Late last year at Brisbane GenreCon, I said hello to Darren Koziol, mastermind behind Australian comic books DarkOz. His display table was beside ours and I was lured over by the bright yet disturbing cover of the Retro Sci-Fi Tales Christmas Special #1 December 2019. I purchased a copy and three quirky Christmas cards were thrown into the deal.
After chatting to Darren and learning about his creative skills and the help he gives budding comic book creators, I expressed interest in ‘The Comic Book Manifesto: Making Comic Books In Australia’.
Even coming from a non-comic book person like me, I feel this booklet gets to the essence of creating artwork and design and offers inspiration for those interested in furthering their artistic abilities.
It’s a small volume which packs a punch; under the heading Influences & Individuality, Mike Speakman says ‘Seek out advice from your peers, listen to it all, but remember to put your own spin on things.’
It was a week before I managed to fully read my copy of this idiosyncratic Christmas Special but I loved the tall tales and clever retro illustrations. Inside, two wacky characters Bruno and Maggie feature in three comics—the one I particularly liked was ‘Space Elevator’. Original, creepy, humorous with a twist in the alien tale. Being retro, the slant was towards American-style comics but I was pleased to see ‘Great Australian
Bight Bite’, short, sweet, deadly.
When I was a kid, the exaggerated reactions and cryptic comments from characters in comic books never really appealed. Like most people, I seem to remember Lee Falk’s ‘The Phantom’ in our daily newspaper alongside the funnies but I think for over ten years Charles Schulz and ‘Peanuts’ blitzed all else for me. Now I have greater respect for the patience, skill and hard work involved in comic book production.
Comic books have come a long way! Or have they? Happily the tradition lives on.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward