Category: Archive of Australian Alternative Comics

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.11

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Blotting Paper, Comics, Japanning February 20, 2012

My artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics was launched at Hondarake Full of Books in Sydney on a wet Summer afternoon in February along with an exhibition of postcard prints and a display of printmaking tools used in the production.

My fish prints hanging overhead. (Photo by Sal Jones)

Zeera the Space Pirate creator Naomi Hatchman. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Australian comics legends Glenn Smith and Gerard Ashworth. (Photo by Louise Graber)

JMC Director of Animation Sean Callinan and Peregrine Besset creator Lewis P. Morley. (Photo by Louise Graber)

It Lives! CEO’s Nick and Liz. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Store owners Hisae and Tomoko. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Gene Kannenberg, Jr. (onscreen) entertained with his witty matching of comics and beverages. (Photo by Andrew Hawkins)

The book was launched by Gene Kannenberg, Jr. via Skype from the U.S.A. Noted comics historian, Kannenberg is director of ComicsResearch.org. former Chair of the International Comic Arts Festival and the Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association, and author of 500 Essential Graphic Novels. He made a humorous speech and participated in a game of pairing comics with beer including the work of creators Will Eisner, Lynda Barry, Hergé, Jack Kirby and Joost Swarte. Gene  got a big response when he suggested black coffee with Steve Ditko and Duff beer with Matt Groening, and then an even bigger response when he brought his cat, Mr. Pickles, onscreen.

The pop-up exhibition of postcards. (Photo by Harrison Hill)

Hair and prints in abundance. (Photo by Harrison Hill)

For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project, see all of the BLOTTING PAPER production reports relating to 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

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF DRAWINGS-COMICS

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics December 17, 2011

Thirteen years ago to the day the 14th International Exhibition of Drawings opened at the Museum of Modern Art in Rijeka, Croatia, 17th December 1998-20th March 1999, and was devoted to comics. Invited to contribute to the selection of the show based on the research I was doing at the time following a referral from Professor Joan Kerr(ANU), I selected and sent 13 works by 14 creators and wrote an essay The Australian Underground that was published in the exhibition catalogue in Croatian and English: In its own small way the underground comics community not only contributes to the visual cultural life of Australia but also to an understanding of it. It adds to the ongoing critique of Australian culture and provides a healthy and relatively unregulated creative outlet. From its position on the margins its critical viewpoint is expressed with great humour. ‘Taking the piss out of things’ would seem an appropriate and very Australian way of describing it. (extract)

Cover of the exhibition catalogue. (Design by Mirko Ilić, drawing by Davor Vrankić)

The Comic Messiah by Q-Ray (Clint Cure), 1998, ink on paper.

Other artists in this exhibition included Max Andersson, Enki Bilal, Guido Crepax, Will Eisner, Jason(John Arne Sæterøy), Henry “Hank” Ketcham, Brant Parker, Hugo Pratt, Quino, Bryan Talbot, Mort Walker and Song Qing Zhu (Gao Diao). It was wonderful that the work of emerging Australian creators was displayed alongside these established international creators.

Black Light Angels by Louise Graber, 1998, ink on paper.

Blackie’s last day by Tony Single, 1994, pencil, felt pen, ink on paper.

Upward + Onward by Damien Woods, technical pen and felt pen on photocopy paper.

Lightning Strike by Mandy Ord, 1998, ink on paper.

Radiation Sickness by Ross Tesoriero, 1997, ink on paper.

Ah-choo by Neale Blanden, 1997, combined technique on paper.

Jean and Rolly by Timothy John Danko, 1995, collage on paper.

Kurt Hurt’s Reasons to Draw Comix by Stuart Stratu, 1997, ink and whiteout on paper.

Francis Bear by Gregory Mackay, 1998, ink on paper.

Stranger Danger by Ryan Vella, 1997, ink on paper.

Bernard Caleo and Tolley-The False Impressionists, 1997-combined technique on paper.

The False Impressionists by Bernard Caleo and Tolley, 1997, combined technique on paper.

The Killer Foetus by Ben Hutchings, 1997, combined technique on paper.

