Friday, October 30, 2009

Comics on K: The Comics Weekend Report


'Comics on K', Auckland's first comics weekend in recent memory took place earlier this month on the 17-18 of October at The High Seas, and I was there to enjoy the company and comics of some of Auckland's finest cartoonist. We had some great visitors from Wellington to add to talent pool, but this was the first organised gathering of Auckland's comics community in years, and that alone marks this as a special occasion.

What follows are some of my recollections from the weekend, accompanied by drawings of the event from the sketchbook of Darren Sheehan.

Above: Cartoonists manning the tables on Day One, as sketched by Darren Sheehan (enlarge to pick out the names!).

Day One: Saturday 17th of October

I arrived at The High Seas just after 1pm. Auckland's temperamental wind and rain was subsiding in time for the weekend's organiser, Jerome Bihan, to fire up the barbecue. While the grilling got underway, I went inside and joined the Sheehan Bros: Kelly and Darren (creators of 'The Inhabitants') and Richard Fairgray (of 'Blastosaurus' and 'Falling Leaves' fame) at the second of two display tables set-up inside.

The other table featured: Frank and Becky (creators of 'Tiny Kitten Teeth'), Marc Streeter (creator of 'ActionMan Adam'), Mat Tait (creator of 'Love Stories') and Brent Willis (editor of Wellington anthology 'Bristle').

Above: The cover from the complete set of 'The Inhabitants'. Art by Darren Sheehan, colours by Ben Stenbeck. Copyright the Sheehan Bros 2009.

A small but steady stream of customers and friends made their way through the gallery in the first two hours as cartoonists enthusiastically organised their wares and welcomed any chance to introduce their work to the uninitiated. The Sheehan Bros were greeted with many a cry of "at last!" in response to publishing the final issue of 'The Inhabitants'. So how long exactly was the wait? "Seven years, I believe", was Kelly's response, although Darren's recollection was closer to six years (personally, I think Kelly should let Darren have that extra year off!).

Above: Punters from Day One, and Becky Dreistadt inking at the bottom left.

One thing you can be sure of, there's never a shortage of lively conversation between fellow comic creators. You never know when a discussion on Jack Kirby or a 2000AD appreciation is going to break out, as it did later that afternoon between the Sheehan Bros, Mat Tait and some customers.

It also keeps things interesting if you have opposing views on subjects. As I was telling Jose Barbosa, Richard Fairgray and I can't seem to agree on any two subjects:

ME:..I'm telling you, we disagree on EVERYTHING. We should really get our own point/counter-point show on public access.

JOSE: Uh-huh. So what else have you been up to?

ME: My flatmate just imported a copy of the Director's Cut of 'Watchmen' on Blu-ray...

RICHARD: I really didn't care for 'Watchmen'. It was far too faithful to the source material, like 'Sin City'. I HATED that movie.

KELLY (catching interest): THANK YOU! You're not the only one, Richard!

ME: See, see! Opposite!
And you haven't even seen 'Watchmen', Kelly!

KELLY (smiling): I don't NEED to see it.

Of coarse agreement would just spoil our fun. You can learn a great deal from listening to someone else's point of view, especially when it comes to comics. Speaking of which, there was a variety of comics and styles on offer that weekend. From the slick, retro-styled humour of Frank & Becky's 'Tiny Kitten Teeth' to Mat Tait's brooding 'Love Stories'. Humour was also a strong suit in the collective mini-comics of Brent Willis and Marc Streeter's comic, featuring the always upbeat 'ActionMan Adam'.

Above: The cover of 'ActionMan Adam'. Copyright Marc Streeter 2009.

Later that afternoon (after a well cooked BBQ break to keep energy levels up) Dylan Horrocks arrived, with two issues of a new mini-comic series 'Pikelet', which he had whipped up on his home computer printer!

Above: The cover of 'Pikelet' issue #1 by Dylan Horrocks.

'Pikelet' collects some of Dylan's short stories, which have appeared in various places over the last decade as a set of two handsomely presented DIY mini-comics.

