Showing posts with label kickstarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kickstarter. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ant Sang Interview


Ant Sang's Dharma Punks along with Adam Jamieson's Blink was one of the few New Zealand comics I was aware of in my teens that was available nationwide through bookshops and newsagents via Australasian distributors Gordon and Gotch. I had picked up the first issues of Ant's first series Filth on a rare trip to Auckland and finding Dharma Punks in a local book shop was impressive to see, for the progression in Ant's work and the fact it was now available in provincial New Zealand where access to comics and especially local ones was limited.

New publishing venture Earth's End have run a Dharma Punks kickstarter this month and successfully funded a collection of the eight part series within days. Three stretch goals have also been achieved with expanded back matter scheduled for inclusion upon reaching a $15,000 target.

Backers can expect an A5, 400 page collection with embossed cover, UV spot and french flaps with all eight full colour covers of the original series included in the book.

Please consider supporting the Collected Dharma Punks on Kickstarter.

The Dharma Punks synopsis:

"It's Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multinational-fast food restaurant by blowing it sky-high on opening day.

Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the launch, but when he is separated from his accomplice, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear there is more at stake than was first realised, and the outcome of the night's events will change all of their lives in ways they could never have imagined."

The following interview with Ant Sang is excerpted from a longer piece covering Ant's career in The New Zealand and Australian Comics Interview Zine #2: Ant Sang available from the Pikitia Store in June.

What were the first comics you read?
I've been through heaps of phases of comic reading. The earliest comics I remember reading were cheap funnies. Richie Rich, Casper, Uncle Scrooge, that kind of stuff. When I was around six years old one of my favourites was Burne Hogarth's Tarzan of the Apes. I've still got it sitting on my bookshelf to this day.

What got you interested in making your own comics?
I tinkered with combining words and pictures when I was a kid, but I wasn't consciously trying to make comics at that time. It wasn't until my early twenties that I had the thought of actually making comics. I was studying graphic design, and going through a big existential crisis after a classmate died. A friend who was also into comics lent me a bunch of 'alternative comics' - Dan Clowes, Chester Brown, Julie Doucet - and it was a real revelation. For the first time I realised that comics could be raw, crude, angry and could talk frankly about a lot of issues which really connected with me. I was taken by the DIY ethic of a lot of the 'alternative comics' and figured that 'yeah, anyone can do comics', if they had something to say. It was soon afterwards that I started making my first mini-comic, Filth, to explore the thoughts going on in my head.

I remember a boom in self published comics in Auckland around the time Filth came out, I recall the work of Andy Conlan, Karl Wills, Adam Jamieson, and Willi Saunders amongst others, were you part of a comics community then?
Yeah the mid-nineties was a really exciting time in the Auckland comic scene. So many great comics were being made then, and there was a real camadarie amongst the Auckland cartoonists. We met for regular comic meetings and saw each other socially. Cornelius Stone used to have big parties at his flat in Mt Eden and he lived with Barry and Willi at various times. It was also a good time because it felt, not with just comics, but with music and film too, that there was some kind of cultural revolution in the air. 
Did you plan to have newsstand/bookshop distribution for Dharma Punks before starting the series? Did you approach any publishers with the work?
When I started working on The Dharma Punks, it was my first attempt at a long form story, and I didn't want it to be just a continuation of Filth. I felt it terms of story and production that I had to do something different. I had to up the ante I guess.

I had been to a heap of conventions by this time, hawking mini-comics at the NZ comics tables to a largely disinterested crowd. Over that time I had the chance to think about the mini-comic scene and came to a few conclusions. One was that a lot of potential readers didn't give mini-comics a chance because they just looked too weird. Too scratchy, too DIY, too lo-fi. I figured people were scared off them. And secondly, people are more likely to pick up comics which they recognise on some level. So my plan with The Dharma Punks was to try to package it differently and to promote the hell out of it, so that people would know about it. This wasn't the done thing at the time. I remember when I talked to another cartoonist mate about the idea he looked at me and said ' what are you going to do, walk around with a sandwich board?' So anyway, I found the cheapest printer I could find, and got the covers printed in colour, on a thicker stock. And I managed to get pretty good coverage on student radio and tv and magazine interviews. It seemed like a real media blitz, for a New Zealand comic anyway.

I can't remember when I thought newstand/bookshop distribution would be a good idea. It certainly wasn't the plan from the start. Probably not til quite close to the first issue being released. In the end most copies were still sold from comic shops, but having the comics on display at the newsstands/bookshops really helped with promotion and being visible.

