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

2014 in Review: Matt Kyme

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.

If? Commix

2014 in Review: Andrez Bergen

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
Yikes... good question. I guess, like last year, working with Matt Kyme at IF? Commix. The guy seriously inspires and motivates me, plus he's my foil. Otherwise? Publishing my first graphic novel ('Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat') and creating monthly series 'Bullet Gal', along with pushing through two issues of the collaborative series I do with Matt, 'Tales to Admonish'.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
Highlights have been Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' 'The Fade Out', Brubaker (again) with Steve Epting on 'Velvet', Matt Fraction and Christian Ward's 'ODY-C', and Fraction's work with David Aja on the sadly inconsistent 'Hawkeye'. Also Gail Simone’s output with artist Walter Geovani on ‘Red Sonya’, and I loved Mike Deodato's art in 'Original Sin'. From Australia? Craig Bruyn's series 'From Above', Matt's 'That Bulletproof Kid', and the ongoing 'Kranburn' yarn by Ben Michael Byrne. And old skool? Getting to properly read the 'Miss Fury' series by the great Tarpé Mills.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?  
Re-reading the literary back catalogue of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, getting to catch a very good cinematic take of a comic book ('Captain America: Winter Soldier'), whizzing back to Melbourne in August to properly launch IF? Commix, meeting some like-minded sods, eating sushi as often as I can, working on novels, and seeing my daughter Cocoa — she's nine now — grow and shine while we watch.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
 We're publishing the full 12 issues of 'Bullet Gal' as a trade paperback through Under Belly Comics in North America, which is a real buzz. But otherwise I'm seriously excited about working with Matt again in an adaptation of my novel 'Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?', plus plans for 'Tales to Admonish' that include stories by fellow Aussie artists Dan Watts, Asela De Silva, Gareth Colliton and Adam Rose.

Andrez Bergen.

If? Commix

Paper Trail

I like these portraits by Jem Yoshioka using The National Library’s heritage palette collection.

A Comic Bastard reviews Andrez Bergen and Matt Kyme's Tales to Astonish #3.

Caitlin Major at Hopscotch Friday.

Pre-order Maralinga Book One - available in September.

It's two years old but I hadn't seen this interview with Dave de Vries before.

Paper Trail masthead by Toby Morris.