Friday, December 21, 2012

Remembering Eric Resetar: 1928-2011

Above: The cover of Crash Carson of the Future #2. First published in 1944, this scan is from an unpublished cover for a early 60s reprint that never eventuated. Copyright the estate of Eric Resetar 2012.

One year ago today, Eric Resetar, one of New Zealand's first self-published comic book creators, passed away at the age of 83. He left behind an extraordinary comics and publishing legacy which is largely unknown to the general public. I have pieced together the following biography to help bring some of the details of Eric's life and accomplishments to light.


For Auckland schoolboy Eric Resetar, it was an issue of a Buck Rogers comic book that sparked his imagination, and marked the beginning of a life-long passion.

Resetar was born in Auckland in 1928. As a young boy, he was skinny and introverted; much more interested in devouring the latest science fiction magazine than eating lunch or taking part in schoolyard games. His insatiable appetite for reading didn’t go unnoticed by his peers at St Benedict's School in Newton, who nicknamed him ‘the Professor’.

Science fiction was his escape from the dreary realities of everyday life, a daydream of space ships and heroic deeds he would rather not wake from. Fifty years later, he would recall of his childhood, “I was very introspective, my mind was always in a dream. Somebody was always giving me a shove and telling me to wake up”.

One day in class he received a particularly rude awakening. Frustrated by Eric’s lack of attention, a teacher grabbed his Buck Rogers comic out of his hands and held it up in front of the class. Eric recalled the moment vividly, “…the teacher said, “You are forbidden to read comics. You know these are trash.” And to the horror of all those devilish little boys sitting in there, he ripped this comic in bits! I tell you what, it would be worth $500 - $600 dollars today…naughty teacher.”

Eric wasn’t deterred by this experience, and began writing and drawing his own comics, in the style of his favourite American adventure strips. He would spend his weekends penciling six panel grids onto the pages of his exercise books and filling them with stories. On Monday he brought his homemade comics into class, where his friends would take turns reading them under their desks. Soon Eric had his first dedicated readership. As he later recalled, “…they’d say to me, “hey, can’t wait till Monday when you bring some more in”. So it was at their urgency that I kept writing and drawing comics”.

Eric’s older brother Ian also helped foster his emerging artistic talents. It was Ian who suggested that Eric learn how to ink his drawings. Eric recalled his advice, “All I know about comics is that pencil doesn’t photograph very well, so you’ll have to do them in ink.” I’d never drawn with Indian ink before, but he did, and he said, “you do the pencils and I’ll outline them. And meanwhile, learn how to draw over your own pencil lines in ink”. It took me a while, that was very foreign...”

And it wasn’t just his family and classroom peers who were impressed by young Resetar’s comics. In 1941 the father of one of Eric’s schoolmates had seen Eric’s comics and approached him to contribute artwork to a locally printed comic book. The one-off production, Mighty Comic, featured a two colour cowboy themed cover and a text story illustrated by Resetar alongside illegally reproduced American comics material. Eric was paid 52 shillings for his efforts, and the comic’s 10,000 print sold out. At 12 years old, he was now an officially published cartoonist.

This early success encouraged Eric to consider creating comics as a viable career path. In 1942, Eric gathered together some samples of his artwork and boldly approached a local printer Wright & Jaques Ltd, to see if they would be interested in printing his comics.

Decades later he would recount that fateful day in an interview with Tim Bollinger, “ I had a black uniform on, a school cap, and my socks pulled up as you had to, and I marched in with this pile of stuff under my arm – a very small, skinny kid. And there were these printers and they looked up from their machines and the guy came over wiping his apron and he says: “What can I do for you, son?” And I said: “Do you print comics here?”

Eric proceeded to show the printer his artwork. Impressed by this young kid’s artwork and forthright attitude, the printer explained that he would love to print them if they had enough paper, but the government had tight restrictions in place during wartime. He suggested that Eric could personally write to the Minister of Internal Affairs in Wellington and request a special allocation of paper to produce the comics. Resetar took his advice, and wrote a letter expressing his desire to print comics, along with samples of his work.

In due course he received a reply: the government not only approved his request, they supplied twice the allocation of paper he had asked for, and noted that since no comics were coming into the country during wartime, local comics would help boost troop moral. Clearly they considered this project of some strategic national importance.