Issue #1 of 'Pikelet' subtitled: 'The War and Peace Issue', features: '10-7': Dylan's contribution to Dark Horse's '9-11: Artist's Responce' , 'My World': from 'Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption' and 'Siso' previously seen in 'Douze Ecrivains Neo-Zelandais' and 'Pictozine 3'.

Above: The cover of 'Pikelet' issue #2 by Dylan Horrocks.

Issue #2 of 'Pikelet' subtitled: 'The Imaginary Geography of Love', features: 'Cornucopia' from 'The Lifted Brow' (with a minor re-write) and 'The Physics Engine', Dylan's contribution to 'Are Angel's Ok?: The Parallel Universes of New Zealand Writer's and Scientists'.

Most of these stories are already available on Dylan's website for free, but these home-made mini-comics make a strong argument for print-to-order, as these items are as much beautiful craft objects as they are comics. If you would like to get hold of some Pikelet's for yourself, you can try The High Seas in Auckland or contact Dylan directly at his website.

Above: An example from Chris Slane's educational comics. This example is from 'No Hea te Hau' : A history of Te Rauparaha's raids into the South Island. Artwork by Chris Slane copyright Hana Limited/Ministry of Education 2009.

At 5.30pm the evening's lecture series got under way, beginning with a talk from cartoonist Chris Slane. For several years Chris has been producing a series of educational comics based on Maori history as part of a learning resource package for the Ministry of Education. Produced in water-colour, Chris' artwork brings the past to life in dramatic fashion, with the sensitivity and respect this project demands.

He showed a series of slides illustrating the extensive research he under took to keep the stories historically accurate (no matter how small the details in the final artwork!). From combing library archives, to checking out locations on Google earth and snippets of Youtube footage, Chris left no stone unturned to produce these historically accurate wide-screen comics.

It's a true testament to Chris' artwork that these stories are visually exciting and engaging (something that's usually lacking from most NZ educational publications!), presenting Maori history in his own unique style, while maintaining a respect for the source material that elevates the quality of these books far beyond the educational market.
It's a real pity the Ministry of Education has no plans to release these books to the wider public, as they deserve to be seen (according to Chris they fear someone will make money from it...god forbid that happens!).

Chris' talk was a real eye-opener, a look at some of New Zealand's finest 'secret' comics and a great example of an artist's research methodology in action. For more of Chris' stunning educational comics, you can view samples over on Chris' website and there's also links to interactive versions of the stories too!

Dylan Horrocks was the next speaker, with a talk entitled: 'The 6 Things I Learned from Comics'.

It would be a disservice to briefly summarise this talk here, so I'll be covering it as a separate article. In his talk Dylan discusses some of the difficulties he's had in the past wrestling with his own artistic 'voice' and the pitfalls of working in the world of corporate comics. But the most thought provoking discussion of the night came from Dylan's thoughts on intellectual property and the copyright law reforms, one of the most fiercely debated issues in the arts world right now. Dylan now protects all his comics under a Creative Commons Licence, which allows the work to be freely shared and distributed as long as it is attributed to it's author and is not used for commercial purposes. For more from Dylan's fascinating talk, check back next week!

Day Two: Sunday 18th of October

Above: More sketches from Day Two from the sketchbook of Darren Sheehan. Again you can spot some of the guests..(I'm the big head at the bottom left with Bruce Willis' hairline). The High Seas co-founder Nigel Wright is to my right, looking out from over his laptop.

Above: In this second picture is a portrait of Jerome Bihan at the bottom right, 'Master of Ceremonies'.

The Sheehan Bros made a morning appearance on BFM's Sunday Breakfast Show (that you can listen to here) to help plug the event and talk about 'The Inhabitants', before things got under way again at The High Seas at 1pm.

After the previous day's introductions, Sunday was a more informal affair with more in-depth discussions and sharing of technical skills. Kelly and I learnt a great deal about web-comics and Wordpress from a conversation with Frank Gibson, an experienced authority on the subject (thanks Frank!). With Dylan's absence on the second day, I got in on the act exhibiting some of my 'graphic novel in progress' to interested viewers.

