Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Earth's End Uncanny X-mas Gift Guide!


With the Christmas season upon us once again, today I'm going to highlight the latest NZ comics related gifts you can pick up for your friends, family or your own bookshelf!

Above: Capsicum, Capsi Go and The Day The Costume Stuck by Toby Morris

Toby Morris has two new children's books out just in time for Christmas!

In Capsicum, Capsi Go, follow Capsi's delightful and amusing travel adventures! And in The Day the Costumes Stuck, meet Iggy: he can't seem to take off his party costume but his parents don’t seem to notice that Iggy has turned into the boogie monster! But that's not the weirdest part... A funny, original and heart-warming story destined to become a new family favourite!

Both books retail for $20nz, but they are also currently on sale at the Beatnik website for $16nz!

Capsicum, Capsi Go
By Toby Morris
SOFTCOVER: 32 pages
SIZE: 220 x 220 x 3mm
PUBLISHER: Beatnik Publishing
ISBN: 9780994120557

The Day the Costumes Stuck 
By Toby Morris 
SOFTCOVER: 32 pages 
SIZE: 220 x 220 x 3mm 
PUBLISHER: Beatnik Publishing 
ISBN: 9780994138309

Above: Maui: Sun Catcher by Tim Tipene & Zak Waipara

Tim Tipene & Zak Waipara re-imagine this popular Maori myth in a contemporary setting.

This modern Maui is an intermediate-school boy who lives with his Mum and three older brothers in a city where the day is never long enough to get things done. Maui grasps the mantle: Mum, I'm gonna catch that Sun for you. That Sun who's always on the run. With their woven flax net, the brothers drive to the pit where the Sun lives, and make their play to slow the day. This bilingual book, in English and Maori, brings Maui into the 21st century in a fun and colourful retelling - the first in the international Indigenous Voices series.

Maui: The Sun Catcher retails for $24.99 in Hardback, and is in bookstores now!

Maui: The Sun Catcher
By Tim Tipene & Zak Waipara
Publisher : Oratia Books
Dimensions : 270mm X 210mm X 9mm
ISBN : 9780947506148

Above: Maui and Other Maori Legends by Peter Gossage.

While we're on the subject of Maui, if you want a full collection of his adventures, you can't pass up this new hardback collection from Penguin Books of the late, great, illustrator Peter Gossage. His memorable retellings of Maori oral myths have captivated the children of New Zealand for generations. Their dramatic and distinctive illustrations with minimal yet evocative language form a powerful combination, and each has earned its place among the beloved classics of our literature.

These are exciting, magical tales of adventure and intrigue. Several feature the remarkable culture hero Maui – the quick-witted and the trickster – whose exploits include slowing the sun in its course across the sky, fishing up the North Island/Te Ika a Maui, discovering the secret of fire and his attempt to trick the goddess of death and become immortal.

Maui and Other Legends contains eight essential legends. In this volume you will find timeless favourites such as How Maui Found his Mother, Battle of the Mountains, Pania of the Reef and many more.

This hardback collection retails for $40.00nz, and is in bookstores now!

Maui and Other Maori Legends 
By Peter Gossage
Publisher : Penguin Group (NZ)
Imprint : Puffin
Publication date : October 2016
Dimensions : 302mm X 217mm X 20mm
ISBN : 9780143309291

Above: Annual edited by Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris.

Gecko Press’s Annual is a game-changer, packing dynamic, irreverent, challenging, and timeless material into a beautiful package for 9- to 12-year-olds.

Annual features a dictionary of crazy words that come in handy on car trips, a sophisticated "spot the similarity", a found poem from school newsletters, a maths-nerd's memoir full of tricky logic puzzles, and comics/illustrations by Jonathan King, Sarah Laing, Dylan Horrocks, Sharon Murdoch, Giselle Clarkson, Sally Bollinger, Paul Beavis and Coco Solid.

