Home' The Wellingtonian : December 8th 2011 Contents 30 THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 8, 2011
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Celebrating the golden age
of New Zealand comics
By KAROLINE TUCKEY
Self-portrait: Dylan Horrocks, as drawn by
There is more to comic books than superhero
antics, and the industry is going from
strength to strength, says one of New
Zealand's foremost exponents.
Right now's kind of a golden age for
comics. There are more comics being
published than ever, and it's a very diverse
market, and very exciting,'' said comic writer
and artist Dylan Horrocks.
Through summer, Horrocks will be teach-
ing a paper about comic books at Whitireia's
Cuba St campus. The course begins on
There are comics about history, philos-
ophy, politics, gender and intensely personal
stories, diaries and a media studies book...
all kinds of things,'' Horrocks said.
To me that's the most exciting thing -- it's
like the world is discovering that comics can
be anything at all.''
Horrocks' New Zealand-based series,
Hicksville, has been translated into French,
Italian and Spanish. He has also worked for
big-name international studios on projects
such as Batgirl.
The Auckland-based artist now juggles
drawing and writing comics with lecturing
at Auckland University of Technology, and
other teaching positions.
He said he believed it would not be long
before a degree in comics was introduced in
To me, a comic is just another tool in the
language of telling stories, and communicat-
ing with each other.
The great thing about comics is you can
put anything on the page. It can be words or
symbols or maps, and there aren't any rules
It's a medium where people are still
improvising, and still kind of making it up,
so it feels very young as an art form.''
Graphic novels [neatly-bound longer-form
comics] were booming, and internet comics
also had a strong following -- a bit like
underground music, Horrocks said. Digital
tablet-ready comics were small, but growing
The New Zealand comic scene draws on
what's happening overseas,'' he said.
There are a lot of connections with the
interesting cutting-edge comics coming out
of America and Japan, but there are also
quite unique things happening here as well.
There are voices in comics here who are very
distinct and very New Zealand.''
Horrocks recommended anyone interested
in comics put pen to paper and have a go
He said the New Zealand comic com-
munity was very tight and supportive. Mak-
ing contact with others involved in comics
could be done easily, through the internet
and at gatherings such as Armageddon.
The Whitireia course is open to any level
Horrocks said it was good to have a mix of
experienced comic artists and writers, and
those completely new to the genre.
They don't need to be able to draw. The
emphasis will be on exploring how to use
visual narrative to tell a story.
They will work on a comic story, and it
can be absolutely any kind of story -- part of
the fun is getting people who don't think
they can draw and getting them to explore
what they actually can do.
Exploring the process is a very helpful
way to develop your skills.''
Even though building a career as a comic
artist and writer was not easy from New
Zealand, it was possible, he said. For most
people working in the medium, comics were
a passion they were driven to even if it was
not their fulltime job.
I love writing and I love drawing, so I love
stories and also art, and comics are the per-
To me it's like day-dreaming on paper,
and even when you're doing a very intense
serious story, drawing your story is a very
pleasurable way to explore it.''
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