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


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!


"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
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!