First Sci-Fi to First NZ in USA to Today.

Sometimes it surprises me where Graphic Literature is found. I mean, it shouldn’t but I can be in how creators that have worked here in the United States as well as other large markets might come from the end of the earth.

We’re headed to that End of the Earth now.

New Zealand.

Space Case.

I had to do a little digging for this bit of information. You’ll see why in a moment. I headed to the Library of Congress. Okay, so it was their website. According to the information they’ve pulled in, a comic strip called Mr. Skygack, From Mars by Fred Schaefer and A.D. Condo for the Chicago Day Book appeared in October of 1907, a humorous strip about an alien who comes to learn about humans.1 The LoC source comes from Chronicling America. If you visit the reference below you can see the paper it appears in and zoom in. Actually a very interesting visit.2 There are those who consider this the first science fiction comic strip, humorous as it may be, simply on the basis of an alien being present, the first alien present in a comic strip3. Buck Rogers, appears as of 1/7/1929, although the character had appeared in August of 1928 in Armageddon 2419.4 According to Ron Goulart of The Encyclopedia of American Comics from 1897 to the Present (1990), Buck Rogers is considered the first serious science fiction strip.5

You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with New Zealand. I argue that Mr. Skygack, From Mars is absurdly considered science fiction simply based on the presence of an alien in it. And then even if one does give it credit, Buck Rogers is not the first serious and true science fiction strip. That is like saying a Gone with the Wind is a Civil Rights movie because there are African Americans in it.


Really and Truly Spaced Out.

In 1924 in the Australian Sunday Times a comic strip appears. It is about a young boy named Peter, who travels through space and visits other planets like Jupiter in the strip Peter and all the roving folk.

firstscifiThe creator is Noel Cook who is Foxton, New Zealand born.6Legend goes he turns down an offer to write the series for a company in New York. Five years later and Buck Rogers gets all the fame.

Although Cook created other science fiction books I found some of his humorous strips worth sharing.

gotcha
WIFE (to husband): You like that hat and I like this one, so I had better take both just to please you.

flourSentimental Constable: And what is your favorite flower, Mary?
Mary: Self-raising for scones, and plain for pastry.

After retirement Cook went on to become a successful painter with many shows in London, one being opened by the Queen Mother. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any of those images, but this image of a pulp magazine piece of his shows how talented he was in that medium. Imagine when he painted without a script or an audience to please.

pulpAfter researching Noel Cook, and basically becoming a huge fan, I almost don’t have the energy to move to the next person, or look for the next, but I must. Let’s see where Noel leads me.

Girl Power.

I wanted to jump ahead a bit, and in a way I am, with Ted Brodie-Mack (1897-?). Although born a year later than Noel Cook (1896-1981), Brodie-Mack brought a different character in 1944, Kazanda the Wild Girl and the Forbidden Kingdom.7

kazandarangers-1rangers-2

 

 

 

 

 

Brodie-Mack drew the character while Archie E. Martin, who went by the name of Peter Amos, was the writer. What makes Kazanda stand out is that for one, she’s a woman, a jungle queen of the Lost Continent. She had powers such as telepathy. There are conflicting opinions about other powers, so I’ll stop with telepathy and typical jungle queen kick butt type stuff. The second thing that makes this comic so interesting, it’s the first New Zealand created comic to be published in the United States, reprinted in Ranger Comics in 1945.8

The 1950s Freak Out.

As happened in the United States and other countries, the End of the Earth decided comics were bad for kids and society and began to ban books. It makes you wonder what literary and creative genius was lost during this time of youth being denied a visual medium to excite their minds.

New Zealand Strips for All.

In 1977 a formally trained artist working as an illustrator started a fanzine called Strips. Colin Wilson intended for Strips to show his work, but what it did in reality was begin to showcase work from all across New Zealand. The comics life of the country was reborn.9

But for Wilson, New Zealand didn’t last much longer. The talented artist, apparently extrememly talented, found his way to the UK and on the flagship UK comic book Judge Dredd10 in 2000 AD11 as well as Rouge Trooper12.

dreddrogue-trooperrogue

 

 

 

 

 

But the UK was not the stopping place for Wilson. France and the legendary book Blueberry13 was in his future. For those who read the France part of this series you will recall Blueberry and its importance in French comics.

blueberrypointblank

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think he stopped there? No. American comic fans might recognize the next work of his, a series called Point Blank14, from Wildstorm15 comics, the studio of Jim Lee16. The series was written by a comic great Ed Brubaker17.

wilson

I like the above art Wilson did for an expose of his work in which he includes many of the characters he had worked with through the years. As of the last information I have Wilson is still working for 2000AD.

The New Talent.

As in the rest of the world, the government became a little more sane, as most governments do when the people basically tell them to stuff it.

There isn’t a  lot of information out there right now about some of the talent coming out of New Zealand, especially about the women. But I want to mention them the women along with the sites you can visit.. Indira Neville18, Sarah Laing19 (awards winning author and teacher), Robyn E. Kenealy20, Li Chen21, and Rae Fenton22.

