Saturday, May 22, 2010

Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference

The Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (POPCAANZ) is holding its inaugural conference in Sydney from 30 June to 2 July 2010. The program covers fashion, television, film, food studies, visual culture, pop music, video and many other topics. We've sourced those seminars with comics. manga and graphic novel themes. Here's a list:

Thursday 1 July 2010 - 1:00 to 2: 30
Food Studies 3 - Food and Cultural Identity
Lorie Brau (University of New Mexico, USA)
"Men Cook, Women Eat: Gender in Japanese Culinary Comic Books"

Friday 2 July 2010 - 11:00 to 12:30
Pop Fiction 3: The Seductive Serial Killer in Manga, Film and Literature
Jason Bainbridge (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
"I will reign over a new world: Death Note and the Utopian Serial Killer"

Friday 2 July 2010 - 9:00 to 12:30
Visual Cultures 1
Kevin Patrick (Monash University, Australia)
"In Search of the Great Australian (Graphic) Novel"

Daniel Wood (University of Melbourne, Australia)
"King of the Urban Frontier: The Behavioural Ethic of Comic-Book Superhero and the Frontier Justice of the American West"

Yvette Blackwood (University of Tasmania, Australia)
"Becoming and Schizoanalysis in the Graphic Novel: Deleuzian theory and Popular Culture"

Paul Mountfort (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
"Yellow Skin, Black Hair ... Careful Tintin: The Orient and Orientalism in Herge's The Blue Lotus"

Friday 2 July 2010: 11:00 to 12:30
Visual Cultures 2
Elaine Tay (Curtin University, Australia)
"Beyond Poaching: Alternative universes of Watchmen fanfiction"

Jack Teiwes (University of Melbourne, Australia)
"Positive Feedback: Adaptation and intertextuality in the Superman multimedia franchise"

Dates: Wednesday 30 June to Friday 2 July 2010
Venue: Vibe Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Registration Fees: $320 (includes $50 membership fee) or $250 (concession includes $50 membership fee).

For more information go to the POPCAANZ website or click here to download the program.

Rules of the Universe

Somebody just sent us this email so we thought we'd share – numbers 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21 and 25 are particularly apt. What are your favs?

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. Don't worry about what people think; they don't do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

5. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is a serious business.

6. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention! It never fails.)

7. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

8. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

9. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

10. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

11. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

12. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

13. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

14. Opportunities always look bigger after they have passed.

15. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

16. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

17. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

18. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

19. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

20. It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.

21. There is a very fine line between 'A hobby' and "mental illness."

22. You should not confuse your career with your life.

23. Never lick a steak knife.

24. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

25. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Elf~Fin Leaks & Peeks 19

Here's a quick look at more Elf~Fin goings on ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ultimate "Comics" Definitions and Great Australian Press Coverage

Sydney Morning Herald recently published two articles on comics and graphic novels. "Readers Drawn to Art" which publicised the Wheeler Centre Spotlight on Graphic Novels weekend (covered in recent a blog post), but still asks the perpetual question of people grappling with the definition of comics and graphic novels:
"Whichever definition you prefer, the graphic novel is a genre - or is it a format? - no longer seen as outsider, or of interest only to fanboys and geeks."
Okay ... let's clear this issue up on definitions. This is the advice we've been filtering to the Australian Society of Authors, the Australia Council, the Australian Cartoonists' Association, through articles and to workshop audiences ... these definitions are based on the work of the wonderful Scott McLeod, as well as ICv2 which holds an annual graphic novel conference in New York City (we were fortunate to attend in 2007).

"Comics" (with an 's') is the umbrella term.
"Comics" is the medium (the artform).
"Comics" is NOT a genre or style.
“Comics” can be defined as sequential art (juxtaposed images) intended to convey information to the viewer and/or to tell a story.
"Comics" can be produced in multiple genres ranging from romance to superhero to fantasy and science-fiction to memoir to crime to underground and many more. These can have a commercial or literary orientation or even both.

