Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jozef Szekeres ASA Postcard Art

The Australian Society Authors asked Jozef a few months ago to do the artwork for the organisation's new official postcard and he agreed. The brief given to him was to go a bit surreal and put in a winged typewriter. Jozef also got his signature mermaids into the pic. Here's the result. First recipients were the comics creators attending Supanova Sydney last weekend.

Friday, June 26, 2009

aussieBum Superheroes

Spotted a great one-page advert in last weekend's papers for the "soon-to-reach iconic status" Australian men's clothing label – aussieBum. The company has just launched a new limited edition range of superhero underwear for men available in briefs and hipsters. There are four superheroes in the Hero series – Exterminator, Hunter, Oceanman (he'd be our pick for obvious reasons) and Wolfman. The video is masculine, aggressive and sexy. Love the tattoos on one of the model's backs and the bubble sound effects for Oceanman. The artist is John Royle. Great concept all round. Go order some!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recommended Articles for Comics Creators

Came across some interesting articles in the blogosphere – "The Top 10 Best – and Worst – Dads in Comics". We absolutely agree with the top 3 best ones (see if you can guess!) and well, the others stoop to extreme villainy (although #10 in the worst list is interesting). Good story, Newsarama. If you want to see how the economic situation is impacting on comics sales in the USA, then you can't go past ICv2's analysis Comic Sales Crash in May. Guess that says it all. And on the practical front if you're a comics writer wanting to approach an artist, or visa versa then you can't go past Brainstorming Digital Comics #15 on the protocols of how to do it. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Donald Duck Beloved in Germany

When I was a kid I loved nothing more than going with my father to the local petrol station to fill up on a Saturday morning. He'd always buy me a Disney comic or two and I'd rush home to read them over and over and over. I still have them in an archive box – Mickey Mouse; Pluto; Goofy; Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Huey, Dewey and Louie; Uncle Scrooge; the Beagle Brothers – wonderful stuff. I know Mickey Mouse is the quintessential Disney cartoon character but I always preferred Donald – he was temperamental and volatile, prone to temper tantrums and was hilarious. Mickey was thoughtful and always on his best behaviour, whereas Donald lived pretty much completely in the moment. 

Came across this online article the other day Why Donald Duck is the Jerry Lewis of Germany and was quite intrigued that after all this time Disney comics sell 250,000 copies a week in Germany alone. What's more –
A lavish 8,000-page German Donald Duck collector’s edition has just come out, and despite the nearly $1,900 price tag, the publisher, Egmont Horizont, says the edition of 3,333 copies is almost completely sold out. 
The German publishers have given Donald a cultured sensibility which is not the Donald I remember and love, but hey, if it works it works and if Disney doesn't have a problem with it then neither do I. 

Teaching Baby Wolf to Howl

You all know I'm an animal lover ... well I came across this video the other day and have been emailing it left right and centre to all my friends. Now I want to share it with you. It's just gorgeous. I've seen this Wolf-Man on Australia's version of 60 Minutes and I love the work he's doing with these wonderful animals  – he's become part of a wild pack in the UK and has found a great girlfriend taboot who's willing to eat raw meat alongside him in order to undergo wolf initiation and be accepted by the pack. When I watched this video it just made me soft and fuzzy for the entire day. Hope you love it as much as I do. I have bestowed it with repeat-viewing status.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Legal Self Defence for Comics Creators: Understanding Comics Contracts Seminars

It’s natural to be overjoyed when you’re offered a publishing contract for your comics project. It’s also natural to be devastated when you realise the contract you’ve signed has left you with little or no claim over the creative property you’ve laboured on for years. Knowledge is your first line of self-defence against those publishers who weigh contracts heavily in their favour and attempt to deny you basic and intrinsic creator rights. This seminar works towards preventing you from becoming a victim of exploitative deals by introducing you to legal publishing terms and helping you understand the implications of the major clauses in contracts. These include: intellectual property and copyright; licence and territory; advances and royalties, and subsidiary (ancillary) rights. This session will also provide you with negotiating tactics and strategies, and information on where to go for help if a dispute arises.  Remember… the responsibility for getting a fair deal starts with you!

Who Should Attend

Professional (published or self-published) and emerging (hobbyist) creators are welcome to stay after official Supanova closing time to attend.


About the Speakers 

Dr Jeremy Fisher (Sydney session)

Executive Director of the ASA since 2004, Jeremy Fisher has extensive experience in the Australian publishing industry. He worked as an editor and publishing manager for nearly 30 years before moving into rights management and advocacy roles. First published in 1974, he has written many works in a wide range of genres.

Jozef Szekeres (Perth session)

Illustrator, animator and comics artist Jozef Szekeres is the co-ASA Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio Holder and a co-director of Black Mermaid Productions, a creative team working in comics. He has been published in Australia, the USA and in Europe and is a staunch defender of creator rights.