The researchers brain is toast right now. This was an entertaining adventure for me and a great learning experience. I encourage you to click the Reference #21 just above this paragraph to go to the link for a nice interview with three of the women from New Zealand that have begun an effort to put women in the public eye in a male centric opinion of that public. Good points are made I agree with wholly, and some opinions I disagree with, but a very good interview.

See you next time.
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References
Return to Space Case.
1 http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/topics/skygack.html
2 http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093407/1907-10-12/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1836&sort=date&date2=1922&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&index=0&words=Earth+SKYGACK&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=&andtext=skygack+earth&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
3 http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/comics
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Rogers
5 https://books.google.com/books?id=c91Vrl20Y4sC&pg=PA284&lpg=PA284&dq=buck+rogers+the+first+serious+science+fiction+strip&source=bl&ots=LVtk3e-T21&sig=_KEeBuYGZlll4HPU-0as1MXZwbk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xu0tVZSMMZLIsQSJsoHABg&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=buck%20rogers%20the%20first%20serious%20science%20fiction%20strip&f=false

 
Return to Really and Truly Spaced Out. Noel Cook.
6 http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/zoomify/41816/noel-cooks-peter-1925

Return to Girl Power and Ted Brodie-Mack
7 http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/comics-and-graphic-novels/page-1
8 http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/cartoon/41818/kazanda-1945

Return to New Zealand Strips for All. Colin Wilson.
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Wilson_%28comics%29
10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd
11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_AD_%28comics%29
12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Trooper
13 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry_%28comics%29
14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Blank_%28comics%29
15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WildStorm
16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Lee
17 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Brubaker
18 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indira_Neville

Return to The New Talent
19 https://sarahelaing.wordpress.com/about/
20 http://www.pikitiapress.com/blog/2014/10/3/three-words-interview-rae-fenton-sarah-laing-indira-neville
21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robyn_E._Kenealy
22 http://www.designassembly.org.nz/articles/5-minutes-with-li-chen
23 https://www.blogger.com/profile/10046917627054462214
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France Creators from Zig et Puce to Mœbius. #AtoZChallenge


FFrance. The list today could go on forever, but it won’t. What I will do is give you a few that jump out at me. If I miss a favorite of yours, my apologies. Many of the sites are in French and at the moment, I haven’t the strength of concentration to delve into translating. Normally I would, and I may very well do a new version in the future, but today I give you the following.

atoz-map-f

One thing I found interesting is how countries where American comics were popular handled WWII and the restriction and banning of Western comics in those countries while under Nazi or Fascist control.

France was no exception to this situation.

Alain Saint-Ogan

Saint-Ogan1 was born August 7, 1895, in Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine. We have to begin here when speaking of French comics. An author and artist, Saint-Ogan brought to French comic works it had not seen before, and thus gives him the distinction of being a pioneer of sorts in the field. With Zig et Puce2 or Zig and Flea we have for the first time the Western text balloons within the image rather than underneath.

Saint-Olgan was a true early comic creator in nation torn in many ways through war. Meaning, politics showed in many of his productions. One thing that made Zig et Puce popular was the third character, not mentioned in the title, Alfred, their pet penguin. Yes. A penguin.

He passed away in 1974.

Jacques Martin


AlixJacques Martin3, a writer and artist born in Strasbourg, France in 1921, began earnestly a career in comics in 1942 and then took a jump in the right direction by finding his way to Georges Remi, the man known simply as Hergé4.
Learning the ligne claire5 style, Martin created his most famous work, Alix6, also called The Adventures of Alix. The book is about Alix, during the time of Julius Caesar and his adventures, with great historic detail, throughout the Roman Empire and World. The book began in 1948 and continues today, although Martin had to pass the artist duties over due to failing eyesight starting in 1998. He passed away in 2010.

Jean-Claude Forest

Jean-Claude Forest7, writer and artist born in Le Perreux-sur-Marne, a Paris suburb in 1930. Trained at the Paris School of Design, Forest began work quickly and eventually went on to create one very famous character. Hforest - barbarellae is the first of the list today to be into the science fiction part of the comic book world. Which is reflected in his creation, Barbarella8. Barbarella was known as the first adult comic in that it contained some eroticism. Many may remember the movie9 based on the books that stared Jane Fonda.

He passed away in 1988.

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud

“Mœbius”10 as the man is known, an artist born in 1938 in Nogent-sur-Marne, France. Yes, I waited until the end to give this one to you. Why? He is probably the most influential man on the list.

Blueberry-Giraud

In western/cowboy comics he gave us Blueberry11, along with writer Jean-Michael Charlier12. Some say this is his most famous among those in France. His science-fiction work ofArzach note was with the books Arzach13 and Airtight Garage14. He even Airtightworked with Stan Lee15 on a Marvel16 two issue story of Silver Surfer17 called Parable18 which won an Eisner Award19.

 

tron
Tron Concept Art

Alien
Alien Concept Art


Giraud passed away in 2012. Perhaps one of the greatest influences Giraud had and maybe still has is through his graphic short story The Long Tomorrow
20. The visuals of the story were an impact on movies such as Blade Runner21, and even the probe droid in the opening of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back22. He also was a storyboard artist on movies such as Alien23.