I'm pretty sure I approached a couple of overseas publishers, probably some of the better known alternative publishers, but I don't think I heard back from them...

How long was the gestation process of Dharma Punks before the first issue came out? How far into the series were you when it launched?
The gestation period of Dharma Punks will have been about four years. When I finished Filth in 1997 I wanted to work on a longform story, but I had to brush up on my writing as I hadn't ever done a comic of substantial length. So for those four years I read heaps of screenwriting books, drew a number of aborted attempts of Dharma Punks, and tried to figure out what the storyline should be.

Did you receive much feedback from Dharma Punks original publication?
The immediate reaction to Dharma Punks was great. The comic shops here in New Zealand were super supportive, and there seemed to be quite a buzz about the comic. Even folk who don't normally read comics were apparently heading into the specialty comic shops and asking for Dharma Punks.

Did you anticipate the response to the Dharma Punks Kickstarter? What were your expectations?
Well, y'know we were hopeful of meeting our goal, but as the launch date approached we all got increasingly nervous about the response to our campaign. We'd been planning the campaign for close to a year, so a lot of planning and discussion had gone into it. We felt there were a lot of people who wanted this to happen, but you never know how it will go until you actually go ahead and do it for real. The first few days were crazy. I couldn't help constantly checking in to see the latest running total. Fortunately the Dharma Punks fans came through and we reached our initial goal within five days.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Daniel Brader Interview

Daniel Brader is a comics writer and stand-up comic currently running a Pledgeme campaign to fund a continuation of his series in collaboration with Yi Lang Chen, the semi-autobiographical The Adventures of The Kite family. I've followed Dan's misadventures which he has a gift for translating across social media for a couple years and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his writing in comics.

Chatting With Dad tumblr.

Read the first issue of the Adventures of The Kite Family.


What got you interested in comics and creating your own?

I became aware that autobiographical comics existed when the movie American Splendor came out and after that I started reading Pekar's stuff. That inspired me because I'm not an artist either and he was able to get talented artists to draw his stuff. Then I got deeper into the genre when Travis Nash (Melbourne based comedian/artist), who had always been a comics buff, pointed me in the direction of other "real life" comics. He showed me Joe Matt's stuff and I really liked it's brutal, hilarious honesty. Then I did my own research and found out about Seth and Chester Brown who also do a similar kind of thing. 

I'd always loved semi autobiographical novelists like Charles Bukowski, Dan Fante, John Fante and Mark Safranko but I'd always been more interested in film. I was always put off trying to make my own films though because it just seemed like a very difficult enterprise that required a lot of people. I also tried a couple times and was most disappointed with the results. Which is a really defeatist attitude I know and I did keep writing some stuff but I never did anything with it really other than show friends and family. But when I realised that people were telling the style of stories I wanted to tell in comics I immediately gravitated towards the medium as it seemed more likely I could get stuff made and get it out there to the general public.

Where did your interest in comedy develop from?
So I was always a real big movie buff. I used to watch a couple of movies, sometimes more, every night from age sixteen right through to my University days. I was also hired by The Otago Daily Times to write movie reviews from 2001-2004. I always thought I'd try become a writer/director. I made a few short films and then realised how difficult the process was and also that my natural talents might lie elsewhere. The directing and editing side of it felt a bit of out my wheelhouse. I dabbled in poems and short stories too but always felt there was something missing. I'd always loved comedy as a kid growing up and although I wasn't consuming stand-up stuff with the same voracity as I was film I'd always been into it. When I was in high school I'd always been a "class clown" type and I'd often sit around at lunchtimes holding court with funny stories I'd thought up or simply relaying some funny shit that had happened to me. So I found out there was some amateur level stuff going on at University and decided to have a go. My first gig went really well and I got a lot of encouragement to keep going.

I did a few more and I started getting very mixed results. At the time I was too head strong and arrogant to really listen to advice from more experienced people so I found myself blaming the environment I was in, convinced I'd try stand-up again but in another city. After University I found myself working in advertising in Australia and through a friend there I heard about an open-mic competition (RAW Comedy) and we decided to enter. We made it through to the second round and were both immediately hooked and started to perform as often as we could. Now I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with stand-up comedy as it's very difficult to make money from it and my style is far from traditional and often has me at odds with whatever scene I'm working in. I sometimes question whether it's totally for me as I really feel more at home writing. That said when everything comes together on stage and the crowd's with me it's an amazing experience. I think I'll always do stand-up but I wouldn't be surprised if it took a back seat somewhat to writing.