Above: Table Two, Day Two: From left: Darren and Kelly Sheehan talking to Mat Tait (not pictured) and myself and Richard witnessing a profound vision...(perhaps someone spiked our water?).

The hours seemed to pass more quickly on the second day, and before we knew (or expected) it, the Sunday art auction was upon us! Now if there was one miss-fire this weekend, this would have to be it. Perhaps it was poorly timed, but to be fair you never know when you're going to draw a crowd. As it turned out, our busiest time for visitors was right before the lectures on Saturday night. Sunday afternoon's turn out? Not so much...

Wine had wisely been distributed half an hour before hand to help loosen people's purse strings, but when you have a room full of (marginally) starving artists, it'll takes a bit more than that to get people effectively bidding on their own artwork.

This scene could very quickly have become an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' if Jose Barbosa had not strolled in at that crucial moment to start a bidding war with Kelly Sheehan over a page of Mat Tait's artwork. Jose's bid prevailed, winning the artwork, while the rest of us managed to slowly but quietly bid the auction to rest. In a word...awkward.

With the auction out of the way, the second day came to a close with some friendly chatter as comics were packed away and emails and farewells exchanged.

Overall, 'Comics on K' was a great start to what I hope will be a continuing tradition.
It would be fair to say there's definitely room for improvement, as the punter turnout was much lower than I think anyone was expecting. But much like Zine Fest, these weekend events need time to grow and gain awareness in the community, and my hat is off to Jerome Bihan for assembling such a professional and well organised show in such a short time frame. If anything, the short window in which this show came together (to meet the decided weekend-before-Armageddon deadline) may have contributed to it's limited attendance. I have no doubt that if this event continues in the future, it will gain the following it deserves.

Personally, I considered the event to be a great success for one very important reason: it unified the Auckland comics community for the first time in recent memory, and that in itself is a significant achievement. Auckland can now join to ranks of Wellington and Christchurch as a unified, thriving comics community, with a new date on the calendar for cartoonists to look forward to and work towards.

I'm already looking forward to next year's event and the progress that will accompany it, as a new day for NZ comics dawns over Beresford Square.

-AK!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Armageddon '09: Wulfpak

Above: The cover of 'Wulfpak' by Ed Butler. Copyright Ed Butler 2009.

(A quick note: apologises on the delayed coverage of 'Comics on K', the day-job and prepping for Armageddon have completely swallowed my time-table this week. But not fear, it's on the way!)

In the meantime, I have an exclusive first-look at Ed Butler's new comic debuting at Armageddon this weekend: 'Wulfpak'.

Ed's been making waves in the NZ comics community after releasing his first self-published comic 'Hell Bound' at last year's Armageddon. Since then his obvious artistic talents have seen him snapped up by Sam Raimi & Rob Tapert's production company Pacific Renaissance to produce storyboards for the locally filmed US series 'Spartacus: Blood & Sand'.

Here's Ed's description of 'Wulfpak':

"It's basically a kids comic in the vein of 'Dragon Ball' and 'Naruto'. It's about this kid Wulf and his pet wolf Smoke and friends out on a quest to find their lost clan. The book will feature two stories set in the wulfpak world. One is written and drawn by me, the other is written by me and drawn by my mate, Munro Te Whata. We're both ex-'Bro Town' (artists)".


Above: A preview page from 'Wulfpak'. Copyright Ed Butler 2009.

This looks like it's going to be a very impressive package: it's manga sized and will be around 50 pages in length. I'm sure it will be one of the real highlights of the convention, so be sure to seek out a copy this weekend!

For more information on Ed Butler and his work, you check out his comics website Hell Bound Comics, and his online portfolio.

-AK!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

EVENT: 'Portrait of a Waiting Pig' Book Launch and Exhibition


Above: Morgan the Pig from 'Portrait of a Waiting Pig'. Copyright Andy Conlan 2009.

The multi-talented cartoonist/director/actor Andy Conlan, best known in comics circles for his late-nineties comic series 'Strumming Teeth', has turned his considerable talents to publishing, with his first illustrated novella 'Portrait of a Waiting Pig'.

