Jan 07 2015

Australian comics, graphic novels and events that excite us in 2015: Part 1

Australian Comics 2015

After compiling a list of the comics and graphic novels that excited us in 2015, we noted a handful of Australian comics that had been on the horizon for a while. However, we knew that we’d missed a few Australians in the process, and wanted to capture the sheer amount of work that goes into writing and illustrating these pieces every year. So we put the call out to the local comic book scene, and the response was overwhelming. It seems that everyone in Australia has a comic out next year – and that’s bloody fantastic.

All release dates are subject to change of course. This is just a fraction of the terrific output estimated for the coming year, and we’ll be following this piece shortly with even more independent productions and events happening all across the country.

We need to thank all the editors, creators, and anybody else who let us know about their projects this year. If you’ve got a project you’d like us to give a shout-out in the next chapter, let us know at feedback@behindthepanels.net.

Gestalt Comics

Nocturne - Walled City Trilogy Cover

Nocturne: The Walled City Book 2

Gestalt are arguably one of the leading lights in the Australian comics scene, and have been making inroads internationally when Kevin J. Anderson and Steven L. Sears’ STALAG-X: BLOOD WAR #3 dropped digitally on New Year’s Eve 2014. It will soon get a follow-up and quite a few additional pieces if Gestalt’s current 2015 schedule holds, diversifying their portfolio across print and digital platforms this year.

The beautiful NOCTURNE: THE WALLED CITY BOOK 2 (Gestalt Comics, January 2015) follows The Walled City Trilogy Book 1: His Dream of the Skyland. Creators Anne Opotowsky and Angie Hoffmeister give new meaning to globalisation as Australia’s Gestalt Comics publishes a 456-page collaboration between an American writer and German illustrator that’s set in 1930s Hong Kong. It’s an odyssey. (Available to buy at gestaltcomics.com)

M.I.D.A.S. - Tom Taylor and Mikiko Ponczeck

M.I.D.A.S. – Tom Taylor and Mikiko Ponczeck (Gestalt Comics)

Tom Taylor, recently finishing up his run on DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us and doing great things with Marvel’s Superior Iron Man, has still got a number of locally produced books coming out this year. MYSTERY FLIGHT [Digital] is an exciting collaboration with illustrator Darryl Toh (who is also working with Taylor on the promised THE DEEP: VOYAGES OF THE ARONNAX, a prequel to The Deep series of all-ages). Like The Example, it is an adaptation of one of Taylor’s 2009 plays. M.I.D.A.S. [Digital] has been on the cards for a few years, and we last previewed it back in August 2013. It’s an extreme take on the “bubble boy” scenario. It’s about Andy. Codename M.I.D.A.S. “Everything he touches turns to BOOM,” explains Taylor. “Which is why he’s not allowed to touch anything. This is his story.”

CHANGING WAYS: BOOK 3 [Print/Digital] is due out  this year from Justin Randall. Those of us left on a cliffhanger at the end of the second volume will have to wait a little longer as this one promises to go back and fill in a few gaps first. Either way, expect gorgeous art and disturbed dreams as a result of this volume. Speaking with Randall in July last year, we also learned that he will be pushing the colour scheme on the art somewhat. Fans will know that Randall’s art is already next level material, so any notion of “pushing it” gets us really excited.

KARNAK #1-2 [digital] written by Christian Read and illustrated by Michael Maier, is also planned for this year. We spoke to Read in 2014, and he described it in the following way:

Karnak is our version of a supernatural investigator story. Karnak is based roughly on Thomas Carnacki, one of the first supernatural investigators…Carnacki was unique for using a lot of gadgets, high technology at the time. He used these amazing fluorescents…vacuum tubes. Futuristic technology at the time…We’ve updated him so that his work is done mainly technologically […] He has a beautiful assistant Cassandra, who is basically scamming him by selling his stories on YouTube for money. So that’s the framing story, and that’s the very first story of how they met, roughly based on one of the stories.”

Broken Line #2 - Page 4 (Gestalt Comics)

Andrew Constant’s Broken Line #2 – Page 4 (Gestalt Comics). Artists: Mark Lauthier and Kathryn Mann

Read will also add a few more issues to the UNMASKED saga. UNMASKED #3 – #4 [Digital] will be due out this year, with art by Gary Chaloner (The Undertaker Morton Stone). There’s also plans for UNMAKSKED #0, which is “the story of two super-villains, Frankenstein X and Babydoll Draculina, and their Cadillac that runs on human blood, and their wild thrill-killing spree.” A print edition of UNMASKED Volume 1 will follow. Andrew Constant will also continue his own series with BROKEN LINE #2, something we spoke to him about last year. With art by Mark Lauthier and Fly collaborator Kathryn Mann, this brutal post-apocalyptic story is one we’re looking forward to. Indeed, Fly won the 2014 Panels Award for Favourite Australian Book or Series, so this makes Constant one of our favourites to watch in 2015.

