If you happen to be kicking back and relaxing this weekend with a good book or tablet device, he's some new home-grown comics to enjoy!
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of hosting a NZ comics panel at Chromacon in Auckland and got to interview the very talented Wellington cartoonist Jem Yoshioka. Her latest auto-biographic comic, My Father's Face, was inspired by her recent visit to Japan for the first time, as she continues to explore her Japanese heritage and themes relating to identity. Following on from her previous comic Folding Kimono, this is a thought provoking read and certainly has the potential to grow into a larger graphic novel project (which Jem has hinted at in her blog), so watch this space!
You can read the full comic of My Father's FaceHERE and Jem's other comics at her website HERE.
Above: Panel from The Pencilsword #19: Twelve Days by Toby Morris.
Toby Morris wraps up another year of The Pencilswordwith a sweet ode to the kiwi batch summer Christmas! You can read the full strip HERE.
Above: The Adventures of Hutu & Kawa by Avis Acres.
Just in time for Christmas, Penguin Books NZ have reissued The Adventures of Hutu & Kawa, a classic picture book by one of our pioneering female cartoonists Avis Acres. Originally published by A.H. & A.W. Reed in 1955, this was the first in a series of picture books featuring the characters that had appeared in her 1950s comic strip, The Tale of Hutu & Kawa, published weekly in the New Zealand Herald. This was followed by two sequels, Hutu and Kawa meet Tuatara (1956) and Hutu and Kawa find an Island (1957).
In this adventure, Hutu and Kawa - also known as The Pohutukawa Babies - with some help from Grandpa Kiwi, build a canoe and set off up the river to explore the forest. On their way they make many new friends – and encounter the fearsome Bush Hawk.
This 60th-anniversary hardback edition captures all the charm of the original tale and brings these delightful characters to a new generation of children. Available now, this classic kiwiana read will make a great gift for the young or nostalgic at heart.
The Adventures of Hutu & Kawa by Avis Acres RRP: $25.00NZ ISBN: 9780143507055
Above: The cover for The Heading Dog Who Split in Half by Mat Tait.
It has been around 5 years in the making, having appeared in installments online and in various anthologies, but finally writer Michael Brown and artist Mat Tait's The Heading Dog Who Split in Half: Legends and Tall Tales from New Zealand is here!
As the title suggests, this is a collection of local folklore legends: accounts of extraordinary events that are believed to have happened, and tall tales: far-fetched and exaggerated yarns that are so well told and memorable that they have taken hold in the community imagination and been passed on in story or song.
Authors Mat Tait and Michael Brown first met at the Ilam School of Fine Arts at Christchurch University in the late 1980s. They stayed in touch, and after several years of researching and writing about New Zealand folklore, Brown approached Tait with the idea of adapting these tales into graphic form. Over the years Tait had quietly carved out a career as one of our most gifted comics illustrators. His artwork is an immaculate mix of razor-sharp line work and fluid inking. There’s an attention to detail that gives his work a haunting realism, combined with a cartoonist’s eye for composition and humour, that is perfect suited for this subject matter.
When it comes to tall tales you want to be drawn in and convinced that there’s a germ of truth in the telling, and that’s exactly what Brown and Tait have achieved here: these stories will entertain you, unnerve you, and haunt you – in the best possible way.
Above: A page from The Heading Dog Who Split in Half, artwork by Mat Tait.
There’s the title yarn, The Heading Dog Who Split in Half, a legend from the MacKenzie high country of Canterbury, about a heading dog that was so fast at mustering that one day it hit a half buried fencing standard at such speed that it was split in two. It’s owner puts the two halves back together and it speeds off and completes the job. Only once it returns does the owner see that it is grotesquely joined with one half the wrong way up! Captured in freakish detail by Tait's artwork, on paper it's a tale so vivid it leads you to wonder - what grain of truth could have given rise to this outlandish fantasy?
And that's where the Additional Notes section at the back of the book comes in, providing the sources for the stories and comparisons to other well known legends from around the world. In this case, the Heading Dog comes from a rich vein of mythological carved dogs, that have appeared in Native American tales and similar animals like the reversible hare that appears in The Adventures of Baron Munchhassen. This added context greatly enhances the reading experience, inviting you to go deeper into each story if you wish to learn more about the origins if these fascinating yarns.
Above: A page from The Phantom Canoe, artwork by Mat Tait.