The Killer Foetus by Ben Hutchings, 1997, combined technique on paper.

This is the fifth 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: MIND ROT

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics November 18, 2011

Trawling through material from my back pages for content that will form part of my semi-autobiographical comic (Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics) I came across this poster for an event that I conceived and organised at the University of Technology, Sydney back in 1998. I was a lecturer in Visual Communication in the Design Faculty at the time and endeavouring to incorporate comics based projects into the curriculum. Comics is a perfect medium in which to practice techniques of visual communication reliant as it is on the combination of words and images. First year undergraduate students undertaking Word and Image projects were generally enthusiatic about comics based applications. To increase the students’ understanding of the professional practice of making comics I decided to involve some practitioners.

Poster for the event designed by Neil Heymann.

With additional funding from the student group Stop Motion Sickness I invited Mandy Ord up from Canberra, Dillon Naylor from Melbourne and Glenn Smith from Sydney to show their work to visual communication design students and discuss how they went about making it. Mindful of the possibility of regional differences from the research I was doing into the Australian small press scene at the time it seemed interesting to have a speaker from three different cities. Each comics creator made a 45-60 minute presentation of their work followed by a Q&A session. Naylor profiled his comic about share-household shenanigans Pop Culture & 2 Minute Noodles, Ord her intensely inky, autobiographical tales of life in Canberra, Wilnot, and Smith his painstakingly linear drawn, slice-of-life The Sydney Morning Hell. Each guest also led a practical, sequential graphic workshop with a small group of students. Gerard Ashworth, also from Sydney, who attended the seminar helped out. The event was a small but significant moment in Australian comics history, especially in terms of the study of the medium within the ‘academy’.

The title? Attempted irony, perhaps? I think I was put in a defensive position by some of my colleagues about claiming comics as a valid medium of visual communication back in those days, thirteen years ago. Photography was the then popular medium followed by graphic design and illustration whilst comics, animation and video were off to one side. The poster was a good piece of visual communication by the then student Neil Heymann, now a New York based advertising designer. Teaching comics as practice was the hurdle then. A steeper jump followed with the notion of comics being considered as a medium of scholarly study and research.

This is the fourth 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: OZCON

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics October 16, 2011

In terms of the larger comics conventions in Australia prior to current events Supanova,  Animania,  SMASH!,  Armageddon and the earlier Comic-Fest there was OZCON and even before that there was one event called ComicCon back in 1979. OZCON was the big annual comics convention at the time I began researching Australian alternative comics in the late 1990s. The promotion of and garnering of publicity for the more mainstream(read imported) comics seemed to be the raison d’être for the event although there was some presence by independent creators and their publications despite the cost of their participation. There was also some discussion of comics apart from the sales. I recall one entertaining discussion between Eddie Campbell and Dave Sim about the distribution of independent comics. It also provided a sense of community for local creators to meet each other, discuss their self-published comics and to compare their work to the imported product.

Spidey swinging from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Poster design by Ant Larcombe)

The poster shows that OZCON and Australian comics creators and fans at the time (1995) had the spectre of the US super-hero genre hanging over them. In any case it was a wonderful poster designed by local comics creator Ant Larcombe. Furthermore the cover had an inset of the avatar and character Flash Domingo by another Australian creator, Gary Chaloner.

Ticket to an earlier staging of the OZcon event.

Ticket to an earlier staging of the OZcon event.

Comic Con T-shirt design. (artist unknown)

Reflecting on OZCON made me think of those big US comics conventions. Here is a scan of the T-shirt I bought at the largest convention in the USA San Diego Comic Con. It was from an earlier staging of that event, had been discounted as a remainder and caught my eye. The in-your-face aggression, confidence, swagger and speech balloon seemed to say what that convention was about. The blue paint stains are a subsequent addition from my wearing it whilst printmaking. I think there were fewer than 50,000 attendees back in 2000 but over the past decade this convention has grown to around three times that number but remains considerably less than the 500,000 that go to Comiket in Tokyo, twice a year-that’s a million of them! Anyway I had a great time there. In addition to presenting a paper on “Australian Gothic comics” at the conference (shout out to my colleagues Randy Duncan and Peter Coogan) I got to meet Will Eisner, Scott McCloud, Gahan Wilson, James Kochalka, Roman Dirge, Jhonen Vasquez, Los Bros Hernandez, Rumiko Takahashi and Jim Woodring.

