When the earthquake hit Christchurch on February 22nd, around 180 people were killed, many more were injured, and buildings around the city were damaged and destroyed. Everyone in New Zealand knows people affected by this disaster, and Christchurch will be reeling for years to come. Aftershocks continue, basic services like drinking water, sewerage outflow and electricity are still disrupted, businesses are closing and jobs are being lost. For many families and friends, of course, there is mourning and grief.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and home to many writers, artists, and – of course – cartoonists. Within days of the quake, the city’s (and New Zealand’s) longest running comics anthology Funtime Comics started putting together a special issue, inviting contributions from around the country and beyond. Assembled at lightning speed, Darkest Day is now ready and will be launched this weekend at Armageddon Expo in Wellington. It includes a three-page comic by me, Sometimes You Feel (see sample page to the right).
All proceeds from Darkest Day will go to the Red Cross, to help with disaster relief.
You can buy Darkest Day online, here.
And if you’re at Armageddon Expo this weekend, make sure you visit the New Zealand Comics Creators table, where you’ll find a cornucopia of fine New Zealand comics and graphic novels (including Chris Slane & Matt Elliott’s Nice Day for a War, Ant Sang’s Shaolin Burning, the latest Bristle, and many more!), and meet some lovely talented cartoonists.
Spare a thought, too, for the organisers of Armageddon Expo, who are based in Christchurch and suffered extensive damage to their home and office. The annual expo in Christchurch was supposed to take place last weekend, but had to be postponed due to the earthquake (they hope to hold a special event later this year, if things have settled down enough). So amid all the hustle and bustle, the crowds and the cosplay, remember to be nice to everyone you meet. It’s been a tough year – here in New Zealand, over in Japan, and, come to think of it, all around the world.
As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “There’s only one rule that I know of… ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”