THE KAPPABASHI CAT: Production Report No.1

This is the first in what I intend will be a regular series of reports documenting the production progress of the sequel to my comic/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. The current draft title of the new book is The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi. It is in a similar vein to Blotting Paper in its graphic approach but different in that this comic will be less autobiographical and less of a graphic memoir and much more fictive. It will contain fewer anecdotes of Doctor Comics and much more about his cat Cohl’s adventures. A first draft of the comic has been written but the design and the artwork have yet to be commenced. As in the earlier comic printmaking will be employed along with other forms of image-making including drawing, typography, handwriting and photography. As with the earlier publication the intention is to make a comic in an artist’s book type of format.

The work book with the working title-© 2017 Michael Hill.

The story begins in Berlin where Cohl, having heard no word from his friend Busch for almost two years, decides to follow him to Tokyo and try to find him. Cohl has been very comfortable in the German city and consequently reluctant to move but his curiosity has awakened him from his cultural slumber.

Curiosity stirs the sleeping cat-© 2017 Michael Hill

For details of the production of all five issues of the Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics artist book/comic and a continuing visual history record and time-line overview of the project read all of the production reports on the following posts:  Issue #1: No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5   No.6   No.7   No.8   No.9   No.10   No.11   No.12   No.13   Issue #2: No.14   No.15   No.16   No.17   No.18   No.19   No.20   No.21   No.22   No.23   No.24   No.25   No.26   No.27   No.28   No.29   Issue #3: No.30   No.31   No.32   No.33   No.34   No.35   No.36   Issue #4: No.37   No.38   No.39   No.40   No.41   No.42   No.43   No.44   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: IMAGINARY WORLDS SYMPOSIUM

This symposium continued the association between the University of Technology, Sydney and Supanova of staging comics related academic events. In this case topics were not confined to the study of comics in general nor Australian alternative comics in particular. Rather, the papers reflected  a more wide-ranging list of subjects that included connections between comics and fashion, film, animation, literature, calligraphy and computer games. There was even a presentation on the design of comics for young readers with vision impairment. This range of topics had resonance with Supanova’s own broadening interests that had spread from an initial focus on comics (it was originally known as ComicFest) to a wider pop culture spread.

Page from the SUPANOVA program listing the event.

Page from the SUPANOVA program listing the event.

The symposium researchers focused on the use of the design elements of image and space and the manipulation of these in the creation of fantasy worlds in these various media forms. Co-curated by Dr. Vicki Karaminas and I the symposium was staged at the UTS city campus in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building on 14th October 2005 and was opened by the Dean of that faculty. This is the fifteenth 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, however, as stated above, this post has a broader orientation. 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: COMIC-FEST

Prior to the emergence of one of the larger comics and entertainment media conventions in Australia Supanova Pop Culture Expo the same management team, led by Daniel Zachariou, staged an event called Comic-Fest. This had a largely comics oriented focus compared with the subsequent broader span of Supanova in which comics represents just one of several entertainment media that included films, Television series, toys, trading cards, computer games and the internet. There were two stagings in 2001, at Fox Studios in February then followed in September by Comi-Fest 2 at the Sydney Centrepont Convention Centre.

Trevor Bovis in space, the Greener Pastures program cover.

Trevor Bovis in space, the Greener Pastures program cover, design by Tim McEwen.

Saturday seminar details with my involvement  in the superheroes panel.

Saturday seminar details with my involvement in the superheroes panel.

The Comic-Fest panel line-up, L to R, Dillon Naylor, Daniel Gloag, Amber Carvan and Ben Hutchings.

The Comic-Fest panel line-up, L to R, Dillon Naylor, Daniel Gloag, Amber Carvan and Ben Hutchings.

For the September event with approval from the event director Daniel Zachariou I put together a panel discussion on Australian alternative comics by local creators Dillon Naylor, Daniel Gloag, Amber Carvan and Ben Hutchings who each talked about their own comics and answered questions I fired at them from the floor. A general discussion of the Australian comics scene followed.

Another shot of the panel, L to R, Gloag, Carvan and Hutchings.

Another shot of the panel, L to R, Gloag, Carvan and Hutchings.

Aside from the panel discussion the big attraction for the local small press was the opportunity afforded them to set up shop and trade their work on the commercial floor along with the imported comics. There was also the opportunity to meet fellow local creators and exchange comics, contact details and curry recipes.

On the trading floor, Louise Graber and Alex Major.

On the trading floor, Louise Graber and Alex Major.

Also trading, Komala Singh.