About the ASA

The Australian Society of Authors (which incorporates the Society of Book Illustrators [SOBI]) is the peak professional association for Australian literary creators and has over 3000 members. The Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio was formed in mid 2007, to provide industry support to Australian artists and writers currently working in the comics medium and, in particular, the graphic novel format.

Seminar Information


Date: Saturday 27 June 2009

Time: 6.00pm to 7.00pm

Venue: Supanova Seminar Room,The Dome, Sydney Olympic Park


Date: Saturday 4 July 2009

Time: 6.00 to 7.00pm

Venue: Supanova Seminar Room, Robinson Pavillion, Claremont Showgrounds, Perth 

Entry fee: There is no charge to attend the seminar. However, attendees must be exhibitors or hold a One Day Pass ($23.75 through Ticketek or $25.00 at the door) or a Supafan Weekend Pass ($39. 40 through Ticketek or $50.00 at the door). Ticketek Bookings – 132 849 or the website.

Further Information

Check the event guide on Supanova and the Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio page on Australian Society of Authors.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Aussie Comics Creators Podcasts and Interviews

Just found a great website – The Comicspot's Podcast – which contains monthly interviews with Australian comics creators and overseas creators living in Australia. Previous guests have included Eddie Campbell (From Hell), Queenie Chan (The Dreaming) and Bruce Mutard (The Sacrifice). The ComicsSpot itself is a monthly radio program produced and hosted by John Retallick with co-hosts Bernard Caleo and Jo Waite, which discusses Australian comics and Melbourne comics culture, and talks to creators, publishers and readers of Australian comics and zines.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Self Help for Comics Creators Series – Understanding Your Defense Mechanisms

One of the keys to self awareness is to understand what defense mechanisms (also spelled as defence mechanism) you use when dealing with uncomfortable situations and emotional conflict. Creative people often feel particularly nervous, vulnerable and exposed when looking for a publisher or a producer, as well as when they finally release their labour of love to the outside world. They often have to endure many rejections and deal with various threshold guardians through every stage of that publishing or producing process. Consequently it may be useful for you to know which defense mechanisms you use in professional and personal situations in order to facilitate communication, be open and authentic, and to create strategies if they are an impediment to reaching your goals. A knowledge of defense mechanisms can also help you in writing – specifically, characterisation.

Defense mechanisms, also known as “coping styles”, are automatic compensatory behaviours, impulses, reactions and responses utilised when you want to avoid confronting a truth about yourself (or others) that could potentially damage the way you perceive yourself (or them).

Defense mechanisms serve a protective function for the psyche. They distort uncomfortable realities into acceptable ones by blocking conscious awareness from experiencing painful thoughts, feelings or desires. Some defense mechanisms such as “affiliation”, “self-observation” and “self-assertion” are considered to be healthy functioning aspects of human behaviour. Others such as “denial”, “passive-aggression” or “repression”, however, if used to excess to avoid confronting unpalatable situations or realisations, can keep you from expressing your true thoughts and feelings. This translates into keeping you perpetually anchored in a seemingly safe but in reality a false psychological space that will ultimately impede your personal growth and development and, in a worse case scenario, even place you in danger. For example, a woman who is the victim of ongoing domestic violence and who is in denial about her partner’s actions could end up dead from one too many physical assaults.

Here is a list of the more common defense mechanisms and how they manifest in response to dealing with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors. 

Affiliation – Turning to other people for help and support when dealing with problems, but at the same time taking responsibility for these problems. 

Altruism – Over-dedication to doing good deeds and meeting the needs and wants of others in order to receive positive recognition.

Anticipation – Experiencing emotional reactions ahead of an upcoming event or situation by considering the consequences that may unfold, and in the process coming up with realistic responses or solutions.

Autistic Fantasy – Day-dreaming excessively to compensate for a lack of human relationships or effective action or problem solving.

Denial – Refusal to acknowledge and to act upon an uncomfortable aspect of an event, thought or feeling that could be obvious to other people.

Devaluation – Attributing exaggerated negative qualities to yourself or others, which are often characterised by distortions in self-image or body-image.

Displacement – Redirecting a feeling about or a response (often sexual or aggressive) towards a perceived threatening object to a safer substitute object or outlet.

Dissociation – A breakdown in consciousness, memory, perception of self or the environment, or sensory/motor behaviour.

Idealisation – Attributing exaggerated positive qualities to others.

Omnipotence – Feeling or acting superior to others in the belief that you possess special powers or abilities.

Passive aggression – Expressing underlying aggression, hostility, resentment and/or resistance toward others in a roundabout way while maintaining a façade of friendliness and compliance.

