Andrew Fulton Interview

Minicomics Impresario Andrew Fulton is currently running subscriptions for the Minicomic Of The Month Club 2015 season. For the third year running Andrew has curated a lineup of a dozen Australian and New Zealand cartoonists who will provide monthly minicomics as is the fashion through the National mail service. After years of pleading with Andrew , I'm very proud to be involved this year with my powerful minicomic Mere and Mary the first in this year's line up. I asked Andrew a few questions about minicomics via the powerful communication system of email.

MATT EMERY: I've heard different views on this but how do you define a minicomic?

ANDREW FULTON: I try not to be a Definer, Matt, I try to be an Everything is Fluid kind of guy. Basically though, a minicomic is the perfect nugget left behind when you strip out all the unnecessary horseshit from a Graphic Novel. It is the exact right amount of comic and not a single bit more.

EMERY: In a day and age where it is commonplace for cartoonists to devote years to creating five hundred page doorstops, do you have any advice to quell this epidemic? For instance would Craig Thompson's Blankets have been more effective as a Minicomic?

FULTON: The only real advice is "Hey, don't do that", but no one will listen. It's been a while since I looked at Blankets, but it wouldn't have been any less true as a Minicomic, right?

EMERY: Every year the roster of artists is announced for minicomic of the month, I discover artists I've never heard of before, how do you go about finding the roster of artists?

FULTON: It tickles me that you say that, that's for sure part of the fun. I spend a lot of time sifting through the internet looking for people. I try to pay attention all year round, but it ends up being a panicked dash in the last couple of weeks before I have to announce. I'm really not that much of a hustler so it can be hard, it's always daunting to reach out to people I don't know personally, but it seems important enough to not just go back to the same few faces, especially in a scene like Australia that can tend to be pretty small to begin with. I try to not just look at "comic people", but illustrators and artists a little more generally. Which isn't to say it's super out there, it's mostly the kind of narrative cartooning I tend to be into. I've only ever had 2 people give me a straight-up "no" which is pretty great.

Powerful interior art in an Andrew Fulton Minicomic

EMERY: Can you talk a bit about the Minicomic of the week digital comics giveaway you run on ? Is this a never ending programme of free Minicomics?

FULTON: The Caravan of Comics giveaway is kind of a sister project to this one. I've of thought about offering a digital option to the Minicomic of the month club, but it has never felt quite right. I am interested in digital comics and ebooks though. Living out here in Australia, as stamps get more and more expensive, it seems important to get my head around what they are and how they work, see if anyone actually wants them. The two projects also share a sort of "audience building" mission, to try to get comics in front of more people, to cross-pollinate readerships, if there isn't maybe a less-daft sounding way to say that. It's set to end when I don't have any more to put up, which is actually next Tuesday unless I get my act together. I've been a little distracted.

EMERY: Give me some straight talk on why folk should sign up for the 2015 - 2016 Minicomics of the month club?

FULTON: The straightest talk I can offer you is these comics are going to be great, they are going to surprise you. And 12 comics for $32? To your house? 

A Powerful Minicomic by Sam Emery

Homecooked Comics Festival 2015

In keeping with my tradition of untimely comics reportage here's a few notes from the Melbourne Homecooked Comics festival on the weekend of 24th-26th April this year.

I greatly enjoyed the expanded Homecooked Comics Festival this year with special guests (Dylan Horrocks, Paul Peart-Smith, Madeline Rosca, and Thomas Campi) and additional talks, exhibitions and presentations beyond the one day fair aspect. I think it was a rainy day? But there was a solid attendance of public eager to engage with the local comics scene. Some personal highlights in lazy bullet point form,

  • Talking to Dylan Horrocks about a grand plan for a New Zealand Comics Archive.
  •  Comic of the show for me was Art is a Lie by Susan Butcher and Carol Wood, first title from Bruce Mutard's Fabliaux. Collecting comics originally featured in American magazine Artillery, there is no art or cartooning style these women cannot ape and recontextualise.
  • Hanging out with my little bro who was sharing table duties with me, nice to see a bunch of his first mini-comics fly off the table -  look at his art here, Endpaper Anxiety.
  • Bernard Caleo
  • Chatting Love and Rockets with Matt Kyme
  • Meeting Paul Peart-Smith and chatting about my particular favourite comics of his.

