5 minutes with Sam Orchard

ComicFest 2021 website

Sam Orchard is the newly appointed Assistant Curator for the Cartoons and Comics archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library and one of the co-curators for ComicFest. Sam writes comics, and creates art that celebrates difference. His ongoing web comic ‘Rooster Tails’ has been running for over 10 years. Written from his life as a queer transgender man, the comic explores themes of mental health, fat embodiment, nerd culture and trans lives.

Sam is also the author of ‘Family Portraits’, a series of short comic stories that amplify the stories of intersectional identities within Aotearoa’s rainbow communities. Sam’s comics and resources about sexuality, sex and gender have been used internationally by SOGI advocates. Sam is currently working on his first full-length graphic novel.

Website: thesamorchard.com
Twitter: @sam_orchard
Instagram: @roostertails

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I’ve always found comics to be a really helpful way of getting my feelings out. Sometimes I’m not so good at realising what’s going on, so I’ll sit with a piece of paper and pen and drawing helps me realise what I’m feeling, how to express myself, and usually helps me feel better too. It’s basically self-care.

Q: What is your average day like?

I’ve just started as the Assistant Curator of the Cartoons and Comics Archive, and I love it. I’m learning all about the amazing collection that we have here, and looking forward to adding to it over the coming years.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

I’m currently working on my first full-length graphic novel. It’s an adaptation of a Young Adult novel; a coming-of-age punk rock trans comic. It’s loud and proud, and exciting, and I’m thrilled to be working on it.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

My favourite way to warm up is to hop on twitter and ask people for suggestions of what to draw – then spend 30 seconds on each of the weird suggestions I get thrown my way.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

I have a few ideas in the works, but I’m trying to finish my current project before I jump ahead of myself!

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!

I’m really proud and excited about being part of the organising committee for ComicFest. There’s an incredible line up of comic creators, talks and interactive events. I really believe that there’s something for just about everyone – whether you’re a comic lover, a comic creator, or new to comics entirely.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?

I’d like to think that older Steven Universe would be my go to, but sadly I don’t have enough hair for that.