Above: The back cover of Crash Carson of the Future #2. Copyright the estate of Eric Resetar 2012.

With the necessary resources in place, Eric began self-publishing his own comics in 1943. The first to see print was Crash Carson of the Future #1, a rip-roaring space adventure modeled on Buck Rogers. The next year he followed this up with Crash Carson #2 and #3, and Adventure, featuring another space hero, John Power. He also branched off into colonial safari adventures, set in the exotic jungles of Africa in Treasure Comic, featuring ‘Black Cobra and the Red Gold’. Each issue sold for six pence with print runs of reportedly over 10,000 copies an issue regularly selling out, as they were virtually the only comics available in the country at the time. Many of these were sold and traded with visiting American G.I.s, keen to get their hands on some new comics material.

Eric described the printing arrangement as follows, “The printers didn’t ask for the money up front. When the first couple of thousand sold, they would get paid by the distributor. And at the end was you. Of course the distributors got their returns quickly, and from the results they would pay out the printer and the plate-makers and myself. If there was any (left) over they’d be dumped on your doorstep.”

However, being a one-man comics producing machine wasn’t without its problems. Eric found that while he was extremely prolific, not all his comics were making it through the printing process to meet a regular schedule, essential for maintaining sales and a regular audience.

“For everything that was printed, there was a lot that never saw the light of day”, he explained to Tim Bollinger. “One of the problems was getting the metal to make up the plates. The plates were made up of lead and zinc. And because all the boys were away, there was a shortage of staff. So, although I wanted these to come out every month, and I had a month’s stuff ahead, covers and everything, drawn up to size, they couldn’t print them enough. You may want this out next month, but it’d be three or four months before the thing turned up. That was a classic problem.”

Above: The cover of Childrens' Xmas Comics #1. Copyright the estate of Eric Resetar 2012.

Resetar continued to produce comics as regularly as he could, including Captain Sinister #1 in 1948 and even a Christmas themed special, Children’s Xmas Comics #1. During this period he also began signing his work under the pen name of ‘Hec Rose’.

After the war ended, cheap foreign comics from Australia and America found their way back into the New Zealand market, saturating the newsstand, which up until this point Resetar’s comics had dominated. Combined with the printing hold-ups, the frustrations of the situation were beginning to get to Resetar, “I couldn’t get what I wanted, which was to stay regular while I was hot, while I was feeling good (about) the way I was drawing and I knew I was getting better. I thought, I’ve got all this stuff piled up, it’s got to be published. I feel ashamed of my earlier stuff. Once the war was finished there was a flood of American comics. They just poured them out. Then after that unless you could find a distributor…The American ones were bigger and they were in colour. We couldn’t compete against that. And if we couldn’t, they won’t give it a go. That I’d say is the biggest curse in New Zealand. Not giving the local people a go.”

Resetar continued to persevere, producing comics during the 1950 and early 60s. One of Resetar’s most appealing titles from this period was Crash O’Kane: An All Black on Mars #1. A rather brilliant mash-up of science fiction and New Zealand’s national pastime, its hard to believe this title didn’t catch on.

Above: The cover of Halfback Comics #1, from the late 1950s. Copyright the estate of Eric Resetar 2012.

As it became more difficult to print local comics in the sixties, Resetar resorted to an A6 format for his last few offerings, a similar size to the mini-comics which would become commonplace in the self-publishing movement thirty years later. These mini-comics included an Invisible Man homage, Invisible Smith; and two issues of Half-Back Comics, featuring ‘The Space Pirates’.

Even though Resetar’s comics were largely flights of fantasy, there were always touches of his real life grounding his fictional world. “Everyone you see in these comics of mine, they are real people”, he explained. “The Space Pirates had this interesting girl in it, she was a girl who lived over the road. I was fascinated by her, but I didn’t deliberately use her or my depiction of her in cartoon form in that comic. You had to be inspired by someone (to) put it down on paper”.

With most of the major comics printers of New Zealand finally closing for good in the early sixties, Resetar returned to his first love: second-hand books and magazines. For the next thirty years, Resetar successfully ran a number of second-hand bookstores around Auckland, in the suburbs of Mt Albert and Onehunga. He specialized in science fiction paperbacks and continued to collect rare original Buck Rogers comics, and would occasionally come across a well-read copy of his own efforts.

