Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: MCA ZINE FAIR

Sunday 22nd May 2011, in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and opposite the Sydney Opera House, the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) hosted a zine fair as part of the 2011 Sydney Writers’ Festival. 50 tables plus 1 bar were trading to a reasonably sizable crowd. It was a fusion of the literary and the artistic being a collaboration between a writers’ festival and a contemporary art gallery. Increasingly comics are being seen in art galleries due to their increased cultural status, literary and artistic elements, and the growing popularity of graphic novels.

Opposite the Sydney Opera House… (Photo by Michael Hill)

…in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and construction of the new MCA building… (Photo by Michael Hill)

…at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)… (Photo by Michael Hill)

The make-up of the stall-holders on the trading floor was a bit of a mystery with a notable presence of craft makers selling jewellery and accessories that led to complaints by some comics creators who were unable to acquire a table and there was the inevitable grumbling from some of those about the application and selection process not being all that transparent.

ma poulette- It’s the MCA Zine Fair program!

This is an architecturally and culturally significant site. The distinctive MCA building is located on the edge of the harbour at Circular Quay near the Bridge and Opera House. You can even arrive at the MCA by ferry as was the fashion last year during the Sydney Biennale.

…2011 Sydney Writers’ Festival-MCA Zine Fair. (Photo by Louise Graber)

L to R: Tim McEwen(c0-creator of Greener Pastures), Doctor Comics(wearing Sick Puppy Comix T-shirt) and Cefn Ridout(comics critic and designer). (Photo by Louise Graber)

Busy trading in the marbled walled Foundation Hall. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Stallholders/publications included Naomi Hatchman and Zeera the Space Pirate, the Sticky Institute, Chris Mikul and Bizarrism, Black Mermaid, Stuart Stratu and Blackguard, Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr and SCAR, Milk Shadow Books and Tough Titties.

Comics creator David Puckeridge with his publication “BOX”. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Sick Puppy Comix creator Stuart Stratu. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Through the publication of his anthology Sick Puppy Comix Stratu displayed a plurality of graphic styles from a range of alternative comics contributors whose content was both provocative and oppositional.

Doctor Comics with comics creator Antoinette Rydyr of SCAR. (Photo by Louise Graber)

This is the first in a series of posts called Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy,  A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics.

Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History:   Comic-Fest   Comics  in Record Shops   Comics Workshops   Down Under Ground   Getting SMASH(ed)!   Imaginary Worlds Symposium    International Exhibition of Drawings   OZCON   Mind Rot   Savage Pencils   Sick Puppy Comix   TiNA Arena   MCA Zine Fair   2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference   2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference