I drew this comic for a Pecha Kucha a number of years ago – 2011 – and it’s about something that happened in 1995. I’ve had it sitting around ever since then and haven’t really known what to do with it, so I thought I would share it with you. The text is a touch on the small side but you can zoom in to read it. I didn’t think it was a comic – I thought it was more of a story – but then, when I was reading Dylan Horrocks’ Incomplete Works I noticed that he had comics that worked like this too.
Do you see on my side bar that you can pre-order issues of Let Me Be Frank #5? I’m getting copies sent to me as I type. The Felt link should go live soon, if it isn’t live already.
I made this comic last year for the Metro Best of Auckland issue. I approached this task with some ambivalence – my novel was up for the best-of lists and I was already bracing myself for the scores of omissions. And no, it didn’t make it onto the Metro best books list. But I set about collating my favourite things about Auckland all the same – scrumping free fruit, seeing the steam punks at MOTAT, watching the black swans fight and sing like oboes. And – of course – taking the ferry to Devonport, which always makes me feel like I’m off to Melbourne.
Anyway, to explain the title of this blog post, my husband has been offered a job in Wellington (he hasn’t got the paperwork yet, I’m probably jinxing him) and it looks like we may be leaving Auckland at the end of the year. I’m going to be sad leaving, and the endless summer is not making it any easier. I will miss the multiculturalism and the amazing beaches. I will miss all my friends I’ve made, and the growing sense that this is an international city. I will miss the electric trains that have been promising to come ever since we arrived almost 7 years ago. Of course Wellington is a great city and I loved living there in the past, particularly before I had children and I could go to all the bars and bands and restaurants…I’ve got lovely friends there…you can’t beat it on a good day… but… but…
The best is yet to come, right?
This week it was my dad’s birthday and my sister Melissa had this idea that we should make a comic in which his three children had grown up to be scientists, just like him.
In real life my sister is an artist and academic, my brother is a furniture designer and I – well, you know what I am. My dad held out the most hope for my sister going into science – she had the most aptitude. But even she abandoned chemistry and biology after sixth form in favour of art.
Can you tell who did what? My sister wrote and inked the first page, except for the cat, and I wrote the second page. My brother still owes us his one.
Tonight I am very honoured to be asking Dylan Horrocks questions about his new book, Incomplete Works. I’m a big fan of his, and last night I reread Hicksville and was blown away once again by how brilliant it was. Incomplete Works is a wonderful collection of short comics and fragments – in turn autobiographical, playful, funny, intelligent, moving – and always beautifully rendered. You can read a proper review here.
Come along if you’re in Auckland - it kicks off at 6pm at the Central Library. There will be food, wine, and hopefully some good questions from the chair (better go finish writing them).
The latest Metro Magazine comic is out now, so I can show you my one from last month – the comic that I pressed on Alison Bechdel when she came to town.
It all unfolded as I drew it – I handed Alison a pile of my comics, blushing and gushing, and she assured me that she wouldn’t throw them in the recycling. The next time I went to see her talk, one week later, I took Jonathan and he lined up to get another one of my books signed. Alison told him that she really enjoyed my comics (squeal!) and this is what she drew:
Here is a sneak preview of the new Metro comic – this time I’m grappling with neighbourhood inequality and crazy Auckland house prices.
I feel bad that I’m not drawing any new comics for my blog but I’m crazily busy trying to get my Katherine Mansfield book into shape. If only I could clone myself so I could get armies of me working on all my projects. Maybe I should just get up earlier in the morning. Sigh.
A few days ago I got my first copy of Let Me Be Frank issue 5 in the post from Pikitia Press in Melbourne, Australia. I gathered together all my memoir comics, the ones that charted my childhood and coming-of-age, I coloured them in watercolour, and I compiled them into a 36-page booklet. ‘What are you doing there, Mum?’ Gus asked. ‘We’re dancing,’ I said. ‘You look like you’re fighting.’ ‘Well, dancing is a kind of fighting.’
This time round it’s going to be a bit more expensive than issues 1-4 – it’ll be sold for $10 each – but it is in full colour! On recycled paper! And it comes individually signed.
I tried a few options for the cover, and one of my outtakes ended up in the inside back cover:
I’ve drawn my sister looking up adoringly at me; in reality she looks a little like she wants to rip my throat out. We’re very good friends now but I was an evil older sister back then. Alluring and violent.
Anyway, I will let you know when you can buy them! I still have to make my site all fancy so that it has a little shop… or maybe I’ll make that etsy/felt shop I’ve been promising all these years.
And in other news, next Tuesday I’ll be asking the world-famous comics legend Dylan Horrocks questions about his new book, Incomplete Works. It’s a fantastic anthology of his short, sometimes unfinished comics. Come along if you’re in Auckland – it’s at the Central Library at 6pm, 1 April. There’ll be refreshments and books to buy.
This is the trailer for The Curioseum – what do you think? I was pretty excited to see all my illustrations animated, albeit in a low-fi way.
Also, I gave Alison Bechdel my Metro comic, the one with her in it.
She seemed pretty excited to see herself there, and she accepted my bundle of Let Me Be Frank comics, but I think I scared her with my enthusiasm. When I saw her at the NZ comics panel the next day she looked a little guarded and apologised for not reading my comics yet. I told her it was ok – she could throw them in the recycling if she liked – but I hope she doesn’t. I felt a bit sorry for her – she probably has half-crazed cartoonists foisting comics on her all the time and she’s too nice a person to tell us to piss off. We view her as a good luck charm, a portal to our own future success. We want a little piece of her to emulsify our own private spells. But she’s just another person on holiday who’d rather not have to pay for extra baggage at the airport.