Resetar’s pioneering contributions to New Zealand comics were largely forgotten by the public, until the turn of the century, when he was prominently featured in ‘The Comics Show’, an exhibition celebrating New Zealand comics at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 2001. Eric’s artwork was highlighted with a special two-page spread blown up to decorate one of the art gallery walls. Rod Macleod, one of the shows organisers, noted that Eric was ‘quite bemused by being the centre of attention for a few weeks’.

That same year, the New Zealand comics community established it’s first comics awards, named in honour of Resetar’s pioneering self-publishing efforts. ‘The Eric Awards’, held bi-annually, were created to celebrate local comics and encourage emerging cartoonists.

Resetar spent his retirement living in a small, clutter-filled pensioners flat in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga. He was still very active in his seventies, often visiting friends to trade DVDs and hunt down rare Buck Rogers memorabilia. In his early eighties his health began to deteriorate, and was hospitalized several times before passing away at Auckland Hospital on Wednesday 21st of December, 2011. He was 83 years old.

Resetar never married, and was survived by one of his six brothers, Claude - currently living in Queensland, Australia – and a wealth of nieces and nephews, including one named after him. In accordance with Eric’s Will, there was no funeral service, just a quiet cremation with his remains going to his niece Andrea.

In March 2012, a gathering was held in Onehunga to celebrate his memory and scatter the ashes. It was attended by family, friends, cartoonists and fans of his comics. After some drinks and reminiscing, the group made their way to the nearby Mangere Bridge. It was a warm afternoon; the bridge was busy with families fishing and enjoying the sun. A steady breeze was blowing as Eric’s niece Andrea cast his ashes out over the Manukau Harbour. A thin grey cloud spread out over the water, before it dissipated to parts unknown.

Above: Several hundred copies of Eric Resetar's self-published Halfback Comics #1 & #2 from the late 50s, discovered under a house in Sandringham, Auckland.

Six months later, a large collection of Eric's comics from the late 1950s was discovered under a house he had once lived in on Sandringham Road. To my knowledge it is the largest discovery of rare New Zealand comics in history, featuring several hundred issues of Halfback Comics #1 & #2, Childrens' Xmas Comic, Mo and Jo and  loose Crash Carson covers. The final fate of the collection has yet to be decided, but I hope its existence will help encourage readers to rediscover Eric's comics and place in New Zealand popular culture.

- Adrian Kinnaird
(Three blocks from where the Eric Resetar collection was discovered)
21st of December 2012

PS: If you have any corrections, or further information on Eric's life that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment, or contact me at: Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Faction Comics #1: Hot Off The Press!

Above: Cover of Faction #1, by Greg Broadmore.

You may remember back in October I featured a story on Faction Comics, a New Zealand comics anthology that editor Damon Keen was seeking crowd-funding for through PledgeMe. Well the good news is their target was achieved, and a printed copy of Faction #1 is now available!

Above: Art from June+Bug by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2012.

It's 68 pages of full-colour comics from some of New Zealand's premiere comics talent, including: Ant Sang, Roger Langridge, Karl Wills, Tim Gibson, Lauren Marriott, Czepta Gold, Christian Pearce and many more!

You can order the print edition from the Faction Comics website HERE for $19.95NZ +postage. You can also subscribe on the website for a FREE digital edition!

So order a copy today, and get in on the ground floor of what promises to be an exciting development in local comics publishing!


Friday, December 7, 2012

News From Earth's End: December Edition

Above: Dr. Grordbort's Exceptional Exhibition currently on in Wellington.

Hot on the heels of his latest graphic novel, Triumph, Greg Broadmore has recently opened a Dr. Grordbort's Exceptional Exhibition in Wellington. Almost more of a museum than an exhibition, this event displays the full depth of the universe that Greg has created around this character, including: concept art, character portraits, ray gun prototypes, statues and much more!

Located at 48-50 Cuba Street in Wellington, the exhibit is open now till January 26th, 2013. Exhibition hours are: Tues to Sat – 12 -7 pm, and Sun – 12 - 4pm. After it finishes up in Wellington, the exhibition will travel around the world to Germany, France, China and Hong Kong. So make sure you see it while you have the chance!