Watch the man himself at work.

 

Click the image below for England or this link: England Comics Creators at home and their US invasion.

E
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References

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Saint-Ogan /a>
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zig_et_Puce
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Martin_%28comics%29
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herg%C3%A9
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_claire
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Alix
7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Claude_Forest
8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarella_%28comics%29
9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarella_%28film%29
10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Giraud
11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry_%28comics%29
12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Michel_Charlier
13 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arzach
14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airtight_Garage
15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Lee
16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Surfer
17 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Comics
18 http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Surfer-Parable-Stan-Lee/dp/0785162097
19 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisner_Award
20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tomorrow
21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner
22 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Empire_Strikes_Back
23 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_%28film%29
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Belgium and those little blue guys. #AtoZChallenge

All links open in this page for the convenience of screen readers of the blind and the visually impaired.

BToday we visit Belgium for a look at comic creators from around the world.

One you will know but not even realize it. But you’ll have to wait for that one. Belgium has a great history in what I will call the graphic art of storytelling.  Their history begins in the 1920s with youth publications and church newspapers. They share greatly with the French and French creators through one of their two languages.


Jean-Michel Charlier

“The coward think of what they can lose, the heroes of what they can win.”

Jean-Michel-CharlierBorn in Belgium Charlier was a writer who later died in France. During his lifetime he created one of the most dominant comic series of the 1960s throughout Europe. Along with French artist JeaBlueberry-Giraudn “Moebius” Giraud, he created Blueberry (1965-1990), a western comic set in the American West with an atypical cowboy hero. He wasn’t a lawman or out to get the girl. He happened to be in a place at a time and did what needed done. “When I was traveling throughout the West, I was accompanied by a fellow journalist who was just in love with blueberry jam, so much in love, in fact, that I had nicknamed him “Blueberry”. When I began to create the new series, and everything started to fall into place, I decided to reuse my friend’s nickname, because I liked it and thought it was funny. […] I had no idea that he would prove so popular that he would eventually take over the entire series, and later we would be stuck with that silly name!“~Charlier. He had been sent to Edward Air Force Base on assignment.

Charlier was the writer of Buck Danny (1948-1988), Redbeard (1961-1991) as well as many others. What I find interesting is the Belgian method of a series. Apparently it is tradition the writer and artist team continues until one either passes of the series is over. If one passes the series ends. Fortunately, Charlier had chosen successors for his works. There is a quality of these books that I am highly impressed with and has my fingers itching to write comic book scripts again.


 

Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi)

“I’m a dreadful egotist. I draw for the child I was and still am. If Jacques Martin or Bob de Moor has a good idea, I convince myself completely and forever that it was mine.”

Herge-TintinHergé was born in 1907 and passed away in 1983 in Belgium. He is seen as the pioneer of a style of drawing in comics called ligne claire or clear line. Although an artist he was also a writer. His art worked with his writing to create the stories he told. Tintin-mainCast

His most famous work is The Adventures of TinTin. Although a much loved and popular series of the 20th Century it did have its detractors for its racial stereotyping. “I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me.” Some of his early work had to be altered depending on the market it was to be distributed in. The series has been on radio, TV, and movies.
hatching

The art style, ligne claire has influenced many. Think of a Batman comic with simply lines and paint rather than shadows on the face created by what is called cross hatching.

One particular standout to me is Geof Darrow who has worked with a previously mentioned creator, Frank Miller. One collaboration, Hard Boiled won the Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist in 1991. But how does Hergé connect to something you might know today?

After his work on Hard Boiled a team know as the Wachowskis asked him to do some concept work for a movie called The Matrix. Darrow receives screen credit in each movie.


It is impossible to do a comic piece on Belgium and not mention this next man.

The man known simply as:

Peyo

“He remembers a meal he had with his friend André Franquin (Marsupilami) when he’d wanted to ask Franquin to pass him the salt. But he couldn’t remember the word so he says: “Pass me the … uhm … the smurf!”. Franquin hands it over and answers: “Here’s the smurf. Once you’ve smurfed with it you can smurf it back to me!” And so the name and language of the little imps were invented…”-From Smurfs.com

PeyoPierre Culliford was born in 1928 in Brussels and passed away in 1992 in Brussels. Belgian from beginning to end. Why Peyo? A cousin mispronounced his name and I guess he liked it. He first worked for an animation studio but when it shut its doors he wasn’t accepted by another place that took his friends in. Thus began a career in print.

Johan_and_Pirlouit_PeyoWhile working for Le Soir, a newspaper, he created Johan. Later when hired for Spirou published by the same company, Dupuis, that had refused to hire him before, he continued Johan as Johan and Peewit. This was in 1952.

smurfs-sheetIn 1958 a creation came about in Johan and Peewit that would become  cultural phenomenon in the future. The first Smurf was introduced. The Smurfs became so popular Peyo started his own studio.

The rest is history. I am certain some of you have seen the Smurf cartoons, and the Smurf movies. And all because a young man wasn’t hired by a company as an animator when the doors shut on his previous employers studio.


 Click the A for Argentina.

A1

 

 

 

 

Click the C for Croatia.

C

 

 

 

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