This is the sixth 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.

The ComicCon pass with dinosaurs designed by Gahan Wilson

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: GETTING SMASH(ed)!

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics, Film, Japanning July 18, 2011

Saturday July 16 2011 was a day of anime amusement at SMASH! (the Sydney Manga and Anime Show). Over the past few years the local interest in manga and anime has grown and grown. Initially ignored by existing comics conventions fans created their own event. Some even began learning to read Japanese so that they could translate the manga. The conventions provided opportunities for fans to meet and enjoy these two media. Some local female creators began making their own versions of shōjo manga as a form of alternative comics and with local content. Interest continued to grow, as did the events. In Sydney there was Animania, in Melbourne, Manifest. And then there was SMASH!

The SMASH! 2011 program.

Located for the first time in its short 5 year history at the Sydney Convention Centre because it outgrew its previous venues from the Rounhouse at the University of New South Wales to the Sydney Town Hall…

The view from inside the Convention Centre. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Welcome from Box Man. (Photo by Louise Graber)

An occasion to dress up, there were costumes that required weeks of sewing, beading, feathering and functioning, paraded throughout the venue and on the cosplay stage…

A tutu moment… (Photo by Michael Hill)

One happy fan. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Many children there in addition to university, high school and primary school students, some with parents…

Three young cosplay fans. (Photo by Michael Hill)

There were Hobby Rooms for the construction and display of dolls and robots…

Some Dolfie dolls. (Photo by Michael Hill)

and tired doll collectors patiently waiting for a seat in the Maid Cafe.

Lolitas with Dolfie. (Photo by Michael Hill)

There were Art and Doodle Rooms for art and doodling… …and an epic two hours plus Cosplay Competition…

A really big and really, really long Cosplay Competition. (Photo by Michael Hill)

…not to mention a Gundam workshop, Karaoke, videogames, a screening of the excellent anime Summer Wars, sewing, pattern and armour making workshops, and a huge trading floor full of vendors, artists and clubs. And it all glowed in the presence of the patronage of the Japan Foundation. Japanese popular culture  thrived on a wonderful day! My report on last year’s event can be found on Forbidden Planet International. This is the third 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

FOOTNOTE: I SAW A BIG SAW AT BIG SIGHT!  As an addendum to this convention report I must mention another I visited in Tokyo. I travelled by monorail to Odaiba Island, an artificial island built in Tokyo Bay to attend the Tokyo Anime Fair at a venue called Tokyo Big Sight (pronounced Biggu Saito in Japanese). Big Sight? I thought that must be a misspelling along Japlish lines for the name of a large exhibition space. Shouldn’t it be called Big Site? However, as it turned out, there were definitely some big sights to behold. No sign of Godzilla but I thought of Thor as the monorail travelled over the Rainbow Bridge past some rather high tech looking buildings such as this one in the photo below of Fuji TV headquarters.

The headquarters of Fuji TV(building designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange) and the Joyopolis Arcade. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV(building designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange) and the Joyopolis Arcade. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV-detail. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV-detail. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Then on arrival at the Big Sight location things started to look a bit unusual. There was an open space beneath a series of inverted pyramids sitting on glass covered, cantilevered legs. This giant entrance had the effect of reducing the scale of the people passing beneath it and thus enhancing the ‘big’ aspect implied in the name of the site.

Tokyo Big Sight-entrance. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Tokyo Big Sight-entrance. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The walk from the monorail station to the entrance of the Big Sight exhibition centre has something of an epic feel to it. It’s there but it’s a long way over there and as one  approaches, and that takes some time, the pyramids appear to grow in size and tower above one, providing something of a shrinking feeling as one nears. It was during this long walk that I happened to look over a railing, because I had drifted to one side of the open walkway, that I caught a glimpse of another large object embedded in the grass on the level below. A sculpture…an art installation…a large saw…unmistakably something by the Pop artist Claes Oldenburg. It was a big sight to see at this big site.