There are five comics "formats":

(1) Comic books (periodicals)
(2) Graphic novels
(3) Comic/cartoon strips (containing two or more panels of sequential art)
(4) Web comics (including web comic/cartoon strips containing two or more panels of sequential art), and
(5) Zines (provided they include sequential art content).

There are four graphic novels "categories", which are essentially comics bound in book form:

(1) Original graphic novels including adaptations and anthologies:
(2) Collections of work first published in comic book (periodical) format;
(3) Collections of web (digital) comics: and
(4) Editions originally produced for overseas markets.

Please note that collections of comic/cartoon strips originally published in print or on the web are NOT considered to be graphic novels if published in print format.

On another note, the Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum section ran a double page article called "Comic Catharsis: War, cancer, middle age, maths ... cartoons get serious" . The word "cartoons" is incorrectly used as the word usually applies to "cartoon (or comic) strips" or "animated cartoons". However, this excellent article is serious about examining the US and Australian comics publishing landscape. It discusses various issues and trends including the up-swell of "autographics" (trauma stories in graphic novel format) and also provides interesting perspectives about how graphic novels are viewed by the literati and the mainstream publishing world.

For example,
[Says Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham] ... "I've been on judging panels where graphic novels have been in contention for prizes and [the view has been] they shouldn't count as it can't be as much work"...
This brings back a memory of something that happened to me several years ago. I was going out with an architect who asked to look at some of my published comics work. He checked out a few pages and then asked me how much I was paid per page for writing. I said "US$100" (which was the going rate for that particular comic book series at the time). He exclaimed "100 BUCKS A PAGE for 50 words! I'm in the wrong profession!" Indeed he was right. The pages he was looking at contained approximately 50 words in the various word balloons or captions. I then sat him down and explained to him that prior to writing the dialogue, I had written the story arc/synopsis for the entire series (plus the three series after that), then completed a page breakdown, and then the script which features panel description plus the captions, SFX, word and thought balloons. He went silent for a few moment then said "Oh!"

Just to put things into perspective, the story arc/synopsis for the first Elf~Fin series is 13,000 words. And that's before we get to the page breakdown and the script for each 44-page issue! Don't let anybody ever convince you there isn't much work in a comic book or graphic novel!

If you don't accept that position from us then take it from someone with more credibility in the Australian publishing scene than anyone else we know – Shaun Tan once acknowledged that the most intense and time-consuming work he has ever done in his literary career was for The Arrival.

Anyway ... we acknowledge and appreciate the major press coverage and the voices of Australian journalists giving comics a fair go!

[NOTE: Don't know why Blogger has decided to change our house style half way through this blog post but there you have it...]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jozef's Artwork on Sale

Jozef Szekeres artwork is rarely released on the market, as he usually keeps it in his personal collection. However, he has just cleared his art archives and has decided to release some pieces for the first time on eBay. This is a WONDERFUL opportunity to own an original painting.

There are four pieces available – preproduction colour sheets that cover either single or an assortment of characters from ElfQuest: (original) WaveDancers, Dart, and a future project Mermist Seas.

All artworks are on A3 size paper, near mint condition, heat-pressed-185gm-watercolor paper, but have some light handling impressions. The pieces have been kept safely flat since their creation.

Artwork 1: Depicted is Irralee, Sydor, and the beloved mermaid and merman elf characters Hyfus and Tilaweed (who will star in their own new series Elf-Fin currently in production). This art was printed in the first issue of WaveDancers at the back of the book on top of page 28 with the page title "Coloring Ideas".

Artwork 2: Depicted is Brom, Raenafel, and the delightful No-Wing (who will co-star in Elf-Fin under his new moniker – No~Fin). This art was printed in the first issue of WaveDancers at the back of the book on top of page 28 with the page title "Coloring Ideas".

Artwork 3: Depicted is a portrait of Rosette, a superhero beauty with port-coloured hair with amazing shape and volume. Her superhero outfit almost seems more lingerie-wear then battle ready.

Artwork 4: Depicted is Serenai, the beautiful redheaded and green tailed mermaid from Mermist Seas, shown both in full figure and in portrait in the same artwork.

You have until 9 May 2010 to make your bid. Click here to go to the eBay.