Reaction formation – A conversion (and repression) into the opposite of unacceptable subconscious desires, impulses or behaviours that are threatening to the psyche.

Self-observation – Reflecting on thoughts, feelings, motivation and behaviour in order to respond appropriately.

Sublimation – Re-channeling impulses and feelings from perceived negative expression to more socially accepted outlets or behaviours.

Suppression – The conscious process of pushing away uncomfortable thoughts or impulses to avoid re-experiencing them.

Undoing – Words or behaviour intended to symbolically make amends for unacceptable thoughts, feelings or actions towards another person.

Humour – Emphasising the comic or ironic aspects of an emotional conflict or stressor so as to relieve tension.

Intellectualisation – Over analysing the intellectual components of a situation in order to establish control or to minimise uncomfortable feelings.

Isolation of affect (feeling) – A disconnection between a situation or idea which remains in cognitive awareness from the original feelings associated with them.

Projection – Falsely attributing one’s own unacceptable emotions, impulses or thoughts onto another person.

Rationalisation – The process of justifying a thought, action or emotion by inventing and substituting an elaborate self-reassuring but incorrect explanation.

Repression – The subconscious process of preventing painful or disturbing impulses, thoughts or experiences from entering into conscious awareness. The feelings may remain on the surface detached from the associated memory or idea.

Self-assertion – Expressing thoughts or feelings in a direct way so as not to manipulate or coerce others.

Many people are completely unaware of the existence of defense mechanisms, let alone that they use them and how they use them. Other more informed individuals, however, are able to recognise the ones they subconsciously favour, as well as their pattern of use.

If you have not yet come to this place, there is a way to do this for yourself and here is the irony – the most effective way to become consciously aware of the defense mechanisms you use is to actually employ a variant of two of them – self-observation and intellectualisation. Defense mechanisms are used to deal with emotional conflict and inner world or outer world stressors. In this scenario – and here is the subtle difference – you will be utilising them for the purposes of self-transparency in order to educate yourself on yourself and how you operate from the inside out. By doing this you will be able to rein them in if they are an inappropriate expression of your true self or if you are living in the private world of avoidance.

 © Julie Ditrich, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

National Library of Australia Comics Projects and Legal Deposit

Attention all Australian comic and graphic novel creators!

Did you know that the National Library of Australia is currently running two projects to ensure that the works Australian comics creators have had published will be collected by the National Library of Australia?

The projects are called Collecting Australian fringe publishing at the National Library of Australia and, the Comics claiming projectThey are about the collection and treatment of comics, graphic novels, manga and zines at the National Library. The projects focus on:

  •       what is being published by Australian creators and publishers, whether published in Australia or not;
  •       whether we are getting them into the collection;
  •       if not, how to improve the intake of these material.

How is this relevant to Australian comics and graphic novels creators?

This is relevant to graphic novel and comics creators because the library needs your help to ensure that your work is represented in the national collection. For creators this will mean that a copy of your published work is preserved in a controlled environment and is made accessible to library patrons now and in the future. Information about your works will also be made available, in the form of a catalogue record, to anyone anywhere with access to the internet.

Creators can help the Library simply by telling us about their own (or other peoples if you have the details) published works. Australian (Australian companies and international companies with branches in Australia) publishers are responsible for depositing published works with the library. We call it legal deposit. But many smaller or independent publishers are unaware of their legal deposit obligations or that the library would be interested in the type of material they publish. However if the graphic novel and comics creators tell the library about their published (or soon to be published) works the library can then take steps to acquire this material from the publishers.

The library would also like to hear from creators who are published by non-Australian publishers such as IDW and First Second Books as we also wish to collect works by Australians even when published outside of Australia.

What we would like Australian comics creators to do

To talk to us about your published work just send the relevant information (title, name or names of creators, publisher’s name, date of publication and ISBN if you know it) to us via post or email or call. The contact details are provided below. 

The library would also like to hear from you (just use the same contact details) if you wish to discuss any issues or ask any questions in relation to these projects. 

Contact Details

For graphic novels and manga creators.

Legal Deposit Unit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

T: (02) 6262 1312
F: (02) 6273 4492
legaldep@nla.gov.au  Please put graphic novel or manga in the subject line.

For comic and zines creators.

Australian Serials 
National Library of Australia 
Canberra ACT 2600 

T: (02) 6262 1312
F: (02) 6273 4492
legaldep@nla.gov.au  Please put comics or zines in the subject line.

Or just post a comment on the “Fringe Librarian” blogger spot: http://fringelib.blogspot.com

More information

For more information about legal deposit or the National Library of Australia go to the Hayase entries for:

Legal deposit at the National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia

Kind regards

Debbie Cox

Legal Deposit

National Library of Australia


Marjorie Currie

Australian Serials

National Library of Australia