Also trading, Komala Singh.

Also trading, Daniel McKeown with Alex Major.

Also trading, Daniel McKeown with Alex Major.

Along with the commercial trading there was the social attraction of meeting and chatting with fellow comics creators.

Lewis Morley and Louise Graber.

Lewis Morley and Louise Graber.

Two funny blokes and cartoonists, Ross Tesoriero and Ben Hutchings.

Two funny blokes and even funnier cartoonists, Ross Tesoriero and Ben Hutchings.

Ross Tesoriero and Louise Graber.

Ross Tesoriero and Louise Graber.

This is the fourteenth 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: 2ND SEQUENTIAL ART STUDIES CONFERENCE

It was ten years ago this month that the second Sequential Art Studies Conference took place at the University of Technology, Sydney. At a time when minicomics, having blossomed throughout the 1990s, had really begun to matter in the local alternative comics scene it was billed as A Mini Conference on Minicomics and featured presentations by comics creators as well as scholars. The conference was convened by Spiros Tsaousis(now Spiros Xenos) and I and was a sequel to the first Sequential Art Studies conference held in 2002, again held in association with Supanova Pop Culture Expo. Included in the event was a minicomics market.

CALL FOR PAPERS: 2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference May 23, 2003, Sydney. The Interdisciplinary Studies Unit of the Faculty of Design at UTS (University of Technology, Sydney) http://www.uts.edu.au will again host this new scholarly conference that will be held during the same week as the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The inaugural event in 2002 attracted a small but stimulating range of papers from local academics and students and it is hoped that this year’s event will build on that. Scholars are invited to submit 250 word proposals which address alternative approaches to comics, whether local or global, recent or historical, online or offline, artistic or commercial. The conference will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and so welcomes papers from a broad range of areas. Send proposals by email to either of the conference convenors and coordinators by February 28, 2003: Michael.Hill@uts.edu.au  Spiros.Tsaousis@bigpond.com 
CONFERENCE PROGRAM: Scholarly Papers

4.00pm                Opening of Conference and Welcome Assoc. Professor Steve Harfield Assoc. Dean of Research Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building  University of Technology, Sydney

4.05pm                 The Sydney Morning Hell of Glenn Smith, Michael Hill, Interdisciplinary Studies Unit, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building University of Technology, Sydney

4.30pm                 Fear and yearning of “manga Japan” in Australia, Craig Norris, School of Communication, Design and Media, University of Western Sydney

4.55pm                 Taming the ‘Superhuman’ Shrew: Identification with Superheroes in Comics and the Popularisation of the Human Potential Ethic, Adam Possamaï, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney

5.20pm                The Problem of The Yellow Kid: From Single Panels to Sequential Images, Spiros Tsaousis, La Trobe University

Craig Norris, University of Western Sydney.

Craig Norris, University of Western Sydney.

Adam Possamaï, University of Western Sydney

Adam Possamaï, University of Western Sydney

CONFERENCE PROGRAM: Artist Presentations 

6.00pm             Alex Major (Naomi and Poggie)

6.20pm             Komala Singh (Moshi Moshi)

6.40pm             Bernard Caleo (Big Cardigan Comics)

7.00pm             Katarina Knebel (Cult Fiction Comics)

7.20pm             Ben Hutchings (Geeen Comix)

7.40pm             David McDermott (Glitter Shy)

Bernard Caleo proclaimed his comics manifesto and promoted Tango.

Bernard Caleo ‘performed’ his comics manifesto and promoted Tango.

Komala Singh talking about Moshi Moshi.

Komala Singh talked about her minicomic Moshi Moshi.

David McDermott goes Glitter Shy.

David McDermott goes Glitter Shy and had some pages ‘performed’ live in his presentation with lines read to projected images of panels.

Chloe Lyttle introducing David Maccad.

Chloe Lyttle introducing David Maccad.

Ben Hutchings going Geeen!

Ben Hutchings going Geeen!

Katarina Knebel talks Cult Fiction Comics.

Katarina Knebel talks Cult Fiction Comics.

Alex Major describes Naomi and Poggie.

Alex Major describes his minicomic Naomi and Poggie.

Minicomics market at the conferece.

Minicomics market at the conference.

This is the thirteenth 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: DOWN UNDER GROUND

Underground comics are the subject of this post, Australian underground or alternative comics as they are better known. Firstly, an exhibition that Glenn Smith curated called The Ink Runs Deep Down, Down Underground at the Orange Regional Gallery in New South Wales in 2005, and then a conference organised by Donald Ault called Underground(s) at the University of Florida in 2003. I was involved with both, writing an essay “Art From The Inkubator”, for the exhibition catalogue in Orange and opening the exhibition, and presenting a paper “Down Under Ground: Emotional and Oppositional Outpourings from Sydney’s Subculture in the Comics of Glenn Smith” at the Florida conference.