You've mentioned Adventures of the Kite Family being semi-autobiographical, was there a reason for not writing straight autobio?
My comic is pretty close to being autobiographical. I've really only changed the names of the characters and a few minor details here and there. My parents have seen the comic and for obvious reasons aren't exactly thrilled by it. Although I don't consider it to be that cruel to them at all. They have told me to stop writing it on numerous occasions! I figured the least I could do was change the names and a few details here and there and class it as semi-autobiographical in an effort to appease them somewhat. It hasn't worked that well really but I'm still always able to say "it's fiction!" whenever they get particularly irate about a comic I've produced. But aside from that it also allows me some leeway should I want to invent some situations and dialogue completely which often I do. But the spirit of it is always very true. Like the conversations or situations I have made up completely are very much in line with the kind of things me and my parents would say or do.

Are you involved with any comics communities in New Zealand or Australia?
I'm not heavily involved no. I'm not against the idea at all it's more I just haven't really gone out of my way to get involved, which is stupid, I really should. I've maybe held back because I don't draw the comics myself and a lot of the people in these groups write and draw so perhaps I've felt I'm not legit because of that? Which is silly I know! I've also had some big breaks in putting stuff out. Like there was a period in which I churned out a full issue and several short pieces but then I ran into some money trouble and wasn't able to pay artists so I fell out of it a bit and concentrated solely on stand up comedy. 

I'm back in New Zealand a for a little bit now and my expenses are lower so I've been able to get back into it, I've also got more free time as there's not anywhere near as many comedy gigs here as there are in Australia. But yeah I am a member of some of the little groups on Facebook for NZ/Aus comics and I've had my stuff published in Dunedin Comic Collective, Funtime Comics and Fist Full Of Comics but I'm not involved to the point where I'm meeting up with these people regularly or chatting online with them all the time. However, I should add that the Fist Full Of Comics guys have been really supportive and they even published the first issue of my series. They sent me a bunch of copies and took a bunch themselves to various comic book conventions around Australia. They've really been a big help in getting my comic out there! Which is awesome. They're really great guys.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cameron Laird Interview

In the last leg of it's funding campaign on Kickstarter the Crayfish is an adventure comic set in Australia created by writer Cameron R. D. Laird and artist Adam Rose.

From The Crayfish synopsis,

"The year is 1950. The place, King Island, Australia. Norman Williams -- a hearing-impaired, WWII veteran -- lives with his technologically and mechanically savvy younger brother Gerald on the failing family farm. Over the years King Island has become increasingly targeted for its abundance of natural resources, array of possibly bountiful shipwrecks and other such riches. Norman will do anything to stop those that wish to destroy the island, and its inhabitants' way of life. An aim which can only be achieved, by becoming The Crayfish."

The Crayfish on Kickstarter.

Via email I asked Cameron R. D. Laird a few questions about The Crayfish.

What inspired you to use a period setting for The Crayfish?

I’ve always loved the 30s, 40s and 50s eras, the fashion the music and the grittiness of technology amongst other things. The great thing about writing is that you can create anything you want and set your story at any time or place that you want. So I did. Also The Crayfish was always going to be set in a post-war era, so the 50s were a perfect fit.

Exploitation of natural resources is very relevant to modern Australia, what brought this element to your story?

I always wanted there to conflict on the Island, stories need conflict, but I didn’t want to necessarily have a “supervillian” or anything like that. Essentially, King Island is a place that has a lot of varied natural resources and I wanted to use that as a key reason for bad things to happen. It wasn’t until I had written the first issue and thought up a few more stories that I noticed how someone might think they were a commentary for current world events. I don’t mind that at all though.

Can you talk a bit about how your collaborating with artist Adam Rose?

I have actually never met Adam in person. Every contact we have had has been thanks to the internet. I’m talking hundreds of emails and thousands of Facebook messages. Our collaboration started when Adam sent me a couple of drawings of The Crayfish. I had posted a few times online desperately seeking an artist and he answered the call. We quickly got into our relationship of back and forth. He would send me sketches of characters and locations and ask what I thought, I would tell him what I thought and he’d go away and refine and refine. Before long we had a style and character designs that we were both happy with. He’s a really easy artist to work with. And his art is freakin’ good too!

Was kickstarter always a factor in getting the Crayfish made?

We decided quite early on that the plan was to crowd-fund the comic. We saw that a lot of other comics were having success with it and I thought, “Why not The Crayfish?” We eventually settled on Kickstarter and we couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve received.