A book on local legends wouldn't be complete without a great ghost story, and this one contains a doozy in the form ofThe Phantom Canoe. It was sighted on Lake Tarawera in 1886, just a few weeks prior to the eruption of Mt Tarawera. A boat of tourists and local maori led by Te Paea Hinerangi (a well known local guide) who described the war canoe as been manned by warriors with the heads of dogs, and the illustration of them here is just chilling – a close encounter with spirits on the eve of apocalyptic destruction.
This story is significant as it is an example of a shared supernatural occurance witnessed by both Maori and Pakeha, suggesting that the spirit world of myth was not as far removed from their reality as the calonial settlers may have believed, and both cultures may still have something to fear from the mysterious and strange land of New Zealand.
Above: A page from A Tale of Old Waihi, artwork by Mat Tait.
Other yarns are more humourous, likeA Tale of Old Waihi, a bragging story told to out-of-towners featuring their gargantuan Crayfish – and its many uses. For example, you can use it’s eyes for bowling balls, claws for pick axes, add wheels to it’s tale for a baby pram and the shell can be used for an outside dunny(!). There's also an illustrated sea shanty in the form ofRanzo, Boys, Ranzo!, and the darkly gothic tragedy of Dunedin'sLegend of Tunnel Beach.
Published by Potton & Burton in an oversized format on thick unprocessed paper, it's a real treat to turn the page an enjoy the large lavish artwork in inky black & white as always intended. Combining their considerable storytelling skills, Brown and Tait have produced a truly essential New Zealand graphic novel - that deserves a spot on every local bookshelf, where it will haunt and entertain readers of all ages for years to come.
You can also listen to my audio review of The Heading Dog Who Split in Half on Radio NZ Nights HERE. For more information you can also visit their website, Old Weird New Zealand HERE.
The Heading Dog Who Split in Half: Legends and Tall Tales from New Zealand
Above: The cover of Three Words: An anthology of Aotearoa/New Zealand Woman's comics.
Three Words: An anthology of Aotearoa/New Zealand Woman's comics, edited by Sarah Laing, Indira Neville & Rae Joyce, will be published by the good folks at Beatnik Publishing this coming March. But right now you can pre-order it through their website for the special price of $45nz!
Here's the press release details:
Women in Aoteroa New Zealand make comics. They make slick professional comics and homemade crafty ones. some are conventionally attractive and some are beautifully ugly. Some have logical linear narratives and some are cerebral visual leaping swirls. There are big proud comics and small humble ones, widely distributed comics and one-offs, comics that are deep and meaningful and some that are light and silly. There are physical, emotional and intellectual comics, intentional and accidental comics, happy, sad, funny, angry, scary, confusing and wondrous comics. For some it may be a surprise to find so many comics by women, since conventional wisdom would have us believe that the comics scene is a boys’ club. But it’s not a surprise to us. Although women’s comics haven’t been represented much in New Zealand history books, they have been found in zines and magazines, tumbles, twitter feeds, shoe boxes, art galleries, painted on old tea trays and brochures, magneted to fridges, tattooed on forearms. And now they’re also here. In this book. A whole bunch of them, up front, visible, available and making history.
With comics by: Adele Jackson, Alex McCrone, Alex Wild, Alice Tumblescribbleson, Alie Mcpherson, Anna Critchton, Andra Jenkin, Bek Coogan, Beth Duckingmonster, Beth Sometimes, Caroline Anderson, Celia Allison, Claire Harris, Dawn Tuffery, Demarnia Lloyd, Diane Rimmer, Elsie Jolliffe, Emma Blackett, Erin Fae, Debra Boyask, Giselle Clarkson, Indira Neville, The Rabbid, Jem Yoshioka, Jessica Dew, Jessica Hansell, Joanna Anderson, Judy Darragh, Kayla Oliver, Kerry Ann Lee, Margaret Silverwood, Olga Krause, Linda Lew, Lisa Noble, Liz Mathews, Loux McLellen, Lucy Meyle, Maiangi Waitai, Marina Williams, Mary Tamblyn, Mengzhu Fu, Mirranda Burton, Miriam Harris, Pritika Lal, Rachel Benefield, Rachel Shearer, Rae Joyce, Raewyn Alexander, Ralphi, Rebecca Hawkes, Renee Jones, Rosemary McLeod, Warsaw, Sally Bollinger, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Sharon Murdoch, Sophie McMillan, Sophie Oiseau, Stella Corkery, Susan Rugg, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Suzanne Claessen and Zoe Colling.
Also featuring essays by: Robyn Kenealy, Rae Joyce, Ruth Boyask, Jem Yoshioka and Miriam Sapphira.
