Thursday, July 27, 2017

EVENT: Auckland Zinefest 2017

Auckland Zinefest is back for 2017! Following the success of last year's event, Zinefest will once again be taking place the the Auckland Art Gallery, located at the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Street in Auckland, Sunday 30th of July from 11am - 4pm. At Zinefest you can expect to find and purchase a great range of zines, comics, journals, stickers, independent media and much more! 

Exhibitors this year include: Insects of New Zealand playing card project, Racial Equity Aotearoa (REA),  Mutton Honey, Struggle Zine, Xephia, Feminists of Colour, Pure Cream (Clare Gemima), Limery Licks (Purita Mok), Izac Smells, Ultra (Isabella Young), Prune Friend (Jack), Sad Vacation, Thrillhouse, Worn Out, Shlipp Comix, Theo Macdonald, What We Loved Was Not Enough, Suga Cyan, Laura Gigi Allin (Laura Allen), Shakti Youth Network for Change (SYNC), Lucky (Imogen Wilson), Sonic Comic, Hookupculture, Mellow Yellow, Ash Spittal, Alice Bush, Rachel Hope Peary, Aotearotica, Anxiety, Remote Photobooks, Peter Torckler, Controlzee, Dropthedrawing (Simon Fletcher), Melissa Laing, Inky Palms, David Merritt, Nick Jamieson, Creative Commune, Pizza Sneakers, Ghost Leg Collective, F.A.Y (Ellen Walker), DizziePixie, Auckland Peace Action, Pom Pom Dynamite, Sundry Papers, #Buffboiz, Louis Graham - Louis’ Zines, Natalie Lim, Kids Eat Shadows (Matt Whatley and James McLaughlin), Eddie Monotone, Sophie Watson, The Small Ideas Company, Aleksander Sakowski, Raewyn Alexander, Auckland Libraries, Joanna Ch0 and Finn Houlihan, Elamite, South, James Horton, Z.R Southcombe, Nicholas Males, Abhi Topiwala, Fraser Graham, Team 3000 Press, The Daily Malaise, Matt Haworth, Toby Morris, TV Competition: Future Future Future, Udya Andrahennadige, Wairehu Grant, Emily Cater, SPLITCLAY, Erin Fae, and Dryden Street Distro!

There will be a talk and panel in the Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium:

12pm: Marc Conaco: Last year's 'Best of the Fest' winner for his zine, I Am Brown. I Will Not Frown, will present and discuss cultural heritage and ethnic identity in relation to his storytelling.

2pm: Zine Panel: A diverse array of zine-maker activist will disuss their perspectives on zine-culture and zine-making and how it has historically and presently been an avenue for activism. Including: Auckland Peace Action, Feminists of Colour, Shakti Youth and Mellow Yellow. Chaired by Jess Fu.

There's plenty of great publications to discover, so make sure you're there this Sunday! For more information, you can visit the Auckland Zinefest website HERE, and the Facebook Event page HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

REVIEW: Pizza Sneakers by Marc Streeter

Above: Pizza Sneakers banner by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

Pizza Sneakers is a new webcomic by Marc Streeter, whose work I've been a fan of for years, dating back to his first webcomic, ActionMan AdamMarc's comics combine a wry sense of humour with a healthy dose of pop culture, which never fails to bring a smile to your face. Whether he's riffing on the pitfalls of super-human powers or questionable 90's fashion trends,  it's always presented with a bright colour palette and great comedic timing - two essential qualities for any successful webcomic. Rather than an ongoing set of characters, Pizza Sneakers is purely a gag generator, going with whatever topic Streeter decides to put to paper (or pixel).

Above: A page from Fish Guy, by by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

I picked up a limited print copy of Pizza Sneakers from Marc at Chromacon earlier this year, but you can now read these comics online at the Pizza Sneakers website HERE, and follow the Facebook page for new updates HERE. So what are Pizza Sneakers you ask? According to the comic's introduction, 'they are the greasiest and yet mouth wateringly delicious comics I've ever made. You dear reader clearly love fresh kicks, hot slices, and comics with extra mozzarella'. Dietitians may frown upon it*, but I definitely enjoy my comics with an extra serving of cheese, so head over to the Pizza Sneakers website and check out Marc's offerings for yourself!

