Also featured in later issues of Strips were
younger artists like Dylan Horrocks (Pickle) and Peter Rees (who
produced a comic called Playgnounds for Fantagraphics in the early
1990s). By 1986, Horrocks, who then called himself Kupe (a la Herge
- Kupe being the mythical first settler of Aotearoa), had teamed
up with Cornelius Stone to bring out the alternative comic publication
Razor was born at the same time Strips died, and in many ways became
for the late 1980s and early 1990s what Strips had been for the
late 70s and early 80s.
It was younger, less predictable, more underground and esoteric,
at the same time as being more self-consciously ambitious and commercial.
Although of course, it could never be. Not with Cornelius Stone
at its helm. Dylan Horrocks once described Stone as 'a real life
'Cornelius is a completely self-made man. Hes completely self-educated.
And all that Comes through in his work. To him theres like
just one big cultural plane, whether it's Picasso or a comic book,
or Spiderman, or an advertisement for Four Square or something.
Its all just a part of this enormous big scene, and he feeds
off all that without that kind of self-conscious awareness that
a lot of high-brow have when they dabble in 'pop culture'.
While commercial success evaded Stone himself, for many who came
within his orbit, an international career in comics was to be forthcoming,
most notably Horrocks and Roger Langridge (who originally created
the character of Knuckles the Malevolent Nun with Stone, and has
since worked for many international publishers including Fantagraphics
THE STORY CONTINUES...
To conclude, New Zealand comics have evolved despite, rather than
because of their role in the popular consciousness - which is
virtually non-existent. They have always been brazen, youthful
Because of the almost complete absence of a commercial framework
within which the artform has developed in the United States for
example, New Zealand comics have developed as something more akin
to a 'cottage industry'. While this essay attempts to begin tracing
an historical social evolution, this is to some degree contrived.
There has been little apparent independent artistic development
of the form in this country. What New Zealand comics have in common,
if anything, is their environment of isolation and cultural hostility.
If there is anything resembling a 'New Zealand style', it perhaps
comes from the very limited exposure to American comics up until
the 1960s, described above, and the broad cross-section of British,
American, European and Japanese influences that have been readily
available since that time. Herges Adventures of Tintin were
distributed in English translation through the national library
service during the 1960s, and also appear to have had a disproportionate
influence. Other artists and titles that have left a noticeable
mark are Lee Falks The Phantom,
Leo Baxendales, The Beano, Moebius, Crumb, 2000AD... but
this is an anecdotal.
The full stony is yet to be told, and it continues apace.
Tim Bollinger is currently at work on Back of Beyond, a history
of New Zealand comics.