Monday, June 27, 2011

MEDIA RELEASE: Australian Comics Creator to Attend World Mermaid Awards in Las Vegas to Launch Upcoming Comic Book Series


27 June 2011

Australian comic book writer, Julie Ditrich, will be attending the inaugural World Mermaid Awards (WMA) in Las Vegas in August to launch the PREVIEW of an upcoming mermaid-inspired comic book series Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed.

Ditrich and her business partner – artist and ex-Disney animator Jozef Szekeres – bonded artistically over their mutual love of mermaids during the 90s and shortly after began working as a comics creative team known as Black Mermaid Productions (BMP). The team works predominantly in the fantasy genre and on mermaid stories. BMP has currently sold over 270,000 copies of two comic book series around the world.

Ditrich, who has a BA Degree in Professional Writing from the University of Canberra and who has worked extensively in publishing throughout her career “happily stumbled upon comics by accident” and found that the medium completely suited her story-telling style. “Of all the series we have worked on, Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed is the most personal and the most significant. It’s an underwater love story between two beloved characters. What makes this property different is that our characters are a fusion of elves and mermaids, and the story is set completely underwater unlike many other mermaid stories where the characters usually venture onto land.

The WMA where the SPECIAL PREVIEW will be launched, will attract people from all over the globe who identify with the “mer” subculture and community (ie. professional mermaids – aquatic performers, amateur mermaids who don and swim in tails), as well as artists, writers and other people fascinated in mermaid mythology or who just want to have some fun at this exciting event.

We’ve established a great relationship with the WMA because Jozef designed the logo,“ says Ditrich, “We hope that the WMA attendees will love the PREVIEW of our comic which introduces the world of Elf~Threaal and some of its inhabitants and which features 24 pages of hand-painted art and story. It‘s essentially the first Act and the first half of the first issue within the first Elf~Fin series.”

The Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed World Mermaid Awards Limited Edition will ONLY be sold at MerCon during the WMA event. However, the team released an original limited edition of 250 copies in May which come with a Certificate of Authenticity and which has nearly sold out. Sales have come predominantly from the USA, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. To order a copy go to

To join the Elf~Fin-Official Site FaceBook page go to:

To join the conversation on Twitter: @BlackMermaid

CLICK HERE to check out the World Mermaid Awards.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Experimenting with ELF~FIN World Mermaid Awards Edition Covers

Jozef is in the throes of designing a new cover for the exclusive Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed Preview World Mermaid Awards Limited Edition comic book. Neither of the covers you see here are definitive, as he will be playing with the dimensions and spacing under the "Elf~Fin" logo. Having said that, we each have our personal favourites and we'd be interested in your take as well.

As previously mentioned on the Elf~Fin website, this edition will also be limited to 250. It will NOT come with a Certificate of Authenticity. It will ONLY be released at MerCon at the World Mermaid Awards on Friday 12 to Saturday 13 August 2011 which is being held at the Mirage in Las Vegas. This particular cover will wrap around the previous edition of the Preview. The actual comic book will remain the same except for the ISBN and bar code information and the advertisements, as well as the new card cover which will contain a flip around WMA cover. For the collectors amongst you, it's a good reason to get to the WMA. Hope to see you there in August!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Disney Eyes

Artist Katie Alves has her own little artistic niche – painted Disney-inspired eyes. See if you can guess which movie they're from ... the last one's easy and perfectly thematic for our blog don't you think? You can see more of Katie's artwork on her Deviant Art page. Check out her great outer space lips as well.

How to Make Sure Your Cat Doesn't Touch Your Mermaid

I don't think we have to say much about this ... except that the mermaid corpse is macabre, albeit well constructed.

Matt Elder How To Do Draw Videos

Friend of BMP and comic book artist Matt Elder has released a number of How to Draw Tutorial videos on YouTube that that will help comics creators and other artists conquer the basics. Here are the first three in the series:

If you want to see more, check out his video channel Matt ElderDotCom or his website here.
Also check out Matt's Joker painting on Comics Alliance – it was earmarked as the Best Art Ever for the week of 27 May 2011.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comics & Graphic Novels Masterclass with Colleen Doran in Sydney!


An aspiring comics creator who doesn't know where to start?

A professional comics creator who wants to increase your chances of getting published locally and overseas?

A novelist or book illustrator who wants to transition to graphic novels?

A screenwriter who wants to turn your story into a graphic novel as a prelude to getting it to film?

A storyboard artist who wants to become a power-player in the comics world but doesn’t know how to write a story?

An academic specialising in pop culture, literature or cultural studies who wants further insight into graphic narrative?

A school teacher or librarian who is exploring graphic novels in the classroom?

A publisher who wants to build a graphic novels list or finesse their visual narrative editing skills? OR

A person who just LOVES comics and graphic novels?

Then you need to book straight away into a weekend Masterclass that teaches you "How to Crack the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Creation Code So You Can Write, Illustrate and Edit Like a Pro." Featuring internationally renowned US comics creator Colleen Doran, you will learn about the craft and business of comics and how to get published.

Here's what the weekend covers:

  • Storytelling Techniques
  • Visual Storytelling Styles
  • Professional Polish
  • Deconstructing the Process
  • The Professional Life
  • Creator Rights
  • Hollywood Secrets
  • Chalk and Talk Q & A.

To see the full program, go to the Comics Masterclass website.

So what do you need to know about Colleen?

Colleen is an illustrator with hundreds of credits to her name. She has illustrated the work of Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, J Michael Straczynski, Tori Amos, Clive Barker, Warren Ellis, and more. She has illustrated superheroes and characters such as Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Sandman, and more. She has worked with companies such as Lucasfilm, The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, DC Comics, Reader's Digest, Scholastic and more. She has created officially licensed illustrations for Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Her graphic novel series A Distant Soil was listed among the "101 Best Graphic Novels of All Time" and has sold over 300,000 print copies and has tens of thousands of readers in its web comic format. Need we say anything else ...

Here are the event details:

Dates: Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November 2011
Time: 9am to 5pm
Venue: Aerial UTS Function Centre, Broadway, Sydney
Admission: $135 (ASA members); $165 (ACA, AWG and State and regional Writers' Centre members); $195 (Non-members)
Payment plans are available so you can pay off your ticket price in three installments.

Go to the official Comics Masterclass website for all the information you need on this event.

One lucky participant will win a private one-hour project or portfolio review session with Colleen!

For bookings, CLICK HERE.

To download the official Comics Masterclass flyer, CLICK ON THE ASA COMICS / GRAPHIC NOVELS PORTFOLIO page then CLICK on the download button in the box.

To subscribe to the Comics Masterclass Spotlight ezine, CLICK HERE.

Proudly presented by the Australian Society of Authors and Black Mermaid Productions.

The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Cultural Fund is a proud support of the Comics Masterclass.