Here's a brief description of the book:

What is the great, life changing event that we all seem to be waiting for nowadays, and when is it going to happen?
That is the very question that plagues a small, constantly bemused pig called Morgan in this illustrated novella for adults. Is “it” ever going to happen for him? How will he know when it does? Has he experienced it already and completely missed it?

The Waiting Pig of the title waits for this life changing event through a series of wryly narrated vignettes, as he perishes with ennui before our eyes. Part black comedy, part cautionary tale, the book was previously only available in a limited edition. It is now released in an all new edition formatted as the author/illustrator intended, with new material added to its charming collection of Edwardian etching style illustrations and very dry humour.

It's a handsomely presented 32 page hardcover, which at only $19.99 is an absolute steal!

A launch exhibition featuring original artwork from the book will be held this Wednesday the 21st at The High Seas from 6pm.
The exhibition will run till the end of the month, so if you can't make it to the opening be sure to stop by and check out the artwork at your leisure.

I recently had a chance to see a proof copy of this book and it's exquisitely finished and deserves a place on the shelf of all respectable NZ bookstores! For more Information check out the publisher's website: Gracewood Hollows Publishing.

-AK!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Comics on K: The Visual Report


Above: Some customers buying NZ comics. Cartoonists sitting behind the table from left to right: Marc Streeter, Becky & Frank and Brent Willis.

The inaugural 'Comics on K: NZ Comics Weekend' took place this past weekend, gathering some of NZ's finest local cartoonist at one location for a weekend of cartooning, spirited conversation, exchanging of ideas and occasional sales.

I'll have a write-up tomorrow when my strength returns (turns out sitting around talking comics all weekend takes a lot of energy!) but in the meantime, here's some photos from the weekend to enjoy!

Above: The Sheehan Bros (Darren and Kelly) selling copies of their completed comic series 'The Inhabitants'.


Above: The Sheehan Bros and Richard Fairgray creator of 'Falling Leaves' and 'Blastosaurus', keeping the customers satisfied.

Above: Kelly Sheehan and Jose Barbosa in conversation.

Above: Cartoonist Brent Willis, with a selection of his comics including the latest issue of the Wellington comics anthology he edits, 'Bristle'.

Above: Brent Willis talking with Steve Seville.


Above: The second table, which featured Marc Streeter creator of 'ActionMan Adam', Becky & Frank of 'Tiny Kitten Teeth', Mait Tait creator of 'Love Stories' and Brent Willis, editor of 'Bristle'.

Above: Marc Streeter and Becky and Frank.

Above: Becky putting brush-pen to paper.

Above: The second table from the other side (Brent breaks for lunch!).

Above: Later on Saturday afternoon Dylan Horrocks arrived with two issues of a new mini-comic series titled 'Pikelet'.

Above: Some of the original artworks to be auctioned off at the end of the weekend.

More on this event tomorrow!
-AK!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comics on K: Weekend Schedule


As a last minute reminder: here's the schedule for 'Comics on K' so you can start planning your weekend around it!

Saturday:

The High Seas opens at 1pm, and is located at 1/12-14 Beresford Square, off K Rd.
The stall holders will be: Dylan Horrocks, the Sheehan Bros, Frank and Becky, Marc Streeter, Stefan Neville, Brent Willis and Mat Tait.

There will be a BBQ going outside of the venue from 2pm, there will be a couch and seating outside so you can sit and read if you'd like. Artwork from some of the stall holders will be on display in an exhibition all day Saturday and Sunday.

Chris Slane will hold a talk about the marvels of historical research for comic making at around 5.30pm.
Then Dylan Horrocks will close the event with an hour long talk called '6 things i have learned from comics'.

The High Seas is providing a giant projector cinema effect for these talks and we will have a limited amount of seats, so if you are interested in hearing these talks, bring your favorite beach chair or cushion or be ready to sit on concrete floor.

