Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jozef Szekeres ELF~FIN Art in Comics Galore! Exhibition

Jozef Szekeres will be amongst 60 cartoonists and comic book artists who will have their work on display at the Cartoons Galore! Exhibition in Sydney, Australia.
The exhibition covers gag-cartoons, comic-strips, book illustrations, graphic-novel pages, comic book pages, editorial/political cartoons, and magazine illustrations. Jozef will exhibit his art pages from the first issue of Elf~Fin™: Hyfus & Tilaweed comic book series, which was released in May 2013 and has since sold to readers over the world including the USA, Norway, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
The Cartoons Galore! Exhibition is part of Ryde City Council’s Hungry for Art Festival and is sponsored by Top Ryde City
The official opening is on Saturday 24 August from 12 to 2pm. Members of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association will be present to draw live, talk to the public about cartooning and drawing, offer free caricatures and more.
Dates: Saturday 24 August to Saturday 7 September 2013
Venue: Ground Floor of Top Ryde City Shopping Centre (just outside of Myers). Corner Devlin St and Blaxland Rd, Ryde NSW 2112. CLICK HERE to access information on transportation and how to get there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mermaid Treasures 26

In my last "Mermaid Treasures" posting I mentioned that my parents have just returned from a USA holiday bearing mermaid gifts. This one was amongst them. It's a delightful mermaid ornament who has the air of a Renaissance Madonna painting about her, except that she is astride a sea horse rather than a donkey. I love her muted pink tail and her seaweed saddle. No idea where you can buy her... sorry! She's now hanging from my bookshelf.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mermaid Treasures 25

My parents recently travelled to the USA and brought me back these two elegant mermaid statuettes from a shop somewhere in California. They statues are made of resin but have bronze highlights through them. There is a sticker on the bottom of each that says they came from Milk and Honey – a gift supplier from New Mexico.  I found mermaids on their online catalogue and indeed these two beauties are amongst them. The only catch is that they are available just to retailers at a wholesale price. If you like them, we suggest getting on to your local gift store and put in a request to have them ordered in. Here's the website catalogue page.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mermaid Books 8 – Little Obelia

I picked this up for $3 from one of those pop-up bookshops in my local mall yesterday. You know the ones I mean... three display stands stacked high with nothing over $5.  

Little Obelia is an adaptation from the classic Australian illustrated book for children by May Gibbs – Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. The imprint page credits the  "coloured reproductions and adaptations of original illustrations by May Gibbs" but that the words are by N Georgeson. The publisher is Murray David Publishing. There are seven separate copyrights on the imprint page. 

The story and rhyme is a little bit all over the place but the images are quite charming for an underwaterphile. There are leafy sea dragon drawn shell carriages, Ragged Blossom slumbering on a shell bed, and Little Obelia, the Princess of the Sea, standing amongst her pearls like a baby Botticelli Venus.

The book is currently out of stock at Amazon and at the publisher but we've included the links just in case the situation changes. It's not strictly a mermaid story because we don't see any tailed humans or gumnut characters, but it will find a loving place in my mermaid / fairy book collection probably near Peg's Fairy Book.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

MerPalooza 2013


MerPalooza the International Mermaid Convention, Party and Trade Show, is less than a week away.  It is being held in Tampa, Florida, and is a rallying point (er pool) for US and international mermaids.

This year MerPalooza is offering exclusive excursions to many of the local Tampa Bay area marine research facilities and the world famous Weeki Wachee Springs State Park featuring the mermaid Underwater Theater which has featured in numerous movies and television shows. Just read here if you want to know "What happens at a mermaid convention?" 

We wish we were going but alas it's not to be this year. Have fun, mers! We're going to be thinking about you next weekend.

Dates: Friday 9 to Sunday 11 August 2013
Venue: Bay Harbor Hotel and Hogan's Beach, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. Florida 33607 USA
Tickets: $30 for three days including the Saturday night "Mermaid and Pirate Party"!
$10 for trade show only. You will need to prebuy your tickets as none will be sold at the door.
Website: www.mer-palooza.com 

Surf's Up for the Surfing Black Mermaid®

Jozef has just designed a new surfer girl... oops "Surfer Mer" for our Black Mermaid® logo collection. She'll be up on our Black Mermaid® Boutique real soon!

SMASH! 2013

SMASH! (Sydney Manga and Anime Show) is coming up next weekend! SMASH! is a Japanese pop culture convention that is devoted to artists, creators and fans alike. Its primary focus is to allow fans to meet and interact with other like-minded people, show off their creative talents, buy anime and manga related goods, and celebrate their fandom in a social environment. SMASH! encourages all forms of anime fandom through a variety of activities such as cosplay, panels, games, and other special popular culture events.

This year's guests include: Haruko Momoi (voice artist on My Bride is a Mermaid, Tales of the Abyss), Masakazu Morita (motion-capture actor and voice artist Bleach, Final Fantasy), and Japanese band Loverin Tamburin, and Matsubara Hidenori (character designer, illustrator and animation / art director All My Goddess, Sakura Wars). 

Date: Saturday 10 August 2013
Time: 9.30am to 6pm
Venue: Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
Tickets: $29 online; $35 at door
Schedule: http://www.smash.org.au/sites/default/files/2013-schedule.jpg 
Website: http://www.smash.org.au

Carolyn Turgeon: The Fairest Author of Them All

US novelist Carolyn Turgeon who specialises in reinventing classical fairytales into beautiful works of literature has recently launched a new story – The Fairest of Them All. 

Carolyn is best known in mer circles for her adaptation of Hans Christen Andersen's The Little Mermaid into the little treasure Mermaid, which we covered in a previous blog postShe also writes the I Am a Mermaid blog.

The Fairest of Them All fuses the stories of Rapunzel and Snow White... but with a fierce twist emanating from themes of abandonment, betrayal and revenge. Here is a summary taken from the Powell's Books website, which also lists some glowing reviews from the likes of Publishers' Weekly, Library Journal and multiple best selling authors:

What if Rapunzel was Snow White's evil stepmother? 
From the author of Godmother and MermaidThe Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.  
Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her. 
One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another. 
Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen. 
But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.
Intriguing – yes. Rich realised characters – yes. Passion and betrayal – yes. Carolyn's books have it all and this one is no exception.

Friday, August 2, 2013

GRAPHIC 2013 [UPDATED 04/08/13}

ART SPIEGELMAN'S 'WORDLESS!' Music by Phillip JohnstonTickets go on sale today for the latest GRAPHIC Festival at the Sydney Opera House, which has now been expanded to a three day event on 4 - 7 October 2013. We're most excited about Art Spiegelman's "Wordless" presentation, which is accompanied by jazz virtuouso Phllip Johnston who we met several years ago at our entertainment lawyer's Xmas party. The perpetually youthful and multi talented Seth Green is coming too – we loved him in Buffy, as well as lots of other television comedy – he's participating in the "Robot Chicken Live" session. Comikers need to check out Neil Gaiman's artist bestie Dave McKean, as well as Grant Morrison and Gerard Way. There will be lots of Aussie talent in the "Radio with Pictures" session. For more information and just go to the Sydney Opera House website.

NOTE: Julie has her tickets. She's going to the  Dave McKean and Art Spiegelman sessions, as well as the "The Creative Truth" panel and "Radio and Pictures". She's also bough a ticket for "The Art of Publishing and Editing" session, although it clashes with one of the others. One of the tickets may find a good home.

More Mermaid Trends [UPDATED 03/08/13]

In October 2012 we wrote a post called "Mermaids Trending"... Well a lot has happened since then so here is a quick look at the next wave of mermaid trends.

Firstly, Netflix has just released a new children's TV series called Mako Mermaids, which is a sequel to the Australian produced H2O. The show is not only being promoted through news and entertainment media such as the LA Times "'Mako Mermaids': when does it start pulling teens to Netflix" but also the investment community. Venture Capital Post gives the show a write up in "Netflix new show 'Mako Mermaids', premiers Friday". This may be less about the mermaid content and more about watching how well Netflix builds its subscriber base, as well as checking out how well it performs when releasing an entirely new TV series in one go rather than serialising it once a week like conventional TV. 