Above: Cover of Fresh Volume 2 by Michelle Bai & Kay See Yan. Copyright the respective creators 2012.

Following on from Fresh Vol. 1 a few years back, the students of Alfriston Collage have produced a second anthology of comic stories. The comics in this volume are largely manga inspired, reflecting the huge influence this style continues to have on young people, and will no doubt deliver exactly what that audience is looking for! Edited by Steve Saville, the creators include: Michelle Bai, Ahmed Rajeh, Gabby Westerlund, Kay See Yen, Ryan Thuker, Tracy Tsai and many more.

Fresh Vol. 2 is $8 per copy, and can be mail ordered by check made out to Alfriston Collage, from Steve Saville, 166 Seddon Street, Pukekeohe. Or look for issues to be available from Gotham Comics in the near future.

Above: Art from Princess Seppuku: The Lower Depths. Copyright Karl Wills 2012.

The second volume of Karl Wills' exceptionally crafted, and darkly funny Princess Seppuku series is also out now. Titled The Lower Depths, you should be able to pick it up from all good comic shops (or directly from the Comicbook Factory HERE for $10 (plus postage and packaging).

The series has also inspired some neat pin-up art from other comic creators including Ant Sang and Cory May!

Above: Princess Seppuku by Ant Sang.

Above: Princess Seppuku by Cory May.

And for some bonus nice art, here's some classic New Zealand comics character appreciations by Jason Winter: Chop Stick from Ant Sang's Dharma Punks, and one of the villains from The Inhabitants by the Sheehan Bros.

Above: Chop Stick from Dharma Punks and a character from The Inhabitants by Jason Winter.

Above: The cover of Czepta: The Prophet Rides Again #0. Copyright Czepta Gold.

Here's a sneak peek at the cover of Czepta: The Prophet Rides Again #0, by Czepta Gold. A print and online edition of the comic should be available from 21st of December, so keep an eye on the official website HERE for more details!

Above: Manu Bennett and Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke the Terminator. Copyright DC Entertainment.

In comics related casting news: local actor Manu Bennett, previously of the locally filmed TV series Spartacus and soon to be seen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has been cast as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke the Terminator in the new TV series Arrow (based on the DC Comic book character, Green Arrow).

Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the formidable mercenary/assassin first appeared in New Teen Titans #2 in 1980. A master tactician and weapons expert, he's one of the few comics characters who can hold his own against the Justice League single-handed (read: major badass!). Since crossing paths with Green Arrow in the mini-series Identity Crisis (where Ollie stuck an arrow in his eye socket..ouch!), he's regularly turned up in the archer's adventures looking to even the score.

Its unclear yet how similar Bennett's appearance will be to the comic character (who is traditionally in his 40s with white hair and a goatee), but physically he certainly fits the bill! Arrow screens on the CW network in the US, and I expect it will debut on TV2 here in New Zealand sometime over the summer.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

EVENT: From Earth's End Christmas Drinks!

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) tomorrow night, Friday the 30th 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!

This announcement is a bit last minute as I've been run off my feet working on a special NZ comics project, but to make up for this, and because its the season, I'll be giving away a FREE gift to everyone who attends! A priceless piece of NZ comics history for every person who shows up! (I'd suggest bringing an A4 folder or poster tube to preserve it). You won't be disappointed;)
So if comics and alcohol sound like a winning combination, then this is the Xmas event for you!

Oh, and if you're in the Auckland area: Gotham Comics are holding a Free Comic Book Day this Saturday!
Starting at 10am, they'll be giving away free comics, along with extra comics for a gold coin donation to Onehunga Primary School! Here's the lowdown on what you can expect:

- For walking in-store between 10am-4pm you get 2 FREE comics!
- For wearing a Superhero (or Super Villain) Costume you get 2 more FREE comics!
- For a Gold Coin Donation to Royal Oak Intermediate you get 2 more FREE comics!
-Plus plenty of in-store bargains and specials, ideal for Xmas gifts!
Gotham Comics is located at: 264 The Mall, Onehunga, Auckland. Ph/Fax: +64 9 634 4399


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Faction Comics needs YOU!

Above: a detail of the cover of Faction Comics #1 by Greg Broadmore.