Sunday:

The High Seas will again open at 1pm.
Staff holders on Sunday will be: the Sheehan Bros, Frank and Becky, Stefan Neville, Mat Tait, Brent Willis, Marc Streeter and Richard Fairgray.

The Sunday Art Auction will take place from 6pm onwards, featuring artwork by: Darren Sheehan, Frank and Becky, Mat Tait, Brent Willis, Marc Streeter and possibly more.

It's going to be a full weekend of great NZ comics and creators, so come on down and show some support for the local comics community (plus BBQ!).

-AK!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Comics on K: ActionMan Adam


Above: The cover of ActionMan Adam #1. Copyright Marc Streeter.

Auckland cartoonist Marc Streeter will also be at 'Comics on K' this weekend launching the first issue of 'ActionMan Adam'.

It's about a Canadian guy on his working holiday, trying to find love in Christchurch, New Zealand. It's been a few years in the making, but if it's nicely rendered black & white artwork is anything to go by, it's been worth the wait!

It's 36 pages of stories for $9, so check it out this weekend.
Above: Artwork from 'ActionMan Adam'. Copyright Marc Streeter.

You can check out more of Marc's comics on-line at his website, which also features some great behind-the-scenes features on the creation of his comics and artwork. Marc will also be attending the Armageddon Expo this Labour Weekend (Oct 24-26), so you'll have a second chance this month to get some 'ActionMan Adam'!

For more information of 'Comics on K: A Comics Weekend' (Oct 17-18) you can visit the blog or see The High Seas for more details.

-AK!

Comics on K: Bristle #3

Above: the cover of Bristle #3 by Ned Wenlock.

Wellingtonian cartoonist/editor Brent Willis will be attending 'Comics on K' this weekend with a brand-spanking new issue of the anthology title 'Bristle'. It features stories from the finest cartoonists Welly has to offer including: Carlos Wedde, Robyn E Kenealy, Claire Harris & Clive Townsend, Lou McLellan, M. Emery, Ari Freeman, Stephen Saville, Draw, Edward Lynden-Bell, and Helen Cropp and Brent Willis himself. It features an eye-catching cover by Ned Wenlock and a back cover provided by Jason Winter.

It's 36 pages of comics goodness, produced in A5 format for only five dollars!
So make sure you pick up a copy this weekend, along with back-issues of Bristle #1 and #2.

For more information of 'Comics on K: A Comics Weekend' (Oct 17-18) you can visit the blog or see The High Seas for more details.

-AK!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In the Studio with The Sheehan Bros Part 1


Above: 'The Inhabitants' promotional poster by Darren Sheehan. Copyright the Sheehan Bros 2009.

The studio visit is back this month with a difference: this time we'll be looking at comics creation from a writer's point of view. We'll take a look inside the working space (and mind) of Kelly Sheehan: the writing half of the Sheehan Bros, who with his artist brother Darren, have created many comics together including 'The Longman' and the recently completed series 'The Inhabitants'. Both Sheehan Bros will be on hand this weekend at the 'Comics On K' Comics Weekend at The High Seas promoting the finished set of 'The Inhabitants' series.

So before you buy their comics, let's take a look inside Kelly's studio space:

Above: Kelly's home workstation.

Above: Kelly's notebooks.

KELLY SHEEHAN: These tatty notebooks and the memory stick are things which I would grab first, (after my family), in the advent of a house fire. For me they represent work. Both already done (the big blue book) and what I have planned in the future (the small black book, a gift from Anthony Ellison). I'm not as disciplined as I should be with recording ideas, but I do it enough that they are a useful source of inspiration If I get stuck. I'm amazed how often I look through them, and what I come across is new to me - "wow", I think, "I'm pleased I wrote that down." My memory is shit. The memory stick is for work in progress. I find it difficult to write, so the idea of loosing anything is terrifying. I keep all ongoing projects in about three different places-just in case.

This bookcase was a wedding gift to me from my wife. I try to only fill it with what really matters to me. I think a lot of the books and comics that are on those shelves are totems. Objects with strong juju. I have them next to where I work and part of me probally hopes that they induce some sort of magic or inspiration.


