Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Upcoming Release: The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

Above: The cover of The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the amazing work of Christchurch based cartoonist Katie O'Neill from her award-winning graphic novel, Princess Princess: Ever After, and her contibutions to Faction and High Water comics anthologies. Having recently concluded her webcomic series, The Tea Dragon Society (which you can read in full HERE), it will be published this month as a large format hardcover from Oni Press!

Above: Artwork from The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

Here's the synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own.

Above: Artwork from The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

The Tea Dragon Society is an all-ages graphic novel and will be available from comic shops on October 18th, and October 31st from booksellers and online retailers (Amazon, Book Depository, Mighty Ape etc). It retails for $17.99 US, so it should be around $25-30 NZ, which is still a great price for an oversized hardcover. So head over to your local comic shop or bookstore and pre-order a copy today!

Ordering Information:

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
Format: Hardback, 72 pages
Dimensions 218 x 300 x 13mm
Publisher: Oni Press
ISBN: 9781620104415

Oh, and if you can't get enough of The Tea Dragon Society, there's also an official card game in the works from Oni Games for release in 2018! For more information on Katie O'Neill and her projects, visit her Tumblr page HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

EVENT: Overload: NZ Comic and Manga Convention 2017

This weekend sees the return of Overload: the NZ Comic & Manga Convention, an annual community-focused event where local indie comic and manga artists can exhibit and sell their artwork.

Overload 2017 will host more than 200 indie artists from all over New Zealand. They are running loads of fun events for attendees to join in, such as: a Cosplay Competition, an Illustration Competition, and for the first time this year, an anime song Karaoke Competition. They will also have international guests in attendance:  anime singer Kawano Marina (‘Morning Arch’, ‘Takaramono’), anime director Takuya Sato (WIXOSS series, Steins; Gate) and cosplay artist Ying Tze.

Above: Cosplay artist Ying Tze.

If Comics and Manga are your thing, this is a great convention to pick up some amazing original artwork direct from the artists themselves, as well as manga, anime DVDs, and plenty of other genuine collectible goodies!

Overload 2017 will be taking place this Saturday, September 30th, from 10am – 6pm at The Cloud Convention Center, 89 Quay Street, Auckland. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for under 13s and Free for under 5s! Tickets can be purchased at the door, or from Eventfinda HERE. From more information, visit the Overload website HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Recommended Reading: The Pencilsword: Follow The Leader

Above: The Pencilsword: Follow the Leader: Bill English - National, by Toby Morris.

With the New Zealand election looming at the end of this month, cartoonist Toby Morris is on the campaign trail - capturing his impressions of our political party leaders out there meeting the public and pushing their respective views. Toby's Pencilsword series, created for The Wireless website, has covered all four of the major party leaders, starting with James Shaw of The Greens Party, which you can read HERE.

Above: The Pencilsword: Follow the Leader: James Shaw - The Greens Party, by Toby Morris.

Followed by part 2: Jacinda Ardurn - The Labour Party, which you can read HERE, and Part 3: Bill English - The National Party, which you can read HERE.

Above: The Pencilsword: Follow the Leader: Jacinda Ardurn - The Labour Party, by Toby Morris.

UPDATE: And finally, Part 4: Winston Peters - NZ First, which you can read HERE.

Above: The Pencilsword: Follow the Leader: Winston Peters - NZ First, by Toby Morris.

It should go without saying, but remember to get out there and vote on September 23rd. As we've seen in recent overseas elections, EVERY VOTE can make a difference - and this is gearing up to be a close one, so make sure you have your say on Election Day!

- AK!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

EVENT: So You Finished Your Comic, Now What?

Above: From left, self-portraits by cartoonists: Michel Mulipola, Li Chen, Sam Orchard and Zak Waipara.

Creating and completing a comic book, graphic novel or comic strip is a huge accomplishment...but what comes next? How do you go about getting it printed or published? How do you find an audience for your comic book?

The panel event, 'So You Finished Your Comic, Now What?', happening at the Auckland Central Library Whare Wananga on Thursday 14th of September at 6pm will attempt to answer these questions and more.

Moderated by cartoonist and educator Zak Waipara (Otea),  the panel will include experienced cartoonists Sam Orchard (Rooster Tails), Li Chen (Extra Ordinary Comics) and Michel Mulipola (Headlocked: The Last Territory), discussing the realities of getting your finished comic in front of an audience.

Here's some background on the participating cartoonists:


Li Chen is the creator of the webcomic Extra Ordinary. She likes drawing and petting cats. You can visit the Extra Ordinary website HERE.

Michel Mulipola is a self-taught comic book artist from Auckland. He has been immersed in the world of comic books from the tender age of five when he first decided he wanted to draw them. He has contributed to various anthologies and is currently working on the U.S comic book, Headlocked: The Last Territory. You can visit his website HERE.

