Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Summer Reading: Extra Ordinary Comics 500!

Above: Extra Ordinary Comics 500: The Tombs of Black Paw by Li Chen. Copyright Li Chen 2018.

The Christmas rush is over, so I'm starting the New Year off by sharing some of the great local comic reads I've been catching up on over the summer. 

First up, I can't recommend enough the 500th webcomic from Li Chen's Extra Ordinary Comics! It dropped last month, and it's a doozy : Li, and her cat Shoelace, discover a map to the treasure of the infamous pirate cat, Black Paw. Following the map leads them on a wild and humourous journey, with branching options for the reader - there are different paths you can choose, taking you on a unique reading experience with multiple plot twists, puzzles and endings! With all its branching options this comic rewards repeat reading, so see if you can discover all the story options in the great interactive adventure!

You can read it on Li Chen's website, Extra Ordinary Comics HERE, (as well as the other 499, obviously). You can also support Li Chen's creation of Extra Ordinary Comics on Patreon HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Kickstarter: Echoes From the Drift 2!

Above: Jenni and Zayf, the stars of the comic series, Echoes From the Drift by Craig Petersen. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

Echoes From the Drift, the sci-fi comic series by Craig Petersen, continues with a brand new Kickstarter campaign for issue #2! After the successful funding of Echoes From the Drift #1, the story continues as dimension-jumpers Jenni and Zayf find themselves stranded in a post-apocalyptic city under attack. Some of the city inhabitants look familiar, but will they help of hinder our heroes' chances of survival? The only way to find out is to support this Kickstarter by pre-ordering Echoes From the Drift #2!

If you like sci-fi fantasy movies with an 80's vibe - think The Terminator mixed with Guardians of the Galaxy, then you're love Echoes From the Drift.

Above: Artwork from Echoes From the Drift #1 by Craig Petersen. Copyright Craig Petersen 2017.

With the success of the first Kickstarter for Echoes From the Drift, Craig Petersen has proven he can deliver a top-notch comic book and deliver some great rewards for his backers. If you'd like to pre-order issue #2 and missed issue #1, don't worry - there's a combo pack available in the rewards. You can also upgrade for some awesome rewards like an art print, or an original sketch, or even a page of original artwork from the book!

Check out the full Kickstarter campaign for Echoes From the Drift 2 HERE, and all the great reward options available. I also did a review of Echoes From the Drift #1, that you can read HERE. The printing goal for #2 of $5062 is over the half way point now, with 15 days to go, so make sure you show your support and pre-order Echoes From the Drift 2 today!

- AK!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nice Art: Our Harbour by Mat Tait

Above: Mural images for Our Harbour, created by Mat Tait.

Mat Tait, the cartoonist behind The Heading Dog Who Split in Half, has spent his winter producing four large murals for the Pātaka Art and Museum in Porirua. They will be unvailed to the public this Saturday, November 18th, as a part of Our Harbour, a new interactive exhibition in the children's gallery. 

The opening will be a family friendly event, with fun, hands-on activities and events between 11am and 3pm. There will also be a Puppet show, Nan and Tuna by String Bean Puppets, which will combine puppets, shadows and water to tell the life story of New Zealand’s native longfin eel (tuna) who make their homes in our rivers. There’ll also be lots of other things to see and do – badge making, crafting a tuna or fish out of a plastic bottle and potting up a riparian plant. Stalls in the atrium will focus on harbour restoration and conservation, including information on what you can do to help.

The Pātaka Art and Museum is located at 17 Parumoana Street, Porirua, with the opening kicking off at 11am. For more information, you can visit the Facebook event page HERE. And for more of Mat Tait's artwork you can visit his website HERE. Also, you can now order The Heading Dog Who Split in Half for only $15 from the Potton & Burton website HERE!

- AK!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Giselle Clarkson's Biscuits and Slices of New Zealand Goes Viral!

Above: 'Common Household Biscuits & Slices of New Zealand' by Giselle Clarkson. Copyright Giselle Clarkson 2017.

Every once and a while, an image or topic strikes a nerve and captures the public imagination and spreads through social media like a firestorm. And that was the case recently with the above illustration by illustrator cartoonist Giselle Clarkson. 'Common Household Biscuits & Slices of New Zealand' was created for Annual 2, the second children's Annual edited by Kare De Goldi & Susan Paris, which you can purchase HERE. Clarkson's illustration captures in loving detail, a selection of NZ's best known biscuits and slices, from Anzac Biscuit to Squiggle. 

On social media the illustration has prompted nostalgic memories of NZ biscuits past and present, heated debates on over-looked slices and under appreciated biscuits as the illustration continues to be shared far and wide. The story was even picked up by TV THREE's 'The Project', who interviewed Clarkson to discuss her favourite biscuits and the public response to her illustration. You can still view the interview on The Project's Facebook page HERE.

Above: 'Common Household Biscuits & Slices of New Zealand' by Giselle Clarkson, as printed in Annual 2. Copyright Giselle Clarkson 2017.

