BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.31

This is the second report documenting the production process and progress of the third issue of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics, Chapter 3, The Chthonian Turn: The Cats’ Revenge. I am currently sorting out the script, refining ideas, and developing others. There has been some unscripted image-making and printmaking activity with the intention of using this as a loose but parallel means of creating vaguely conceived and experimental visual content. Examples produced through this printmaking strategy are featured below.

Red face print #1–© 2013 Michael Hill

Visage of first red shade–© 2013 Michael Hill

In the present chapter the cats deliberate over what to do following the sudden departure of Doctor Comics. Meanwhile the latter character continues his travels in the chthonian world confronting various vaporous forms and ghostly figures including a trio of red shades that roam there (see the three red shade illustrations). The raw state of these printmade images will most likely be subject to further graphic manipulation.

Red face print #2–© 2013 Michael Hill

Visage of second red shade–© 2013 Michael Hill

Red face print #3–© 2013 Michael Hill

Visage of third red shade–© 2013 Michael Hill

More visual developments and an update on progress will be posted on this blog around the end of the month. For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project, see all of the BLOTTING PAPER production reports.

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

Q: A PROJECT FOR THE PRESERVATION OF COMICS

I have been involved with this project as an advisor for the past three years. It’s formal title is Q-COLLECTION COMIC BOOK PRESERVATION PROJECT and is an initiative to preserve a collection of comics. I like to refer to it as Q, the “Q” standing for the city of Quincy, Massachusetts. The city’s shield was presented to the project’s founder Dr. John Offerman Sindall for use on the project. Sindall, a member of Mensa, has collected around 200 key American comic books from the period 1930s-1960s. The list of comics in the collection is here. This was an era of printing comics on low grade paper that will eventually crumble into powder at a mere page turn. The Q project is a strategy to prevent this by cutting up the comics, coating them with Mylar and mounting them in wooden binders that will provide an estimated life of 10,000 years. Hearing this part of the process, that the comics will have to be destroyed in order to be saved, is disturbing for some collectors but librarians understand. It means the comics can be read. This collection is not about unopened first issues in sealed plastic bags.

Two of the comics in the collection, both No.1's, Strange Adventures (1950) and MAD (1952).

Two of the comics in the collection, both No.1’s, Strange Adventures (1950) and MAD (1952).

In addition to the comics the collection contains associated artifacts such as trading cards, bubble gum wrappers, photographs, ads, membership cards etc. These too, will be subject to the preservation process.

Superman bubblegum wrapper.

Superman bubble gum wrapper.

Sindall has put together a wide-ranging international advisory committee for the project. Here is my statement of support: In a world in which comic books have been treated for far too long as consumables and ephemera the Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project represents a significant plan to preserve key items of these as popular culture artifacts. This project also provides physical protection against the transitory status of comic books by means of coating, wrapping and encasement in protective materials that will ensure defense against their decay. The selection and acquisition of these rare comic books that have become classics of popular culture, their preservation treatment, deposit and safekeeping and subsequent availability for reading and research by future generations has my support and deserves backing by business benefactors, patrons of popular culture and by an appropriate public collection institution.

The collection is destined for the Library of Congress.

UPDATE: FEBRUARY 2016: Article about the project’s founder published: Comic Book Heroics: Mensan Leads Efforts To Preserve Aged Comics by Michael Hill, Ph.D., The Mensa Bulletin, February 2016, No. 592.

UPDATE: DECEMBER 2016: The Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project’s 2017 promotional calendar-strictly limited edition gifted to committee members. Thank you John!

2017-q-project-calendar

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

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.29

This post covers some glimpses of the works on display and visitors to the exhibition Blotting Paper: Works On Paper 18-29 September at GAUGE Gallery, Sydney that included the publication of the second issue of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics, Chapter 2: A Blot On His Escutcheon.

Xander Black and friend -(Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Xander Black and Alison Van Hees -(Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Note Board. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Display Board. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Mayu and Chie. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Mayu and Chie. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Some of the prints. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Some of the prints. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Sana. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Sana. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Cartoons and copies of Blotting Paper #1 and #2. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Research based cartoons and copies of Blotting Paper #1 and #2. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Composer Nicole Kim. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Composer Nicole Kim. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Postcards in sosaku hanga style. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

Printed postcards in sosaku hanga style. (Photo © 2013 Michael Hill)

With Masashi Owada. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

With Masashi Owada. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

Blotting Paper #1. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Blotting Paper #1 with woodblock. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Louise Graber and Imogen Yang. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Louise Graber and Imogen Yang. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Alexis and Craig Simmons aka Space March. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Alex Harris and Craig (Space March) Simmons. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Cartoons and toys. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Cartoons and toys. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Katie Pye as Adelaide Whye. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Katie Pye as Adelaide Whye and those boots…! (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

POP-UP TOY & COMIC sale sign outside gallery. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

POP-UP TOY & COMIC
sale sign outside gallery. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Chasing Vaughan Bodē comics-Michael Hill with Nic Beatson and Bodē tattoo. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

Chasing Vaughan Bodē comics-Michael Hill with Nic Beatson and Bodē tattoo. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

The Bodē tattoo. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

The Bodē tattoo. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

With Sam Saidden. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

With Sam Saidden. (Photo-© 2013 Louise Graber)

Liz Pozega and friend. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

Liz Pozega and friend. (Photo-© 2013 Michael Hill)

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

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: 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