STALAG-X: TIPPING POINT #1-3 [Digital/Print] brings a bit more of an international flavour to Gestalt, with the continuation of Kevin J. Anderson and Steven L. Sears’ saga. Illustrated by Mike Ratera, with cover art by Damian Audino, it marks one of Gestalt’s most ambitious continuing projects. The print collection of this second volume will feature a new cover by Dave Dorman, who is best known for his Heavy Metal covers and Star Wars art.

KHULAN #1 [Digital] is a new project for Gestalt, written and illustrated by Katie Houghton-Ward. In the distant past, powerful beings struggle for dominance against each other. A preview of her work can be seen in Heavy Metal #272 (US), with Sacha Bryning on colours.

Finally, Gestalt have a print edition of the NEOMAD COLLECTION planned, released under the BIG hART imprint. Written and illustrated by Sutu, The Love Punks & Satellite Sisters, it’s  set in the Pilbara Desert of Western Australia, it features the participation of 30 young indigenous youths from Ieramugadu (Roebourne) from the Pilbara. They can be seen and heard throughout the three digital episodes of NEOMADwhich is well worth a look, not least of which because it won the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Tertiary and Industry Awards for Best Game/Multimedia Production in late 2013!

Wolfgang Bylsma, publisher and editor-in-chief at Gestalt, has also promised us “have a few other little niceties in the works as well”, so we’ll be paying close attention to ‘cons and their Facebook page throughout the year.

Paul Bedford's The List

The List 2: Seeds Of Eden

Paul Bedford’s The List is one we’ve spoken about a lot on Behind The Panels. We first started talking to Paul in 2013, and he returned of his own volition a few months later to talk in detail about a book we lovingly called “visceral stuff”. In the first volume, a staple at Australian comic conventions and a big seller online, follows a young man  visited by an angel, bearing a bloody quest to fulfil the ‘New Commandments’. Continuing the titular list for his recently departed father, the outside would peg him as a twisted serial killer, but “The Son” is convinced of his holy mission. Has he been visited by an angel, or is it the machinations of a mind gone mad?  As Bedford readies multiple drafts of a screenplay adapting the original graphic novel, he let us know that what we can expect from THE LIST 2: SEEDS OF EDEN:

Hoping to get two (of what is looking to be five) volumes out in ’15. Acting as both a prequel and a sequel, SEEDS OF EDEN will be on a much grander scale and will serve to reveal the true nature and purpose of the New Commandments.

He also confirmed that he is seeking the involvement of artists Henry PoP And Tom Bonin once again.

Zombie Cities 3

Zombie Cities 3 (Silver Fox Comics). Artists: Pencils / inks by Emerson Dimaya and colours by Simon Wright.

Silver Fox Comics

Geeks vs Jocks

Geeks vs Jocks. Artists. Pencils/inks by Glauco Silver. Colours by Fred Marinho

Sorab Del Rio’s quest to get at least one graphic novel out a year “til the day I die” has so far proven to be a winner for the hard working Silver Fox crew, with Zombie Cities, Zombie Cities: Violence and Compassion and the all-ages The Adventures of Rudy Cool: The Ruby Love Diamond (all available at the Silver Fox Comic website) already under their belts. For 2015, Silver Fox celebrates its fifth year with two new releases: ZOMBIE CITIES 3 and GEEKS VS JOCKS: THE WAR.

The former is the latest chapter in the zombie saga that writer Sorab Del Rio has built up over the last few years. Expect pencils/inks by Emerson Dimaya and colours by Simon Wright. Silver Fox Comics says this will be a “continuation of the Sydney story, and I have to say it has it all – balls, guts, attitude, cheek, rebel, fight – everything Aussie Aussie Aussie stands for.”

Meanwhile, GEEKS VS JOCKS: THE WAR is more in the vein of Rudy Cool’s all-ages work. The title is pretty self explantory, as we watch the Apocalypse Kid goes on the attack against the Jocks. The Pencils/inks for the book are by Glauco Silver, with colours by Fred Marinho.

The Silver Fox Comics Facebook page is filled with concept work, in development pieces and finished artwork for both of these upcoming books.

Bullet Gal TPB (Under Belly Comics)

Bullet Gal TPB (Under Belly Comics)

IF? Commix

Melbourne’s IF? Commix duo of Andrez Bergen (based in Tokyo) and Matt Kyme have built a solid roster of comics since 2013, when they took the name and logo of the record company that preceded it. Releasing a combination of comics, graphic novels and prose, 2015 sees them build on their existing roster of BULLET GAL, THAT BULLETPROOF KID and TALES TO ADMONISH.

