5 minutes with Hannah Benbow – Comicfest feature

ComicFest is back for 2017! On Saturday May 6th at the Central Library there will be panels 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.

Comicfest image

Hannah Benbow is the cartoon librarian at the National Library. During ComicFest Hannah will be hosting a breakout session called From Where We Started: Reading NZ Comic History, to be held at the National Library. There, you’ll be able to look at all kind of archival NZ comic material, an opportunity you won’t often have the chance to experience. Hannah will also be moderating discussion at our last panel of the day, titled Should we all be writing political comics? featuring the likes of Toby Morris, Sam Orchard and Sarah Laing. It should be a fantastic end to a jam-packed day! Check out Hannah’s answers to our Q’s below.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: My older cousin’s drawings, which I thought were super cool. He was heavily inspired by Beavis and Butt-head …

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I’m a cartoon librarian, so my days are a mix of reading new cartoons as they come in, helping researchers to find cartoons and comics, and looking for new and better ways to promote and provide access to the NZ Cartoon Archive collection.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: Ludicrous likenesses: The fine art of caricature. An exhibition opening at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in August and chock-full of amazing works by New Zealand cartoonists and caricaturists, co-curated by Dr Oliver Stead and myself.

New Zealand Cartoon Archive Collections website
New Zealand Cartoon Archive website

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: Anything that gets more people making and reading political comics and cartoons.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I’m excited to explore some of the older comics we have in the collection, and to share my favourite ever zine – Fission Chips.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, to relive the greatest cosplay experience of my childhood.

Find the NZ cartoon archive online: https://natlib.govt.nz/collections/a-z/new-zealand-cartoon-archive
and find Hannah on Twitter: @MrHannahleeb

Comicfest 2015 roundup – the podcasts!

Sadly Comicfest is over for another year, but you can relive it right here! We mentioned in our last post that you could listen to podcasts of the panel discussions on Mixcloud, but we thought it would be good to have them all here on the blog too, for your convenience. We had a great turnout to the panels, and some exciting discussion came out of them, thanks to the input of our fantastic Comicfest guests. Have a listen below!

Thursday 30th April 2015: Cartoons to comics: Sharon Murdoch, Toby Morris, Cory Mathis, Tim Bollinger & Melinda Johnston

Friday 1st May 2015: Panel: On NZ comics with Jonathan King, Tim Gibson, Matt Emery and Tim Bollinger

Saturday 2nd May 2015: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words – Rae Joyce, Indira Neville and Sarah Laing, with Matt Emery

ComicFest 2015 is over. Thanks everyone!

2015 was our second year hosting a ComicFest extravaganza at the Central Library to coincide with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday the 2nd of May. Building on our previous year’s success, there was an impressive line-up of high calibre guests for our comics workshops, discussion panels and presentations. Thank you to all who came to take part in our drawing workshops, cosplay and manga competitions, and came to listen to comic artists, curators and historians.

A big thank you for the wonderful help and sponsorship from the NZ Book Council, Alexander Turnbull Library, NZ ComicCon, Pikitia Press, Unity Books and Weta Cave; and to GRAPHIC Comics who sponsored over 1000 comics on Free Comic Book Day.

To revisit these three great days, have a browse through our ComicFest 2015 photo galleries on our Flickr page. You can also listen or re-listen to the discussions that are now available as podcasts on Mixcloud.

Here is a small selection of images from the events :

5 minutes with Tim Gibson – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is almost here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Tim GibsonToday we’re talking to Tim Gibson about his comic work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panel and workshop. Tim Gibson has produced illustrations for clients as diverse as Garage Project to the School Journal, Peter Jackson to Steven Spielberg. In 2012 he was awarded Creative New Zealand funding to write and illustrate his debut comic series ‘Moth City’ which has since gained a substantial digital readership, the support of leading American creators and was named as one of Comixology’s Top Comics for 2013. This year he took part in the Le Monde’s COMICS ZUR LAGE DER WELT exhibition in Berlin, and visited Taiwan as part of a comic residency exchange.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
I did some comic book colouring (painting under someone else’s pencils) for Christian Gossett’s Red Star comic series when I worked at Weta Workshop. It was my first professional taste of making comics, and it was a long time between drinks before I got another one.

