May of this year, eleven of Australia’s premier independent comic creators are touring the North-Eastern United States and Toronto, Canada in an ambitious tour of comics festivals, institutions and stores. This maybe the furthest a group of cartoonists has ever travelled to sell books, give lectures, panels and workshops and to promote Australian comics. We’re calling it the Caravan of Comics.
In three small cars we’re hitting the road for three weeks to cover: Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s annual independent comics festival (MoCCA Festival) in New York, as featured artists, delivering panels and workshops.
Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) as featured artists, delivering panels and workshops.
The Centre for Cartoon Studies in Vermont (the only cartooning-focused university in the world) where a subset of the Caravan has been invited to deliver a visiting artist lecture.
Comic jams, appearances and signings in stores including: drawing with the artists behind the Kids
Read Comics Festival in Ann Arbor;; Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago;; Little Island Comics in Toronto; Comic Book Jones in New York City and more TBC.
On board the Caravan are cartoonists variously award-winning, locally-adored and internationally-published, with the most unlikely mix of characters and artistic styles including:
Pat Grant - a NSW-based artist-writer-surfer whose debut graphic novel “Blue”, about localism and racism (out in the US March 2012 through Top Shelf) may turn out to be the Great Australian Graphic Novel
Ben Hutchings - a cartoonist whose softly spoken manner belies a surprisingly cheeky streak that informs some of the funniest comics in the world
Andrew Fulton - a quiet and unassuming cartoonist whose wordless action comics are breathtaing in their inventiveness and sense of play with the form
Mandy Ord - whose ink-soaked autobiographical comics about life in suburban Melbourne (including the recent “Sensitive Creatures” from Allen & Unwin) are consistently some of Australia’s most accomplished sequential storytelling.
Douglas Holgate - part Viking, all cartoonist – is the Caravan’s most established member having published numerous children’s titles both in Australia and overseas. His lively style speaks to an enormous enthusiasm for comics.
Sarah Howell - best known as 2009-10 Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival, is an accomplished illustrator whose style is sometimes whimsical, sometimes grounded, and always stunning.
The adventure is clear - promoting our work and our industry in a much more established part of the but the mystery will be who cracks first in the pressure-cooker Caravan and exactly how long it will take them.
For all press, appearance & general enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org We will be posting about lead up activity and on-the-road shenanigans: www.caravanofcomics.com, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/caravanofcomics) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/caravanofcomics).
David Blumenstein - the cartoonist behind the long-running comedy series The Bret Braddock Adventures; a comic that mines humor from the guts-tearing feeling you get when you’re being taken advantage of by a boss who hasn’t paid you in two months.
Matt Taylor - based in Sydney, is the absurdly – and diversely - talented Creative Director for internationally-established animation studio, Sixty40 as well as cartoonist of adventure comics with a heavy-metal aesthetic.
Gregory Mackay - makes award-winning comics about a strange kind of every-day-ness that are both quietly desperate and charmingly beautiful. His long running Francis Bear is published in French through The Hoochie Coochie.
Michael Hawkins - tells stories of teen dramas and suburban explorers told in a visual style that drips and bleeds from one panel into the next through Hawkin’s amazing ink and watercolours. Hawkin’s style is completely unique.
Jen Breach - a short, bespectacled Australian based in New York City, writes comics about ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances, collaborating with a number of talented cartoonists (including some on the Caravan).
As special guest-star Roadie, the Caravan is delighted to include John Retallick, presenter of 3CR radio’s long-running “The Comic Spot”. A man more enthusiastic about Australian comics you are not likely to meet.