Saw, Sawing by Claes Oldenburg. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Saw, Sawing by Claes Oldenburg. (Photo by Michael Hill)

This BIG SIGHT post was first published on the Doctor Comictopus blog that has now been merged with this Doctor Comics blog.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D. (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: SICK PUPPY COMIX

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics June 2, 2011

Neale Blanden T-shirt design.

This blog was triggered by a T-shirt I happened to be wearing when I bumped into Stuart Stratu, the creator of Sick Puppy Comix, at the MCA Zine Fair. It’s about fifteen years old and still wearable and I love Neale Blanden’s design. Sick Puppy Comix was an anthology of short pieces by Australian and overseas creators that was edited and self-published by Stratu who was motivated to commence small press publishing after visiting a comics convention. Stuart Stratu: It was going to OZCON, one of the comics conventions and seeing the small press booth- that’s when I got the idea to make my own mini-comics. I had never done any comics or cartoons myself, just little drawings and things. So what I did was ran ad for contributors in the personals column of Drum Media. So all the people in the first issue, none of them had published their own comics at all. So that was basically how Sick Puppy No.1 came to be. That was April 96. Number two came out four months later. It was very primitive. A total of 13 issues have been published in a plurality of graphic styles from a range of alternative comics contributors whose content is both provocative and oppositional.

One common feature of the alternative comics scene was the practice of creators contributing to each other’s publications. Sick Puppy Comix utilised this practice which gave the comic a variety of graphic styles. By contrast there was a commonality of content with much of the material dealing with aspects of sex and/or violence, the X in the title denoting adult oriented and explicit content including scatalogical material. Whilst emphasising humour, it adopted an avant-garde attitude and encouraged its contributors to test both their own and their readers’ personal boundaries of taste and creativity. The print and presentation quality of the publication improved with each issue and this seemed to inspire creators to produce quality work e.g. Gerard Ashworth, Neale Blanden, Tim Danko, Anton Emdin, Michael Fikaris, Louise Graber, Maccad, Kieran Mangan, Chris Mikul, Mandy Ord, Pox Girls(Susan Butcher and Carol Wood), David Puckeridge, Q-Ray, SCAR(Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr), Glenn Smith, Ross Tesoriero and Ryan Vella as well as Stratu himself.

This post is from the series Archives of Australian Comics History research for my PhD at Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy, by virtue of the thesis A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion I donated the comics collection to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics. Posts in this series:  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: MCA ZINE FAIR

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Comics May 22, 2011

Sunday 22nd May 2011, in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge and opposite the Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosted a zine fair as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. 50 tables plus 1 bar traded to a reasonably sized crowd. It was a fusion of the literary and the artistic with comics increasingly appearing in art galleries due to their increased cultural status and the growing popularity of graphic novels.

Opposite the Sydney Opera House... (Photo by Michael Hill a.k.a Doctor Comics)

Sydney Opera House. (Photo by Michael Hill)

...in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge...

Sydney Harbour Bridge.

...at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)... (Photo by Michael Hill a.k.a Doctor Comics)

MCA. (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 about the application and selection process not being all that consistent nor transparent.

Zine Fair program!

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

Creators trading. (Photo by Louise Graber)

L to R: Tim McEwen, Doctor Comics(wearing Sick Puppy Comix T-shirt), Cefn Ridout. (Photo by Louise Graber)

L to R: Tim McEwen, Doctor Comics, Cefn Ridout. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Busy trading on the floor of Foundation Hall. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Busy Foundation Hall. (Photo by Louise Graber)

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

Stuart Stratu. (Photo by Louise Graber)

 

David Puckeridge with his publication

David Puckeridge with “BOX”.

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

Doctor Comics with Antoinette Rydyr. (Photo by Louise Graber)

This post is from the series Archives of Australian Comics History research for my PhD at Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy, by virtue of the thesis A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion I donated the comics collection to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics. Posts in this series:  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