Comicfest 2015

I'm tapping this out on grueling Airport WiFi so please forgive the cut and pastery below.

This week I'll be involved in the second Comicfest event at the Wellington Public Library. On Friday I'll be taking part in a panel discussion with Tim Bollinger, Jonathan King and Tim Gibson. On Saturday I'll be moderating a panel on New Zealand Women's Comics with the Editors of Three Words, Rae Joyce, Sarah Laing and Indira Neville.

Samples of Noel Cook's work from 1920's- 1940's.

The Wellington Library is currently displaying an exhibition featuring the breadth of New Zealand cartoonist Noel Cook's career from his early days working post WW1 in Auckland through to his work in England in the 1960's.

All the events of Comicfest are listed below including ones that may have already happened.

Wellington City Libraries and GRAPHIC comic store are once again joining forces to celebrate international Free Comic Book Day. From workshop and panel discussions with leading cartoonists, to costume and Manga competitions, exhibitions and free comic giveaways - there's something for comic lovers of all ages!

Here’s a summary of this year’s expanded programme featuring many of New Zealand’s best cartoonists with Sarah Laing, Tim Gibson, Matt Emery, Rae Joyce, Jonathan King, Sharon Murdoch, Toby Morris, Cory Mathis, Tim Bollinger, Indira Neville and Weta’s Chris Guise attending!

ComicFest 2015 programme:

Exhibitions throughout ComicFest
- Noel Cook: New Zealand’s Comic Pioneer (1st Floor, Central library)
- The 12 Cartoonists of ComicFest 2015 (Ground floor, Central library)
- Find our life size Captain Haddock statue!

Wednesday 29th of April
6 – 8.00pm | Free mystery Comic film!
Come along to our mystery comic-themed film at the Central library. We guarantee comic satisfaction and prizes at this once only ComicFest screening. Seating is limited to 50 only, so contact us at the Central library to book seats or email! (For Teens +)

Thursday 30th of April
6 – 7.00pm | Panel: From cartoons to comics
When is a cartoon a comic – New Zealand cartoonists and comic artists consider the relationship between the two and ask how this may be changing. Join this panel discussion including Sunday Star Times cartoonist Sharon Murdoch, comic artists and cartoonists Toby Morris and Cory Mathis, and comic writer and historian Tim Bollinger. Moderated by Alexander Turnbull Library cartoon librarian Melinda Johnston.
(Sponsored by Alexander Turnbull library)

7.15 – 8.00pm | Comicfest get together at MEOW
All are welcome to the 2nd annual Wellington ComicFest mixer at Meow café (9 Edward St, Te Aro). A great chance for graphic novel followers to meet with some of New Zealand’s best comic and cartoon talent! (18 years or older)
(Sponsored by Wellington City Libraries)

Friday 1st of May
5 – 6.30pm | Digital comics workshop with Tim Gibson
Tim Gibson is known as a digital pioneer in NZ comic’s circles with his successful ‘Moth City’ title performing well on international website Comixology. Join Tim for an hour and a half of insight into the planning, creation and distribution of a comic using current digital tools and insider tricks of the trade. For all ages and bring your tablet and stylus if you can!
(Sponsored by NZ Comic Con)

7 – 8.00pm | Panel: The current and future state of New Zealand comics
New Zealand comic artists and publishers discuss their work and the changing face of local comic book production. Panel discussion with Pikitia Press publisher and comics creator Matt Emery, ‘Moth City’ creator and digital comics pioneer, Tim Gibson and film maker and comic artist, Jonathan King. Moderated by Wellington cartoonist and comics historian, Tim Bollinger. Attend this panel and enter the draw to win a Pikitia comics prize pack!
(Sponsored by Pikitia Press)

Saturday 2nd of May
Free comic book day
Grab your free comics from our stands, buy from the great folk at Graphic comic store and chat comics with our librarians. Dress as your favourite comic character and win prizes!