Faction Comics is a new New Zealand comics anthology edited by Damon Keen to be launched in December as a full-colour comic book and digital edition for computers, iPads and smart phones. It already has an impressive line-up on New Zealand comics talent, including such heavy hitters as: Greg Broadmore (Triumph), Ant Sang (Shaolin Burning), Roger Langridge (Fred The Clown), Karl Wills, Jonathan King, Christian Pearce, Ned Wenlock and many more!

Above: An image from Ant Sang's contribution to Faction Comics #1, June+Bug. Copyright Ant Sang 2012.

You can subscribe for a FREE copy of the digital version right HERE at the Faction website. But for the print version to launch and be promoted successfully, it needs your help! Right now Faction Comics is appealing for funding on the New Zealand crowd funding website, PledgeMe.

Above: An image from Damon Keen's contribution to Faction Comics #1. Copyright Damon Keen 2012.

If you haven't heard of PledgeMe, it is modeled on the US crowd funding site Kickstarter: creatives seeking funding for a project have a limited time to appeal to the public for donations or 'pledges' (via credit card) towards achieving their funding goal. Pledges can range from as little as $10 right up to a couple of hundred, and depending on the size of your pledge you will be rewarded for your patronage (eg. a $25 donation will get nab you an exclusive Faction bookmark, or $200 will see you receive an original drawing of yourself as a superhero and a copy of the printed book). Pledges will only be charged if the project reaches its target funding goal within the set time-frame.

Faction Comics' PledgeMe appeal has 9 days left to reach its funding goal of $4,500. It's just over two thirds of the way there, and needs YOUR help to make it across the finish line!

So if you enjoy New Zealand comics and would like to see this title get off to a great start, please consider supporting this project by pledging HERE

Every bit of support at this stage helps (and yes, pledges can be accepted from outside of New Zealand as long as you have a valid credit card). For more information and to subscribe for the digital copy, visit the Faction Comics website HERE and join their Facebook page HERE.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome To Moth City: A Preview

Above: Moth City announcement artwork by Tim Gibson. Copyright Tim Gibson 2012.

Moth City, an ambitious new webcomic by writer/artist Tim Gibson makes its debut this coming Monday 29th of October at

Set against the backdrop of the 1930s Chinese Civil war when the governing Nationalist Party fought Mao’s Communists, Moth City tells the story of an American weapons tycoon who must solve the bizarre murder of his chief scientist, before his city’s inhabitants are wiped out by the warring factions.

Its a crime/horror series with a highly polished style, reminiscent of the great American adventure artists like Milton Caniff and Alex Toth, with a healthy dash of noir.

Gibson came up with the idea for the graphic novel while traveling across Asia, and upon his return he caught Kim Hill's radio interview with Ant Sang promoting his graphic novel Shaolin Burning, which inspired him to make this project a reality.

Before trying his hand at comics, Gibson worked as a designer for Weta Workshop on such films as: Tintin, District 9, Avatar and George Miller's aborted JLA. You can also see his artwork in the second White Cloud Worlds art book, coming out in early November.

Here are some exclusive sample pages to give you a taste:

Visit the official site HERE, and for updates you can join the Facbook page HERE and follow Moth City on Twitter @MothCityInsider.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

EVENT: Armageddon Auckland 2012

Above: Iron Man by Bob Layton. Copyright Marvel Comics 2012.

Armageddon Expo is back in Auckland this Labour Weekend, with its usual mix of pop culture madness - celebrating everything from comics to video-games, films, television, wrestling, and everything in between. The event will be taking place at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, Auckland from October 19-22nd: with a special preview night on Friday 19th from 6 - 9pm, and opening hours from 10am - 6pm Saturday to Monday.

Focusing on the comics front, there will be a healthy presence of local and international comics creators at the event.

The international guest list is headed by Bob Layton, best known as one of the definitive Iron Man artist/inkers. His significant runs on the title include: Demon in a Bottle, in which Tony Stark becomes an alcoholic; and the time travel adventure Doom Quest.

Above: Marineman by Ian Churchill. Copyright Ian Churchill 2012.

Artist Ian Churchill came to prominence in the mid-90s illustrating Marvel titles like Cable, and has continued to work on mainstream titles for Marvel and DC Comics like Uncanny X-Men, Supergirl and the Teen Titans. Recently, Churchill has put aside his gritty superhero art style to develop his own more whimsical creator-owned title, Marineman, published through Image Comics.