The Ink Runs Deep...exhibition catalogue. (Design by Glenn Smith)

The Ink Runs Deep...exhibition catalogue. (Design by Glenn Smith)

The successive waves of Australian alternative comics produced since the 1980s feature a raw and spontaneous graphic style, an irreverent attitude and D.I.Y. Punk influenced approach to production, different from mainstream approaches to comics production in that they could be pluralistic, wide-ranging, antagonistic and mocking, containing taboo themes. The exhibition in Orange celebrated the creative expression behind these comics, that much maligned art form usually consigned to the pop culture trash bin, but there elevated to the gallery wall.

Back cover of the exhibition catalogue. (Design by Glenn Smith)

Back cover of the exhibition catalogue. (Design by Glenn Smith)

Creators featured in the exhibition are listed on the back cover of the exhibition catalogue, above. They exhibited applications of comic art in animation, painting, posters, book covers, and skate boards and a range of mediums from pen and ink to digital imaging. The day after the opening I went to the Orange farmers’ market and had the sweetest apples and tastiest bacon and egg-roll ever!

Display of Anton Emdin comics in the exhibition.

Display of Cruel World minicomics by Anton Emdin.

Display of Black Light Angels minicomics by Louise Graber in the exhibition.

Display of Black Light Angels minicomics by Louise Graber.

Commenting on the emergence of the underground comix in Australia in his book Panel By Panel, John Ryan pointed to the social context of the 1970’s as a period in which a sense of national pride developed and led to a consequent interest in locally made comics. That first wave of Australian alternative comics was seemingly motivated by the North American Underground Comix movement. Like the Abstract Expressionist art movement of the 1950s, which Australia seemed to have mysteriously imported, rather than organically grown, these comics initially appeared derivative but later developed an Australian style.

Louise Graber with a painting of a panel from her comic Black Light Angels in the exhibition.

Louise Graber with a painting of a panel from her comic Black Light Angels in the exhibition.

These comics can be seen as an echo of the Underground comix of the late 1960s that began in San Francisco, different in style and content to the mainstream North American super-hero themed comics, they opened up the way for autobiographical and artform genres. At the Florida conference it was exciting to hear from some of the creative figures from the original Underground as well as to describe Glenno’s work, and argue that it had some resonance with what they had done.

Front cover of Underground(s) conference program. (Design by William S. Kartalopoulos)

Front cover of Underground(s) conference program. (Design by William S. Kartalopoulos)

Back cover of Underground(s) conference program. (Design by William S. Kartalopoulos)

Back cover of Underground(s) conference program. (Design by William S. Kartalopoulos)

Underground(s) poster (detail).

Underground(s) poster (detail).

This is the twelth 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: COMICS WORKSHOPS

The Bio-Hazard comics workshop poster. (Poster design by Xander Black)

Back in the 1990s a small number of design students enrolled at Sydney’s University of Technology were fortunate to attend two comics workshops taught by local creators Jason Paulos, Bodine Amerikah, Stuart Hale, Ant Larcombe, Sam Young and Xander Black. The events were organised by the students. Working in the Visual Communication Design program at the time, the course from which one of the creators, Ant Larcombe, was a graduate, I was happy to act as go-between and coordinator of this student initiative. The first workshop was Basick Inkstinct in 1996. This was followed up and developed the following year with the same tutors under the title Bio-Hazard. Both workshops enabled students to have contact with industry practitioners, creators and publishers of titles such as Hairbutt the Hippo, Cyberswine and Zero Assassin. This type of contact can make a valuable contribution to student training. It permitted students to see comics production as a valid form of visual communication within the graphic design field, a course that the majority of those who attended were enrolled.

The Basick Inkstinct comics workshop flyer. (Flyer design by Neil Heymann)

Both workshops were informally structured with the creators sitting at tables with the students demonstrating their skills on paper and engaging in studio banter with each other as they drew. Stuart Hale and Xander Black gave brief talks about comics making and the relative merits of local creators before the comics artists went through a practical session of scripting, thumbnails, page layout, rough and refined pencils, lettering and inking. The visiting creators were very generous with their time and the students appreciated this. These workshops preceded a more formal and official event that I subsequently organised, namely the Mind Rot Australian Comics Seminar & Workshop that I have blogged about previously in this series. That more formal workshop and accompanying symposium represented a further step in the process of formally recognising comics design within the academic curriculum as I was eventually able to offer comics based projects in the subjects Word and Image and Graphic Visualisation in that course and in the Master of Animation course that followed some years later.