How are will The Crayfish be distributed?

A good portion of the first print run will go straight to pledgers and then we hope to distribute through comic book stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. We already have a few stores that are keen to stock the book. We will also set-up an online store which people will be able to order the book through, so no matter where you are, you’re going to be able to grab a copy.

You've hinted at a second issue of The Crayfish on your Kickstarter, can you talk a bit about future plans for the comic? is there an end point or complete arc planned?

At the moment I’m working on Issue 2 and we’re looking to start production on that as soon as possible. Short answer: there is no clear end in sight for The Crayfish. Each issue will have a self-contained story but with an overall arc woven through. I want people to be able to enjoy every issue whether they’ve read the previous ones or not and I think the self-contained nature of the books will allow that. That’s the plan anyway!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nothing Fits - Mary Tamblyn Interview

 'A group of unlikely heroes: a girl, a clone and an undead mummy attempt to make sense of the strange world they've been thrown into.'

Christchurch comic makers Mary Tamblyn and Alex McCrone have been working on their comic Nothing Fits for two and a half years and recently launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for a print edition. As of this writing Nothing Fits is about halfway to their goal of $5000 with 18 days to go. Serialised online a page at a time since 2011, Nothing Fits tells a fantasy tale of several characters who intercross in a strange world of humans, clones, mummies and anthropomorphic characters. Nothing Fits is an ambitious and impressive first comics project for a couple of young creators please consider having a look at Nothing Fits online and supporting their Kickstarter.

I asked Mary Tamblyn a few questions about Nothing Fits and making comics.
How did you meet Nothing Fits co-writer/artist Alex McCrone?
We met at high school, in Year 12 painting. We didn't talk very much then, Alex is quite reserved, but we both had troubles with the teacher and her opinions on the directions we needed to take with out paintings. Luckily in Year 13, we both had a better painting teacher - and Alex and I were in Sculpture and Print-Making together. There was a lot of free time in Sculpture, and she asked me if I had any original characters (as she had overheard me once talking about them, I think) and I drew them out for her and told her about them. I had tried to start the comic on my own, but I wasn't very good at drawing. Alex sent me a lovely Christmas card that year, saying how she couldn't wait to start Fine Arts at University with me and that we were going to make really cool stuff. She drew some of my characters on the card, and in that instant, I knew we must do a comic together. She had been thinking the same thing, so we quickly started work. I came over to her house for the first time and we just sat in her room and I just spilled all of the information about my characters and the setting to her and she drew all of the characters out, making tweaks and slight re-designs (especially for the hair) and we got to work on the first 3 pages!

Did you have goals in mind when you started Nothing Fits? Has any of the web material existed in print prior to now?
The goals are really to have a printed product, something we can both be proud of and work to do better things in the future. For a first project, we are aiming high, so that when it's finished, and we go on to make other work, that we'll have to work to be better than Nothing Fits. We want to push ourselves to do our best and for a first project, we are pretty proud of our efforts. It's been going online since we started making pages, and without it being online I don't think we would have come this far. The support of the readers and the community on ComicFury (our webcomic host), really helped us keep up the momentum of the story. Actually I really need to post the rest of the pages soon... My laptop is broken so I will have to wait till it's fixed/I get a new one to finish those pages though... But yes, it's always been online. Some people have warned us against doing that, because they feel anyone could steal it from us? But, in the two years it's been up, it hasn't been stolen, and we have all the original hard copies of the pages, so we can prove that it's ours if someone stole it. 

Is there much of a comics scene or community in Christchurch? I don't hear a lot about goings on down that way, I know Funtime Comics used to have more of a national presence although I guess people have had other things on their minds after the earthquakes.
 There really isn't a lot, we go to Funtime every month, but it isn't a huge group of people. There's always Armageddon Expo, but that's not really New Zealand comic focused, so there has never really been much of a comic presence while we've been doing our comic, which is why we turned to being a webcomic. To be honest, I don't know how big the comic scene was here in Christchurch before the Earthquake? I was only 16 when the first September one hit, and 17 in the February one, I hadn't noticed much of a comic scene before those times, but that may have been due to my age. I only remember there being one comic shop in the city though, Comics Compulsion. 

