The short story is that I have been married to comics for 25 years – yep, 2014 is our silver anniversary year. We have produced 5 children thus far: The Bunker (Image Comics, 2003); The Sacrifice (Allen & Unwin, 2008); The Silence (Allen & Unwin, 2009); A Mind of Love (Black House Comics, 2011) and Stripshow (Milk Shadow Books, 2012). Like all marriages, it’s been a rollercoaster ride but we’ve stuck through it. We’ve grown to love each other more as time passes, and the sex is better than ever. I’m pretty confident we’ll be together for life; we’re already getting our joint epitaph carved.
In the darker parts of our relationship, I produced and self-published four editions of Street Smell: the Lowbrow Comic for Highbrows (1994-1998) under my Bad Art Studios imprint. These are out of print and will not be reprinted. Ever. Well, not whilst I am alive anyway.
I have also produced numerous short stories that have appeared in Meanjin, Overland, Australian Book Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Verge, Tango, SPX Expo, The Trip, The Bizarre Times, Human Zoo and lots of other short-lived magazines and zines. There will be collections of these one day, I promise. Some of my best work is in these.
Trawling through the site you’ll see that I’ve done a lot of other commissioned work, talks, workshops and all that. In the middle of this year I should finish my Master of Design project – a comic designed for the gallery space so it has to be encountered physically and communally rather than intimately and privately like a book. Stay tuned to the news section for any viewing opportunities.
In answer to the one-dollar question, I am currently working on the second volume of the Robert Wells Trilogy, called The Fight. It’s taking a lot longer than planned and I don’t really know when it’ll be done. When this site first went live in 2012, I said it would be 2014. Well, maybe 2017 now. As for the third volume… plan on living a long time and you’ll get to read it.
For the record, I was born, raised, educated and have thus far, always lived in Melbourne, Australia. However, if anyone wants to swap a villa in Italy, southern France or Spain for all my original art, get in touch.
I didn’t start making comics until I was in my twenties. I liked comics as a kid, reading Asterix, Tintin, the Disney comics of Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson, Peanuts and Mad Magazine – especially Mort Drucker’s movie spoofs. I was in awe of his ability to draw such accurate caricatures and pretty much anything, as it appeared to be. I admired any cartoonist who had the ability to draw things representationally, such as Herge (and his many assistants). No surprise that I worked hard to try and achieve the same ability, but caricatures are by far my weakest skill.
When young, I never imagined I would be making comics for a living. I wanted to be an artist, but as a fantasy/sci-fi art a la Boris Vallejo, Julie and the Hildebrandt brothers. It was when I discovered Heavy Metal Illustrated magazine and the wonders of the Moebius, Bilal, Serpieri, Altuna, Gimenez, Corben and so on that made me wonder about comics. What really turned me to making them was discovering Robert Crumb, especially his ‘My Troubles With Women Part 2′. Suddenly he gave voice and image to my own nerdy, lovelorn, frustrated male feelings and thus, my love affair with comics began.
Having been booted out of design school for being a bad boy, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I could have gotten a real job, but no, I decided to try my hand at freelance cartooning, comics and illustration. I didn’t make any money for years, but I stuck at it, assiduously trying to improve my drawing and storytelling skills so I could get a lifestyle like Dan Bilzerian. Didn’t happen. I knew that financially, I should have drawn for Image Comics or something, but I’m not Rob Liefeld (even though I did get a book out through them). If I’m going to spend 2-3 years on a book, it has to be something I want to say, to be taken seriously, to have the possibility that it may stay in print way past my life plus 75 years before it becomes public domain.
Here’s looking forward to our golden anniversary.