Tim GibsonCan you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
I completed the art for a small comic project for the School Journal last year which told the story of front-line Kiwi miners in WWI. It was interesting not being responsible for the story as a whole, but artists still have to make very ‘directorial’ decisions with regard to placing the viewpoint, the expressions (or acting) of the characters and the general pace and flow of things.

It was great to be included in a piece of NZ reading history like the School Journal, so a bit of a milestone there.

What is your favourite part of your working process?
Playing with the characters in my head, having them interact with one another or their world. The further the story gets to being readable by others, the less avenues and options the characters and I have, so there’s always a bit of a bittersweet conclusion to finishing something. There’s nothing better than having an idea that changes the entire world that exists in your head.

What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
I’m hoping to share my passion for digital comics and animation during my Digital Comics Workshop. It should give people a few tools to tell comic stories differently now that creators don’t have to default to paper. That said, there’ll still be tree-flesh at the workshop, so bring pens.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I subsidise my modest life-style with freelance illustration and design work, and the two worlds play very well together and often influence each other. It probably means that my commercial work is more vibrant and experimental, and my experimental comic work is more polished and commercial looking than it might be otherwise.

You can catch Tim at his Comicfest workshop and panel at these times:
Friday 1st of May 5 – 6.30pm – Digital comics workshop with Tim Gibson
Friday 1st of May 7 – 8.00pm – Panel: The current and future state of New Zealand comics
Tim Gibson

5 minutes with Toby Morris – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is almost here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Toby Morris self portraitToday we’re talking to Toby Morris about his comic work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panel. Toby Morris is an illustrator, designer and comic artist who currently draws a monthly non-fiction comic series called The Pencilsword for The Wireless. He has drawn and published his own comics since the age of 13 and now juggles comics, illustration work and parenting two young sons. He has written and illustrated two books and created concert posters for many of New Zealand’s top bands.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
My first comic was terrible – it was called The Amazing Adventures of Okapi and was a really corny story about a superhero crime fighter set at a grunge concert. I was 13, and made a few copies for my friends at school, but really I didn’t know anything about superheroes or grunge concerts. Or comics really, apart from Tintin or Asterix. I think i was just trying to emulate what I assumed a ‘cool comic’ might be like.

At 15 I started a new series called Span that was more personal. I had actually gone to the comics shop by then and discovered some New Zealand comics like Pickle and Absolute Heroes that set me on a better path.

Toby MorrisCan you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
These days my big project is the ongoing non-fiction comics series The Pencilsword which appears monthly on thewireless.co.nz. I’m trying a few new things (for me at least) with it – I’m trying to walk a line between personal and political, and then technically the comics have a little animation on them which has been interesting to experiment with also. It’s the first comic I’ve done that is designed from the start to be read and shared online rather than in print, which is new and exciting for me.

What is your favourite part of your working process?
There is a great daydreamy state you can get into sometimes with drawing that I love where it’s almost unconscious. Time just goes by in a blur, you get really swept up and lost in it. You can’t try to do it – it’s trying but not trying and you can totally tell the difference between drawings where you’ve done it and not. I think of it as ‘the joyous line’. I think the closest description I’ve found to it is the way that Phillip Pullman describes how the Subtle Knife works in the book of the same name. Drawing is like dancing maybe.

What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
So many! Dylan Horrocks was very inspirational for me, still is. His series Pickle was one of the first things I read that really made me want to write in my own voice. Tim Bollinger was another one I read early on that lit a fire for me. Barry Linton was and is the king. I loved the Wellington anthology Pistake in the 90s – Emond, Morse, Dayglo etc – so much attitude. These days there is so much going on, it’s incredible. Hard to start naming people because there are so many. Mat Tait, Robyn Keneally, Sarah Laing, Ned Wenlock, Lauren Marriott/Ralphi, Mary Tamblyn and Alex McCrone, Tim Kidd, Ross Murray, Sam Orchard are a few current favourites that spring to mind. I’ll be forgetting people I bet. I loved Jem Yoshioka’s recent one about the Kimono. I really enjoyed Sarah Lund’s Snap. It’s a great time for NZ comics. There is so much great stuff coming out, more than there ever has been.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
These days I work as an advertising designer and art director for my day job. It’s a funny thing to balance those two very different worlds. My comics and my job started off as two very different paths – what I love doing on one hand and what I get paid to do on another – but over the years those two paths are slowly getting closer to each other and starting to cross over.