Sam Orchard has been drawing comics since he was a little girl. He is passionate about telling stories that celebrate the rich depth and diversity of our communities. He draws an autobio webcomic about his life as a queer trans man at Rooster Tails, which you can visit HERE.


Zak Waipara (Rongowhakaata, Ngati Ruapani, Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu). Zak has worked in animation, written and illustrated books and comics, including the recently released Otea. He has lectured in Digital Media and Animation at AUT and Animation College. You can visit his Otea website HERE.

The event is FREE, with refreshments from 6:00pm, with the event starting at 6:30pm. For more information and updates, visit the Facebook event page HERE or the Auckland Libraries event page HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Graphic Novel Giveaway: Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts!

Above: the cover for Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips.

UPDATE 6/09/17: And the WINNER is....Kyle Church! Congratulations, that signed copy will be on it's way to you soon!

Following up from last week's review of Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beastsauthor Craig Phillips has kindly offered up a SIGNED COPY for me to giveaway to one lucky blog reader!

To be in to win this signed copy, post a comment below (or on the From Earth's End Facebook Page HERE, or drop me a line on Twitter @adriankinnaird) of your favourite World Folklore Hero/Heroine or Creature and you'll go in the draw to win! Next Wednesday I'll randomly select a winner (from Baba Yaga's cauldron), and the book will be posted out to that lucky reader!
Above: Artwork from Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips.

So get posting for a chance to win this great graphic novel! For more information on Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts, you can visit the book's Facebook page HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

REVIEW: Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips

Above: the cover for Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips.

Since my childhood I've been a fan of world mythology - creations stories, and tall tales from around the globe. Seeing these stories adapted in comics form, from Jack Kirby's take on the Norse myths in Thor, or Bill Willinghams' use of various fairy tale and mythological characters in Fables, it's always a treat to see these stories come alive on the page. 

Earlier this year I came across Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woodsa handsome paperback written and drawn by Craig Phillips. Inside you'll find re-tellings of classic fairy tales and mythology spanning the globe, from 'Snow White and Rose Red' (from Germany) to 'Thor' (from Scandinavia), 'Momotaro' (from Japan) and Finn McCool (from Northern Ireland) to name a few. All the stories are richly illustrated in full colour, drawing from the traditional folklore - so they aren't sanitised in a Disney version: Russia's fabled witch Baba Yaga will still threaten to EAT Vasilisa for supper if she doesn't do all her chores! Which I'm sure will go down a treat with most kids looking for a bit more bite in their picture books.

Above: Artwork from Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips.

I was pleasantly surprised to read that the author Craig Phillips is currently based in New Zealand, and produced Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts with the assistance of an Australian Arts Grant. I also understand he'll be appearing at the upcoming Overload Convention in Auckland, so keep an eye out for his artwork! Speaking of which, his art chops are of a high standard in this book, featuring clear storytelling with plenty of character and great colouring and design. It certainly reminded me of some of P. Craig Russell's comics collaborations with Neil Gaiman. So if you're a fan of those books and looking for a new take on folklore stories for you and the family, this collection is for you!

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods by Craig Phillips is out now from Allan & Unwin with an RRP of $27.99NZ. You can also visit Craig's website HERE, and follow the book's Facebook page HERE for updates.

- AK!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

EVENT: Auckland Zinefest 2017

Auckland Zinefest is back for 2017! Following the success of last year's event, Zinefest will once again be taking place the the Auckland Art Gallery, located at the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Street in Auckland, Sunday 30th of July from 11am - 4pm. At Zinefest you can expect to find and purchase a great range of zines, comics, journals, stickers, independent media and much more! 

Exhibitors this year include: Insects of New Zealand playing card project, Racial Equity Aotearoa (REA),  Mutton Honey, Struggle Zine, Xephia, Feminists of Colour, Pure Cream (Clare Gemima), Limery Licks (Purita Mok), Izac Smells, Ultra (Isabella Young), Prune Friend (Jack), Sad Vacation, Thrillhouse, Worn Out, Shlipp Comix, Theo Macdonald, What We Loved Was Not Enough, Suga Cyan, Laura Gigi Allin (Laura Allen), Shakti Youth Network for Change (SYNC), Lucky (Imogen Wilson), Sonic Comic, Hookupculture, Mellow Yellow, Ash Spittal, Alice Bush, Rachel Hope Peary, Aotearotica, Anxiety, Remote Photobooks, Peter Torckler, Controlzee, Dropthedrawing (Simon Fletcher), Melissa Laing, Inky Palms, David Merritt, Nick Jamieson, Creative Commune, Pizza Sneakers, Ghost Leg Collective, F.A.Y (Ellen Walker), DizziePixie, Auckland Peace Action, Pom Pom Dynamite, Sundry Papers, #Buffboiz, Louis Graham - Louis’ Zines, Natalie Lim, Kids Eat Shadows (Matt Whatley and James McLaughlin), Eddie Monotone, Sophie Watson, The Small Ideas Company, Aleksander Sakowski, Raewyn Alexander, Auckland Libraries, Joanna Ch0 and Finn Houlihan, Elamite, South, James Horton, Z.R Southcombe, Nicholas Males, Abhi Topiwala, Fraser Graham, Team 3000 Press, The Daily Malaise, Matt Haworth, Toby Morris, TV Competition: Future Future Future, Udya Andrahennadige, Wairehu Grant, Emily Cater, SPLITCLAY, Erin Fae, and Dryden Street Distro!