This is a book for readers who are hungry for sophisticated, wide-ranging, and challenging content. It aims to revitalize the reading experience for this age group and create lifetime readers.

Annual is available in hardback in bookstores now, and retails for $39.99nz.

Annual
Edited by Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris
Publisher : Gecko Press
Dimensions : 260mm X 193mm
ISBN : 9781776570775

Above: Murdoch: The Political Cartoons of Sharon Murdoch by Sharon Murdoch with Melinda Johnston.

With John Key recently calling it quits, now is a great time to review some of the best political cartoons to feature Key and his Government, produced by 2016 Canon Cartoonist of the Year, Sharon Murdoch. As the regular cartoonist for the Sunday Star Times and the Christchurch Press, she provokes and delights readers with her witty and often hilarious observations, and her hard-hitting and insightful social and political analysis.

In Murdoch, Melinda Johnston’s commentary sets the cartoons within their historical context, while her introduction locates the work within New Zealand’s cartooning history. Featuring over 150 full-page cartoons, which highlight the breadth and depth of Sharon Murdoch’s work, this book will entertain and educate any reader with an interest in New Zealand’s contemporary social and political history.

This collection retails for $39.99nz and is in bookstores now!

Murdoch: The Political Cartoons of Sharon Murdoch
Sharon Murdoch with Melinda Johnston
Format: Paperback with gatefolds
Pages: 216
Size: 215 x 235 mm
ISBN: 9780947503239

Above: Mansfield & Me by Sarah Laing.

Katherine Mansfield is a literary giant in New Zealand—but she had to leave the country to become one. She wrote, ‘Oh to be a writer, a real writer.’ And a real writer she was, until she died at age 34 of tuberculosis. The only writer Virginia Woolf was jealous of, Mansfield hung out with the modernists, lost her brother in World War I, dabbled in Alistair Crowley’s druggy occult gatherings and spent her last days in a Fontainebleu commune with Olgivanna, Frank Lloyd Wright’s future wife. She was as famous for her letters and diaries as for her short stories. 

Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, too. A writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.

This is a perfect gift for fans of great New Zealand biographies looking for something a bit different. It's personal and insightful, a story intimately told through Sarah's distinctive comics voice. You can also hear me raving about it on Radio NZ nights HERE.

Mansfield and Me is in bookstores now, and retails for $34.99nz.

Mansfield and Me 
By Sarah Laing
336 Pages
Paperback, colour
160x245mm
ISBN: 9781776560691

Above: Terry Teo and the Gunrunners by Bob Kerr and Stephen Ballantyne.

With the new TV series currently screening on TV2, now is as good a time as any to catch-up on the original first adventure of the local skateboarding super-sleuth!

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!

Terry Teo and the Gunrunners is available in bookstores and online HERE. It retails for $24.99nz.

Terry Teo and the Gunrunners TV Tie-in edition
Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne
Paperback, 56 pages, full-colour
ISBN: 9780473330675
Suitable for All Ages

So there's plenty of good gifts here for the cartoon connoisseur or picture book fanatic in your family, so get purchasing and support the local comics community!

- AK!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Week of Wus: Wussy Castle


Above: Wussy Castle. Copyright Oneedo Studio 2016.

Comic creator and animator Ned Wenlock (Hotpools, Highwater) has produced a quirky new animated series Wussy Castle, which debuted this week on Youtube. Drawing inspiration from the formats of English children's shows of the 70's like The Magic Roundabout and The WomblesWussy Castle follows two brothers, Sir Jeremy and Sir Mathew, who live at home in Wussy Castle with their mum and their manservant Bedsit. Everyday brings immense challenges to their privileged lives. 


Above: Wussy Castle episode #1: The Weight of Kindness. Copyright Oneedo Studio 2016.

"I thought it would be fun to cast what I see in the modern world through the lens of childhood, because the world is made up of children from about the 70s", explained Ned Wenlock. "The characters themselves are reflections of the modern world, pampered, self-obsessed, entitled and generally a bit thick."

