Amongst the zines on offer at the Auckland Zinefest this past weekend there were a couple off New Zealand comics vying for punter attention. Jerome Bihan, editor of the 'Fleet FM Radio as Paper' comics anthology was there with copies of his new solo effort 'Pig'.
'Pig' introduces us to a cartoonist who is taking a great deal of sadistic pleasure from his waster comics adaptation of 'Romeo & Juliet', until his own love life reveals itself to be equally tragic and pathetic. It features some great characterization; the lead character Peter, appears to almost tick on the page with restless energy as he waits for his instant noodles to microwave.
Above: A page from 'Pig'. Copyright Jerome Bihan 2009.
The pacing is also equally strong, with a regulated four panel grid breaking up Peter's moment to moment actions and thoughts. The style of storytelling reminds me a little of Alex Robinson's 'Box Office Poison', and should appeal to the same readership. It's an economical 13 pages, but neatly sets itself up the story for future chapters. At only $4 bucks it's well worth your golden pennies.
Jeremy Bishop, DMC publisher of 'New Ground', was also there with their new volume 11, featuring an eye-catching cover from the always excellent Roger Langridge.
With the 'New Ground' series, Jeremy has offered young up-and-coming NZ cartoonists the chance to put pen to paper and see their work professionally printed, which is a great initiative and deserves to be commended.
This issue features stories by: James Davidson, Donald Snelling & Justin Lane, Robin Hotter & CJ Alvarez, Steve Saville, Jeremy Bishop & Tuku Wiki-Pasene, Thomas Arthur Bailey and S.J. McClearly & Kelly-Marie.
While not all the featured content is that polished, that's kind of the idea here. It gives young people passionate about making comics the opportunity to put some of their work out there without spending a king's ransom to see it in print. It's a great improvement on my generation, who had to take over the photocopier at our parents' offices across the nation to see out results printed (staples not included!). So if you have a budding cartoonist in the family that you want to encourage, give them a copy of 'New Ground'. If they're not overwhelmed by what's inside, challenge them to do better in the next issue.
If you would like to submit a story or artwork for a future issue of 'New Ground', you can contact the publisher at: Jeremy.firstname.lastname@example.org.