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Archive for December, 2010

To The I-Land: the Comics of Barry Linton

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Click to read the story

Click to read the story


This is a story first published in Look This Way: New Zealand Writers on New Zealand Artists, edited by Sally Blundell (published by Auckland University Press). It’s an appreciation, in comics form, of one of my all-time favourite cartoonists, the great Barry Linton.

Happy Holidays!

Waitakere Legends

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

I’m on holiday (i.e. away from the Magic Pen) until the New Year, but I’ll try to post some pictures in the meantime.

These are some drawings I did for Waitakere Legends, a project organised by Waitakere City Council before it was merged into the new Auckland City. They commissioned a number of artists (including Misery and the great Barry Linton) to illustrate stories from the history of the region. These then turned up in various places: on a billboard at the Henderson Railway Station, in a printed booklet, and decorating selected public buildings.

I did three pictures for the project, and here they are. You can click on each image to see it larger.

Whatipu dances

In the 1920s, a large cave at Whatipu beach was used for evening dances. A wooden (kauri) dance floor was laid down by local millers and a launch would bring revellers from Onehunga to the Whatipu wharf. The cave was decorated with lanterns and ribbons and a band would play for the well-dressed dancers. Decades later, the cave was also used for psychedelic and trance dance parties, although the wooden dance floor is now buried under metres of sand.

Karekare Races

Since 1985, a semi-annual horse race has been held at Karekare beach (a wild west-cost surf beach), to raise money for the local school, surf lifesaving club and volunteer fire brigade. People come from all over the region, and a festive atmosphere reigns, with barbecues and raffles, bright banners and family fun. The date of the event moves around, as it needs a low tide at midday on a Saturday, which happens about three times a year.

Oratia Beauty

Waitakere has long been a place of orchards, vineyards and market gardens – many first planted by newcomers from the Dalmatian Coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One such family is the Glucina brothers, Gregory and Mate, who arrived between 1898 and 1900, whose orchard on Shaw Road in Oratia gave birth to a brand new variety of apple, which came to be called the Oratia Beauty. The apple is famously tart and crisp, and rather sour but it spread throughout New Zealand and is now considered a heritage apple.

Now you can wear Hicksville Comics on your chest.

Monday, December 20th, 2010


Yes, I finally got around to making a Hicksville Comics t-shirt, which you can buy from RedBubble. Drape your delicate frame with an assortment of characters from Hicksville, The Magic Pen and Atlas. Or perhaps the delectable frame of a loved one or family member. Or hang it in the closet and forget you ever bought it. Use it to dry dishes. Put it on the dog. Really, it’s entirely up to you.

Also available on kids’ clothing.

Sharing is caring

Friday, December 17th, 2010

demonoid1I’ve just had this pointed out to me: a torrent on Demonoid with all 10 issues of Pickle, the comic book I did in the 1990s (published by Black Eye).

I am, of course, delighted, and wish to thank whoever uploaded it (not to mention whoever went to all the trouble of scanning it in the first place!).

Just remember to seed, folks…

Update 1: Andrew Dubber has kindly made those Pickle issues available via Rapidshare (in case you don’t have a Demonoid account).

Update 2: Because people have been asking, here are some ways you can buy my books and/or help feed my kids, if you feel compelled to do so:

You can buy Hicksville here from Drawn & Quarterly.

Or you can buy Hicksville here from Amazon.

Or you can leave a tip (via Paypal) in my Tip Jar.





New page: The Magic Pen

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Click for new page

Click for new page

New page: The Magic Pen

Monday, December 13th, 2010
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Click for new page

Beautiful Lies

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Milo's Week - Beautiful Lies
Today’s page of The Magic Pen is taking a little longer to finish than expected (that’s what I get for including a huge crowd scene). So in the meantime here’s an old comic strip that seems kinda relevant at the moment.

Back in 1995-7, I drew a weekly strip called Milo’s Week for The New Zealand Listener. This one was published on June 29, 1996, during the buildup to a general election.

I hope you enjoy it – and I should have the new Magic Pen page up on Monday.

New page: The Magic Pen

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Click for new page

Click for new page

An open letter to journalists regarding Wikileaks.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010


(I apologise for interrupting with something completely unrelated to comics, but I want to post this somewhere, and here seems the easiest place. Normal ‘Magic Pen’ posting will resume tomorrow!)

As the war on Wikileaks heats up to fever pitch, this has become an issue far greater than the nuanced specifics of the Cablegate leak and whether you think its release was flawed or its contents trivial.

Think back to the Pentagon Papers and ask yourself: would you like to have cooperated with Nixon’s attempts to suppress, persecute and harass Daniel Ellsberg, Neil Sheehan and the Washington Post? Or would you have taken a stand on principle?

The nature of the two leaks are, of course, very different; but make no mistake: this is that kind of once-in-a-generation moral challenge. As attempts to crush Wikileaks move beyond the reasonable and into the extralegal and Orwellian, this is becoming a profound moral crisis for free speech, journalism and democracy.

Frankly, I no longer care whether you find Julian Assange annoying and arrogant or how you feel about Gaddafi’s buxom nurse. The issues at stake now are far more significant and the outcome of this crisis will shape the environment for journalism, whistleblowers, the internet, free speech and democracy for a long time to come. In that, at least, there is a clear and striking parallel with the events surrounding the release of the Pentagon Papers and its aftermath.

So please: think about how your actions today might look in twenty years time, and please – for the sake of whatever ideals and principles first led you to consider journalism – take this crisis SERIOUSLY!

(And while I’m on the subject, please remember that Julian Assange is not the only person being persecuted over this. Remember Pfc Bradley Manning? If anyone’s the Daniel Ellsberg in all this, it’s Manning, who is currently in military prison, being kept in isolation and facing over 50 years imprisonment – all for trying to do the right thing. A few more stories about him wouldn’t go amiss…)