There will be a talk and panel in the Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium:

12pm: Marc Conaco: Last year's 'Best of the Fest' winner for his zine, I Am Brown. I Will Not Frown, will present and discuss cultural heritage and ethnic identity in relation to his storytelling.

2pm: Zine Panel: A diverse array of zine-maker activist will disuss their perspectives on zine-culture and zine-making and how it has historically and presently been an avenue for activism. Including: Auckland Peace Action, Feminists of Colour, Shakti Youth and Mellow Yellow. Chaired by Jess Fu.

There's plenty of great publications to discover, so make sure you're there this Sunday! For more information, you can visit the Auckland Zinefest website HERE, and the Facebook Event page HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

REVIEW: Pizza Sneakers by Marc Streeter

Above: Pizza Sneakers banner by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

Pizza Sneakers is a new webcomic by Marc Streeter, whose work I've been a fan of for years, dating back to his first webcomic, ActionMan AdamMarc's comics combine a wry sense of humour with a healthy dose of pop culture, which never fails to bring a smile to your face. Whether he's riffing on the pitfalls of super-human powers or questionable 90's fashion trends,  it's always presented with a bright colour palette and great comedic timing - two essential qualities for any successful webcomic. Rather than an ongoing set of characters, Pizza Sneakers is purely a gag generator, going with whatever topic Streeter decides to put to paper (or pixel).

Above: A page from Fish Guy, by by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

I picked up a limited print copy of Pizza Sneakers from Marc at Chromacon earlier this year, but you can now read these comics online at the Pizza Sneakers website HERE, and follow the Facebook page for new updates HERE. So what are Pizza Sneakers you ask? According to the comic's introduction, 'they are the greasiest and yet mouth wateringly delicious comics I've ever made. You dear reader clearly love fresh kicks, hot slices, and comics with extra mozzarella'. Dietitians may frown upon it*, but I definitely enjoy my comics with an extra serving of cheese, so head over to the Pizza Sneakers website and check out Marc's offerings for yourself!

* Recommended serving: 1 strip per view. Additional servings may result in a light pain in your sides and facial muscles. If pain persists, consult your local doctor to decide if Pizza Sneakers is right for you.

- AK!

Above: Humble by by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Moving Pictures: Comics and Animation Picks from the NZIFF

Above: A scene from the film, My Friend Dahmer.

The New Zealand International Film Festival has just launched its film line-up for 2017, and there's plenty of gems in there if you're a fan of comics and animation!

Leading the pack is My Friend Dahmerbased on the graphic novel memoir by John 'Derf' Backderf. Directed and adapted for the screen by Marc Meyers, My Friend Dahmer focuses on Dahmer's High School years as witnessed by his friend John Backderf, and the events that lead up to Dahmer's eventual serial killing spree of 17 young men and boys. The film stars Ross Lynch as Dahmer, Anne Heche and Alex Wolff. For more information on My Friend Dahmer, check out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from the film, Blade of the Immortal.

Next up is Blade of the Immortalan adaptation of the classic manga series by Samura Hiroaki. Directed by Miike Takashi, Blade of the Immortal stars Kimura Takuya as Manji, whose sister is viciously killed by bounty hunters. After dispatching the killers, a mysterious nun uses blood worms to heal his wounds, granting him the ability to regenerate. Years later he is hired as a bodyguard for Rin (Sugisaki Hana), whose kendo-master father and pupils were slaughtered by the swordsmen of Itto-ryu. Together Manji and Rin set out to avenge the death of her family. For more information on Blade of the Immortalcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from Ethel & Ernest.

Ethel & Ernest is an adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ award-winning graphic memoir of his parents’ lives, gorgeous rendered in hand-drawn animation that perfectly captures Briggs’ art style. Adapted and directed by Roger Mainwood, The story is a progression through the lives of Briggs' parents, from their courtship in the late 1920s to their deaths a few months apart in 1971. A lifelong milkman with few complaints, Ernest keeps a close eye on world events – the rise of Hitler, the arrival of the fridge, the phone and the television, and the actions of successive governments. While Ethel, a former lady’s maid, would rather sleep than watch the moon landing on TV and bristles at any suggestion that their little household in Wimbledon might be considered working class. Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn provide the lead voices, with a soundtrack marking out the periods of time featuring original contributions from Carl Davis and Paul McCartney. For more information on Ethel & Ernestcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from Ancien and the Magic Tablet.