This exquisitely designed satire will run for 5 episodes this week, from December 5th - 9th. The first episode, The Weight of Kindness can be viewed below and click through to the Wussy Castle youtube channel to view the series HERE. For more information on Ned's award-winning animated films, visit Oneedo Studio HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

VIDEO: Toby Morris Explores Tokyo's Comic Art Scene

Above: Toby Morris at Manga store Mandarake, Tokyo, Japan. Photo copyright Gui Martinez 2016.

Toby Morris appears to be everywhere this month! Thanks to the new beer Steinlager Tokyo Dry (a Japanese inspired New Zealand beer) and Vice, Toby was sent to Japan to take part in a documentary series exploring the cultural similarities and differences between Japan and New Zealand.

While there, Toby takes a fast paced journey through Tokyo to explore how its vibrant comic art and anime scene permeates everyday life—from the comic stores out the front of train stations to the street signage. He visits stationery superstore Sekaido, before stopping by multi-level manga mecca, Mandarake, which is jam-packed floor to ceiling with manga (to quote Toby, "Holy shit!").

This is followed by a visit with animator Takahiro Tanaka at Studio 4°C, to find out how closely comics and manga go hand-in-hand in Japan, and to collaborate on a comic.

It's a great watch, and you can check it out below. Check out more about this doc series over at the Vice website HERE and an interview with Toby about his career and trip to Japan HERE.

- AK!


Terry Teo (finally) back on Television!


Above: The new Terry Teo series. Copyright Semi-Professional Pictures 2016.

Terry Teo is back on television! After much media discussion and controversy earlier this year when the new TV series adaptation of Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne's 1980s Terry Teo graphic novels debuted on TVNZ's OnDemand, it has finally found a place on the network's schedule: debuting on Sunday 27th of November at 7pm on TVNZ 2 with a 2 hour double episode update of the 'Terry Teo The Gunrunners' storyline. The next four episodes will air weekly, or you can stream the whole series OnDemand HERE.

If you're after a copy of the classic original graphic novel, remastered with a background history of Terry Teo and the making of the TV series, it's available over at my publishing house, Earth's End Publishing HERE.

Terry Teo and the Gunrunners TV Tie-in edition

Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne
Paperback, 56 pages, full-colour
ISBN: 9780473330675
Suitable for All Ages
RRP: $24.99

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!

Reviews:

"Great adventures. No iPhones, no internet. I think I even saw a red telephone box in there. Lots of car chases, bad accents, worse jokes...It's going to be popular with young boys." 

- John McIntyre, Children's Book Reviewer - Nine to Noon, National Radio

"It’s all jolly good nostalgic fun, with a distinctly kiwi flavour to the illustrations – including the charmingly-named small town Kaupati (say it aloud) with its tiny police station and A&P show. This is truly like travelling back into a time before cellphones, before the internet, into a world where kids get to have the adventures – because the adults are too oblivious or silly to solve the problems themselves. With its fast pace and humour, this graphic novel can now be enjoyed by a new generation, and may especially be embraced by the more reluctant reader."

- Angela Oliver, Booksellers New Zealand Blog

"Bob Kerr’s cartoons are terrific as always and there are lots of little in-house jokes and Kiwi things going on that are smilers when you see one. Stephen Ballantyne’s written text is to the point and captures the whole Kiwi attitude. This book has high appeal for reluctant readers and is certain to win fans at primary and intermediate schools all over again." 

- Bob Doherty, Bobs Book Blog

- AK!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weekend Reading: The Hills by Toby Morris



Above: Artwork from The Hills by Toby Morris.

Over at the Radio NZ website, Toby Morris has created a short comic, The Hills, that reflects on the recent weeks of political and geological upheaval, and the small things we can do to help each other in these difficult times. You can read the full comic HERE.

- AK!