A big thank you to organisers Sarah and Clea for offering me a spot to do a presentation on the career and life of New Zealand/Australian cartoonist Noel Cook.

Below a few pictures of comics people at Homecooked 2015, there were many more that I did not get to take snaps of because I'm a terrible stupid pretend comics paparazzo with barely adequate point and snap skills.

Bobby N took a whole bunch of better photos on his blog.

Claire Wilson and Michael Fikaris

Andrew Fulton

Scott Reid

Paul Peart-Smith , Thomas Campi and Dylan Horrocks

Steve Sparke

Scarlette Baccini

Frank Candiloro and Matthew Nicholls

Christian Roux, Neville Howard, and Alana Bruyn

Ben Hutchings

Darren Close

Matt Kyme

Brendan Halyday

Bernard Caleo and Sarah Howell

Bruce Mutard and Carol Wood

Dean Rankine

Marigold Bartlett

Tim Molloy

David C Mahler

Dale Maccanti

Jase Harper


Dylan Horrocks and Colin Wilson

Clint Cure

Jim Bridges of the Australian Cartoon Museum

Tonight at The State Library of Victoria: Ledger Awards

The revamped Ledger Awards are on tonight at the State Library of Victoria. The ceremony starts at 7:30pm and features a performance of the Shipwright and the Banshee by cartoonistmuso's Christopher Downes and Joshua Santospirito.

FB event page.

Among the sponsors of this years awards are the wonderful Jeffries Printing in Sydney. Admire their stunning Pat Grant graphics below:

The shortlist for the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are:

Ambient Yeast. Pat Grant (self published)

The ANZAC Legend. Dave Dye (self published)

Art as Life. MP Fikaris (Silent Army)

At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard’s Story. Sam Wallman, Pat Grant et al. (The Global Mail)

Awkwood. Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

Brothers. Andrew Fulton (self published)

Blood and Bone. Tom O’Hern (San Kessto)

Bug. Scarlette Baccini (self published)

Burger Force #15-18. Jackie Ryan (self published)

Captain Congo: The Perils of Pug. Ruth Starke, writer. Greg Holfeld, artist. (from The School Magazine)

Dark Hope Legacies. Phil Spinks, Chris James Melkizedek (Dark Hope Comics)

Dies Horny and Afraid. Andrew Fulton (self published)

Fortress of Regrets. Katie Parrish (self published)

Frankie Holliday. Nic Lawson (self published)

Gasoline Eye Drops. Chris Gooch (self published)

Gazer. Carla McRae (self published)

Gente Corriente. Vincent Zabus, writer. Thomas Campi, artist. (Ediciones La Cúpula)

In the Tasmania. Christopher Downes (self published)

Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land Save Xmas. Dean Rankine (Action Lab/Danger Zone)

Kudelka and First Dog’s Spiritual Journey. Jon Kudelka and Andrew Marlton (self published)

Megahex. Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Modern Polaxis. Sutu et al. (self published)

Monster Zero. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye. Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

Ned Kelly. Monty Wedd (Comicoz)

Neomad #3. Sutu & Love Punks (Gestalt)

OI OI OI #2 .Various (Comicoz)

Onna-bugeisha. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Pinocchio. David Chauvel, writer. Tim McBurnie, artist. (Editions Delcourt)

Pistoleras. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Seven #4. Alisha Jade (self published)

The Squidder. Ben Templesmith (44Flood/IDW)

Squishzine Brunstown. Various (Squishface Studio)

Teen Dog #1-3. Jake Lawrence (Boom! Studios)

Thistle. Sarah Howell (self published)

Tristian and the Gaza Strip. David Blumenstein (self published)

Two Posh Old Ladies Who Found Themselves in a Bit of a Zombie Apocalypse. Nic Lawson (self published)

Very Quiet, Very Still. Chris Gooch (Optic Pop)

We’m. Andrew Fulton (self published)

“When is A Door Not a Door?” Jen Breach, Douglas Holgate (from Explorer: The Hidden Doors, Amulet Books)