Steampunk dreams intersect with corporate reality in this imaginative anime set just days before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. High school senior Morikawa Kokone can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. In a series of strange dreams while napping, she travels to Heartland and becomes Ancien – a brave princess with a magic computer tablet, a feisty sidekick and an appetite for adventure. Her waking life is equally full of daring escapades. Her mechanic father Momotaro, a man of very few words, finds himself in unexpected trouble, and it’s up to Kokone to come to his rescue. When events in Heartland begin to parallel her waking world, Kokone realises that unravelling the mystery of her dreams may reveal the key to her challenges in the real world. Directed by Kamiyama Kenji (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Ancien and the Magic Tablet features the voices of 
Takahata Mitsuki, Mitsushima Shinnosuke and Maeno Tomoya. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. For more information on Ancien and the Magic Tabletcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from My Life As a Courgette.

My Life As a Courgette is an Oscar nominated stop-motion animated film by Swiss director Claude Barras. Based on the YA novel by Gilles Paris, the film follows a nine year old orphan who prefers to be called Courgette, who's sent to a group home after the accidental death of his alcoholic mother. Courgette befriends a local cop named Raymond, and a new girl at the orphanage, Camille, who, like Courgette, was orphaned by violent circumstances. Despite the very adult situations that have burdened the lives of Courgette and his friends as the orphanage, My Life As a Courgette illustrates the resilience of children, and the ability to build new relationships and create a life out of the chaos that surrounds them. The film will be available in both a subtitled and dubbed version. For more information on My Life As a Courgettecheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from the short film, Red Riding Hood Redux by Danijel Žeželj.

As always, there is a health amount of animation short films featured in the Animation Now! section of the festival. A new addition this year is the Animation Now! Black and White screening. Of note to comic fans should be the 12 minute short from this screening, Red Riding Hood Redux. The film is directed by Croatian cartoonist Danijel Žeželj, the atmospheric artist from Luna Park, Hellblazer, Loveless and many more. For more information on the Animation Now! showcases, visit the NZIFF page HERE.

For more information on the films and screenings coming to a city near you, visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is This New Zealand's Smallest Comic Book?

Above: Jessica of the Schoolyard: Jessica's Lunchtime Special published by The Comicbook Factory. Copyright The Comicbook Factory 2016.

The Comicbook Factory has a new Jessica of the Schoolyard matchbox sized micro-comic debuting in July; at only 3cm x 4.5cm it might be the smallest full-colour comic book published in New Zealand! It has 16 full-colour pages and comes in its own matchbox sized case. Retailing at $4.95 from The Comicbook Factory website HERE, it's another fine addition to any NZ comics collection.

Matchbox Comic #1: Jessica of the Schoolyard: Jessica's Lunchtime Special 

Synopsis: It's lunchtime and with a little assistance from Jessica, Alice and Wendy, Ethel manages a three course meal she won't soon forget...

Publication details:
English - 16 pages - Full colour - 45mm x 30mm
Stored in small box 53mm x 15mm x 36mm
AVAILABLE: 1st July 2017

- AK!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

REVIEW: Echoes From The Drift by Craig Petersen

Above: Promotional artwork for Echoes From The Drift by Craig Petersen. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

In the mid-90s I discovered Southern Tribe, a sci-fi comic book series produced locally by writer/artist Craig Petersen. At the time, when I wasn't attending high school, I was hard at work practicing writing and drawing my own comic books. It was big inspirational boost to see that someone else was out there publishing comics in NZ, and essentially living the dream! Towards the end of that decade I moved to Auckland to attend university, and got to meet Craig in person at Armageddon Expo. Along with Zak Waipara, Craig was one of my first mentors, who helped welcome me into the DIY world of the NZ comics community.

Flash forward 20 years later: Craig now lives in Europe, and last year launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for his new sci-fi comic series, Echoes From the Drift. The series follows two young adventurers - Jenni and Zayf, as they explore parallel worlds. Thanks to this funding, issue #1 of the series is now available and can be ordered HERE.

Above: Character designs for Jenni and Zayf. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

The first issue opens in 1987, we meet Jenni, a punk styled twenty-something coming home after a long day working at a video store. Her flatmate, Rhonda, is on her way out the door for a hot date, leaving Jenni to indulge in an evening watching tapes of her favourite sitcom, One Knight Stand. Her viewing party is soon interrupted by the opening of an inter-dimensional rift, which drops an alien beast into her living room, followed by drift traveller, Zayf. Jenni and Zayf manage to force the beast back into the rift (and in the process destroy her apartment), at which point Zayf prepares to make a hasty exit...except Jenni - a huge sci-fi fan - wants to come with him. After a quick discussion, Zayf agrees to bring her along and they jump into the next dimensional rift. On the other side they find a dystopian wasteland, and seek refuge at an outpost known as 'Respite'. Inside Jenni notices some familiar faces: her friend Rhonda runs a robot repair shop, and isn't that her building's cleaning guy? Zayf warns her that they should move on, he wasn't expecting to see 'echoes' so soon...

