ComicFest 2022 is Sat 7 May! How to ask your questions

It’s the eve of ComicFest! Join us online all day tomorrow (Saturday 6 May) from 9am for this fantastic – and totally free – national celebration of all things comics-related in New Zealand!

ComicFest 2022 website, programme and livestream!

ComicFest artists include Dylan Horrocks, Giselle Clarkson, Jem Yoshioka, Jonathan King, Kay O’Neill, Mary Guo, Michel Mulipola, Sarah Laing and Tara Black.

Although we won’t be together in person, we still want to give you the opportunity to ask our amazing artists questions!

Q&A: Handing you the (proverbial) mic!

This year, our Q&A sessions will be hosted via a moderating platform called Slido. To submit your questions on the day, go to and enter our participant code ComicFestNZ.

Or, scan the QR code below to enter the chat!

Comicify Your Life Competition!

ComicFest logo

ComicFest logo

What would your life look like if it were happening on the pages of a comic book? Draw yourself as a comic book superhero, villain, or just an ordinary ‘comicified’ human, and be in to win a bevy of sweet prizes.

Competition Entry Form

This competition is run as part of ComicFest 2022 and open to ages 5+. Category winners and runners-up will be announced on 7 May during the ComicFest livestream, and prizewinners will be contacted so they can collect their prizes from the library of their choice.

Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Submissions will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 1st May
  • Please submit only one entry per person
  • Entries are open to all Wellington-based library users

Age brackets for entries are:

  • 5-8
  • 9-12
  • 13-17
  • 18+

Join us online for ComicFest 2022 – Saturday 7 May!

ComicFest logo

Join us online on Saturday 7 May for this fantastic – and totally free – national celebration of all things comics-related in New Zealand! Follow the livestream on the day on our YouTube channel, and register your interest in ComicFest at the link below and we’ll send you updates and reminders ahead of the day.

Register your interest in ComicFest

ComicFest this year features a whole galaxy of Aotearoa’s finest graphic artists and authors, and we’re so excited to share the programme with you! A big thank you to our all-important sponsors – National Library, Graphic comics, Gecko Press, Unity Books and Wellington Zinefest.

For more information on all the events at ComicFest, scroll further down the page for our complete programme, but expect panel discussions, presentations, workshops and loads of fun!

Full ComicFest 2022 Programme

Saturday 7 May

ComicFest 2022 logo

9 – 9:15am | Welcome to ComicFest 2022!

A welcome and overview of ComicFest, our exciting guests and options for streaming. We’re so excited to bring ComicFest 2022 to you! Meet your hosts and hear about what we have planned for the day.

Kay's comic self-portrait

9:15 – 10:15am | Meet Everybody’s Favourite Axolotl, Dewdrop — with Creator Kay O’Neill

Kids (and big kids) are welcome to join the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning illustrator and graphic novelist Kay O’Neill (author and illustrator of The Tea Dragon Society series) to help create friends old and new for their character, Dewdrop the Axolotl.

Suggested for: ages 4+

10:15 – 10:30am | Announcing the ComicFest drawing competition winners

Join us as we announce the winners of our ComicFest drawing competition!

Winners will be announced for the four age-based categories: 0–8, 9–12, 13–17 and 18+

Michel's comic self-portrait

10:30 – 11:30am | How to Draw Heroes — a Masterclass with Michel Mulipola

A how-to masterclass with Michel Mulipola who will show you he goes about drawing and creating heroes. Crack the code of superhero creation in this live workshop!

Michel Mulipola is a Samoan comic book artist who has two big passions in life — comics and wrestling — and who, when he gets the chance, likes to combine the two. His works often feature Pasifika wrestling heroes and recent historical heroes.

Michel will demonstrate the tools he uses to digitally create whilst drawing live (and live streaming) on the big screen! Bring pen and paper, and join in with Michel as he provides story-telling tips, panel composition ideas and illustration guidance.

Suggested for: ages 8+

Jem's comic self-portrait

11:45am – 12:45pm | Weekly Webcomics — Tips and Tricks with Jem Yoshioka

Join Jem Yoshioka, the talented webcomic artist behind Circuits and Veins and Folk Remedy as she takes you through the tools of the trade, and provides tricks and tips for getting your webcomic online.

Photo of Jonathan

12:50 – 1:20pm | Storytelling with Jonathan King

Jonathan King until very recently was best known as the acclaimed film director of films such as the hugely successful dark horror comedy Black Sheep and the remake of the NZ Children’s classic film Under the Mountain starring Sam Neill.

