Thursday, April 29, 2010

Comics Masterclass, Monday: Writing

WAITaminnit, that's Sam Zabel, a Dylan Horrocks character, drawn BY Dylan Horrocks on a whiteboard in Melbourne's Wheeler Centre (books, writing, ideas), under the word 'writing'. Just how do these sorts of things come to be? Well, THIS thing started with Liz Argall, an Australian comic book writer currently living in Portland, Oregon in the U.S, (an area apparently swarming with cartoonists) nudging me and saying "Hey, we should get some really great comic book person to come to Australia and give a masterclass. Let's apply for some funding from the Copyright Agency Limited Cultural Fund." And I asked Dylan, and he was keen, so apply we did, and award it they did (thanks CAL!) and on the 19th of April 2010 at 9.30am in the Board Room of the Wheeler Centre, the week-long masterclass began.

Our roll-call: Tim McEwen, Michael Camilleri, Jo Waite, Andrew Fulton, Anthony Woodward, Chris Downes, Mel Rowsell, Bernard Caleo, Mirranda Burton, Pat Grant.

I know.

Above, Michael Camilleri (always focussed), Jo Waite on the move, the back of the well-groomed Tim McEwen's head, and Dylan Horrocks.

On that first morning we all gave a sort of a run-down, you know, 'my life in comics' sort of thing. Dylan went first, told us about his comic 'Pickle' that came out in the 90s, his graphic novel 'Hicksville' that came out of that series, and how the subsequent experience working as a comic book writer for DC Comics almost totally squished any love for comics out of him.

Luckily though, he stopped writing for DC and, as he said

to making his own comics.

Phew. We all shared stories, then got onto talking about the ways that comics stories and comics worlds get built, imagined, drawn, and actually probably LAST of all get written. Pretty interesting stuff.

Above, Anthony Woodward talks about comics writing with Jen Breach, a comics writer who joined us just for that Monday morning.

Below, Michael Camilleri shares some advice once given to him by a Russian actress.

Very sage.

NEXT: Tuesday - drawing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dylan! Horrocks! Supa! Nova!

Last week was ten days long.

It began on the morning of Friday 16 April at Melbourne Airport (nee Tullamarine), with me at international arrivals, waiting for someone I'd never met before but had corresponded with across many years, first via letter and more latterly by email. And yes, the picture below is literally true: I had lettered (in the style of Torres) on cardboard and cut out a speech balloon

to welcome Dylan Horrocks to Melbourne for a festival of comics goodness. His first gig, on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18, was the SupaNova Pop Culture Extravaganza out at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Below, Dylan (standing) at Doug Holgate's table. The images beside Dylan's head are of the cover to the recently released second edition of his masterful graphic novel, Hicksville. Sitting on the table next to Dylan was his fellow New Zealander (and hero) Colin Wilson, who these days lives in Melbourne, and who Dylan had never met until that Saturday - happy days!

And hey, y'know, I wasn't just the limo driver. I had some time on the Saturday to do some signings of The Tango Collection for Allen and Unwin, who were trialling having a stall at SupaNova. Below, Zebedee on the right and Joseph on the left take a few minutes out from watching the wrestling to drop in on dad.

I wasn't really around that much at SupaNova over the weekend, which probably explains the expressions (but not the black lipstick mark) on Stewart McKenny and Tim McEwen (he, without lipstick), when I arrived on the Sunday evening to pick up Dylan and journey with him and Susan to 'Tripod versus the Dragon' at The Forum.

Tim has been associated with SupaNova for years and years, having been the Art Director for some time. But he and I and ten other comic book makers were about to spend 5 days in a room with Dylan, talking writing and drawing naught but comics...

NEXT: The Dylan Horrocks Masterclass/ Comics Studio