Andrez wrote to us to let us know what was coming up this year:

IF? Commix will be publishing BULLET GAL #7~12 [Jan-June], THAT BULLETPROOF KID#3 [Feb], and TALES TO ADMONISH #4 in around June. We’re looking at comic versions of WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA?, as well as adapting the Tristan & Iseult legend (a noir comic I’m doing words and art for, set in the 1970s, called ‘TRISTA & HOLT‘). 
And I’m also publishing the 346-page BULLET GAL trade paperback via Under Belly Comics in North America in March..
Winter City #9

Winter City #9 cover (Winter City Productions)

Winter City Productions

The brothers Patrick and Carl Purcell (who visited us on the podcast for Behind The Panels Issue 74) have been a little absent from our shelves these last few months, but we contacted Patrick Purcell to ask him what 2015 had in store for fans of his WINTER CITY series and beyond. As you may recall, they also launched two new series in 2014: Patrick Purcell’s all-ages book MECHANICAL KNIGHT, with Diego Toro and David Aravena, a brand new title called LEFT HAND PATH from Jason Franks, Paul Abstruse and Eddy Swan.

According to Patrick, WINTER CITY #9 and #10 are at the lettering stages, with work on WINTER CITY #11 starting this month. Likewise, MECHANICAL KNIGHT #2, #3 and #4 have finished art, and are also at the lettering stage. “Actually,” adds Patrick “I expect we’ll finish Winter City this year. Huge milestone for us and I think the Aussie comic scene in general.” We couldn’t agree more.

Pandeia #1. Artist: Paul Caggegi

Pandeia #1. Artist: Paul Caggegi


Paul Caggegi’s future Earth epic PANDEIA, in which new civilisations have emerged in the wake of the cataclysms caused by the moon’s destruction, had its first five issues collected into a trade paperback last year. It’s 126 full-colour pages including all the covers, with a forward by Steve Ogden (Moon Town; Doctor Magnifico) and an art section as a bonus. (Available in the Pandeia eStore, and selected comic shops). More impressive is Paul’s ambitious plans for 2015, which current see his saga doubling in size.

Paul aims to have PANDEIA: BOOK II out in a couple of months, collecting issues 6-10 which are currently in production. You can find more information about the series to date, including reading the comics online, at pandeia.com.

Eternal Life Part 1

Eternal Life Part 1. Artist: Paul Wong-Pan

Eternal Life

Karen Beilharz has been a recognisable face and name in Australian comics, especially in the Sydney scene where she has been involved with the Sydney Comics Guild for a number of years, bringing like-minded creators together as a community and to exchange ideas. She edited and contributed to the anthology Kinds of Blue, a series of comics and pieces that explores depression, and it remains an important collection of personal stories that “illuminate what is often unexpressed and help fellow sufferers know they are not alone.”

Karen told us that a follow-up to her ETERNAL LIFE: Part 1 is also due out this year. “It’s a science fiction drama about people, relationships and time: boy meets girl on the observation deck of a backwater space station.Their encounter is brief, but their meeting has repercussions for their decisions about the present and their futures.” With Paul Wong-Pan, Karen aims to have Part 2 and 3 out this year. (More information on Karen’s website)

Oz Comic-Con & Behind The Panels Live

Behind The Panels Live at Oz Comic-ConPerhaps the most exciting news, unsurprisingly given our penchant for shameless self-promotion, is that BEHIND THE PANELS (that’s us!) will be on the road in 2015!

After our successful live shows at the Sydney OZ COMIC-CON in 2014 (which you can relive by listening to Issue 109 (with special guests Nicola Scott and Freddie E Williams II) and Issue 110 (with special guest Ryan K Lindsay), we are pleased to announce our intention to continue that relationship with OZ COMIC-CON and perform similar shows at their Melbourne, Brisbane and of course, home ground Sydney shows. We also hope to be in attendance (if not for a live show) at the Adelaide leg of the con, simply to get back to the City of Churches and explore that unique Radelaide charm we’ve come to know over the years.

We really hope to see some of you there, and as always, there will be prizes, some guests, and your hosts Richard Gray, David McVay and David Longo. This…is going to be fun.

Part 2…

Oh, we’re not done yet, kittens. In Part 2, we’ll take a look at what’s happening with FROM ABOVE, the folks at Hazardous Publications, Bolt Comics, Ryan K. Lindsay, Dean Rankine, and a whole lot more indie publications that we simply couldn’t fit in one reasonable sized article.

Remember: If you’ve got a project you’d like us to give a shout-out in the next chapter, let us know at feedback@behindthepanels.net.

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  1. Australian comics, graphic novels and events that excite us in 2015: Part 2 » Behind The Panels

    […] penning the first part of a look at the year ahead in Australian comics, it became immediately obvious that there were just too many things to fit into a single post. Even […]

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