But that all changed when he released his first ever graphic novel in 2020 — The Inkberg Enigma. Aimed at children eight and up, it’s hugely enjoyable for adults too.

Come along and hear more from Jonathan about storytelling — from all his different creator perspectives.

1:30 – 2:30pm | New Voices, New Perspectives — a Panel Discussion

Featuring Mary Guo, Tara Black, Jem Yoshioka, and chaired by Sam Orchard

The world of graphic art is changing at an amazingly rapid pace — a veritable revolution has been happening in recent years. Developments have included: new definitions of what comprises a graphic work, new platforms with global reach for people to view your work and new high-tech tools to create your works.

This panel features some of the New Zealand artists at the vanguard of these changes, discussing the new opportunities for artists, the challenges inherent in these changes, and — finally — how artists go about taking full advantage of these new frontiers.

Giselle's comic self-portrait

2:45 – 3:45pm | Giselle Clarkson — from commission to ComicFest artwork

Once you get a commission, how do you go about generating creative ideas that meet that brief? Indeed, how do you get a commission in the first place? And what do briefs usually entail?

All will be revealed in this event with the incredibly talented graphic illustrator Giselle Clarkson.

Giselle’s illustrative works include: The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology, Egg and Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook, Secret World of Butterflies and Hazel and the Snails.

Suggested for: ages 8+

Dylan's comic self-portrait

3:50 – 4:10pm | Dylan Horrocks — Comics in New Zealand and Memoir

Dylan Horrocks is a cartoonist best known for his graphic novel Hicksville and his scripts for the Batgirl comic book series. His works are published by the University of Auckland student magazine Craccum, Australia’s Fox Comics, the current affairs magazine New Zealand Listener from 1995 to 1997, the Canadian publishers Black Eye Comics and Drawn and Quarterly, and the American publishers Vertigo and Fantagraphics Books. He currently serialises new work online at Hicksville Comics.

Hear what Dylan has to say about comics in New Zealand and memoir.

Sarah's comic self-portrait

4:15 – 4:45pm | Sarah Laing — Comics and Memoir

Sarah is a Wellington-based writer and illustrator who has had novels, short stories and the graphic memoir Mansfield and Me published. Her collection of comics from the past ten years, Let Me Be Frank, was published by VUP in late 2019. She also the co-editor of Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics and has illustrated a number of children’s books.

Hear what Sarah has to say on comics and memoir.

4:45 – 5pm | ComicFest wrap-up and thank yous!

And that’s a wrap from us for 2022! Hear all our thank yous to our wonderful guests, and to you, our very excellent audience. We hope you enjoyed ComicFest 2022!

5 minutes with Austin Milne

While we wait for a new date for ComicFest 2021, meet Austin Milne in this “5 minutes with” interview.

ComicFest 2021 website

Austin Milne has wanted to be a cartoonist since deciding being a dragonologist wasn’t realistic. When he was 12 he tried writing a comic strip about his life but decided to stop because he was too close to the subject matter, instead he made comics about an anthropomorphic emu. Now aged 23, he has had a few comics and is working on a graphic novel about 12-year olds.

Facebook: @austincomics
Instagram: @austinjmilne

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

From age 8 I would go to my friend’s house and read all his dad’s Peanuts books. He and his sister made their own comics, and so did I. They soon stopped but I had found something I enjoyed. I remember thinking while working on a Tintin rip off: ‘this is like reading but better cause I can make anything happen that I want’.

Q: What is your average day like?

I’m still working out the perfect way to run a day. I’m most productive drawing early in the morning, when I go for at least 2 walks a day and eat lots of vegetables.
I write best at cafes or on trains, and draw best somewhere warm and quiet.

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

I’ve been working on a graphic novel for middle readers for the last 2 years to be published by Annual Ink.


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

I write a schedule for the day in my diary and some notes of what I did yesterday, if I don’t feel like writing, I collage train tickets, drawings, and printed ephemera I chance upon.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

Richard Thompson’s Cul De Sac and John Allison’s Bad Machinery are my biggest influences. Lately I’ve been loving the work of Tillie Walden, Noah Van Sciver, George Herriman and Simon Hanselmann. Historically, I was most influenced by Charles Schulz, Lincoln Peirce of Big Nate and a whole host of American newspaper comic strips.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

There’s so many! I really love discovering new creators and especially meeting them in person. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Alex Cara, Sarah Laing, Dylan Horrocks, Gissele Clarkson, Toby Morris Gavin Mouldey, Sharon Murdoch, Sam Orchard, Ross Murray, David Tulloch, Lil MQ, Ursine mundanity

Q: What is your dream comic project?