Echoes From The Drift has a great sci-fi set-up, with plenty of opportunity for world building and fun character interplay. The dimension jumping sub-genre of sci-fi is fairly well traveled at this point (Fringe, Sliders, Quantum Leap etc), but Craig has remodelled it with a retro 80's skin that feels fresh and fun. The opening of the comic riffs on Cameron's original Terminator, with nods to anime cartoons, 80s sitcoms and Mad Max sprinkled throughout. Craig's artwork has improved greatly since the 90s, with confident storytelling and a rugged texture to the inking and colouring which suits both the 80s punk vibe of the first half of the story and the dystopian locations of the closing. If there's any draw back to the first issue, it's that it ends on a cliffhanger. But there's also an 8-page prologue story included, Ruins, which fills in the back story of the dimension they now find themselves in, so it's hard to complain.

I highly recommend checking out Echoes From The Drift #1. You can purchase it directly from Craig's website HERE. While you're there, you can also download a FREE PDF version of the prologue story Ruins to get a taste of what the series has to offer.

- AK!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sharon Murdoch Wins Cartoonist of the Year for 2017!

Above: Sharon Murdoch's Sunday Star Times cartoon from May 14th, featuring Paula Bennett and Maggie Barry. Copyright Sharon Murdoch 2017.

Sharon Murdoch was awarded 'Cartoonist of the Year' at last night's Canon Media Awards 2017. This was Murdoch's second consecutive win of the prestigious award for her cartoons that appear in The Sunday Star Times, The Dominion Post and The Christchurch Press

Above: The Getaway, a cartoon by Toby Morris, published on the RNZ website on May 12th. Copyright Radio New Zealand 2017.

Toby Morris was also awarded for his media cartoons, receiving 'Cartoonist of the Year (runner-up)' for his cartoons featured on the Radio NZ and The Wireless websites.

The NPA Outstanding Achievement Awards also recognised The NZ Cartoon Archive for its 25 years of archiving NZ cartoons.

If you would like to read more of Murdoch's outstanding work, a collection of Sharon Murdoch's cartoons, Murdoch: The Cartoons of Sharon Murdochwere published last year by Potton & Burton and is still available from all good booksellers and HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

EVENT: Cartoonists at Auckland Writers Festival 2017!

The Auckland Writers Festival is back for 2017, taking place this week at the Aotea Centre from May 16th - 21st. Alongside international and local authors, two of our most talented cartoonists will be taking part in the festival.

Sarah Laing, author of Mansfield and Me, will be featured in two events: 

EVENT 16: A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing: Two recent New Zealand works entwine the personal with the literary: Sarah Laing’s 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted graphic memoir Mansfield and Me plots her literary journey alongside that of our starry export Katherine Mansfield; and the shortlisted Adam Dudding’s My Father’s Island circumnavigates his father, the late great literary editor Robin Dudding. Laing and Dudding speak with Geoff Walker about memoir writing, and inescapable literary forces.

A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing, takes place Friday May 19th, from 10 - 11am at the Aotea Centre's Lower NZI Room. Tickets are on sale HERE.

EVENT 43: Walk On High: Walk on High is an intimate meandering journey, featuring a sampler of Festival talent on a word trail along High Street in the CBD. From 6.30pm to 8pm choose from four fifteen-minute events, repeated four times across the ninety minutes, individually crafted and each as delectable as the next. Formats take in games, Insta-essays, music, spoken word and theatre. Over 20 writers and performers take part, including: Jess Holly Bates, Anthony Byrt, Teju Cole, Glenn Colquhoun, Jonothan Cullinane, Mei-Lin Hansen, Ali Ikram, Simone Kaho, Sarah Laing, Last Tapes Theatre Company, Michelle Leggott, Lana Lopesi, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Doug Poole, Randa, Rosabel Tan, Apirana Taylor, Tourettes, Steven Toussaint, Ian Wedde, Rewa Worley and Sonja Yelich. 

Walk on High is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at various venues on High Street, Auckland Central, from 6.30pm - 8.00pm. Check out the AWF website HERE for more information.

Toby Morris, author of The PencilswordThe Day The Costumes Stuck and Capsicum Capsi Go will be taking part in three events:

EVENT 36: Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: Five writers recently went exploring at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, each seeking inspiration for a piece of writing. Hera Lindsay Bird, Anne Kennedy, Kelly An a Morey, Toby Morris, and Ngahuia te Awekotuku present their resulting takes on our archival past.
Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at the Aotea Centre's Upper NZI Room from 4 - 5pm.