This is the eleventh 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: TiNA ARENA

1999 event: Outsider meetings. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On Sunday 27th September 1998, I drove from Sydney to Newcastle to attend the two sessions devoted to the discussion of comics at the inaugural National Young Writers’ Festival. Accompanying me were three active members of the Sydney ‘small press’: Stuart Stratu, Anton Emdin and Ross Tesoriero. With there having been all too few formal attempts to discuss and promote ‘small press’ activity we were impressed with the novelty of the event, its inclusion in a writers’ festival and with the fact that it was actually taking place, if a little curious as to why the organisers had by-passed Sydney and only invited Melbourne and Canberra based creators. Nevertheless we were enthused enough to make the trip as it offered a rare opportunity to meet with colleagues from interstate, many of whom, although familiar with their work, we had never met.

1999 event: Tim Danko, Stuart Stratu, Q-Ray and Kieran Mangan. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Michael Fikaris(Froth) reading minicomic. (Photo by Louise Graber).

1999 event: Carol Wood and Susan Butcher aka Pox Girls reading minicomics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

The organizational aspects improved considerably over the next few years and the festival developed, expanded and diversified. Originally called the National Young Writers’ Festival it became part of the umbrella event TiNA, the acronym for This is Not Art. This has become a multidisciplinary event in the week leading up to and across the October holiday weekend and has spread around Newcastle which has become the TiNa Arena. During the weekend the city becomes a catchment area for visiting youth from a range of artistic, literary, music and media fields from all over Australia. I attended five consecutive events from 1998 to  2002 by which time comics discussions had moved into the Town Hall. A high point for comics creators is the annual comic and zine fair held on the Sunday afternoon. This was a busy trading and swapping event first staged in the park across the road then subsequently moved into the Mission theatre with accompanying live music.

1999 event: Anton Emdin(If Pain Persists) with Lewis P. Morley and Marilyn Pride(Red World Komics). (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Tim Danko(Dead Xerox Press) and Stuart Stratu(Sick Puppy Comix). (Photo by Louise Graber)

On arrival in the city that afternoon in 1998 we easily found the centre of activities laid out in various sumptuously appointed rooms of the Newcastle Town Hall and Civic Centre. There were panels and presentations in the Banquet Room, the Function Rooms and some impressively attired Committee Rooms in the Council Chambers and also at the nearby Wintergarden Cafe. We were, however, unable to find the venue for the discussion of comics, so we asked for that information and were directed out of the main building, out the back and there it was, a modest room with plastic chairs, and an insufficient number of them at that, so a few attendees sat on the floor. No podium, no lectern, no microphone, no monitor, no vcr, no whiteboard, no jug of water, no media nor reporters were present. Furthermore, this was not a seminar but a workshop. Comics were not so much to be discussed as produced and if there was to be any discourse it would be on matters of production rather than on content, or so it seemed. Then I realised how appropriate all of this was in the then current scheme of things. It was the perfect venue at a writers’ festival for the discussion of comics because it indicated just how marginalised the form was. The established, pure literary forms such as the novel and poetry headed the hierarchy. Even emerging word based forms such as e-mail and writing textual content for the Internet and journalism had superior status and were located in the main hall. But comics and zines, not being part of the mainstream, were out the back and out of sight.

1999 event: Happy Pox Girl Susan Butcher. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Q-Ray(The Comic Messiah) and Kieran Mangan(Urrgh). (Photo by Louise Graber)

Interested (Photo by Louise Graber)

Interested (Photo by Louise Graber)

Things changed over the subsequent years. We’ve had comics events at the Sydney Opera House with international guests but it was so different back then, so ‘underground’, so beneath the radar. Comics were even made during the event in a ramshackle upstairs, cut and paste graphics studio called Octapod where minicomics filled were produced. At the 1999 event I took the opportunity to do a series of interviews with many of the comics creators in attendance. This became research material for my thesis.

1999 event: Ross Tesoriero(Radiation Sickness). (Photo by Louise Graber)

Event organiser Kylie Purr with Glenn Smith.

Event organiser Kylie Purr with Glenn Smith.

This is the tenth 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.

1999 event: Michael Hill aka Doctor Comics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Michael Hill aka Doctor Comics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

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