The centre shelving unit is all Moore. There's a Graffti Watchmen and the first volume of the collected From Hell scripts (with a cool cover painted by Alan Moore and a killer introduction by him) and Iain Sinclairs City of Disaperances with Moores wonderful novella Disapearingabout Steve Moore (no relation) and all his performance CDs (two of them with cover designs by Darren) and a couple of interview books with the man himself and loads of other bits and pieces. It also has TLEG absolute editions which our two year old loves. He's obssessed by Edward Hyde-"mon-STA, mon-STA, mon-STA". He dosen't get to see all of it, of course. Seamus also loves Lynda Barry's, What It Is.



The upper right hand section has mainly childrens novels. I try and only buy the editions that I read when I was that age. I'll be very pleased when I locate a hardback of The Dark is Rising with a cover by Michael Heslop. Also in here are books by Alan Garner, Dianna Wynne Jones and Joan Aiken.

Above this is a box of NZ comics, which is not as full as it should be. There are things I could of got years ago that I negelected and now I'm kicking myself.

Q1: What are you currently working on?

KS: Currently finishing the bits and pieces needed to do when printing up comics.

In terms of writing, the next project is a anthology entitled Behemoth. it stems from having worked on one project for so long (the Inhabitants took about six or seven years). Ideas build up and get put to one side and you want to try something different. I'm keen on doing some non-fiction pieces We've got one thats almost finished, its about Alan Moore and Big Numbers.I have an idea for another longer piece. I have also recently started work on a text piece entitled Sorrow, (it will illustrated by Darren). It's a children's fantasy inspired by Susan Cooper, Joan Aiken, Dianna Wynne Jones, Alan Garner and Philip Pullman. Hopefully it will be like none of them. There's also a couple of short pieces, a Long Man story called Half-a-beast, and an Inhabitants one off with the working title of Avant garage(-in a room of ones own).

Q2: What are your current drawing tools of preference?

I have no drawing tools.

Or do I? Actually, now I think of it, Darren makes me do thumbnails of everything. I usually do these in my workbook and then transfer miniature versions onto the scripts i give him. Basically I use any old pen or pencil lying around and spend a lot of time rubbing them out and starting again. Here's a picture of one....


Q3: Can you describe your average working routine?

My routine changes all of the time. So, can I call it a routine? Sometimes I work reguarly, sometimes i don't.

I don't think that I manage my time very well. Often there is a lot of time just spent thinking about what happens next, but not doing the work required to find out. In the end its only by putting words on paper that you make progress.
After years I think that I finally like writing, as opposed to liking having written. My goal now is to write regularly, even if it is only an hour per day.


Q4: What is your working process?

The way I work is varied. Sometimes I write everything out long hand, or i work on the computer, or i start with thumbnails and notes and build from there. Often I will write a condensed piece and then break it up into panels and images will suggest themselves during this process. Whatever I do, Darren will take the script and the crude thumbnails that come with it and do his own breakdowns. Often these are different from my ideas, more visually sophisticated and often longer. I hardly ever disagree with his ideas. If I do I will talk with him. But Darren has final say over images, and I do over words.


In terms of story structure, I don't start with outlines or a synopsis, but progress from one page to the next. If I'm lucky a whole hunk of story will present itself and I won't have to work blind. If I'm not lucky then I will have to work panel to panel.

I'd love to be able to 'edit' whatever I'm working on. Cut pieces out and add others, after seeing the initial images. Alas, it's not really possible at the moment.

Q5: Do you listen to anything while you work?

Again, this changes. sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

Mostly I listen to moody, quiet stuff-Tricky, SJD, Dimmer, muted Miles Davies. Not so much anything that is demanding, (demanding in a LOUD way.) Or busy-like hip-hop. I've sat down in noisy, distracting environments (old Brazil cafe, the library where I work) and written or advanced difficult parts of stories. But, at other times, I need quiet, and nothing else will do.

Q6: Can you name some of your influences?