To really appreciate this fine appraisal of NZ biscuits I'd suggest buying a copy of Annual 2 today for $39.99NZ from a bookstore near you or online HERE. And for more of Giselle Clarkson's fine comics and illustrations, you can visit here website HERE.

- AK!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Toby Morris announces The Side Eye!

Above: The Side Eye GIF by Toby Morris.

Recently cartoonist Toby Morris announced his regular comics series The Pencilsword would be ending, with a new project on the horizon. Today he unvailed his next comics endevour, The Side Eye, which will be hosted by The Spinoff website!

In a statement at The Spinoff, Morris described the new project: 'The Side Eye is about casting a sceptical (but hopefully not cynical) eye on the changing world around us. A way of taking all the little things that make us say ‘eh?’ and looking a little closer. And these days there are plenty of things to question: Climate change, inequality, shifting attitudes about sexuality, health, diversity, the workplace. How we use technology. How we process history. In the end I want it to be about how we treat each other. Where we’re going, and why.'

To read Morris' full announcement, you can visit The Spinoff website HERE. The first Side Eye will debut at The Spinoff later this week.

- AK!

Dylan Horrocks named as 2018 International Institute of Modern Letters Writer in Residence

Above: Dylan Horrocks. Photo copyright Grant Maiden 2015.

Today it was announced that graphic novelist Dylan Horrocks has been appointed as the Victoria University of Wellington International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) and Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence for 2018. He is the first graphic novelist to be awarded this position!

The following statement was announced at Graham Beattie's Book Blog:

Celebrated for his ground-breaking book 'Hicksville', Mr Horrocks has also published other books including 'Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen', and 'Incomplete Works'. His work has been published internationally, with translations into French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Danish, Polish and Korean. Hicksville was ranked #12 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels of All Time.

Mr Horrocks was named as a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2016 and has received many awards, including an Eisner (USA) Award in 2002 and a Sir Julius Vogel Award in 2012. In 2006 he was the University of Auckland-Creative New Zealand Literary Fellow.

Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters, Damien Wilkins, says, “Dylan is an international figure in the world of graphic novels and a brilliant commentator on his art. His books are taught by the English programme at Victoria. He is a vital voice in New Zealand culture and it will be exciting to have him at the IIML.”

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Horrocks says, “I'm absolutely thrilled at this chance to be part of Victoria’s lively creative writing community. I'm looking forward to discovering the work of students and staff and feeding off all those powerful literary emanations. Above all, it's a wonderful opportunity to work with obsessive dedication on my next book: a graphic novel about playing Dungeons & Dragons.”

Mr Horrocks takes up the residency at the IIML on 1 February 2018.

Congratulations to Dylan, and all the best for his work in the forthcoming year! For more information on Dylan Horrocks and his work, you can visit his website HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Upcoming Release: The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

Above: The cover of The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the amazing work of Christchurch based cartoonist Katie O'Neill from her award-winning graphic novel, Princess Princess: Ever After, and her contibutions to Faction and High Water comics anthologies. Having recently concluded her webcomic series, The Tea Dragon Society (which you can read in full HERE), it will be published this month as a large format hardcover from Oni Press!

Above: Artwork from The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

Here's the synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own.

Above: Artwork from The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill.

The Tea Dragon Society is an all-ages graphic novel and will be available from comic shops on October 18th, and October 31st from booksellers and online retailers (Amazon, Book Depository, Mighty Ape etc). It retails for $17.99 US, so it should be around $25-30 NZ, which is still a great price for an oversized hardcover. So head over to your local comic shop or bookstore and pre-order a copy today!

Ordering Information:

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
Format: Hardback, 72 pages
Dimensions 218 x 300 x 13mm
Publisher: Oni Press
ISBN: 9781620104415

Oh, and if you can't get enough of The Tea Dragon Society, there's also an official card game in the works from Oni Games for release in 2018! For more information on Katie O'Neill and her projects, visit her Tumblr page HERE.

- AK!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

EVENT: Overload: NZ Comic and Manga Convention 2017

This weekend sees the return of Overload: the NZ Comic & Manga Convention, an annual community-focused event where local indie comic and manga artists can exhibit and sell their artwork.

Overload 2017 will host more than 200 indie artists from all over New Zealand. They are running loads of fun events for attendees to join in, such as: a Cosplay Competition, an Illustration Competition, and for the first time this year, an anime song Karaoke Competition. They will also have international guests in attendance:  anime singer Kawano Marina (‘Morning Arch’, ‘Takaramono’), anime director Takuya Sato (WIXOSS series, Steins; Gate) and cosplay artist Ying Tze.

Above: Cosplay artist Ying Tze.

If Comics and Manga are your thing, this is a great convention to pick up some amazing original artwork direct from the artists themselves, as well as manga, anime DVDs, and plenty of other genuine collectible goodies!

Overload 2017 will be taking place this Saturday, September 30th, from 10am – 6pm at The Cloud Convention Center, 89 Quay Street, Auckland. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for under 13s and Free for under 5s! Tickets can be purchased at the door, or from Eventfinda HERE. From more information, visit the Overload website HERE.

- AK!