Above: Artwork from The Hills by Toby Morris.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dylan Horrocks becomes NZ's first Arts Laureate cartoonist!


Above: Dylan Horrocks.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand has named Dylan Horrocks one of five top New Zealand artists to receive the prestigious Laureate Award at this year's New Zealand Arts Awards. Each Laureate Award includes a cash prize of $50,000. The other recipients include: writer Eleanor Catton, Composer Lyell Cresswell, Visual Artist Peter Robinson, and Film Maker Taika Waititi.

The Laureate Award is described as, 'an investment in excellence across a range of art forms for an artist with prominence and outstanding potential for future growth. Their work is rich but their richest work still lies ahead of them. The award should recognise a moment in the artist’s career that will allow them to have their next great success'.

“The awards are no-strings-attached, leaving artists free to use the funds exactly how they please," explains Arts Foundation’s Executive Director, Simon Bowden. "Some artists have credited the award for enabling the creation of their most celebrated work, others are thankful for the award coming at a time when their washing machine needs replacing."

Dylan Horrocks is widely acclaimed in the global comics community for his graphic novels, Hicksville and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, as well as acting as an ambassador and advocate for New Zealand comics and mentor to emerging comic creators. For all of these contributions and more, it is well deserved.

This award comes on the heels of busy times for Horrocks and his family, having recently relocated from Auckland to a new home and studio in Wellington.

The New Zealand Arts Awards will be presented at an evening event on Wednesday, 23rd of November at Shed 10, at the Auckland Waterfront. For more details visit the NZ Arts Foundation website HERE.

- AK!

Chromacon returns for 2017!


Chromacon, the indie arts festival with a difference, will be back for 2017! 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.

Everyone 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!
For more information and updates, visit the Chromacon event page on Facebook HERE, and the official website HERE.

- AK!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

EVENT: Altered Egos Exhibition



Opening today, Altered Egos! is an interactive exhibition of illustration, featuring two world-class Mangere illustrators, Michel Mulipola (Headlocked) and Ali Cowley.

Showing at Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku for the first time, Ali Cowley and Michel Mulipola have brought together works by talented emerging illustrators and animators including Nanai Tolovae Jr, Jimmy Vea and Te Iwihoko Te Rangihirawea. Large scale banners, working methods and finished artwork will be on show, including a space for budding illustrators to contribute.

The exhibition runs from 12 November - 14 January, showing Monday: Friday 9am - 5pm, and Saturday from 10am - 4pm. Entry is FREE of charge, so head over to the Māngere Arts Centre this summer to check out some eye-catching artwork! For more information, visit the exhibition facebook page HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

RECOMMENDED READING: "Who is Your Community?" by Ant Sang





Above: panels from Who is Your Community? by Ant Sang.

Over at The Wireless, Ant Sang (The Dharma Punks) has drawn a comic strip in which he discusses growing up feeling like a cultural outsider, and how, through creativity, he found his own community.

You can read the full comic strip HERE.

- AK!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

EVENT: Mansfield and Me Book Launch!



Above: The cover of Mansfield and Me by Sarah Laing.

One of the most anticipated local graphic novels of recent years, Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Sarah Laing will be launching at Unity Books in Wellington next week.

Published by Victoria University Press, here's the official synopsis:

Katherine Mansfield is a literary giant in New Zealand—but she had to leave the country to become one. She wrote, ‘Oh to be a writer, a real writer.’ And a real writer she was, until she died at age 34 of tuberculosis. The only writer Virginia Woolf was jealous of, Mansfield hung out with the modernists, lost her brother in World War I, dabbled in Alistair Crowley’s druggy occult gatherings and spent her last days in a Fontainebleu commune with Olgivanna, Frank Lloyd Wright’s future wife. She was as famous for her letters and diaries as for her short stories. 

Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, too. A writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.


The book launch will be on Thursday 6th of October from 6pm at Unity Books Wellington, 57 Willis Street. All are welcome, and you can RSVP on the Facebook event page HERE.