EVENT 118: The Day The Costumes Stuck (5+): Iggy can’t get his party costume off, his parents haven’t noticed and weird happenings lie ahead. Toby Morris unfolds a fun family story with illustrations. Taking place on Sunday 21st from 11 - 11.30am at the Aotea Centre Heartland Festival Room, this is a FREE event but sessions are ticketed, so book early.

EVENT 123: Capsicum Capsi Go: Capsicum goes on holiday! Come on an adventure with the coolest Capsi around led by Toby Morris and featuring a chance to draw your own Capsi. This event takes place on Sunday 21st in the Aotea Centre's Herald Theatre from 1 - 1.30pm. There is FREE entry, no ticket required. 

For more information on the Auckland Writer's Festival, you can visit the event website HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

EVENT: Hamilton Zinefest 2017

Hamilton Zinefest returns for its triumphant fourth year, with a huge range of zine makers exhibiting and selling their work. There will also be creative talks and an array of workshops for aspiring zine creators of all ages. Hamilton Zinefest 2017 will be held this Saturday at Creative Waikato,131 Alexandra Street, Hamilton Central from 10am - 3pm. For more information you can visit the Hamilton Zinefest website HERE and their Facebook event page HERE.

This is a great opportunity to meet some of Hamilton's thriving zine and comics community and pick up some one-of-a-kind handcraft reading material!

- AK!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Reads: The Giselle Clarkson Comic

Above: An image from The Giselle Clarkson Comic Number 2 at The Sapling.

The Sapling is a new website dedicated to Children's Books and literature, which you can check out HERE. In addition to their regular news and reviews, they have a monthly comic strip by the very talented Wellington cartoonist Giselle Clarkson. You might be familiar with her artwork from such publications as The School Journal and Gecko Press' Annual. Her comic for The Sapling, simply titled, The Giselle Clarkson Comicis a monthly feature which so far has been partly autobiographic, as well as including fun nods to children's books and literature. You can read the first three comics at The Sapling website HERE.

Above: An image from The Flood by Giselle Clarkson.

You can also check out more comics by Giselle at her website HERE, so be sure to Bookmark both these pages for some great new comics reading!

- AK!

Comics Compulsion Under New Management!

Above: Kirsty Everett, Logan Freear and their cat Shere Khan. Photo credit: CHCH Press.

Christchurch's iconic comic book store, Comics Compulsion is now under new management. In March, previous owner Tim Driver put the 23 year old business up for sale, and this week it was reported in The Chrischurch Press that the store is now in the hands of new owners, Logan Freear and Kirsty Everett. The couple took over the running of the store during Easter weekend, and recently celebrated their first Free Comic Book Day, welcoming in new customers with a BBQ and plenty of free comics. You can read the full CHCH Press story HERE.

- AK!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Pencilsword #36: What About the Renters?

Above: Image from The Pencilsword #36 by Toby Morris.

Home ownership in New Zealand has become a hot topic of late, with increasingly inflated property markets making home ownership unaffordable for the vast majority of first-time buyers. As a result, many New Zealanders are renters; and even that market is becoming more difficult for many of us to find quality accommodation to live in.

In the latest Pencilsword, Toby Morris asks the question, 'What About the Renters?'; and gets the perspective of renter Elliot Ferguson and Robert Whitaker from renters rights group, Renters United. You can read the full strip at The Wireless website HERE.

- AK!

Interview: Creating Cartoon Capers

Above: James Davidson. Photo credit: Grant Matthew/Fairfax NZ.

In this weekend's Sunday Star Times, James Davidson spoke with Arthur Whelan to discuss the origins and years of hard work that went into creating his comic book series Moa. You can read the full interview at the STUFF website HERE.

The complete Moa hardcover collection is available now from Earth's End Publishing HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

EVENT: Free Comic Book Day 2017!

It's that time of year again...Free Comic Book Day! This worldwide comics initiative takes place on the first Saturday of May each year; with the initial aim of promoting public awareness of comics, it is now more firmly focused on promoting reading and creating a fun event where both parents and children can share their mutual love of the comics medium.

Here's a list of the comic book stores in NZ taking part:

Heroes For Sale 
582 Karangahape Road

Arkham City Comics
Royal Oak Mall (upstairs near McDonalds)
Shop 45a/691 Manukau Rd
Royal Oak, Auckland

MK1: Mark One Comics
551 Victoria Street

106 Cuba Street

Comics Compulsion
58 Main N Rd, Papanui

There's plenty of titles to choose from (for a full list, check our the FCBD website HERE - titles may vary in availability), and each store has it's own in-store specials and events taking place, so this weekend head over to your nearest comic book store to join in the fun!

- AK!

Comicfest 2017: 5 Minute Interviews

Above: A page from Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks.

