What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
My highlights are mostly connected to IF? COMMIX, the humble indie publishing company Andrez Bergan and I founded in the end of 2013.
Seeing the first two issues of That Bulletproof Kid finally hit the stands was my biggest personal highlight closely followed by the staggering amount of people that came to the launch for That All Star Bulletproof Kid. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that people would line up for over 30 minutes outside Classic Comics to buy something I had produced. I’m still in disbelief that so many writers and artists I cannot thank Jason Franks, Fred Russell-Atkins, Andrez Bergen, Cameron Laird, Matt Nicholls, Franco Polizzi, Lego Legion, Arthur Strickland, Thomas Tung, Matt Emery, Joe Roberts, Daniel Watts, Sebastian Ciaffaglione, Harrison Chua, Chris McQuinlan, Michael Bradshaw, Adam Rose, Matt McGrillen, Brad Castles, Asela DeSilva and Erik McAlister contributed their amazing talents to that project. The first print sold out in four days, so yeah… that was pretty good.
That launch was particularly memorable because it was the first ‘IF COMMIX launch’ in which Andrez and I released Bullet Gal, Carmen (by Mike Speakman), Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, Tales to Admonish #3 and of course, That All Star Bulletproof Kid. It was great to have Andrez in Australia at that time so we could launch our wares together (and actually meet for the first time).
What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
This was the year I fell way way behind with reading comics. Writing, illustrating, producing and publishing comics and graphic novels through IF? Commix (while working full time and having two young children) is seriously time consuming. I’ve only managed to keep up to date with The Walking Dead and Invincible but that’s about it. I’ve managed to read a few local indie comics here and there but have lots to catch up on.
One that really stood out to me was Frank Candiloro’s ‘Onna-bugeisha’. I think that and his earlier work ‘Behind The Crooked Cross’ are just exceptional. I have to catch up on his newer works. He’s so prolific it’s hard to keep up with him.
It’s been encouraging to see such quality comics coming from indie publishers. Considering that the local comics are largely made by amateurs (and that is in no way an insult) with limited time and resources, it’s encouraging to see the quality of writing, art and production is ever improving. The local comic veterans who helped pave the way for the new breed are getting better and better, constantly evolving and maturing in storytelling and presentation. New faces and comics are popping up all the time and in many cases, the quality is surprisingly high, demonstrating a real understanding and love of the medium. I think there is a lot of accumulated skill and knowledge out there in the comic community. I hope these sparks can ignite some interesting projects in the future. There are some people out there who work tirelessly promoting and helping other creators.
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?
Easy. Family rules supreme. My wife and kids rock.
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I know there are a bunch of interesting projects on the horizon from some crazy talented people such as Victor Dean Hampstead, Luke Salmon and my partner in crime Andrez Bergen. I’m always interested in what my bud Matt Nicholls in working on. I hope some of the local companies and creators who’ve been successful the last few years are able to continue crowing their brands and I hope some of the lesser known projects can get the recognition they deserve.
Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how long IF? Commix will putt along before the wheels fall off. 2015 will see more issues of That Bulletproof Kid and Bullet Gal hit the stand. I can’t wait to get the collected Bullet Gal which Andrez is putting together with Under Belly Comics in Canada. There are some new Tales To Admonish on their way. So yeah, that stuff.