If you can't make it, or don't happen to live in wellington - just head to your local bookstore and pre-order a copy using the publishing details below:

Mansfield and Me by Sarah Laing
ISBN: 9781776560691
336 Pages
Paperback, colour
160x245mm
RRP: $35 NZ

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

REVIEW: Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray



This week sees the launch of Mount Maunganui artist Ross Murray's completed webcomic, Rufus MarigoldA thoughtful, and darkly funny comic about a character living and dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder. Inspired by his own personal experience battling anxiety, Murray successfully obtained funding from Creative New Zealand earlier this year to create a comic strip that would help shine a light on this rarely discussed condition.

Above: Panels from Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray. Copyright Ross Murray 2016.

When we first meet Rufus - portrayed in the artwork as a chimpanzee, visually the odd-man out - we find him struggling to deal with everyday interactions: answering the phone, running into a friend on the street; brief exchanges that are major internal challenges for Rufus to deal with on the fly. We then accompany him on more stressful situations that are relatable to many, like a new job interview. Murray's clear-line art style accompanied by flat colouring works perfectly for this subject on a number of levels. Stylistically, it recalls the artwork of safety instruction manuals: clear and easy to follow visual representation without unnecessary detail, which is fitting given its subject matter and Rufus' internal struggles (remain calm, don't panic). It gives his world an antiseptic appearance: non-threatening, but at the same time distanced and detached. The muted tones invite us into Rufus' head-space, where we get to relate and empathise with him as he experiences anxiety in work and social situations.

Above: Panels from Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray. Copyright Ross Murray 2016.

This visual detachment allows us to enjoy the bleakly funny aspects of Rufus' interactions (eg. announcing his mother's death to avoid a work presentation) as situational comedy without judging or short-changing the character. No doubt drawing on his personal experiences, Murray understands the inherent humour in these situations and uses the 'set-up/punch-line' language of the comic strip to express this with panache. 

Above: Panels from Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray. Copyright Ross Murray 2016.

Yet beneath the humour there is a very carefully calibrated emotional arc. As the strips progress Rufus' anxiety increases; he begins to drink more to manage social gatherings and interactions. Soon he reaches breaking point, when his social anxiety affects his ability to act in an emergency situation. The climax and resolution of Rufus Marigold's journey are both wordless strips which speak volumes. Creativity is what ultimately brings Rufus back from isolation and allows him to communicate and connect with others. It's a story that is probably more common than many of us are aware of, and I'm grateful to Ross Murray for creating Rufus and sharing his experiences with us.

Above: Panels from Rufus Marigold by Ross Murray. Copyright Ross Murray 2016.

You can read the full Rufus Marigold webcomic HERE. And for more information on Anxiety, you can visit the Ministry of Health website HERE and the Mental Health Foundation of NZ HERE for information and helpful links.

- AK!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Movin' House!



Hey folks, sorry to the lack of updates lately: Earth's End Central was in the process of moving house (no, not the one pictured) and dealing with all the annoying delays and costs that go with it.

But now that the new office is unpacked and set up, you can expect new reviews and event updates this week!

- AK!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

EVENT: Auckland Zinefest 2016


Above: Auckland Zinefest 2016 poster, designed by Chippy.

Auckland Zinefest is back for 2016, and bigger and better than ever! With over 50 exhibitors, covering everything from zines to comics, journals, independent media and much more, the event will be taking place this Sunday 24th of July, at the Auckland Art Gallery.

This new venue is a great opportunity to introduce a wider audience to the D.I.Y wonders of the local self-publishing community, and take Zinefest to the new level of public awareness. The event will be open from 11am - 4pm, so make sure you're in early for the best purchases and a chance to chat with stall holders, as it's likely to be a very busy day of selling!

For a full list of exhibitors and related Auckland Zinefest events, visit the website HERE, and the Facebook event page HERE for further updates!

