News Blog > interview

5 minutes with Ben Milsom – ComicFest feature

ComicFest is back for 2017! On Saturday May 6th at the Central Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on the day and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! Head over to the ComicFest Facebook event for all the details, and to receive event updates.

We’ve caught up with Ben Milsom from Pukeko Pictures, Production Designer and an Episodic Director on Thunderbirds Are Go! At ComicFest, Ben will be presenting the process of re-imagining the 1960’s classic for a new generation. Catch him from 11am-12pm at ComicFest – all attendees to Ben’s talk will go in the draw to win a family pass to the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go from Weta Studio Tours!

You can also pop in to the Central Library to see our amazing Thunderbirds Are Go display, courtesy of Ben and the Pukeko Pictures team!

Thunderbirds Are Go display

Thunderbirds Are Go display at the Central library

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: I have been involved with Thunderbirds Are Go for over 3 years now as Production Designer and an Episodic Director. Before, I worked on a western cowboy movie called ‘Slow West’ starring Michael Fassbender, being in charge of all of the actors hand props on set. Before that, I was on the Hobbit trilogy for 3 years as the main unit Art Director.

Thunderbirds Are Go Behind the scenes

From ITV Studios / Pukeko Pictures / Weta Workshop
Pictured: A uranium mine from the episode Crosscut.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: I have always been massively interested in the horror/scifi genre. The most influential film for me has been Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’. It blew my mind as a 10 year old, and sparked my interest in film making, practical effects and ‘fantasy’ environment building. Parallel to this, I have always been fascinated by the work of HR Giger, and his uniquely original style and approach to Art and Design. Other influential movies for me have been: John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’ and Luc Besson’s ‘Leon’ aka ‘The Professional’ to name a few.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: Generally very busy. This year is great because I can focus solely on the Thunderbirds Are Go project. Plenty of meetings and prep work as we build up to the start of the shoot. As we start to build the season 3 sets, I will get a lot more ‘hands on’ and join the art department as we create the physical miniature world of Thunderbirds Are Go. I can’t help myself!

Thunderbirds Are Go Behind the scenes

From ITV Studios / Pukeko Pictures / Weta Workshop
Pictured: Marine laboratory.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: We shoot live action plates, animate our characters (and many sequences). One thing I always do for every sequence, as we shoot it or animate it, is physically go through the beats of the action myself. I find this immensely helpful for timing and pacing of each sequence, dialogue notes and overall feel for a scene. The more reality and true emotion you throw into any scene, the more satisfying it is for me and hopefully our audience.

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: I would love to re-visit the ‘Alien Vs Predator’ universe – and be involved in a darker, grittier Movie adaptation of some of the Dark Horse material. This could be SO AWESOME!

Thunderbirds Are Go!

Thunderbirds Are Go!

Find Pukeko Pictures online:
Facebook: /
Twitter: @pukekopictures

5 minutes with Sarah Laing – ComicFest feature

ComicFest is back for 2017! On Saturday May 6th at the Central Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on the day and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! Head over to the ComicFest Facebook event for all the details, and to receive event updates.

Sarah Laing self-portraitFirst up on the blog we have an interview with Sarah Laing, who recently authored her first graphic novel, Mansfield and Me. At ComicFest, Sarah is running a character design workshop from 10-11am, and from 12-1pm Sarah will be in conversation with Dylan Horrocks discussing how they each create longform graphic novels. It’s a super exciting line-up, and we hope to see you there!

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: We always had comics at my house – the usual suspects – Tintin and Asterix, Donald Duck, Charlie Brown, Footrot Flats. I grew up reading them. My interest was rekindled in my 20s through Tank Girl and Julie Doucet, and later by Marjane Satrapi, coinciding with the rising popularity of graphic novels, a contentious term in comics circles! It did mean that there were more comics to get out from the library.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I drop my kids off to school then I come home and mess about a bit – I tidy up and read stuff on social media, hating myself a bit as I do it. If I have paid work – an illustration or comics commission – I’ll work on that, or else I will draw comics for my blog or work on my big project, which right now is a kids’ comic about the houseboat and giant stingray world of post-climate-change New Zealand. I try to work on paper, since I spend too much time on screens, but I find myself using digital media all the time, whether it’s google images for picture reference or it’s spotify or my podcast list for stuff to listen to as I draw.

