Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dylan Horrocks
VUP, $38.00

This graphic novel arrived in the mail earlier this week and as I couldn't recall reading a NZ published graphic novel before I shot off an e-mail to VUP Publisher Fergus Barrowman expressing my delight and asking if Hicksville was indeed NZ's first graphic novel. Here is his reply:

Hicksville's a treasure, and I'd love to claim it as the first, and I reckon we almost could, if we defined "graphic novel" the right way, but here's Dylan's full answer:

Technically, no. That honour should maybe go to Stephen Ballantyne & Bob Kerr's 'Terry' series (two were published in the 1980s, I think: 'Terry and the Gunrunners' and 'Terry and the Last Moa'). These were in a Tintin-style format, and were pretty successful at the time (spawned a TV series, even).

It's possible there was something earlier, too; Tim Bollinger might know.

There have been a couple of other things since then, as well: Chris Slane & Robert Sullivan's 'Maui: Legends of the Outcast' (published by Godwit in the 1990s), which also used a European-style format (like Tintin or Asterix).

And I vaguely recall a self-published graphic novel about the Land Wars, that came out during the 90s - or maybe the early 00s... That one's fairly obscure, and I can't find out the details online.

Of course, all this depends a little on how you define 'graphic novel' - which to me just means a long comic (long enough to merit a spine and be called a "book").

Also, Tim Bollinger's self-published 'Absolute Heroes' (from the 1980s) was definitely long enough to be called a graphic novel (75 pages) - though its format was essentially a stapled zine.

God, there's probably dozens of NZ "graphic novels" out there that I don't even know about...! ;-) ________________________________

A great start last night to Writers & Readers Week with Once Upon a Deadline. A nice big Town Hall crowd and great stories and readings. There's a wee story on Stuff:

The winning story by Dianna Fuemana and and people's choice winner by David Geary are now up on the Festival site. As Chief Judge, assisted by Sydney Festival Artistic Director Lindy Hume and Harbourfront Writers Festival Director Geoffrey Taylor, I can tell you it was very hard decision.

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