All day:
- Free comic book day
- World comics display
- Manga drawing competition
(Sponsored by GRAPHIC comics)

10 – 11.30am | Comics 101 workshop with Sarah Laing
Sarah Laing (Let Me be Frank, cartoonist and novelist) has unique insight into what is required to make successful prose, comics and cartoons. Bring pen and papers along as Sarah imparts tips on the important relation between pictures and words, the value of honest drawing, emotion and story-telling. All ages.
(Sponsored by NZ book council)

11.30am – 12.00pm | Cosplay competition
Winners will be announced for the best ComicFest costume! Prizes for all categories, including children, teens, and adults.
(Sponsored by Unity books)

12 – 1.00pm | ‘Tintin – the journey from comic to film’
Let Tintin and Weta Workshop lead conceptual designer, Chris Guise take you through the process of transforming a much-loved comic into the successful film version of, ‘The adventures of Tintin – the secret of the Unicorn.’ Chris will guide you through this multi-media journey with slides and videos and don’t forget to have your questions ready for Q&A.

1 – 2.00pm | Panel: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words
Join cartoonist and Let Me Be Frank creator Sarah Laing, award winning graphic poet Rae Joyce, and comics maker and editor Indira Neville in a panel discussion on the rich history and future of New Zealand’s female cartoonists and comics. Sarah, Rae, and Indira will also discuss the genesis and work behind assembling Three Words, a forthcoming comprehensive anthology of New Zealand Women’s Comics. Moderated by cartoonist Matt Emery.
(Sponsored by NZ book council)

2.00 – 2.15pm | Comicfest announces winners for the Manga drawing competition

Don’t forget your free comics posters courtesy of GRAPHIC comic store!

All events are free and unless stated otherwise, open to participants of all ages.

Tony Renouf Interview Part One

One Man and an Anthology: Tony Renouf and display of the first issue of Dunedin anthology Treacle.

The comic above is one of my favourite comic pages of all time. I found it in a New Zealand comics fanzine as an impressionable teen and for better or worse it has encapsulated a lot of my life. Renouf's Treacle along with Corn Stone and Dylan Horrock's Razor, Jonathan King's Scratch, and Chris Knox's Jesus on a Stick were all influential New Zealand comic anthologies that cultivated my early interest in making and publishing comics. I never got to read any of the further issues of Treacle other than the first one but like a lot of New Zealand anthologies I presumed it wound down after a few issues with cartoonists going on to other things like most sensible people do.

A few years ago I was pleasantly surprised to see Treacle Editor Tony Renouf resurface with a blog, Bored in a Record Shop, where he has been consistently filing new comics alongside older works. I approached Tony about doing an interview late last year and over a couple months we batted emails back and forth. After a break of a few months I've finally got around to editing it. Dunedin and Christchurch alongside provincial New Zealand comics scenes get a bit of short shrift in coverage anywhere so it's been very interesting to talk to Tony about his own background with comics and the Dunedin scene of the 1980's and 1990's.

Treacle #1

Matt Emery: Where were you living when you first encountered comics and what were they? How old were you?

Tony Renouf: My folks emigrated to New Zealand from Jersey, Channel Islands in 1967  I would have been 4 when we arrived. My first experience of comics would have been at age 5. I've no recollection of the reason why, but Mum started my brother and I on English weeklies Beano for me & BoBo Bunnie for my bro (which I also read, a mutual truce/swap meet thing which lasted into our teenage years when we ditched fighting over the ownership of comics for posturing in front of girls).

Emery: What part of New Zealand did you move to? Do you remember the point you started buying comics yourself? Did you draw as a child? When did you draw your first comic?

Renouf: ....Oh...we moved to Gordonton just outside of Hamilton, in the Waikato. My first conscious choice of comic was asking Mum if I could ditch the Beano and get the new and flashy looking Cor! Cor! started in 1970, I would have been 7. I think I was enamoured of the free gifts they were offering with the first few issues. We didn't get pocket monies, we got comics (yay mum!) and that decision led to many other changes of weekly comics.  The Newsagent at Davies Corner in Fairfield,Hamilton...just checked google's a medical centre now...that was our "local" as I grew up. I got to choose what I was reading. We were always allowed to choose what we read.

I remember buying a Cracked magazine, unsupervised, on a holiday in Whitianga maybe in '74/'75. It was the first thing I really bought with my own monies (xmas loot). It was confiscated and perused for adult themes and subversive ideals by my folks and returned. Mad mag' was pretty hot with the kids who were a year or so older than me but I'd had access thru mates who had older bro's and was fascinated by the parodies etc. Cracked wasn't as good but it's what I got my hands on first and transferred my ingrained English weekly loyalty (am I off piste yet?...back to the questions...)...or am I jumping ahead...maybe it was the year that the local shop (It was a real country store when we first arrived...nails in wooden bins...pigeon hole post office...) had a rack of Marvel super hero drek and Mum was doing the books at the garage next door so we got to hang out in Gordonton village  and buy one copy of all the titles they had...Thor is the only one I can really picture in my minds eye.

The last comic Renouf drew in 1991: "….oh, that’s right…looking at my archive I noticed that this cartoon was the last that I completed in 1991…I  stopped  drawing ….I think my enthusiasm wained because it didn’t feel like my “art” was going anywhere and it most definitely wasn’t going to feed me…."

I drew a lot as a kid. Mum encouraged us to amuse ourselves with pencils & paper. Country kids can be a little isolated, you can't just nip round the corner to a mates. It's bike ride or a car trip away, it's draw or fight with your kid brother and you can only fight with that little shit for so long before you get separated and sent somewhere to amuse yourself, by yourself.... right?. I was kinda the class illustrator, best with a pencil, it was how I won friends and influenced people. I can't remember ever attempting anything sequential till I moved to Dunedin in '85 but did a lot of school book defacing with word balloons and my school projects were also very well turned out. I wrote  tons of stories all thru primary/intermediate (one school for country kids) very active imagination, again I think the isolation helped (or was that solitary confinement, see :- fighting with bro'....)

Emery: Who were the first cartoonists you met in Dunedin? Were you aware of others making comics in New Zealand at the time?

Renouf: I came to Dunedin in late 1984 with the intention of forming a band with a mate who was coming down to Uni' and being a cartoonist. In about 1981/82, after a break from comics of a couple of 3 years (puberty!),  I'd started getting 2000ad on a weekly basis again and had also discovered the Bijou book of Funnies compendium of US underground cartoonists at Pauls University book shop on Victoria St. My first inkling that comics didn't have to be all about superheroes or white (?) jungle savages, Crumb, Shelton etc...mmmm...I'd been carrying a note book around for awhile whilst I was still in Hamilhole...largely using it to write "songs", angsty punk rock poetry & doodle in, but nothing particularly sequential was going into it.

The first cartoonist I met was Bruce fact Bruce was the first cartoonist I'd met ever...(I won't count meeting Ronken, the Waikato Times political cartoonist at a school fair when I was maybe I was unable to speak to him at all because of AWE... !...) Bruce helped me get my cartoons into Critic, the Otago University Student Newspaper. I was vaguely aware of Bob Scotts "every secret thing" fanzine/comic but didn't really meet anyone else who aspired to draw comics for quite some time after that. I picked up Razor at the Uni book shop (Dunedin)...but I think I was in Chris Knox's Jesus On A Stick's all a bit blurry for me.

I should probably mention that I had no clue whatsoever how to put together comics when I first arrived down here, even at a strip level and got very few pointers from those around me, apart from the dimensions I had to fill!...(which probably led to my publishing catch cry of, "Just fill the space!"). My first "published" cartoon (waiter there's a skinhead in my soup) was actually photocopied and individually taped on poster spots around town like a band poster run. We even got stopped by the cops who asked us what our band was called, "It's not a band officer, its a cartoon" says I, handing a copy through the open window. Hur! Hur! says the cop and hands it over to his driver...Hur! Hur! says the driver, they sent us on our way after explaining that it was illegal to post bills, (but it's not a bill officer...). Years later I was recounting this story at the table of a Uni' Prof' who'd invited my good friend Dee (the long suffering) and her workmates and partners up to his for a feed. The partner who was a cop (and a quiet broody one at that) piped up and said the cartoon in question had graced the station notice board until it was too faded to read!! After a few months of sifting about I secured a position at Budget print...a 3rd generation family run print shop...with the express purpose of furthering my knowledge of how to make comics....what was the question?...

"A self portrait/bio thing from shortly after the Treacle/Umph phase."

Bored in a Record Shop