TITLE: Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa / NZ Women's Comics
EDITED BY: Rae Joyce, Sarah Laing, Indira Neville
SOFTCOVER: 264 pages
SIZE: 160mm x 210mm
PUBLISHER: Beatnik Publishing
So pre-order a copy today, from the Beatnik website HERE.
Above: The Earth's End Publishing team and cartoonist Mat Tait: (from left) Adrian Kinnaird, Damon Keen, Mat Tait and Kelly Sheehan. Photo by Ant Sang.
Things have been pretty hectic here at Earth's End Central in the last few weeks: we've moved premises, published our second book, Terry Teo and the Gunrunners (in bookstores now!), and launched it at Auckland Armageddon Expo over Labour Weekend. So hopefully I can now return this blog to its regularly scheduled programming!
Above: Terry Teo and the Gunrunners by Stephen Ballantyne & Bob Kerr.
So first up, Terry Teo and the Gunrunners: this new special edition of the kiwi kids classic by Stephen Ballantyne & Bob Kerr has been completely remastered from the original artwork, to present the story in vibrant watercolour for a whole new generation of reader to enjoy! It also includes a bonus essay written by me covering the history of this iconic character: featuring interviews with the creators of the graphic novel series, the makers of the 1986 TV adaptation, and a look behind the scenes of the new Terry Teo reboot to screen on TVNZ this summer - along with rare artwork and photographs. It's available at bookstores now for $24.99nz, for more information and updates you can visit our website HERE.
Above: The Earth's End Publishing booth at Auckland Armageddon Expo, just prior to opening.
We launched Terry Teo at the Auckland Armageddon Expo over Labour Weekend to a great public response. In addition to the book, we also screened the first trailer of the new Terry Teo TV series, written and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound), from the footage it looks to capture the humour and adventure of the original, while giving the material a contemporary update.
Above: Myself, with Kelly Sheehan and Terry Teo co-creator Stephen Ballantyne.
Above: Mat Tait (The Heading Dog Who Split in Half) and Ant Sang (The Dharma Punks).
We had our authors Stephen Ballantyne and Ant Sang signing during the weekend, as well as our good friend Mat Tait - whose new graphic novel The Heading Dog Who Split in Half,written by Michael Brown, is in bookstores now.
Above: Mat Tait signing & sketching copies of The Heading Dog Who Split in Half for punters. Photo by Ant Sang.
Above: Terry Teo co-creator Stephen Ballantyne.
It was a great weekend, and really pleasing to hear from so many readers that Terry Teo was 'a part of their childhood' - one they can now revisit, and share with their own children. You can check out this recent review of the book at the Booksellers NZ blog HERE.
Above: Red Peak as superhero - confronted by the cowardly villain, The Key! by Jonathan King.
As the debate over the NZ Flag Referendum continues, cartoonist/filmmaker Jonathan King took to Twitter with these cartoons illustrating Prime Minister John Key's dismissive attitude towards the increasingly popular 'Red Peak' flag design by Aaron Dustin - interpreted as a pitch perfect parody of a 1950s DC comics cover.
After 10,000 alternative NZ flag designs were submitted earlier this year, the Flag Consideration Panel narrowed down the list to a final four, which were revealed at the start of this month. Since the reveal there has been much debate over the final four designs and the lack of originality and diversity in the choices, with Aaron Dustin's 'Red Peak' design becoming a popular alternative, with growing public support on social media to add the flag as a fifth option to next month's referendum. With the deadline looming, its unclear if there is still time for new legislation to have the Red Peak flag added to the ballot as a fifth option, and defy the 'Key Master'...only time will tell. But I would definitely buy this comic!
You can follow Jonathan King on Twitter: @MrJonathanKing, and support the 'Red Peak' flag on Facebook HERE.
Above: You don't tug on Red Peak's cape (or ponytail!).
New Zealand has a rich tradition of political cartoons and artistic social commentary, and this Friday you can see the original artwork from seven of our current leading political/editorial cartoonists at the Splitting Image cartoon exhibition.
Above: The Personal is Political by Sarah Laing, originally published in Metro magazine. You can read more of Sarah's comics and cartoons at her website HERE.
The exhibition will be taking place at LOT23, 23 Minnie St, Eden Terrace, from September 19th - October 13th, with a Party Preview this Friday 18th of September, from 6pm. For more information you can visit the exhibition's Facebook event page HERE.
Above: Not What I Expected by Bob Kerr, Oil on board, 37x20cm.
It Was the Fun of the World is a series of sequential paintings reflecting on the story of Tim Armstrong, who was arrested for sedition in New Zealand in 1916 and who eventually became a Labour party politician. The painting images are based on passages from a letter Armstrong wrote to his children while serving his twelve month sentence in Lyttelton Prison. In the letter he outlines his life experiences leading up to his arrest, so that they might understand his actions.