Similarly, the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch did a story on it "Netflix hopes to make a splash with 'Mako Mermaids'". The rather non-imaginative and stern Business Insider's Australia give Netflix a little wrap over the knuckles in "Netflix Newest Original Series is Beyond Weird". Weird perhaps for a money-man (we like the alliteration but the more politically correct term is "money-person"!) but completely okay with pop culture audiences and mermaids lovers. BGR gets it right in "Crazy like a fox – Netflix now  bets on teen mermaids" when it identifies that audiences want niche projects and offerings (just have a look at the scope of romance subgenres in bookshops and you'll understand what we're talking about). 

Just so you know what it's about, Mako Mermaids centres around three teenage mermaids who are the guardians of Mako Island. Their names are Lyla, Nixie and Sirena. They fail to stop a 16-year old hunky boy named Zac from falling into the sacred Moon Pool, Zac turns into a merman with special powers. The guardians must grow legs, walk on land and attempt to get this power back. The trailer looks as if it has more action and humour than its forerunner and the underwater sequences look pretty good from where we are sitting. The first 13 episodes are out now and there will be more to come in September.

Mermaids are also featuring in the beauty industry. Mermaid Minerals has been around for a few years and is a favourite with mers. Some mainstream brands are now putting together special lines. For example,  The Daily Varnish covers a new sparkly mermaid nail polish "Under the Sea" range in "Sally Hansen Mermaid's Tale". Lots of pretty pics over on that blog post.

We explored the fashion fusion of mermaid and futuristic punk in our previous post "Seapunk Fashion" and we've seen the Black Milk mermaid leggings on some of our fans but fashion bloggers are now doing stories on fashion trends inspired by the aquatic world. Check out "60 Mermaid Fashion Statements" on Trendhunter.com. Here we see Gothic Mermaids, Golden Disco Mermaids, Fish Scale Fashion,  Sci Fi Mermaids, Knitted Barnacle Bling, Deep Sea Hair Decorations, and so much more.

There's even a faux Vogue cover featuring "Couture Disney Princesses" including Ariel from The Little Mermaid swinging her tail-less hips down a runway with dangling fish skeleton jewellery and a cover story called "The Gills of Glamour". 

Even the airlines are getting into the mermaid spirit – American Airlines' magazine American Way recently featured Hannah Fraser (AKA Hannah Mermaid) in a lovely two page article "A Modern Mermaid Tale". Hannah is the pioneer of all things mermaid – her photo shoots and fashion sensibility is legendary. What's more, Hannah represents the true essence and spirit of a protector of the sea – she swims with extraordinary marine creatures and is an aquatic eco warrior who puts herself on the frontline to save our sea life. There may be lots of faux Animal Planet documentaries but Hannah is the real deal and we've included the trailer from her upcoming documentary series which also features Philippe Cousteau Jr as something to watch out for in 2014. The Huffington Post who is at the forefront of covering mermaid trends also did a great interview with Hannah on her mermaiding activities – you can read it here "Dolphins, Sharks and Mermaids, Oh, My! Interview with a Real-life Mermaid and Ocean Activist".

Finally, we cannot explore mermaid trends without the latest lot of hoaxes. We covered the news style interview Mermaid: The New Evidence on our "New Mermaid Footage" blog post a few months ago, but we have a new and very "blurry" doozy for you right here too. It's called "Amazing Mermaid on the Rock". The Animal Planet name is attached once again... fancy that! 

Tears of a Mermaid Movie Trailer from NINETEEN87 on Vimeo.

Elf~Fin Leaks and Peeks 32

We meet every week to ten days or so to see how Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed #2 is progressing, to write down our latest TO DO LISTS, and also to report on what we've accomplished since our last meeting. 

We can't leak any panel artwork just yet but we thought you might be interested in this shot of Jozef on his lounge room floor assembling all the character artwork from the Faithful pod (community) into family and cultural groups. 