Page from Mansfield & Me

A page from ‘Mansfield & Me’ by Sarah Laing

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: Last year my graphic memoir Mansfield and Me was published by VUP and I’m still recovering from that! It’s about me wanting to be a writer, and Katherine Mansfield, NZ’s most famous writer, and how our lives overlap. I like to think that Mansfield would’ve been a comics fan too.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: I always feel like I should have tea and toast at 10am and when I get to the inking/colouring stage I get to binge listen to podcasts. I just finished S-town, which is a fascinating character study of an ordinary/extraordinary life in small-town America. I am also driven by a completion complex so once I get momentum up I work quite quickly. I try to update my blog weekly now that I’ve got a Patreon page, and I generally dedicate Tuesday or Wednesday to those comics.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: My biggest inspiration is life, observed, around me.

Flowers for the Teacher comic

Flowers for the Teacher comic from Sarah’s blog “Let Me Be Frank”

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: I hate picking favourites! And in fact I’m not sure if I believe in the concept. There are creators whose work I always really enjoy – the obvious ones, like Dylan Horrocks, Toby Morris and Ant Sang. When I was co-editingThree Words I got to know work by lots of amazing women – Giselle Clarkson, Sophie Watson, Jem Yoshioka, Sally Bollinger, Zoë Colling for starters. Indira Neville’s comics are always hilariously irreverent, and she’s just co-curated an amazing collection of LP-sized comics that go with music, Sonic Comic. Last year I enjoyed Ross Murray’s series about anxiety, Rufus Marigold. And Jonathan King’s comics are gloriously surreal. Arrgh! So many people! I’m missing people out! I always feel a low punch in the gut when I don’t see my name on a list.

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: I have never collaborated on comics and I think I’d really like to try that out. You know how collaborations in music always work out better? Lennon and McCartney, Morrissey and Marr… I want to find somebody or something to spark off.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I am really looking forward to talking with Dylan Horrocks about writing longform comics – his process is quite different from mine and I always find how to talks quite inspiring – they give you a fresh perspective on your niggling or roaring narrative problems.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: I don’t know, Björk? Or maybe Rachael from Blade Runner – she had the most amazing suits and hair.

You can find Sarah online in the following places:
Twitter: @sarahelaing
Instagram: @sarahelaing

An Audience With…Jon Drypnz

massage 3Jon is one of the artists behind the collaborative zine ‘Massage’ – an atmospheric urban art/graffiti zine. Find out more about Jon and his work on his website. Thanks for answering our questions Jon! 

Describe an average day:

A bus ride to Wadestown. Then cooking and delivering food. After this, you would find me in my studio drawing and painting. And if it is an extra lucky day I would probably be painting some walls with friends.

Describe your work:

You could maybe describe my work as ‘Post Graffiti Pop Surrealism, and I depict the notion of disevolved humans.  I feel like most humans are ignorant to the world around them, and lack simple self care. I believe this can be seen in most people, in yourself, I know I see it in myself.  It seems to be a universal human characteristic. This concept can also be perceived as a reflection of how I understand modern society. However, when you see my work, you may not instantly see this as an obvious regergitation of this understanding, because I want to poke a little bit of fun at our own demise.


How did you first get into zines? 

It was a bit accidental. Our zine ‘Massage’ was based on creating a collective portfolio with some friends. It feels more like a collection of our work rather than a zine, which seems to be appealing to a wide audience at the moment.

What do you like about zines?

I guess like most people I like the fact that they are an easy and cheap way of sharing your personal ideas / intrests.

Is there anything you don’t like about zines as a medium?