Influences...In terms of work and how I approach it, years ago I read in interview with Alan Moore in the Comics Journal. He talked about being influenced by Brian Eno, and how Eno said, creativity was a process that needed to be worked at and persevered with. 99% persperation, 1% inspiration, I guess. That alway stuck with me, (it was years after reading that before i finally made anything).

The Long Man was strongly influenced by Bredan McCarthy, Frank Woodring's Frank and Mike Mignola's Hellboy. All attempts to create a 'private mythology'. To create worlds that have their own private logic and rules.
Also, Tim Molloy.Tim's work has inspired me to return to the Long Man. I love the way he reworks and adds further layers to what he has already created. All Tim's work seems to feed the City of the Ever Open Eye-the posters, the short strips, the longer pieces. All populating it with the macabre and the strange and the perverse and the scary. Tim is the bomb.

Inhabitants-mainly Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith. Its the perfect pop superhero strip. Lean, action packed, exciting and slightly odd. Warren Ellis' short and longish essays on comics and their possibilities. I also wanted the strip to have the drifting, aimless quality of Jim Jarmusch's Deadman, (something I think we got, but I'm slightly dissatisfied with now-be careful what you wish for).

Others-Susan Cooper, Adam Curtis, Erroll Morris, David Thomson, William Gibson, Tim Winton, Ken Kesey, 2000ad-the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, Bryan Tolbot, Michael Herr (Dispatches is probably my favorite book), Janet Malcom, Joss Whedon, Robert Stone (maybe it's Dog Soliders), Maurice Gee, Alan Garner, Lynda Barry, Tim Kidd, David Milch, Margaret Mahy. I say influences, but really they are are artists and craftspeople that I am simply in awe of.

My wife Sinead and her garden-see first influence.

Q7: What is your most prized comics related item?

All my Tim Kidd comics. I reread them constantly. One day they will be a collection of paper ribbons, but I won't throw them out.

Q8: What was your best and worst comics convention experience?

Worst-gushing to a very lovely Walter Simonson about his Thor run. I think that he would of preferred to have heard about something more recent, (they are killer issues though).
Best-drinking with Eddie Campbell and Tony Gibson (founder of Gothem Comics), after Bill's Friday night drinks before the convention. I still miss Tony a lot.

Q9: Do you have a favorite comics adaptation?

Certainly not V for Vendetta or Watchmen.
The first Hellboy I think. Its fun.

Q10: If I could have dinner with five other people from history they would be..?

Um, historic figures? Don't know. But I would like to have another midweek afternoon pub session with Anthony Ellison, Timothy Kidd, Ben Stenbeck, Tim Molloy and James, James.

Q11: If I could make one edit/change to the history of comics it would be...?

That Jack Kirby could finish the New Gods.
Particularly that he could finish it without the interference and harassment that he seems to have endured during that run at DC. His vision that the New Gods be collected into books, and was a story that had a beginning, middle and end, was years ahead of its time in the United States, (if not in Europe and Japan). Had he managed to realize those ideas, it may have changed the industries own perceptions of what the medium was capable of and accelerated development of the mainstream comics industry.

Or, that Alan Moore actually did his proposed Fantagraphics anthology title: Dodgem Logic. Or is it just me that longed to read Convention Tension?

- Thanks to Kelly Sheehan for sharing his working insights and showing off his bookshelf!(damn you for having all those out-of-print Bill Sienkiewicz books!).

For more updates on 'The Inhabitants' and the Sheehan Bros, you can check out their blog. As I mentioned earlier, they will be guests at 'Comics On K' at The High Seas this weekend (17-18th of October) they will be selling copies of the new issue #4 as well as complete sets of the series if you want it all in one bundle! There will also be an auction of original artwork on Sunday afternoon, so if you like what you see in the book, here's your chance to buy some of Darren's original artwork!
If you don't live in Auckland or near a comic shop, you can also buy 'The Inhabitants' on TradeMe. They'll also be attending the Armageddon Expo this coming Labour Weekend (24-26th of October), so if you like well-crafted, mind-bending comics you have good reason to should seek out the Sheehan Bros this month!

-AK!