What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
Having my ridiculous Relaxed Painting of John Key, which I did as a joke, wasn't happy with, and nearly threw out before putting it on TradeMe, end up as the cover of Steve Braunias' new book Madmen. It's now officially an NZ best-seller, sitting at #10 on the list, immediately below Quake Cats: Heart-Warming Stories of Christchurch Cats. I illustrated another book cover, wrote and illustrated a feature on the Armageddon expo for Metro, and did a advertistment-as-comic for a Microsoft affiliate that was a hell of a lot more fun than it probably sounds. I made a press release in the form of a comic for my friend's music notation software and I also did a long-overdue revamp of my website, tworuru.com. So yeah, mostly commercial stuff, but I've started work on a proper long comic book / graphic novel / thing as of just lately, which I am absolutely terrified about but also really enjoying.
What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
I liked Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds - it was a weird, bitchy and personal book but I thought it was fantastic. Brandon Graham's run on Prophet has been entirely excellent and I'm looking forward to picking up the trades. Dylan Horrocks' The Magic Pen was a highlight - I followed it online and bought it the day it came out. Honestly, though, this has been a standout year for webcomics, which are what I really get into. John Allison's Bad Machinery went from strength to strength before he wrapped it up at the end of the latest story arc a month or so back. I can't wait to see what he does next. Emi Lenox should get a shout out - I really liked her daily comic Emitown, and she's consistently producing some of my favourite illustrations. Gunnerkrigg Court just keeps getting better, and Oglaf and Curvy are hilarious and NSFW fun. On the local scene, I just discovered Eddie Monotone's excellent (some of it totally NSFW) stuff, and everything Ralphi does is awesome.
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?
Uh. Honestly, for whatever reason, Captain America 2 is the first thing that comes to mind. I loved it - it was a fantastic mash-up of a fast, funny comic book film, 70s espionage thriller (some shades of Le Carre in there) and a Bourne movie. Speaking of Le Carre, Nick Harkaway is his son, and he wrote my favourite book of the year, and one of my favourites of all time, Tigerman. I suppose you could call it a deconstruction of the superhero, if you were being uncharitable or po-faced, but honestly, it's just fucking awesome. Must read. His other books Angelmaker and The Gone Away World are unmissable - someone coined the term pulp-lit for them, and I reckon it fits really well. Oh and Shihad's new album FVEY is stonking brilliant.
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Finally letting loose on this graphic novel that I've been brewing for the last seven years or so. I'm toying with the idea of serialising it online. My very-occasional webcomic, Cakeburger, has been pretty dormant for a while and I should probably put the domain name to work. The Three Words anthology by a bunch of stupendously talented New Zealand female comic artists should be a highlight of 2015. And I'm looking forward to seeing New Zealand's best (and probably youngest?) political cartoonist, Sharon Murdoch, unleashed on the Sunday Star Times. I'm pretty tired, just realised I spelt "anthology" as "analogy" before fixing it, so I should probably wind this up here. Oh, yes, and Chromacon. That should be fun.