Kerr's paintings are highly illustrative - you can see the keen eye of a sequential storyteller at work here, but he also communicate a great deal through texture and brushstrokes - implying a strong sense of movement and place to these experiences captured in oil.
It Was the Fun of the World is exhibited now till the 26th of September at Whitespace Gallery, 12 Crummer Road, Ponsonby, Auckland. The paintings are available to purchase, and the gallery is open Tues - Friday: 11am-5pm, and Sat: 11am-4pm. You can visit the Whitespace website for more information HERE.
Above: I Worked in the Flax Milling Industry by Bob Kerr, Oil on board, 40x40cm.
Revealing the return of a classic kiwi icon, and a tie-in edition to the new TV seriesTerry Teo, to air soon on TVNZ! At Earth’s End Publishing we are proud to announce the return of the classic kiwi kids graphic novel,Terry Teo and the Gunrunnersby Stephen Ballantyne & Bob Kerr, to be published on 6th November 2015. Originally released in 1982 asTerry and the Gunrunners, this distinctly local take on theTintingraphic novel format was an instant hit with children across the nation. The popularity of the book made Terry an instantly iconic kiwi character – inspiring two sequels, and the much loved television adaptation,Terry and the Gunrunners(1985), starring Adrian Bell, Michael Bentine and Billy T. James.
Above: Remastered artwork by Bob Kerr from Terry Teo and the Gunrunners. This new edition has been digitally remastered and restored from the original artwork and archives, allowing readers to experience Terry’s first adventure in vibrant watercolour – capturing all of the detail and delights of this action-packed, family favourite adventure! There is also an exclusive behind the scenes look at the history of this kiwi icon, and the brand new TV series,Terry Teo(2015). Due to air soon on TVNZ, the new series is produced by Gerard Johnstone and Luke Sharp, the team behind the recent hit movieHousebound(2014). Starring Kahn West as Terry Teo, Kimberley Crossman and Michael Hurst, the series is produced by Semi-Professional Pictures.
Above: A first look at the new Terry Teo TV series cast. From right: Kahn West as Terry Teo, Drew Brice Ford as Caleb, Hanna Tevita as Polly, and Manon Blackman as Penelope Butterworth. Copyright Semi-Professional Pictures 2015.
The continued interest in this classic character came as a pleasant surprise toTerry Teoartist and co-creator Bob Kerr. “We weren't thinking about any of this when we started. We were probably rather naïve. We just wanted to create a story featuring some local kids having a ripping adventure with heaps of laughs along the way, and somehow that connected with readers. Steve and I are delighted that Terry has been remembered, and that 30 odd years later he is having another outing both in print and on the telly”.
Above: Remastered artwork by Bob Kerr from Terry Teo and the Gunrunners.
Synopsis: Terry Teo is not your average schoolboy - he's a skateboarding super-sleuth about to embark on his very first adventure! When he stumbles headfirst into the criminal schemes of the villainous Ray Vegas, Terry finds himself embroiled in a dastardly gun smuggling operation. Along with his karate-chopping sister, Polly, and older brother Ted, Terry must use all his street smarts to avoid Vegas' henchmen, defeat the smugglers, and save the day!
Copies of Terry Teo and the Gunrunners are now available for order from Earths End Publishing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or require further information. You can also follow us on Twitter: @EarthsEndComics and Facebook: www.facebook/EarthsEndPublishing.
Terry Teo and the Gunrunners Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne Trade paperback 260mmx210mm 56 pages, full-colour RRP: $24.99 Release date: 6th November 2015 ISBN - 978-0-473-33067-5
For more information, visit the Earth's End Publishing website HERE.
Last night the PANZ 2015 Book Design Award winners were announced in a ceremony held in Ponsonby, with three NZ comics related books notching up a win!
I Am Doodle Catdesigned by Lauren Marriott (also know as cartoonist Ralphi) for Beatnik Publishing won the Best Children’s Book Award. The judges noted they "appreciated its bright, engaging colour palette supported by hand-rendered text integrating beautifully with the playful illustrations".
The Curioseum: Collected Stories of the Odd & Marvellouswon the Best Cover Award for designer/cartoonist Sarah Laing and Te Papa Press. “A great example of how a children’s book need not be childish,” said judge Cameron Gibb. “The Curioseum is the story version of a 'wunderkammer’, supported by delightful illustrations and the use of hand-rendered type for chapter headings, all making for an engaging and fun read.”
