Robot 6

New Zealand cartoonists unite in ‘Faction’ anthology

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New Zealand cartoonists Roger Langridge (Fred the Clown, The Muppet Show), Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville) and Tim Gibson (Moth City) are likely familiar are familiar names to many comics readers, but there are plenty more where they came from. And several of them are showcased in the pages of Faction.

Faction is a showcase of the best of New Zealand comics,” Damon Keen, who edits the biannual anthology with Amie Maxwell, writes in an email to ROBOT 6. “Comic readership here isn’t high; most NZers are completely unaware of the huge renaissance comics have gone through of late, or indeed of the local comic scene at all. And internationally, apart from a few bright stars (Tim Gibson, Roger Langridge, Colin Wilson and Dylan Horrocks) NZ comic artist still remain relatively unknown.”

Keen’s art in particular jumps out for his Kubrickian sci-fi adventurism, with a dollop of morbid humor, such as the first volume’s story, “One Giant Leap,” about an astronaut getting trapped outside his space capsule.

The roster of creators involved in Faction do include a number of Weta artists, such as Gibson, but the book is a stylistic smorgasbord featuring manga influences, Heavy Metal-style Eurocomics, and more. Three issues of Faction have been published so far, with a fourth one going to press later this month.

Copies can be ordered on the anthology’s website; international buyers will of course have to pay extra shipping. However, interested readers can subscribe to the digital version of Faction for free.

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I studied abroad in Auckland. I found the cost of buying comics there to be prohibitive, because of shipping costs I guess (and also knowing I would have to carry the weight of whatever I bought there home to America with me). But with digital comics, I guess there are options for new readers. I was really impressed with the selection of comics and especially merchandise at the shop on Karangahape Road, and I got into Scoot Pilgrim books while there and saw Iron Man in theaters, so New Zealand holds a special place in my comic fan heart. I know nothing about comic talent coming out New Zealand, so I’ll want to check this out.

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