In the lead-up to this Weekend's Comicfest 2017, the Comicfest blog over at the Wellington City Library website have posted a series of '5 Minute Interviews' with some of their upcoming comics guests and panelists featured in this weekend's events. They ask about their influences, art practice, and much more. Check out the interview links below:

- 5 Minutes with Dylan Horrocks HERE

- 5 Minutes with Jem Yoshioka HERE

- 5 Minutes with Sarah Laing HERE

- 5 Minutes with Ben Milsom HERE

- 5 Minutes with Hannah Benbow HERE

So there's plenty of information for you to pick up and become familiar with these cartoonists and their work before you see them at the event!

- AK!

EVENT: Comicfest 2017

Wellington City Libraries and GRAPHIC comic store are joining forces to celebrate International Free Comic Book Day with Comicfest 2017, held this coming Saturday, 6th of May! From workshops and panel discussions with leading local cartoonists, to costume and drawing competitions, exhibitions and free comic giveaways - there's something for comic lovers of all ages at this multi-event comics festival!

Here are a rundown of the Comicfest events:

9.30am onwards Free Comic Book Day:
Sponsored by GRAPHIC comics

Grab some free comics from us and chat comics with our librarians at the Central Library!
Comics from all different publishers and for all age ranges are included in the selections, so there will be something for everyone. Thanks to Graphic for providing us with all the awesome free comics!

Comic drawing competition:

On Free Comic Book Day, come to the library and draw a comic story using just 4 panels and you could win an armful of comics! Feel free to come to Sarah Laing's character creation workshop on Saturday morning for inspiration. Entry forms available from Central Library on the day. All ages and drawing levels welcome.

Comics go to school:
Sponsored by The Ministry of Education
Over the course of its hundred-year history, the School Journal has included work from New Zealand's greatest authors and illustrators. In recent times, this has included comics from the likes of Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, and Andrew Burdan. Visit the Central Library to view a few highlights, new and old, in the lead up to ComicFest.

10am–11.00 Workshop: Comics character development workshop with Sarah Laing
Mezzanine Meeting Room, Central Library
Sponsored by Wellington City Libraries
Who's going to star in your comic? A superhero, a cybernaut, a talking sausage or a kid like you? Come to this comics workshop and we'll work on your character, from its backstory to the way it's drawn. Bring your own pens and pencils, and we'll have mountains of paper. Work on different expressions and poses, experimenting with line weight and form. We'll put them in some tricky situations to see how their story plays out in panels. All drawing levels welcome! Event info HERE.

10.30am–11.30am National Library: From where we started: Reading New Zealand's Comic History:
Session held at the National Library (Douglas Lilburn room, Level 1) to enable access to heritage collections
Sponsored by Alexander Turnbull library

The Alexander Turnbull Library collects New Zealand's documentary heritage and is home to a comic treasure trove. From early newspaper strips and children's annuals, through to contemporary graphic novels and zines, the Library offers a window into this unique and fascinating part of our history. Join research librarian Hannah Benbow for a hands on look at almost a century of New Zealand comics. Event info HERE.

11am-12noon Thunderbirds Are Go: Re-imagining the much loved brand for a new audience:
Sponsored by Pukeko Pictures

Ben Milsom, Production Designer and Episodic Director for Thunderbirds Are Go takes you through the process of re-imagining the 1960's classic for a new generation. Ben will guide you through the unique production process of this multi-media (CGI animation with live action miniature sets) series paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series.

Ben will showcase the inspiration taken from the original series and discuss how Thunderbirds Are Go was brought to life in animation, toys and comics through slides and video and present an opportunity to have your questions answered with a Q&A section. All attendees of this presentation go in to a draw to win a family pass to the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go from Weta Studio Tours. Event info HERE.

12noon–1pm Panel: Creating graphic novels with Sarah Laing and Dylan Horrocks
Sponsored by NZ Book Council

Both Dylan Horrocks and Sarah Laing have authored popularly received and well regarded long form graphic novels including recent publications, Mansfield and Me and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. This informal, personal conversation will highlight the creative process involved in making a graphic novel, but also examine publishing, the graphic novel format and comics in New Zealand. Event info HERE.

1pm–1.30 Cosplay competition
Sponsored by Unity books

Dress up as your favourite character for a shot at a comic prize! There are prizes for all categories, including children, teens and adults. Event info HERE.

1.30pm–2.30pm Panel: A Wellington view – Local Cartoonists

What's it like to be making comics in New Zealand? Join us for a discussion between local Wellington comic artists Jem Yoshioka, Giselle Clarkson and Sally Bollinger about their unique experiences making comics about life, nature, tradition, culture, and doing all this from Wellington. Moderated by Robyn Kenealy. Event info HERE.