Event Details: 
Auckland Zinefest 2016
Date: Sunday 24th of July
Time: 11am-4pm
Location: Auckland Art Gallery, North Atrium
Corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Auckland CBD

- AK!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Terry Teo Returns to the Small Screen!

Above: The cast of the new Terry Teo TV series. 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 2016.

This week sees the release of the new Terry Teo TV series on TVNZ Ondemand, a modern interpretation of the classic NZ graphic novel Terry Teo and the Gunrunners by Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne, and the fondly remembered 1980s TV series starring Adrian Bell, Billy T James and Sir Robert Muldoon.

With his skateboarding skills and crime-solving street smarts, Terry become an unlikely kiwi icon - joining Footrot Flats as one of our best known local comic book characters. When Housebound filmmaker Gerard Johnstone was looking for his next project, the idea of rebooting Terry Teo was an appealing opportunity. "Which has never really been done before with a local property," explains Johnstone. "He's the only character we've got that I can think of that was a comic and had broad recognition with the public. In New Zealand the only chance we may get to make our own version of a Batman or Spider-Man, is probably Terry Teo."

The new TV series updates the material for a modern audience, recasting Terry as a petty criminal and gang prospect, who turns his life around when he learns that his policeman father has been killed in action. This leads Terry to investigate his father's murder and take on Auckland's criminal underworld - beginning with crime boss, Ray Vagas.

In maintaining the balance of action and humour that made the source material so appealing, the creators of the new show drew criticism from broadcaster TVNZ, who expressed concern when episodes of the show were classified PG instead of the preferred family friendly G rating. 

Johnstone and producer Luke Sharpe were quick to defend their take on the comic book character. "We've got shootouts, car chases, kung-fu fights, it's very full on", Johnstone explained. "And you don't want to talk down to kids. My favourite shows from when I was a kid were The A-Team and MacGyver, which weren't made for children. So the idea was to do something that had that same kind of appeal. I really don't think of this as a kids' show - it should have something for everyone".

Above: Terry Teo Co-Creator and artist, Bob Kerr. Photo copyright Nick Reed.

The graphic novel's co-author and artist Bob Kerr appreciated that certain changes would be made in bringing the character up to date for the small screen. In an interview with the NZ Herald this week, Kerr commented on the new interpretation, "it's darker and sharper. Terry's now 17 and he drives a car and he's got a cellphone. It's a hang of a lot of fun but it's a wildly different world to the romantic era we depicted".

Looking back on Terry's legacy, Kerr reflects, "we weren't thinking about any of this when we started. We were probably a bit naive. 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 [Ballantyne] 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".

Terry Teo and the Gunrunners by Bob Kerr & Stephen Ballantyne is available now from bookstores and online at www.earthsend.co.nz

Terry Teo is now streaming on TVNZ Ondemand HERE.

- AK!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Weekend Listening: Island To Island and Superman VS Muhammad Ali


Above: The star-studded, cameo heavy cover for Superman VS Muhammad Ali, by Neal Adams. Copyright DC Comics 2016.

This week I returned to the Radio NZ Nights show to discuss the world of comics with Bryan Crump!
First up, with the recent passing of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, I revisit The Champ's brief detour into the comics world, with the 1978 publication of Superman VS Muhammad Ali by DC ComicsThis one-off special produced by Neal Adams and Dennis O'Neil stands apart as a unique piece of 70's pop culture and Ali memorabilia, and is well worth seeking out!


Above: Island to Island: A Graphic Exchange between Taiwan and New Zealand.

Next we discuss Island to Island, a joint publishing initiative between the Publishers Association of New Zealand, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation and the New Zealand Book Council, in the form of a Graphic Novelists Exchange: giving three cartoonists from New Zealand and three from Taiwan the opportunity to collaborate and produce a graphic novel together.