The graphic novel Meariki: The Quest for Truth, was judged Best Educational Book. Designed by Shannon Jahnel Lanktree and a collaboration by Huia Publishers and Ministry of Education, “Mearikiuses many devices well to create a visually engaging read: the illustrations are rich and intricate,” was Vincent’s enthusiastic comment. “Colour reinforces the sense of drama and the range of characters is imaginative – who doesn’t like spider-riding zombie witch queens?”
So a great result, and best wishes to the winners and to their continued success!
Above: Bristle Annual #3, cover by Lorenzo van der Lingen.
If you're in Wellington this weekend, head along to the launch party for Bristle Annual #3! The latest release from the long running anthology edited by Brent Willis, features comics by: David Tulloch, Aaron Christiansen, Indira Neville, Tim Danko, Renee Lyons, Matt Kelly, Sarah Laing, David Piper, and many more. All this and an eye-popping cover by Lorenzo van der Lingen! The launch party is taking place at the Bristol Hotel (upstairs) at 131-133 Cuba St, Wellington on Saturday the 11th from 5pm to 7pm (and maybe later).
You can also pick up copies of Bristle Annual #3 the following weekend at the Wellington Winter Zine Market on Saturday the 18th at Thistle Hall (293 Cuba St), from 12 - 5pm.
This year's PANZ Book Design Awards have recognised the work of several comic creators and comics related publications in it's recently announced shortlist of finalists, with the winners to be revealed at a ceremony held in Auckland on July 16th. So without further ado, the highly commended finalist include:
Finalist for the Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book:
Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks. Designed by Dylan Horrocks, published by Victoria University Press.
Finalists for the Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children's Book:
The Curioseum: Collected Stories of the Odd and Marvellous, edited by Adrienne Jansen, illustrated by Sarah Laing. Designed by Sarah Laing, published by Te Papa Press.
I Am Doodle Cat by Kat Patrick and Lauren Marriott. Designed by Lauren Marriott, published by Beatnik Publishing.
Monkey Boyby Donovan Bixley. Designed by Donovan Bixley for Magma Design, published by Scholastic NZ.
Finalists for the Edify Award for Best Educational Book:
Meariki: The Quest for Truthby Helen Pearse-Otene, illustrated by Andrew Burdan. Designed by Shannon Jahnel Lanktree, published by Ministry of Education/Huia Publishers.
School Journal Story Library, Level 3: In the Endby Mal Peet, illustrated by Andrew Burdan. Designed by Jodi Wicksteed for Bolster Design, published by Ministry of Education/Lift Education.
Finalist for HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover:
The Curioseum: Collected Stories of the Odd and Marvellous, edited by Adrienne Jansen, illustrated by Sarah Laing. Designed by Sarah Laing, published by Te Papa Press.
Congratulations to those nominees, and if you haven't checked out these fantastic books yet - head to your local bookstore today! Fingers crossed they'll take away some of these prizes, and I'll report back with the announced winners next month. You can find out more about the PANZ Book Design Awards HERE.
Above: Artwork by Jem Yoshioka, from Folding Kimono. cc-by-sa Jem Yoshioka Creative Commons NZ 3.0 license, 2015.
The recent Chromacon Arts Festival celebrates excellence in local illustration and comics each festival with the Chroma Art Awards. This year's top prize went to Jem Yoshioka for her comicFolding Kimono, an autobiographical comic about being a Japanese-New Zealander, and discussing the barriers to engaging with heritage across distance and generations through the gift and care of a traditional kimono. You can read the full comic HERE. This was Yoshioka's second consecutive win at Chromacon, previously taking the 1st place at the 2013 Comic Art Awards with her comicSunshine, which you can also read HERE.
Above: a page from Ricky & Lyle by Ralphi. Copyright Lauren Marriott 2015.
Ralphi aka Lauren Marriott took second place with a tale from the hilarious take-no-s#!t duo, Ricky & Lyle, which you can read HERE. Rachel Royale aka Rachel Smythe placed third with her evocative fairy tale The Maiden, which you can read HERE.
Above: a page from The Maiden by Rachel Royale. Copyright Rachel Smythe 2015.
The runner-up finalists included: Kayla Oliver with The Cat and The Fox, which you can read HERE; Cory Mathis with My Wife the Mastodon, which you can read HERE; and The Blue Masque by Theo Macdonald which you can read HERE.
So while you're wrapped up inside this weekend as the winter weather rolls in, take some time out to read some of these fantastic local comics. Congratulations to the winners and all the cartoonists mentioned here for producing some really great stories, and enjoy the weekend reading!