2.30pm–3.30pm Workshop: Taking your comics to the next level, with Dylan Horrocks
Sponsored by NZ Book Council

Gather up your comics (or that graphic novel plan) and bring them along to the Central library for a sit-down chat with Dylan Horrocks. This is a chance to examine your ideas and process, to share ideas and techniques and to take things to the next level. Limited to 10 participants. Email at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz to book your place. Event info HERE.

3.30pm–4.30pm Panel: Should we all be writing political comics?
Sponsored by Alexander Turnbull library

In spite of their subject matter, artistic responses to Trump and the current political climate have been witty, elegant, colourful and empowering. Join a group of panellists including Sam Orchard, Grant Buist and Toby Morris to discuss how they have responded to recent events in their work, and the ongoing power of comics to satirise and protest. Panel discussion moderated by Hannah Benbow. Event info HERE.

All events are free and unless stated, and open to participants of all ages. So if you're in Wellington this weekend and love comics, this is going to be a great day to celebrate the local comics community and the comics medium itself! You can find out more about Comicfest 2017 HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Eisner Award Nomination for Incomplete Works

Above: The cover for Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks.

Congratulations are in order today for Dylan Horrocks, whose short story collection, Incomplete Works has been nominated for 'Best Graphic Album - Reprint' at the 2017 Eisner AwardsIncomplete Works collects some of Dylan's hard-to-find short stories, spanning his comics career from early efforts in 1986 to short diary comics from 2012. Incomplete Works was first published in New Zealand by VUP in 2014, and more recently in the US/CAN market by Alternative Comics (making it eligible for the Eisners) and in Europe by Casterman (re-titled At Work) in 2015.

I reviewed Incomplete Works when it came out for Radio NZ Nights, which you can listen to HERE. You can still buy copies of the NZ edition of Incomplete Works from the VUP website HERE. The 2017 Eisner Awards will be announced at a ceremony at Comic Con International on Friday July 21st. You can view the full list of nominees HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

EVENT: Chromacon 2017

Chromacon, the indie arts festival returns this weekend! Taking place at the Aotea Centre in the heart of the Auckland CBD, Chromacon celebrates the coming together of creativity, artistic excellence and community. Freely open to the wider public, Chromacon connects all New Zealanders with the best homegrown illustrators, comic artists, designers, animators, game developers and more.

At Chromacon, you will find original artwork and creative projects from independent creators of different media, styles, and genres. You will also be able to purchase self-published work or even one-off originals directly from the creatives themselves. The intimate nature of the event offers you the chance to meet and connect with creatives you may already admire or others creating new and exciting work that you weren't aware of. Furthermore, the event will be hosting live events, drawing/painting demos, and artist talks/panels on a variety of subjects throughout the weekend.

Chroma Connect will be returning in the form of industry sessions running in parallel with the main festival - featuring top local and international speakers. International guests include: OJIRO FUMOTO aka 'MOPPIN' [JP]  - Creator of the award-winning indie hit game Downwell, JOHN MUELLER [US] - Art Director at Blizzard Entertainment, creator of OINK - Heaven's Butcher and founder of Skyshine Games, creators of BEDLAM, KEI ACEDERA [CA] - Award-winning artist specialising in concept art, visual development, and character design for film, Art Director at Imaginism Studios, BOBBY CHIU [CA] - Award-winning artist, Founder and Creative Director of Imaginism Studios, Schoolism and host of the CHIUSTREAM, and DAVID FOLLETT [AU] - Prolific character designer, comic creator and illustrator. Creator of Uncle Silas published by Dark Horse Comics. 

On the local front, cartoonist Toby Morris - best known for his regular non-fiction comic, The Pencilsword (serialised on ‘The Wireless NZ’) - will be discussing his creative journey from developing his craft to quitting the day job and pursuing an independent artistic career full-time. Toby will give his personal insights into his life as an father, illustrator, cartoonist, comic artist and using comics as a medium for accessible journalism, social advocacy and raising awareness of important social issues. His talk will be hosted by Hicksville author, Dylan Horrocks.

NZ animation studio Mukpuddy will also be giving an in-depth retrospective of their animated series, The Barefoot Bandits, from development process/pipeline and 'script to screen', to designing memorable characters and bringing this ambitious passion project to life.

For tickets and information on the Chroma Connect talks, visit the Chromacon website HERE.

Anyone with an interest in art, in particular storytelling in visual and interactive mediums, is invited to this weekend celebration of Kiwi creativity. Whether you’re a fledgling artist yourself, or simply curious about the amazing original work created by independent creators right here in New Zealand, this event is for you! There is over 100 local creatives attending - check out the full line up HERE, so make sure you clear your weekend schedule and bring some cash to pick up some one-of-a-kind artwork!

Chromacon is open April 8th - 9th at the Aotea Centre, from 10am - 5pm daily. For more information and updates, visit the Chromacon event page on Facebook HERE, and the official website HERE.

- AK!