You can catch Toby at his Comicfest panel at the following time:
Thursday 30th of April 6 – 7.00pm – Panel: From cartoons to comics
Toby Morris

5 minutes with Indira Neville – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is almost here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

IndiraNeville_selfportrait_smallToday we’re talking to Indira Neville about her comic work, and what we can look forward to at her Comicfest panel. Indira Neville has been making comics for over twenty years. Throughout this time she has used many photocopiers. She remembers fondly the Minolta at the copy centre in Hamilton even though it used to cut off the edges and only worked in black-and-white. A less happy memory is the Xerox in central Whangarei which left big streaks over all of her pages. She very much enjoys the modern colour copier, particularly the way you can print directly to it from your computer.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
When I was about nine, my dad showed my brother and I how a diagonal line can make an eye look grumpy. This was a revelation! And I promptly drew a comic where something happened and a character reacted grumpily. My grandparents thought it was ace and showed it to everyone who came to their house.

Indira NevilleWhat is your favourite part of your working process?
Finishing the comic – it’s cool when something that was in your head is suddenly physically in the world. Often I make myself laugh too which is nice.

What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
I really like my dad’s, brother’s and husband’s comics. Also the work of Sugar Jon Arcus, Soft Keith, Wretch 13 and Witcyst. And there’s a bunch of comics in Three Words which I REALLY love.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I am a mother, policy analyst and I play guitar in a catchy noisy band.

If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
Lumpy Space Princess.

You can catch Indira at her Comicfest panels at the following time:
Saturday 2nd of May 1 – 2.00pm – Panel: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words
IndiraNeville05

5 minutes with Rae Joyce – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is almost here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Rae Joyce Self PortraitToday we’re talking to Rae Joyce about her comic work, and what we can look forward to at her Comicfest panel. Rae Joyce, also known as Rachel J. Fenton, is a poet, prose-writer and cartoonist. Born in 1976, she grew up in South Yorkshire. Notable works include Escape Behaviours and Alchemy Hour, for which she won AUT’s Graphic Fiction Prize. Other awards for her poetry, fiction and comics include being a finalist for the Dundee International Book prize. She recently participated in the NZ Book Council’s Residential Exchange with Taiwan and exhibited her work in the Taipei International Book Exhibition.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
My first official paying job, when I was seventeen, was designing and painting murals.

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
My most recent project was a collaboration between me and Australian writer Anita Heiss for Cordite Poetry Review. My next job is a collaboration with playwright Carolyn Gage in which I shall attempt to incorporate her radical feminist linguistics into a comic with broad appeal.

Rae Joyce's workWhat is your favourite part of your working process?
Ideas. Watercolour painting. The parts I think I’m best at.

What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
Adele Jackson, Alex McCrone, Alex Wild, Alice Tumblescribbleson, Alie Macpherson, Andra Jenkin, Bek Coogan, Beth Duckingmonster, Beth Sometimes, Carolyn Anderson, Celia Allison, Claire Harris, Dawn Tuffery, Demarnia Lloyd, Diane Rimmer, Elsie Joliffe, Emma Blackett, Erin Fae, Debra Boyask, Giselle Clarkson, Indira Neville, The Rabbid, Jem Yoshioka, Jessica Dew, Jessica Hansell, Joanna Anderson, Judy Darragh, Kayla Oliver, Kerry Ann Lee, Lauren Marriott, Margaret Silverwood, Olga Krause, Linda Lew, Lisa Noble, Liz Mathews, Loux McLellen, Lucy Meyle, Maiangi Waitai, Marina Williams, Mary Tamblyn, Mengzhu Fu, Mirranda Burton, Miriam Harris, Pritika Lal, Rachel Benefield, Rachel Shearer, Raewyn Alexander, Rebecca Hawkes, Renee Jones, Rosemary McLeod, Warsaw, Sally Bollinger, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Sharon Murdoch, Sophie McMillan, Sophie Oiseau, Stella Corkery, Susan Rugg, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Suzanne Claessen and Zoe Colling. [ed. note: this is an awesome & impressive list!]

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I write novels and poems and short stories. My kids are a significant hobby.

You can catch Rae at her Comicfest panel at the following time:
Saturday 2nd of May 1 – 2.00pm – Panel: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words

Rae Joyce's work