I think a vast majority of them can be very similar.

massage 6How do you get inspiration for a zine?

We just produce work without focusing too much on the outcome, the outcome is not our main goal. The process of creating content, that then might happen to be used, is what matters the most.

Tell us about some of our favorite zine…

I do not really have a particular one. I do like Ed Templeton’s work. It is the photography and social commentary ones in particular that usually grab my attention, or zines about strange cats, especially the ones done by Wellington locals, Heather and Zach.

Do you have any last words?

I would have a single little man floating cross-legged, knowing all that he surrounds. His expression would be of sombre recognition of his surroundings, but with a hint of realization that it would all turn to custard at any moment.  He would be a simple fellow with a head larger than it should be because he began to think he knew everything once, and even though he knew better now, it was like his mother used to say  ‘Do that any longer dear and it will stay like that’. 

He will then sit hovering over the places where he wished he could always be, next to streams and beaches on the signs that reminded him of where those places were. 

He would be human but simplified, he would be human but his humanity has left him, he would be human if only he could remember what it was he was meant to do, he would be human if only it was that simple.

5 quick questions with Samuel Flynn Scott

How much of your income is derived from record sales & how much comes from touring/live gigs?

I would say record sales probably account for about %5 or less of my total income. Live gigs maybe more like %20. Most of my income as a musician comes through licenses for film and TV.

What advice would you give young musicians just starting out?

Work on your songwriting and take that side of things very seriously. Songs are what all music is based on and without good songs a great singer or guitarist will never make any impact.

How does being on a major label differ from being on an independent? In today’s musical climate is one better than the other?

I don’t think it makes much difference anymore. But I could be wrong. Certainly majors have a lot more sway with radio and they have more money to spend on advertising but there are advantages to small labels too. You usually get better deals from small labels and you get a team of people working on your product who are very passionate about what you do. Ultimately the choice between the two comes down to who is making offers and who has the best vibe. Working relationships are paramount.

Who would you cite as your biggest musical influence/influences?

That is almost impossible to answer. For me it might be the Velvet Underground who are a great 60’s underground rock band. The Beatles are pretty hard to beat when it comes to stealing great ideas off a great band!

Do you have any future projects/new recordings in the works?

Yes we are working on a new Phoenix Foundation album at the moment.

Check out Samuel Flynn Scott and Luke Buda from the Phoenix Foundation at the Wellington Central Library on Thursday 28th May 4.30-5.30pm

Zines: An audience with Matt Whitwell

photo of matt whitwellAuthor of the rather popular Hoard zines (so far we have seen his collection of library cards, stamps, and sugar packets), we always thought Matt was a shy and retiring type- dropping off his zines without so much as a hello, but he is bit chattier on the old keyboard…to quote Matt’s email: ‘Thanks for the interview, I had a bit of fun putting a few words in your mouth. I hope you have fun, too!’ [read: everything Zine Librarian says below is fictional]

Zine Librarian: Hello!
Matt: Huh!? Hi! What? Oh, it’s you. I’ve seen you around. I know you a little bit. Zine Library, Zinefest, something else… How’s life?

An Audience with Nick Wortham

Here comes the fourth in our series of zinester interviews, but our first ever international interviewee.

American Nick Wortham first came to our attention in 2007 with the beautiful zine of his colour photography, Put Your Ear to the Floorboards. We have just received his latest offering, A Place Called Go Home. Both are available to borrow from the Wellington City Libraries’ Zine Collection on the first floor of the Central Library.

Describe an average day:

An average day involves waking up on my moulding bed mat in West Oakland and quickly making and drinking too much coffee. Then I bike around town for friends, band practice, photo projects, or the general milling about the train yard by my house. Someone’s band seems to be playing in this town every other night so shows happen a lot. The recent rain has led to my friends and I drinking cheap wine and dreaming about Summer. Also I’ve recording everyday trying to finish a tape of songs I’ve written.


  • Archives

  • Categories