* Recommended serving: 1 strip per view. Additional servings may result in a light pain in your sides and facial muscles. If pain persists, consult your local doctor to decide if Pizza Sneakers is right for you.

- AK!

Above: Humble by by Marc Streeter. Copyright Marc Streeter 2017.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Moving Pictures: Comics and Animation Picks from the NZIFF

Above: A scene from the film, My Friend Dahmer.

The New Zealand International Film Festival has just launched its film line-up for 2017, and there's plenty of gems in there if you're a fan of comics and animation!

Leading the pack is My Friend Dahmerbased on the graphic novel memoir by John 'Derf' Backderf. Directed and adapted for the screen by Marc Meyers, My Friend Dahmer focuses on Dahmer's High School years as witnessed by his friend John Backderf, and the events that lead up to Dahmer's eventual serial killing spree of 17 young men and boys. The film stars Ross Lynch as Dahmer, Anne Heche and Alex Wolff. For more information on My Friend Dahmer, check out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from the film, Blade of the Immortal.

Next up is Blade of the Immortalan adaptation of the classic manga series by Samura Hiroaki. Directed by Miike Takashi, Blade of the Immortal stars Kimura Takuya as Manji, whose sister is viciously killed by bounty hunters. After dispatching the killers, a mysterious nun uses blood worms to heal his wounds, granting him the ability to regenerate. Years later he is hired as a bodyguard for Rin (Sugisaki Hana), whose kendo-master father and pupils were slaughtered by the swordsmen of Itto-ryu. Together Manji and Rin set out to avenge the death of her family. For more information on Blade of the Immortalcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from Ethel & Ernest.

Ethel & Ernest is an adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ award-winning graphic memoir of his parents’ lives, gorgeous rendered in hand-drawn animation that perfectly captures Briggs’ art style. Adapted and directed by Roger Mainwood, The story is a progression through the lives of Briggs' parents, from their courtship in the late 1920s to their deaths a few months apart in 1971. A lifelong milkman with few complaints, Ernest keeps a close eye on world events – the rise of Hitler, the arrival of the fridge, the phone and the television, and the actions of successive governments. While Ethel, a former lady’s maid, would rather sleep than watch the moon landing on TV and bristles at any suggestion that their little household in Wimbledon might be considered working class. Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn provide the lead voices, with a soundtrack marking out the periods of time featuring original contributions from Carl Davis and Paul McCartney. For more information on Ethel & Ernestcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from Ancien and the Magic Tablet.

Steampunk dreams intersect with corporate reality in this imaginative anime set just days before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. High school senior Morikawa Kokone can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. In a series of strange dreams while napping, she travels to Heartland and becomes Ancien – a brave princess with a magic computer tablet, a feisty sidekick and an appetite for adventure. Her waking life is equally full of daring escapades. Her mechanic father Momotaro, a man of very few words, finds himself in unexpected trouble, and it’s up to Kokone to come to his rescue. When events in Heartland begin to parallel her waking world, Kokone realises that unravelling the mystery of her dreams may reveal the key to her challenges in the real world. Directed by Kamiyama Kenji (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Ancien and the Magic Tablet features the voices of 
Takahata Mitsuki, Mitsushima Shinnosuke and Maeno Tomoya. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. For more information on Ancien and the Magic Tabletcheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from My Life As a Courgette.

My Life As a Courgette is an Oscar nominated stop-motion animated film by Swiss director Claude Barras. Based on the YA novel by Gilles Paris, the film follows a nine year old orphan who prefers to be called Courgette, who's sent to a group home after the accidental death of his alcoholic mother. Courgette befriends a local cop named Raymond, and a new girl at the orphanage, Camille, who, like Courgette, was orphaned by violent circumstances. Despite the very adult situations that have burdened the lives of Courgette and his friends as the orphanage, My Life As a Courgette illustrates the resilience of children, and the ability to build new relationships and create a life out of the chaos that surrounds them. The film will be available in both a subtitled and dubbed version. For more information on My Life As a Courgettecheck out the NZIFF page HERE.

Above: A scene from the short film, Red Riding Hood Redux by Danijel Žeželj.

As always, there is a health amount of animation short films featured in the Animation Now! section of the festival. A new addition this year is the Animation Now! Black and White screening. Of note to comic fans should be the 12 minute short from this screening, Red Riding Hood Redux. The film is directed by Croatian cartoonist Danijel Žeželj, the atmospheric artist from Luna Park, Hellblazer, Loveless and many more. For more information on the Animation Now! showcases, visit the NZIFF page HERE.

