Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 7:Local Landscapes

One of the things I love doing in my comics is referring to my local landscape

This is from issue #2 of 'Yell Ole!', a comic I made with my friend Tolley back in 1994. We wrote it, he pencilled it, and I inked it. It's the staircase in the foyer of the State Library of Victoria, where the main characters Yell and Ole have just met the character Fraise, a poet. I wish I had used more black in this panel, but I still really like the way it reads - we read the characters lower and to the right first, agains reading order, because their speech balloons come first (that's Tolley's exquisite design and layout work).

Moving on, here's a page from 'Cafe Ghetto' #2 (1998), a superhero comic set in Melbourne. This was a collaboration with my friend John Murphy - we both wrote, he pencilled, and I inked (see the pattern?). The main character has just beat up a bad guy in the Queen Victoria Gardens and now he's crossing the Yarra on that footbridge from Southbank.

Here's a panel from my autobio mini-comic/zine 'Flaneur' #2 (2004) - this is all by me, and as you can see it's a lot rougher. This is about going with my friend JB to see the film 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' at ACMI, in the city. The ideas with the stories in 'Flaneur' is that the artwork could be looser, more direct to paper.

This on the other hand is from around the same time but this was a project I wanted to have a more finished look. 'I Knew Him' I started around 2004, but it was set in 1994. So it has a historical aspect, as when on this first page, the mother of the main character goes out to Melbourne Airport to pick him up, and in those days there was no enormous multistory parking monolith - all cars were parked on the ground.

A more recent project is MONGREL, this is page 1 from issue 2 from 2012. It takes place at Clifton Hill train station and around the corner on Ramsden Street.  The best panel on the page I think is

panel 3, because with the house and the hatching and the overhead powerlines it gives a more potent sense of where we are. Not too happy with the cramped lettering in the last line, though.

Many other cartoonists in Melbourne like to portray the city in their comics too:

Here's a panel from Bruce Mutard's  graphic novel, 'The Sacrifice' (2008). This book is set before and during the second world war, and we are -- well, where ARE we on the streets of Melbourne, as some Australian and American soldiers have a punch-up?

And here's a panel from Mandy Ord's 2006 autobio graphic novel, 'Rooftops'. An incredibly, indelibly Melbourne scene, this, but can you identify the t-intersection that Mandy is standing at?

I think that the use of local landscape in your comics, even if the content becomes quite fantastic, is a great way of grounding your comics, of giving them a recogniseable, solid world in which to occur. As well as that, you've got models to draw from...

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