Friday, May 23, 2014

News From Earth's End: Late May Edition

Above: Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks. Copyright Dylan Horrocks 2014.

It's been a busy time here at Earth's End Central, so today I'm going to cover the recent developments in the NZ comics community over the last few weeks.

VUP has just released a preview of the cover from their forthcoming New Zealand edition of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks due for release in November. This will collect the complete story that Horrocks started serialising in Atlas and then later on his website HERESam Zabel and the Magic Pen will also be simultaneously published in the US and Canada from Fantagraphics, and in Europe from Casterman.

Above: Tim Gibson artwork for Wellington brewery Garage Project's latest beers: Umami Monster & MECHA-HOP! Copyright Garage Project 2014.

Two items that seem to go naturally together (well, according to most of the cartoonists I know) are comics...and beer! Moth City creator Tim Gibson has produced the artwork for Garage Project's two latest beers: Umami Monster & MECHA-HOP! Created for competition in the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular 2014, they will certainly be eye-catching with Gibson's Godzilla inspired labels and advertising artwork! There may even be some mini-comics printed to support this release, so keep an eye out...

Above: Garage Project's award-winning beer, Cockswain’s Courage Double Barreled Porter.

Garage Project also recently won a Silver Medal at the World Beer Cup for Cockswain’s Courage Double Barreled Porter, inspired by Greg Broadmore's Lord Cockswain character ("tastes like war!"), so comics inspired labels may be their lucky charm!

Above: An rough for a advert for the PYE Isotronic Record Player, in comics form by Dick Frizzell. Copyright Dick Frizzell 2014.

Staying in advertising, readers of my book From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics will know about Dick Frizzell's love of comics and the inspiration he drew from them for his art and advertising work. In the 1970s and 80's, Frizzell produced a number of advertisements in comics form for such products as Everready batteries and Levi's Jeans. He recently uncovered this pencil rough created to advertise the PYE Isotronic FL 1000 Record Player, and generously allowed me to re-post it here. As Dick commented, "I turned my ad work into comics at every available opportunity".

Earlier this month, Wellington City Libraries and comic book store Graphic joined forces to celebrate Free Comic Book Day with the event, Comicfest 2014 - featuring a series of comics related workshops and events. 

Above: Cartoonists talking 'shop', from left: Grant Buist, Robyn E. Kenealy and Ant Sang.

This included two panel discussions at the Wellington City Library. One featuring Ant Sang (The Dharma Punks, Shaolin Burning), Robyn E. Kenealy (Roddy's Film Companion, American Captain) and Grant Buist (Jitterati, Brunswick), that you can listen to HERE.

Above from left: Paul Tobin and Greg Broadmore.

The second was a Q&A with Paul Tobin, editor of the NZ fantasy art book, White Cloud Worlds, and Greg Broadmore, creator of the Dr. Grordbort series, that you can listen to HERE.

Above: One of the Auckland Art Gallery's framed pieces by NZ comics pioneer, Noel Cook, on display for my talk at the Auckland Writers Festival on From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics.

In the lead up to my appearance at the Auckland Writers Festival to discuss my book and the history of New Zealand comics, I did two insightful interviews that might be of interest: one with Renee Liang from The Big Idea that you can read HERE, and one with Courtney Peters from Gather and Hunt, which you can read HERE. Leading book blogger Graham Beattie also reviewed my talk at the festival on National Radio HERE.

The Dharma Punks Kickstarter is still going strong, having reached it's minimum goal target, we are now pushing to make this collection as high quality and available as possible! We could still use your support, so click over and check out some of our exclusive Kickstarter rewards that will not be available anywhere else!

Now to ease you into the weekend, here's some support videos for The Dharma Punks to watch from fellow cartoonists, Dylan Horrocks and Sarah Laing!

- AK!

Friday, May 9, 2014

WIN Tickets to From Earth's End at the Auckland Writers Festival 2014!

Next weekend I'll be participating in the Auckland Writers Festival 2014, giving a one hour talk on my recent book From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics, at the Auckland City Art Gallery, on Saturday 17th of May, from 1.15 - 2.15pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster HERE. Or visit the Auckland Writers Festival page HERE for more event details.

The talk will be a journey through the history on New Zealand comics, with plenty of rare, amazing visuals from some of our greatest forgotten comics and creators. As a special treat, there will also be original artwork from pioneering NZ cartoonist Noel Cook on display - not seen in public for over thirty years!

Now I have TWO DOUBLE PASSES to giveaway for this event! I'll be giving away one pass away here and one on the From Earth's End Facebook page HERE, so here's how it works: to go in the draw to win one of the passes I want you to leave a comment below (or on the Facebook page) telling me who your favourite NZ cartoonists is, and your favourite work by that creator (for example: Dylan Horrocks, Hicksville). Oh, and one entry per person!

Entries will close on Tuesday, 13th of May at 12 noon, and I'll be drawing the winners names that evening at 6pm and posting them here and on Facebook. You must be an Auckland, NZ resident to enter, as that's where the talk is taking place, and you'll need to pick up the tickets from the CBD prior to the event.

So get posting, and hope to see you there!

- AK!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kickstarting The Dharma Punks graphic novel!

Above: The Dharma Punks #1 by Ant Sang. Copyright Ant Sang 2014.

Last night at an event in Auckland, I announced the launch a Kickstarter campaign to publish the long out of print NZ comics classic, The Dharma Punks by Ant Sang!

Originally published as an 8-issue comic series from 2001-2003, The Dharma Punks follows Chopstick, a punk who is a part of an anarchist plot to blow up ‘Bobo’s’ a multinational fast-food restaurant. Unable to move on after the death of his 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!

When it was released the series gained a cult following, and early issues regularly outsold bestselling comics like Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men at local comic stores. Since The Dharma Punks, Ant has gone on to produce the well received graphic novel Shaolin Burning (2011), and was the designer of the hit animated TV series, Bro'Town.

I recently took to Facebook and Twitter to ask readers what New Zealand comic they would like to see back in print, and The Dharma Punks was the clear favourite. Over a decade after it’s release, the original issues have become increasingly scarce and hard to find. So to remedy this situation I've joined forces with Damon Keen - the editor of Faction Comics, and writer Kelly Sheehan to form Earth's End Publishing: with the intent to publish The Dharma Punks complete collection!

Now to make this a reality, we've turned to popular crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to raise the $8500NZ needed to get this 400 page graphic novel back into print! The Dharma Punks Kickstarter campaign HERE will be running through the month of May. For more details check out our video below:

As you heard in the video, there are some great rewards, from signed copies of the graphic novel, to exclusive artwork and prints only available through this campaign.

We'll be updating the project throughout the month, with new support videos from some notable fans of the original comic series and a first look at some the rewards artwork, so keep an eye on the campaign and help us make this very worthy project a reality!

If you would like a preview taste of The Dharma Punks, there will be a special Free Comic Book Day issue available this weekend exclusively through Heroes For Sale on K'rd in Auckland, and Arkham City Comics at Three Kings Mall in Auckland, and MK1 Hamilton!

- AK!