Above: Green Arrow as illustrated by Harvey Tolibao. Copyright DC Comics 2012.

Auckland comic store Heroes For Sale have brought over Filipino artist Harvey Tolibao for the Expo. A ralative new-comer to comics, Tolibao broke into the US industry with a 2007 Iron Man Annual for Marvel, and is currently the artist on the new 52 version of Green Arrow for DC Comics.

Above: The cover of Funtime Comics #26, cover by Lee Yan Marquez. Copyright Funtime Comics 2012.

New Zealand Comics will be well represented at the event, with the New Zealand Comic Creators booth and several independent booths.

New this year will be the latest issue issue of the Funtime Comics anthology, featuring new work from: Ned Wenlock, Tim Danko, Bob McMahon, Isaac Freeman and others! You can also expect to find a wide range of NZ comics and graphic novels at the NZCC booth, including favourites like Shaolin Burning, The Inhabitants, ActionMan Adam and first looks at upcoming comics like the Faction comics anthology and Moth City!

Above: Moa #3 by James Davidson. Copyright James Davidson 2012.

Issue three of James Davidson's excellent all-ages series Moa is out in time for the convention, and James will be at the NZCC booth on Saturday to sign copies!

Above: Nice Day For a War by Chris Slane and Matt Elliot. Copyright Chris Slane and Matt Elliott 2012.

Fresh back from the Treviso Comics Festival in Italy, Chris Slane will be at the booth on Sunday with copies of the award-winning Nice Day for a War, and the last rare copies of Maui: Legends of the Outcast (grab them while you still can!). He'll also have some of his artwork on display too.

Above: Saurian Era
, by Cory Mathis. Copyright Cory Mathis 2012.

Its been a while since we had a new comic from Cory Mathis, but this year Saurian Era makes a welcome return, with more dino action than you can shake a prehistoric stick it!

Above: White Cloud Worlds Vol. 2. Copyright Paul Tobin/White Cloud Worlds 2012.

A new volume of White Cloud Worlds featuring the fantasy art of some of New Zealand's finest artists will be available exclusively at Auckland Armageddon, well ahead of its official release date on November 2nd.

Richard Fairgray will have the first full-colour Blastosaurus Hardcover available at Armageddon, along with new collections of the all-ages series Ghost Ghost and the comic strip I Fight Crime.

Armageddon organiser William Geradts has been cultivating his own line of webcomics very successfully for over a year at, and now has a classy range of print collections available to buy, featuring the first volumes of the comic series: Attica, The Inspiration Duncans, and The Warden, exclusively at the Beyond Reality Media booth.

Above: Jeremy from Gotham Comics takes a quiet moment out with his stock for the event...

And for all your other comic needs, NZ's leading comics supplier Gotham Comics will be there all weekend with specials galore! For preview night only, if you spend $100+ you'll get a $20 credit! They'll have nearly 5,000 comics priced between $2 - $5 and all blue bin back-issues at $5 each!

This will be plenty more to see, do and buy this weekend at the Auckland Armageddon Expo, so visit the official page HERE 
for more details!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Zealand Comics World Tour Part 1: Treviso Comic Book Festival 2012

Above: Treviso Comic Book Festival 2012 poster, featuring artwork by Dylan Horrocks.

The Treviso Comic Book Festival took place at the end of September, with a special exhibition dedicated to New Zealand Comics.

A distinguished group of our finest cartoonists winged it to Italy to be on hand for the special occasion. Our 'comics ambassadors' included: Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville), Colin Wilson (Bullet to the Head) Roger Langridge (Fred The Clown), Ben Stenbeck (Baltimore), Chris Slane (Nice Day For a War), Greg Broadmore (Triumph) and Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl).

Above: Shops in Treviso celebrate the comics festival each year by painting cartoon characters in their store windows. Photos by Chris Slane.

Above: Rufus Dayglo contributes to a window display.

To give you an idea of how big a deal comics are in Europe, retailers in Treviso were happy to collaborate with the festival and arrange for cartoonists to paint characters in their store-front windows! As you can see from the pictures, its pretty magical stuff. 

Chris Slane gave me his impression of the festival: "Treviso is a city which looks forward to it's annual comics festival. It has a high profile here. Young cartoonists go around decorating shop windows with individual designs - over 200 by the end of the festival. Rufus Dayglo was even press-ganged into doing one. 

