel, Never Goodnight by Coco Moodysson. More details and show times can be found HERE.


Above: A still from REALITi, directed by Jonathan King.

Now for some local connections: a filmmaker and more recently a prolific cartoonist, Jonathan King (Black Sheep, Under the Mountain) returns to filmmaking with this low-fi science fiction thriller, REALITi. Written by his comics collaborator, novelist Chad Taylor, REALITi introduces us to Vic Long (Nathan Meister), a media executive with a young family and a bright future. But when a petty crime throws a strange light on the world he has made, he begins to question the very facts of his existence. 

In their approach to making this paranoid thriller, the filmmakers stated, "We wanted to depict the modern urban landscape of New Zealand: the cities and suburbs, the corporate interests, and the fears we import from overseas". Jonathan King will also be making a guest appearance at the Auckland and Wellington screenings. More details and show times can be found HERE.


Above: A still from Over the Moon, featuring Anna Jullienne as Connie Radar.

Featuring in the New Zealand's Best 2014 short film competition, Over the Moon is a impressive adaptation of Karl Wills' Connie Radar min-comic series from The Comicbook Factory. Directed by James Cunningham, the seven minute short features a witty adaptation by Wills and Timothy Kidd, brought to life with the aid of some amazing effects work by a team of students from the Media Design School

The short is in competition here for the Madman Entertainment Jury Prize, and has also been selected to screen at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego later this month. More details and show times can be found HERE.


Above: A still from The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

The latest film from Studio Ghibli, The Tale of Princess Kaguya takes its inspiration from the traditional Japanese folk-tale 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter'. Animated in the hand-drawn style of a storybook and set in an unspecified time, a bamboo cutter discovers a miniature princess, Kaguya, concealed in a bamboo shoot. He returns home with his curious discovery to show his wife, only to have it blossom before their eyes into a full gown baby. They adopt the child, who grows quickly for her age, earning her the nick-name 'bamboo' from the other village children. 

When he parents find gifts of gold and fine silk in the forest, they take it as a sign of Kaguya's royal lineage, and leave their pastoral lifestyle behind to raise her as a royal princess. From there the story develops in surprising and unexpected ways, taking a unique spin on the traditional princess fairy tale - from the battle of suitors to the revelation of her true heritage. More details and show times can be found HERE.

For more information on NZ International Film Festival sessions, screenings and events in your area, check out there website HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

REVIEW: Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd



Above: The cover of Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd. Copyright Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd 2014.

The latest tijuana bible to roll off the ComicBook Factory press is Holocaust Rexa medieval fantasy comic by Karl Wills and co-writer Timothy Kidd (Came the Dawn).

After exploring space and superhero misadventures in Connie Radar and Princess Seppuku, this is a genre gear shift for Wills, who is more than up for the challenge. His trademark clear line work and attention to detail here is a treat, creating an immersive world - from the prop details (swords, armor), to appropriate buildings and extras, it's all there along with authentic rotting corpses and flies!


Above: Unlettered preview page from Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd. Copyright Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd 2014.

We enter with the story already in motion: Rex is in pursuit of an unknown quarry. His journey is increasingly paved with death, as he encounters a plague victim and then a graveyard, before reaching the quarantined Gates of Koch. Plot wise, we only get a few scenes to chew over, but as with every ComicBook Factory production it's the staging of these scenes that continue to entertain, with expertly drawn body language and actions selling the gallows humor - of which there's plenty to enjoy here.

Volume 2 is already in the works, so I'm looking forward to discovering more about the mysterious Rex (why is he seeking doctors from Nasso? Does it have something to do with his stitched up torso?) and the kingdom of Koch - there's a very handy map on the back of this issue to help you get the lay of the land.

Holocaust Rex Book 1: At the Cursed Gates of Koch by Karl Wills & Timothy Kidd is available to order from the ComicBook Factory HERE for $9.95NZ. Also remember to join the ComicBook Factory Facebook HERE for a sneak peek at Book 2!

- AK!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Faction #3 is unleashed!



Above: The cover for Faction #3, by Ben Stenbeck. Copyright Ben Stenbeck/Faction Comics 2014.

The latest issue of NZ's premier comics anthology Faction is out now!

Issue #3 features a line-up of all-star local comics talent, including: Tim Gibson (Moth City), Li Chen (Extra Ordinary Comics), Katie O' Neill, Mat Tait & Michael Brown, Jonathan King, Cory Mathis, Toby Morris (Don't Puke on Your Dad), and Mukpuddy, with a cover by Ben Stenbeck (Baltimore) and an introduction by yours truly!

Its 86 pages of full-colour comics for $24.95 (+postage), which you can order online HERE or look for it at selected comics and bookstore retailers.

- AK!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Vote Hicksville for the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books!



Above: The Whitcoulls Top 100 Books and Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks.

This week saw the launch of the latest Whitcoulls Top 100 Books voting campaign, asking local readers to vote for their favourite books. The Top 100 has been around for nearly 20 years, and in that time has been topped by perennial best sellers like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and more recent literary sensations like A Game of Thrones and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

In the past it has featured such New Zealand classics as Keri Hulme's The Bone People...and I wanted to list more, but a quick glance at the current Top 100 List reveals there is not a single NZ title on there, which is totally shocking to me! (apparently their place has been usurped by populist drivel like Fifty Shades of Grey...). Now before you go casting your vote for Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, I'd like you to consider the graphic novel Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks.


Above: Hicksville Author Dylan Horrocks. Photographed by Grant Maiden.

A bona fide New Zealand classic, Hicksville was first published in the US and Canada by Black Eye Press in 1998, and attracted international acclaim from comics and literary critics alike. The Comics Journal wrote, “New Zealand’s recent cultural revival, which has brought us Keri Hulme’s The Bone People in literature and Jane Campion’s The Piano in film, now has a new ambassador in comics: Dylan Horrocks.”

Since 1998 it has been translated into several languages, including French, Spanish, German and Italian. After much demand, it finally received a New Zealand edition from Victoria University Press in 2010. Over the years Horrocks has been selected from a very short list of celebrated local authors to represent our literature internationally at festivals and events in Germany, England, Italy and beyond, largely due to Hicksville's international reputation as a landmark graphic novel.

Given it's international and local standing, I think its well past time Hicksville made the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books!


To make this happen, it's very simple: you can vote at the Whitcoulls website HERE, or fill out an entry form in any Whitcoulls store. And for voting, you go in the draw to WIN 1 of 3 $1000 Whitcoulls Gift Cards! (see their website for full terms and conditions). 

You get to vote for your 3 favourite books and authors, so after voting for Hicksville and Dylan Horrocks, you might want to consider voting for some other very worthy NZ graphic novels currently in print: Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang, Don't Puke of Your Dad by Toby Morris, Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks, Kimble Bent: Malcontent by Chris Grosz, The Blastosaurus series by Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones, The Darwin Faeries by William Geradts and Richard Fairgray, Triumph by Greg Broadmore, Mr Unpronounceable Adventures by Tim Molloy, Nice Day For a War by Chris Slane & Matt Elliott, or ((shameless plug)) From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics by Adrian Kinnaird!

Voting ends Sunday 22nd of June, so lets get voting and make this happen! I'll also be tweeting about it, so join in at #VoteHicksville!

- AK!