For more information on the films and screenings coming to a city near you, visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is This New Zealand's Smallest Comic Book?

Above: Jessica of the Schoolyard: Jessica's Lunchtime Special published by The Comicbook Factory. Copyright The Comicbook Factory 2016.

The Comicbook Factory has a new Jessica of the Schoolyard matchbox sized micro-comic debuting in July; at only 3cm x 4.5cm it might be the smallest full-colour comic book published in New Zealand! It has 16 full-colour pages and comes in its own matchbox sized case. Retailing at $4.95 from The Comicbook Factory website HERE, it's another fine addition to any NZ comics collection.

Matchbox Comic #1: Jessica of the Schoolyard: Jessica's Lunchtime Special 

Synopsis: It's lunchtime and with a little assistance from Jessica, Alice and Wendy, Ethel manages a three course meal she won't soon forget...

Publication details:
English - 16 pages - Full colour - 45mm x 30mm
Stored in small box 53mm x 15mm x 36mm
AVAILABLE: 1st July 2017

- AK!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

REVIEW: Echoes From The Drift by Craig Petersen

Above: Promotional artwork for Echoes From The Drift by Craig Petersen. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

In the mid-90s I discovered Southern Tribe, a sci-fi comic book series produced locally by writer/artist Craig Petersen. At the time, when I wasn't attending high school, I was hard at work practicing writing and drawing my own comic books. It was big inspirational boost to see that someone else was out there publishing comics in NZ, and essentially living the dream! Towards the end of that decade I moved to Auckland to attend university, and got to meet Craig in person at Armageddon Expo. Along with Zak Waipara, Craig was one of my first mentors, who helped welcome me into the DIY world of the NZ comics community.

Flash forward 20 years later: Craig now lives in Europe, and last year launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for his new sci-fi comic series, Echoes From the Drift. The series follows two young adventurers - Jenni and Zayf, as they explore parallel worlds. Thanks to this funding, issue #1 of the series is now available and can be ordered HERE.

Above: Character designs for Jenni and Zayf. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

The first issue opens in 1987, we meet Jenni, a punk styled twenty-something coming home after a long day working at a video store. Her flatmate, Rhonda, is on her way out the door for a hot date, leaving Jenni to indulge in an evening watching tapes of her favourite sitcom, One Knight Stand. Her viewing party is soon interrupted by the opening of an inter-dimensional rift, which drops an alien beast into her living room, followed by drift traveller, Zayf. Jenni and Zayf manage to force the beast back into the rift (and in the process destroy her apartment), at which point Zayf prepares to make a hasty exit...except Jenni - a huge sci-fi fan - wants to come with him. After a quick discussion, Zayf agrees to bring her along and they jump into the next dimensional rift. On the other side they find a dystopian wasteland, and seek refuge at an outpost known as 'Respite'. Inside Jenni notices some familiar faces: her friend Rhonda runs a robot repair shop, and isn't that her building's cleaning guy? Zayf warns her that they should move on, he wasn't expecting to see 'echoes' so soon...

Echoes From The Drift has a great sci-fi set-up, with plenty of opportunity for world building and fun character interplay. The dimension jumping sub-genre of sci-fi is fairly well traveled at this point (Fringe, Sliders, Quantum Leap etc), but Craig has remodelled it with a retro 80's skin that feels fresh and fun. The opening of the comic riffs on Cameron's original Terminator, with nods to anime cartoons, 80s sitcoms and Mad Max sprinkled throughout. Craig's artwork has improved greatly since the 90s, with confident storytelling and a rugged texture to the inking and colouring which suits both the 80s punk vibe of the first half of the story and the dystopian locations of the closing. If there's any draw back to the first issue, it's that it ends on a cliffhanger. But there's also an 8-page prologue story included, Ruins, which fills in the back story of the dimension they now find themselves in, so it's hard to complain.

I highly recommend checking out Echoes From The Drift #1. You can purchase it directly from Craig's website HERE. While you're there, you can also download a FREE PDF version of the prologue story Ruins to get a taste of what the series has to offer.

- AK!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sharon Murdoch Wins Cartoonist of the Year for 2017!