It would be to draw a daily newspaper comic strip, like a really big one in a broadsheet newspaper. And while I’m dreaming I would like it to be full page and in colour, and l would like to be editor of an 8 page comics section in the newspaper and commision and pay New Zealand cartoonists to make strips for it. and it would be paid for by big business sponsoring it, but as part of the deal the businesses would have to ditch identical corporate branding and have each of their stores designed by a cartoonist complete with strange cartoon mascots. And then the newspaper would just become all comics, and it would save newspapers and it would save New Zealand towns from looking boring and it would save comic strips and then it would take off all over the world and become more popular than music.

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

I will do my best to cosplay as Gissele Clarkson’s drawing of me.

Austin’s portrait by Giselle Clarkson

5 minutes with Jonathan King

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Jonathan King makes comics and films in Wellington, New Zealand. He wrote and directed comedy horror Black Sheep, co-wrote and directed an adaptation of Maurice Gee’s classic Under the Mountain, co-wrote supernatural thriller The Tattooist and directed sci-fi thriller Realiti.

His comics have featured in Faction Comics (2012–2014), From Earth’s End: the Best of New Zealand Comics (Random House, 2013), High Water, a climate change anthology (2015), and in a collection of his comic works Perplexing Stories (Eel Noir, 2015). His story Holiday featured in Gecko Press’s Annual in 2016, and another, Docking Season appears in Annual 2 in 2017. His graphic novel The Inkberg Enigma was published by Gecko Press in 2020.

Twitter: @MrJonathanKing

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

When I was four years old I got Hergé’s The Black Island and The Shooting Star for my birthday. They remain two of my favourite Tintin books, and set me on a lifelong love of adventure comics. Superman, Batman and Marvel comics were next. This was in the 1970s — and it’s funny to see these same storylines turn up in the movies today. I haven’t really kept in touch with superhero comics since then, but still love kids adventure comics — made today and as far back as the 1930s.

Q: What is your average day like?

At the moment I’m teaching film at Massey University in Wellington, overusing Third Year students’ own film and game projects. So I’m either meeting with students, reading their work … or keeping my own ‘research’ going — which at the moment is writing a feature film script, exploring animation in Blender and Unreal Engine and editing a film I shot for a friend earlier this year.

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

My first graphic novel The Inkberg Enigma was out last year – after several years of Workington it. I’ll definitely get back to comics soon … but I both need to earn some (not comics) money, and keep things like film — which I’m still passionate about — moving.

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

Napping / thinking / lying around is a super important aspect for me — particularly those few moments when you’re halfway between sleep and awake. I really do find I make huge creative progress on ideas when my conscious brain is disengaged and the creative brain is floating free … Then I just need to remember it all to write to down when I wake up!

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

Artistically my biggest influences were / are Hergé, Yves Chaland — who was a young French cartoonist, himself influenced by Hergé, who tragically killed in a car accident at a young age, American Darwyn Cooke — who died much too young too, Milton Caniff and Frank Robbins — greats from the golden age of newspaper adventure comics.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

My favourite NZ comics creators include Dylan Horrocks — who was hugely supportive to me (and so many others) when I started making comics; Roger Langridge – whose work is supernaturally great; Sharon Murdoch, who has such an effortlessly light touch with thoughtful content; Giselle Clarkson, whose playful style I just love.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

My dream project would be a serialised adventure story — that unrolled at a strip a day (or maybe a page a week) in the newspaper — if such thing still existed!

Library Lockdown Distractions: WCL’s You Tube channel

Color Fish GIF by Ana Pérez López

Whilst we are all at home doing the right thing, lots of us are looking for long or short distractions. Either to while away time or for something to listen to whilst doing all those tasks, or perhaps to learn something new. And the library is the perfect place to find a huge number of activities and entertainments to occupy your time, and all of them free. We have electronic platforms with tens of thousands of free-to-access books, magazines, films and video courses to learn everything, from a new language to new computing skills.

And in this series of mini blogs, we want to place the spotlight focus on just a tiny aspect of these fabulous resources. First up is our very own You Tube channel which features Q and A’s, author interviews, Home With Ghosts readings  and even whole events, such as the 2019 Comicfest panels. Our channel features some of the most popular authors from Aotearoa and across the world, such as Lee Murray, Val McDermid, Renee, Elizabeth Knox, Ben Aaronovitch, to name but a few. Click HERE to access the full list.