This will mean nothing to you yet but the list includes the Nonshees, the Rondeens and several more. Yes, we're teasing just a little. However, the artwork is very real and you can glimpse some of the headshots of our upcoming characters.

The School Magazine: Opportunity for Australian Comics Creators

Orbit cover

Touchdown coverThe School Magazine – an Australian literary magazine for young readers – is looking for comics serials for its 2014 publication year for the 8 to 12 age group. Genres include: fantasy, humour, folktales, historical drama, or sci-fi. The serials can be either a single page in ten parts, two single pages se
rials of five parts each or a two-page serial in ten parts. 
Deadline: Wednesday 14 August 2013. 
Contact: For submission guidelines and contact details go to The School Magazine website.

Mermaids and Momentum: Australian Comics Journal Coverage

Speaking of Australian comics coverage, we're mighty pleased that Black Mermaid Productions™ and Elf~Fin™ got a write up in the Australian Comics Journal last month. 

Journalist and comics writer Anthony N Castle contributed "Julie Ditrich: On Mermaids and Momentum". The images are used beautifully in the piece. One of our favourite Hyfus panels features at the top of the page. 

Here is an excerpt on what relationship we have as readers and as comics creators to The Little Mermaid.

Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was a great influence in our cultural upbringing. As with all great literature, many points of view can be overlaid on the work to allow it to make sense to its audience’s needs. One angle of the story of the little mermaid can also be allegorical to the speculated life of Hans Christian Andersen as a gay man, who wrote passionate love letters to significant men in his life. Like the mute little mermaid, Andersen could not tell the world of his own homosexual love for the people of the world, but the original manuscripts showed his feelings clearly. The Little Mermaid story may have deeper pathos than its story context.  
Yes, the tale is tragic and we always wanted to plunge in and change the ending, and one day we may, but it can be hard with such a powerful and well-distributed Disneyfied interpretation anchored out there with the masses as the perceived new originating source of this story. There’s another wonderful version by US novelist Carolyn Turgeon who reinvented the story in her book Mermaid. (Carolyn very kindly endorsed Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed for us on the back cover of the first issue.) 
As you’ve identified, Elf~Fin does contain similar themes of longing, which features in the first issue, as well as burgeoning sexuality and a sense of displacement which ripple through the story from the second issue. However, Elf~Fin doesn’t have the sensibility of The Little Mermaid. The latter is a delicate fragile story: Elf~Fin is more epic and has a different energy that traverses multiple plotlines over at least three books. Ultimately we will be exploring contemporary themes about human nature albeit skewed through mermaid characters in an oceanic world.
Thanks to Jozef also for his wonderful insights into Hans Christian Andersen's secret world.

Comics Articles of Note [UPDATED: 03/08/13]

We've come across some interesting overseas comics trends, as well as coverage on the Australian comics scene by major arts blogs. 

Amazon has just jumped into digital comics publishing via its imprint – Jet City Comics, which is exclusively available on the Kindle. Read all about it at Bleeding Cool "Amazon Publishes Its Own Comics, From George R.R. Martin, Mike S Miller And Jimmy Palmiotti". 

ArtsHub has covered Aussie comics in two recent articles – one chronicling a publisher's journey and the second one chronicling a creator's journey. "Australian Comic Industry Still Finding Its Feet", focuses on Gestalt Publishing and "Breaking into Comics" focuses on Nicola Scott (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman). 

Salon has also run an article on "Great graphic novels from 2012", which features Pat Grant's wonderful Blue, the tale of the coastal town of Bolton, a gang of truants who skip school because they want to check out the dead body on the railway track, and the noodle-eating blue-skins who come in as boat-people (nay, "boat-creatures") and attempt to assimilate but end up imposing their own cultural values and traditions on the town and its inhabitants with nary a thought or any respect. The Top 10 list also includes Sailor Twain, Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson by US graphic novelist Mark Siegel, which we covered in a previous blog post.

It's great that Australian comics are finding their way into mainstream arts media. Congratulations to Nicola, Pat and Gestalt for their respective coups!