2014 in Review: Pat Grant

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
Really thrilled to be involved in the group that produced the Serco story for the Gobalmail. Turns out it was a landmark piece of journalism — not just comics Journalism — in Australia. I also really enjoyed my role as a producer on a project, particularly with a cartoonist as good as Sam Wallman and the other geniuses involved. I started the drawing on a new book called Ambient Yeast which is, as always, unbelievably fucking difficult. I finished my Phd in comics studies and had my thesis marked by two of my heroes Charles Hatfield (swooon) and Gary Panter (gasp! hot-flush) who said nice things and, more importantly, passed the lousy fucken thing.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
Andrew Fulton's mini comics about a room-mate who is an amazing ball of flesh. I can't remember what the mini is called but I got it in the mail as a part of the mini comic club and I read it on the toilet and then I tweeted at Fulto while I was on the toilet and he replied while I was wiping. This is the future we're living in.

I also loved the shit out of Sam Alden's book It Never Happened Again, Simon's Megahex, The new Jessie Jacobs one about this couple on a Safari Honeymoon in this amazing fleshy jungle, DeForge's new Lose is great as you'd expect. Jed McGowan's Control Room . Actually, one of the best comics I read this year was an assignment submitted by a student of mine called Meg Oshea she's one to watch. Also totally besotted by the utterly filthy work of another student Nikki Minus. She really stole the show at this comic book reading at the New South  Wales Writer's Centre the other day. Last one who impressed me this year is Chris Gooch who has been sending me stuff all year. Chris is always ambitious and interesting and just keeps getting better. I wish I could work and think as fast as that guy. A lot of my favourite cartoonists these days are younger than me which makes me feel old and past-it.

These lists are so breathlessly compiled so sorry to anyone who was amazing that I forgot. To be honest I spend more time reading non-fiction than I do reading comics, so, what the fuck do I know?

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?  
Fargo and True Detective were the most important stories of my year. I really liked seeing the Serial Podcast emerge as the biggest podcast of all time and then overshoot the mark and go a bit stale, all in 12 weeks. It's always thrilling to see a new format becoming what it is in real time. I liked the Chuck Close Exhibition at the MCA in Sydney. Dan Berry's Make it Then Tell Everybody podcast which I was delighted to be on this year. This great gaming podcast called A Life Well wasted. Oh man, I read a fantastic book about the aids epidemic called And The Band Played On which was an incredible and nightmarish journey. I really got into the novelist Lionel Schriver this year after hearing her speak at Ubud Writer's festival in 2013.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Me and my sweetie are having a baby in March so I'm expecting to be watching a lot mindless sitcom trash late at night while we poke the little monster to sleep with a soldering iron. Might burn through some nineties stuff like Friends or Seinfeld or something. Hey what about Alf?  That can't possibly be as bad as I remember, right? I'll have to revisit Alf.

I've been plotting and scheming all year to set up an artist-in-residence program for cartoonists based on my experience at the Atlantic Centre for The Arts in 2010. We'll be launching the project in Jan so I can't say much yet but the first event will be in late 2015.

Ambient Yeast

Pat Grant Art

2014 in Review: Andrew Fulton

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

I think every year I'm going to say a highlight is putting together the next run of the Minicomic of the Month Club. It's always fun organizing the lineup, sending out awkward emails to people whose work I like, hoping they won't think it's too dumb. And then I yell about it on social media for a week or two, which is also a bunch of fun and hopefully not too grating for everyone else. 

My own output has been a little slow this year, started a new job and have had less time and energy to draw than I would like. I won a "gap-year" Ledger Award, that was fun and nice and I'm pretty sure that was in 2014?

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?

I've been enjoying Ryan Cecil Smiths work - he does this fun goofy sci-fi series with some great cartooning and the minis and zines he makes are really well put together, mostly (all?) riso books.

I really liked the Frontier series from Youth in Decline - especially I think Sascha Hommer's one. I had seen his Insekt story online a million years ago and had a panel from it printed out and stuck on the wall long after I forgot all about what it was and who did it, so it was great to 'rediscover' him. 

Gregory Benton's B+F was another favourite. A great example of the Wordless Adventures In A Strange Landscape With Weird Monsters genre, and a nice big-format book too - it looked great.

And I got this Cowboy Henk book, too. That'll be on my shelf forever.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?

We got chickens!

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Is there a way I can say 'nothing in particular' without sounding super sad? I'm sure there will be a lot of great stuff but I don't have a really good sense of what any of it will be yet.

Andrew Fulton's Mumblier