Thursday, September 11, 2014

EVENT: Auckland Libraries Comic Book Month 2014: Comics in the Digital Age!




Above: The panel line-up of comic creators: Li Chen, Richard Fairgray, Sarah Laing and Dylan Horrocks.

Comic Book Month is currently taking place at Libraries across the Auckland region, celebrating the ever-growing interest in comics and graphic novels available through libraries. To find out more about what events are happening at a library near you, check out the Comic Book Month events page at the Auckland City Libraries website HERE.

Highlights include: Librarycon, a one-day comic convention happening at Onehunga Library & Community Centre on Saturday, 27th of September, from 11am-4pm. You'll be able to browse stalls featuring local comics, zines, art and craft displays and more (Cosplay is welcomed!), more details HERE; and there's also a 'Create a Character' competition HERE.


Above: The latest comic strip from Extra Ordinary Comics by Li Chen. Copyright Li Chen 2014.

On Tuesday evening at the Auckland Central Library, there will be a special comics discussion on 'Comics in the Digital Age'. 

To discuss this topic, I'll be joined by an all-star line-up of local comics creators - Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville, and Incomplete Works; Li Chen, author of the webcomic Extra Ordinary Comics; Richard Fairgray, creator of Blastosaurus and Ghost Ghost; and Sarah Laing, author of Let Me Be Frank and The Fall of Light - we'll discuss the impact of digital technology on comics. How has it advanced and improved the way we create, distribute and share our comics? Is there still a place for printed comics in the ever-evolving world of digital reading devices and file sharing?


Above: A panel from Blastosaurus by Richard Fairgray, Terry Jones & Tara Black. Copyright Richard Fairgray 2014.

This FREE panel event will be taking place at the Whare Wananga room on Level 2 at the Auckland Central Library (44 - 46 Lorne Street), from 6pm - 7.30pm. There will be light refreshments before the talk begins, and the authors will have copies of their books available to buy and sign after the talk, so bring some cash along if you'd like to pick up some great local comics!

There are plenty of other Comic Book Month events happening across the region, so check out the events page at Auckland City Libraries HERE for more information.

- AK!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crowd-funding Alert: Grafix Knox: The Creative Works of Chris Knox 1965-2014



Above: The cover of Grafix Knox, copyright Chris Knox 2014.

A creative force in local popular culture, a legion of fans with be familiar with the many creative works of Chris Knox. From his music as a solo artist and with bands like The Enemy and Toy Love, to his comics contributions to StripsJesus On a Stick, and comic strips for the NZ Listener, Real Groove Magazine and The New Zealand Herald. His contributions to the New Zealand artistic landscape has been significant, but a collection celebrating and analysing these works has never been attempted - until now.

Beatnik Publishing has teamed with designer/artist Chris Mousdale to produce Grafix Knox: The Creative Works of Chris Knox 1965-2014, the first major volume dedicated to collecting Knox's many artistic endeavours, from comics to painting, gig posters, record designs and everything in between. Mousdale is working closely with Knox and his family to assemble this collection from Knox's considerable personal archives.


Above: A spread from the proposed book. Copyright Chris Knox 2014.

As many of you may be aware, Knox suffered a major stroke in 2009, and is still experiencing significant debilitating effects. His speech is affected and his physical stamina compromised. But remarkably he continues to paint and draw, relearning his technique with his left hand. This book will span his remarkable career from his early drawing in the 1960s, right up to his recent painting series 'Electric', which offers a startling insight into the impact and after-effects of his life-changing stroke. Proceeds from the book will also go directly back to Chris and his family, to provide support and some much appreciated income.

To make this essential collection possible, Beatnik have turned to crowd-funding site Fundnation, where they are seeking $50,000 NZ for printing costs. Full-colour art books are very expensive to produce, so this is a reasonable ask - but time is running out. There are just 5 days left to raise the required funds, so if you'd like to see this book become a reality - please pledge at the Fundnation site HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

EVENT: Comics Spotlight at WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival 2014!



Increasingly, comics and graphic novels have become a welcome addition to literary events around the country, and the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival 2014 is no exception! The WORD Writers & Readers festival returns to Christchurch, kicking off tomorrow with 70 literary events running over the next five days, showcasing quality fiction, politics, food writing, poetry, music, crime, satire, the Christchurch rebuild, children’s books and free family events.



Cartoonists and comics are highlighted in three events over the course of the festival; the first is Reading Favourites, featuring Sarah Laing - author of the comic series Let Me Be Frank, and The Fall of Light - along with writers Kate de Goldi and Carl Nixon, as they discuss their favourite New Zealand books and the art of reading. Laing will also be discussing her in-progress graphic novel on the life of Katherine Mansfield, which should be fascinating for those curious about the process of producing a graphic biography. The event takes place on Friday afternoon at 2.30pm. More details on the event HERE.



The increasingly prolific Dylan Horrocks is the focus of the second event, Journey To Hicksville, which takes place on Saturday 30th at 2pm. Horrocks needs no introduction to the uninitiated, as the author of the seminal graphic novel Hicksville (1998, first published in NZ in 2010), Incomplete Works which came out earlier this year, and The Magic Pen, due out in November. Horrocks will be discussing his career, comics and more, with filmmaker and fellow cartoonist Jonathan King. For ticket information and details check HERE.



The final event is Capes & Tights: Superhero Comics, on Sunday 31st at 4pm. Join Philosopher Damon Young, YA author Karen Healey and Jonathan King, as they discuss the many issues surrounding the genre of superhero comics: has Hollywood ruined comics? What does copyright mean for fanfic? Are superhero comics inherently sexist? And are they ideologically sound? All this and more, in a conversation moderated by Dylan Horrocks. For ticket information and details check HERE.

So this weekend if you're in Christchurch, make sure you get to WORD to enjoy some our cartoonists discussing their work and the unique storytelling that the comics medium has to offer. Visit the WORD Festival website HERE.

- AK!

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!