The project saw local cartoonists, Ant Sang, Tim Gibson and Rachel Fenton, team up with Taiwanese cartoonists 61Chi and Ahn Zhe, to create stories for each other, to be shared as cultural 'gifts'. Published by Dala Publishing, Island to Island is available in New Zealand via Upstart Distribution, and is well worth tracking down.

You can listen to the full recorded interview HERE.

- AK!

REVIEW: Island to Island: A Graphic Exchange between Taiwan & New Zealand



Island to Island is the unique product of a joint publishing initiative between the Publishers Association of New Zealand, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation and the New Zealand Book Council, in the form of a Graphic Novelists Exchange: giving three cartoonists from New Zealand and three from Taiwan the opportunity to collaborate and produce a graphic novel together.

In October 2014, Taiwanese cartoonists Sean Chuang, 61Chi and Ahn Zhe traveled to New Zealand to meet and collaborate with local cartoonists Tim Gibson, Rachel Fenton and Ant Sang. The following February saw our cartoonists join their collaborators in Taiwan to continue working on the project and attend the Taipei International Book Fair 2015, at which New Zealand was a Guest of Honour.
The finished result of this cultural exchange is a graphic novel in which the six cartoonists share personal stories with each other in a series of 18 interlocking tales, which can be read separately, but read as a whole form a visual conversation between the six artists across two cultures.

It’s an ambitious undertaking to combine multiple artists on a single project of this kind – more often than not resulting in a bland amalgamation of individual voices into a single artistic statement; but here their difference in approach to art and storytelling proves to be this book’s greatest strength. Rather than forcing their styles together, the artists have instead ‘gifted’ a story to each other – sharing a memory or story as a response to their conversations and interactions during the exchange.

Despite language proving to be an initial barrier of communication for the artists, they clearly share a fluency in creativity, as their stories manage to capture revealing, and intimate reflections of one another through graphic storytelling.

For example, 61Chi’s story for Rachel observes Fenton’s life up until their meeting through the evolution of her hairstyle, while Rachel’s response looks inward – imagining a room for 61Chi and what it may tell her about her personality and view of the world outside of this dream construct. Ant Sang and Sean Chang share stories of fatherhood, and a combined love of kung-fu heroics. Elsewhere Ahn shares photographs of people from his city that he hopes Tim Gibson may find character inspiration from, and Gibson in return offers a parable about reaching for greater creative heights, while enjoying their present successes.

Above: A page from Son, by Ant Sang.

Their artistic styles couldn’t be more different, from Sang and Chi’s polished illustrative comic book styles, to Zhe’s photography and Fenton’s impressionistic visual poetry - the most visually versatile across the project – but together they form a wonderfully visual exchange of ideas that more than lives up to its title, making this inter-island cultural collaboration a rousing success.

Presented in an oversized format, lavishly designed by 61Chi as a gift book with English and Mandarin text in mind, Island to Island represents a new benchmark for cultural collaboration in the arts sector, and with a quality result like this, one hopes there will be more to follow.

Island to Island: A Graphic Exchange between Taiwan & New Zealand by Ant Sang, Tim Gibson, Rachel Fenton, Sean Chuang, 61Chi and Ahn Zhe. Published by Dala Publishing, and distributed in New Zealand by Upstart Press DistributionRetail price: $45.00, ISBN: 9789866634567

- AK!



Friday, May 27, 2016

Ant Sang at TCAF!



Above: Ant Sang signing at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Photo copyright Conundrum Press 2016.

Earlier this month, Ant Sang was a guest at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), where he was promoting the US/Canada release of his graphic novel The Dharma Punks, published by Conundrum Press. He featured on a spotlight talk - discussing his work in comics and animation, as well as a Diversity in Comics panel, a book signing, and attended the Doug Wright Awards.

For a full report on his trip and adventures at TCAF, visit Ant's blog HERE.


Above: Ant Sang discussing his work in comics and animation at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Photo copyright Conundrum Press 2016.

- AK!