Post-earthquakes have led to a lot of new and innovative creative projects in Christchurch though, the gap filler project, where different things would be exhibited, or preformed on the gaps that were left after buildings were taken down. A lot of art from the people of this city, decorating the fences in the central city and putting flowers in road cones. I think that it's just going to get more exciting here art-wise, the art scene here might not be as strong as other cities, but the main players here work really hard and produce great works for the community as a whole to enjoy, and they've made living in a broken city a lot more pleasant, they've given a lot of hope for Christchurch's future. I hope the comic scene follows suit, but who knows.

How has your collaboration evolved over the last three years? How do you approach creating comics together now?
We've worked really well together, Alex can pretty much read my mind when it comes to what I want things to look or feel like. It helps that we've had many sessions of staying up far too late or going off to the corner at parties and just talking and talking about what we wanted to achieve story-wise. She's really forgiving with me, especially because for a long time we didn't know how it was going to end. For most of the time we worked on the comic, I was writing only a few scenes before Alex was drawing them, which didn't help with seeing how long or far this project would go, but last year, 2013, in about October or November, I finished the script and just left Alex to finish - because it was getting to a point where it was easier for her to sketch all the pages, then ink them all, then colour all in one go, and I was being a slack writer. It's amazing she managed to work with me, I'm not the easiest person to deal with on creative ventures! I think after this, we won't work together on a comic for a while, maybe again in a few years we'd do a short story or a picture book together. We will do exhibitions together though, we did one last year called 'Ghost Hotel', which was her prints and a sculpture I did, we can't wait to do another one this year, just working off each other's artistic vibe. Her works give me a lot of inspiration. 

Photos from Ghost Hotel Exhibition

Are either of you interested in pursuing comics as a career? Do you have other artistic aspirations?
Oh man, that would be amazing, but it's near impossible to achieve that. Making comics or doing illustrating or writing would be a dream job for either of us - but it's such a hard thing to break into. The art scene may be easier, if we can keep doing exhibitions and stuff through arts school, but I don't know about selling things and making a career out of it. Alex would totally be able to make money out of her prints, they are stunning and so very detailed. We're planning on selling some stuff at some markets this year to get some money, her selling her prints and me making wee ceramic creations to sell. It's good to have aspirations, but I think Alex and I are a bit too cynical and realistic, we have high hopes, but we don't really go into them - like we don't talk much about "oh, what about a Nothing Fits tv show or movie or video game?", just because we know that would never happen, and we prefer to have realistic goals, getting printed, getting the story out there, sharing our work - those are things within our abilities and can actually control. Also it's great to have something that is done that we can show to potential future publishers when we have other work we want printed, it's a good thing to have on our artistic resume really. 

Building on top of and doing better each time we do a new project, is the best way to have a good stable foundation for achieving great things. Rushing into things and making grand plans isn't helpful, it makes you not appreciate the work you are doing now as much, the work you are doing now becomes just a means to and end. You should always think of your work as the end, which means being as passionate and dedicated to it as any other work you do.

Images © 2014 Mary Tamblyn and Alex McCrone

Monday, March 11, 2013

Places to Put Your Money

In it's last few days, the Space Pyrates Pozible campaign offers a variety of levels and rewards to raise funds for a collected edition of the Space Pyrates webcomic produced by Matthew Hoddy and Caitlin Major.

Support Space Pyrates here.

Read Space Pyrates here.

Longtime friend and publisher of Steve Ditko's work, Robin Snyder has a Kickstarter campaign here to produce a reprinted edition of The Ditko Public Service Package. Whilst many books have being produced in recent years from a variety of publishers featuring Ditko's work, this book presents Ditko's most personal work and money raised from it's publication directly benefits the artist himself.

Bob H's Ditko Weblog is the best source of Ditko news here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 in Review: Li Chen

Li Chen

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?
Getting the chance to self publish my webcomic as books through funding from Kickstarter was pretty amazing. It allowed me to work full time on my comics and the books for most of the year, and it made me realise that I really wanted to make art and comics as a career.

Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?
I discovered Ryan Andrews work this year. He is a brilliant artist and has written some beautifully haunting comics. I love his style of artwork, it's very inspiring.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012? (i.e. movies, film, prose, ballet, opera, fine art, exhibitions, etc)
I've really enjoyed watching a Cartoon Network show called Adventure Time this year. It has a really surreal sense of humor that I try to reflect in my own comics. I also went to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo this year and found it hugely inspiring. I love their films and they definitely influence my comics and artwork.

Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?
Not really. My comics are still drawn manually with pencil and scanned. Any colour in my comics is then applied digitally. I've just been practicing a lot, and I think that my work has improved throughout the year, which is good!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Making more comics, making more art. Petting cats.