Exhibitions and events are shared among venues all around town, rather than concentrated in just one place. You could walk everywhere - Treviso is very pedestrian-friendly and a few minutes walk would get you just about anywhere, through a picturesque maze of alley ways, canals and bridges. 

There were two comics market days where we comic artists formed relays drawing flat out and giving away the art free to hordes of kids and collectors."

The photos presented here are courtesy of Chris Slane, Dylan Horrocks, Rufus Dayglo and the TCBF Facebook page.

Above: Roger Langridge and Dylan Horrocks.

Above: NZ cartoonists in Venice! Dylan Horrocks, Greg Broadmore and Ben Stenbeck.

The NZ Comics exhibition took place at the Benetton Foundation Pavilion (above), from the 27th of September-14th of October. There was an official opening on Saturday 27th of September, with all the guests on hand to present and discuss their comics.

Above: Outside the exhibition building Greg Broadmore and Chris Slane exchange creative energy...

Above: Walking into the NZ Comics exhibition, with Greg Bradmore's art on the far left wall.

Above: A display of Chris Slane's artwork in the main room, featuring an awesome standee of Maui!

Above: A display of Dylan Horrocks' work, with lighthouse standee.

Above: Artwork by Toby Morris.

Above: Artwork by Rufus Dayglo.

Above: At the exhibition opening, from left: Roger, Ben, Chris, Dylan and Greg.

Above: Alberto Corradi, one of the festival organisers, gives the introduction speech.

Above: Colin Wilson (left) discusses his artwork.

Above: Crowds enjoying the show.

Above: A wall of Ben Stenbeck's artwork.

Above: Ben Stenbeck and Rufus Dayglo take a closer look at some artwork.

Above: Roger Langridge and Dylan Horrocks check out Rufus Dayglo's work with the artist.

Above: A display of Dylan Horrocks' artwork.

Above: Examples of Barry Linton's artwork.

Above: A display of Frank & Becky's Tiny Kitten Teeth webcomic.

Above: NZ Comics at the United Nations? From left: Roger Langridge, Dylan Horrocks, Ben Stenbeck, Greg Broadmore and Chris Slane (Alberto Corradi at the back).

A discussion panel was also held during the festival, where the NZ creators discussed their work and the New Zealand comics scene in general.

Above: Dylan Horrocks sketching during the panel.

Above: Wide shot of the panel, from left: Rufus, Roger, Dylan, Ben and Greg. Alberto Corradi again acts as MC.

Above: During a break. You can't tell from this angle, but I understand Greg Broadmore (far right) is drawing naughty pictures on his cellphone which Ben Stenbeck is doing his best not to crack-up at!

Above: The NZ contingent of cartoonists checks out one of the italian comics exhibitions, in this case the artwork of Roberto Bonadimani. The framed artwork is actually free-hanging from the wall to protect the historic building.

Above: The main Festival hall for creator signing and sketching. In Europe its expected that artists will provide FREE sketches for fans, so our creators were kept VERY busy!

Above: Dylan Horrocks' pencil is kept busy with sketching...

Above: A fan hold up her Rufus Dayglo sketch.

Above: Fans look on as Roger Langridge sketches in the foreground with Colin Wilson next to him.

Above: The  NZ creators take time out to enjoy some fine Italian dinning (as you do when you're in Italy!).

I understand the exhibition was a huge success, and you can read about some of the comics creators thoughts on the festival over on their blogs: Roger Langridge posts about it HERE, and Rufus Dayglo has posted a bunch of photos over on his blog HERE.

Above: The new guide to New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels made a star appearance in TV3's coverage of the Frankfurt Book Fair!

The next stop of our traveling NZ comics contingent is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is under way in Germany this week, with a panel discussion on New Zealand Comics taking place at the NZ pavilion at 12pm on the 14th of October. Dylan Horrocks, Roger Langridge, Colin Wilson, Greg Broadmore and Ben Stenbeck will be in attendance.

There is also a special display of NZ comics at the fair's Comic Centre in Hall 3, along with copies of the new 100-page guide to New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels (which you can download for free HERE).

Check back here in the next week or two for continued coverage of the NZ Comics world tour!