Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: SICK PUPPY COMIX

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

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

I LOVE COMICS!

After a period in which I have been guest blogging and micro blogging I am now blogging. I started out with two blogs: Doctor Comics (more serious) and Doctor Comictopus (more fun) but these got merged. This is the first post on the Doctor Comics blog. I love comics and I have read them since childhood. My mother would buy me one when I was home from school in bed…Donald Duck or Dennis The Menace. I knew them by their titles then and only later learned they were the work of Carl Barks or Hank Ketcham. My father read war and western comics and left them lying around so both parents contributed to my love of comics. I still read comics in bed but no longer wait till I’m sick.

The T-shirt design by Max

The T-shirt design by Max

Louise Graber and Doctor Comics at a Halloween Party. (Photo by Kat Smolynec, Painting by Anton Emdin, Feed On Comics T-shirt by Max)

I have been involved in comics studies for several years and have a Ph.D. for my research. That is where the alias comes in. I’m known as Michael Hill, Ph.D. (a.k.a Doctor Comics). I completed the doctorate in 2003 and acquired the alias in 2006 on a talkback show. Aided by the growing resources online it’s a rich time to study comics. Pluralism reigns. There are numerous creators from diverse cultures making good comics in a multitude of styles and formats along with the usual rubbishy material. I am increasingly drawn to the notion of making comics and I’m finally working on my first solo project Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics.

Conventioneer card for the 99 Expo in Maryland with Brian Ralph illo.

The 99 Expo card with Brian Ralph illo

This blog will reflect my interest in reading, researching, critiquing and creating comics art as expressed by Feed On Comics! by Max (photo above) official T-shirt of  ICAF (the International Comic Arts Festival) at Bethesda, Maryland, 1999. The event comprised an academic conference chaired by Gene Kannenberg, Jr., at which I made a presentation on Australian alternative comics, and a convention, the Small Press Expo that honoured alternative comics. There was an award ceremony at which James Kochalka performed and each category winner received a brick just like the one Ignatz threw at Krazy. The event celebrated both the study and creation of comics and so has particular resonance for me and my blog.

The Small Press Expo Comic at ICAF where I also bought the Max T-shirt

The Small Press Expo Comic

 

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.

UPDATE: The Doctor Comictopus blog, with an alias designed by Michelle Park has been merged with this Doctor Comics blog. Transferred posts include:   GIGANTOR AND GOJIRA IN THE HOUSE     ROCK ART: Magical Cave Drawings Found and Filmed in France     CATS IN COMICS: The Rabbi’s Cat     COFFEE TABLE first fix     COFFEE TABLE fourth fix