Above: Sharon Murdoch's Sunday Star Times cartoon from May 14th, featuring Paula Bennett and Maggie Barry. Copyright Sharon Murdoch 2017.

Sharon Murdoch was awarded 'Cartoonist of the Year' at last night's Canon Media Awards 2017. This was Murdoch's second consecutive win of the prestigious award for her cartoons that appear in The Sunday Star Times, The Dominion Post and The Christchurch Press

Above: The Getaway, a cartoon by Toby Morris, published on the RNZ website on May 12th. Copyright Radio New Zealand 2017.

Toby Morris was also awarded for his media cartoons, receiving 'Cartoonist of the Year (runner-up)' for his cartoons featured on the Radio NZ and The Wireless websites.

The NPA Outstanding Achievement Awards also recognised The NZ Cartoon Archive for its 25 years of archiving NZ cartoons.

If you would like to read more of Murdoch's outstanding work, a collection of Sharon Murdoch's cartoons, Murdoch: The Cartoons of Sharon Murdochwere published last year by Potton & Burton and is still available from all good booksellers and HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

EVENT: Cartoonists at Auckland Writers Festival 2017!

The Auckland Writers Festival is back for 2017, taking place this week at the Aotea Centre from May 16th - 21st. Alongside international and local authors, two of our most talented cartoonists will be taking part in the festival.

Sarah Laing, author of Mansfield and Me, will be featured in two events: 

EVENT 16: A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing: Two recent New Zealand works entwine the personal with the literary: Sarah Laing’s 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted graphic memoir Mansfield and Me plots her literary journey alongside that of our starry export Katherine Mansfield; and the shortlisted Adam Dudding’s My Father’s Island circumnavigates his father, the late great literary editor Robin Dudding. Laing and Dudding speak with Geoff Walker about memoir writing, and inescapable literary forces.

A Personal Tale: Dudding & Laing, takes place Friday May 19th, from 10 - 11am at the Aotea Centre's Lower NZI Room. Tickets are on sale HERE.

EVENT 43: Walk On High: Walk on High is an intimate meandering journey, featuring a sampler of Festival talent on a word trail along High Street in the CBD. From 6.30pm to 8pm choose from four fifteen-minute events, repeated four times across the ninety minutes, individually crafted and each as delectable as the next. Formats take in games, Insta-essays, music, spoken word and theatre. Over 20 writers and performers take part, including: Jess Holly Bates, Anthony Byrt, Teju Cole, Glenn Colquhoun, Jonothan Cullinane, Mei-Lin Hansen, Ali Ikram, Simone Kaho, Sarah Laing, Last Tapes Theatre Company, Michelle Leggott, Lana Lopesi, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Doug Poole, Randa, Rosabel Tan, Apirana Taylor, Tourettes, Steven Toussaint, Ian Wedde, Rewa Worley and Sonja Yelich. 

Walk on High is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at various venues on High Street, Auckland Central, from 6.30pm - 8.00pm. Check out the AWF website HERE for more information.

Toby Morris, author of The PencilswordThe Day The Costumes Stuck and Capsicum Capsi Go will be taking part in three events:

EVENT 36: Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: Five writers recently went exploring at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, each seeking inspiration for a piece of writing. Hera Lindsay Bird, Anne Kennedy, Kelly An a Morey, Toby Morris, and Ngahuia te Awekotuku present their resulting takes on our archival past.
Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration: is a FREE event, taking place on Friday 19th at the Aotea Centre's Upper NZI Room from 4 - 5pm.

EVENT 118: The Day The Costumes Stuck (5+): Iggy can’t get his party costume off, his parents haven’t noticed and weird happenings lie ahead. Toby Morris unfolds a fun family story with illustrations. Taking place on Sunday 21st from 11 - 11.30am at the Aotea Centre Heartland Festival Room, this is a FREE event but sessions are ticketed, so book early.

EVENT 123: Capsicum Capsi Go: Capsicum goes on holiday! Come on an adventure with the coolest Capsi around led by Toby Morris and featuring a chance to draw your own Capsi. This event takes place on Sunday 21st in the Aotea Centre's Herald Theatre from 1 - 1.30pm. There is FREE entry, no ticket required. 

For more information on the Auckland Writer's Festival, you can visit the event website HERE.

- AK!