Hello silver surfers of the world wide intergalactus, the website for Bruce Mutard is back and live after some 8 months offline for a new build that has taken rather too long. Probably no one missed it except for myself, since those who may have gone online looking for information about the author that is me, would have only found a place holder. But there is plenty of other content online about me - whatever that may be.
The purpose of the rebuild was to find a platform where I could generate and publish content myself, so I did not have to rely on someone else to upload, which was the problem with my previous site. And so it is with Shopify, which I have used for my online retail platform at www.fabliaux.com.au. While creating that with the help of the lovely web sorcerers at eChic, it occurred to me that the very image-centric nature of Shopify would be ideal for a comics site, as it too, would be mostly used for displaying comics pages. So it is with great pleasure that we kick this out the airlock and into webspace, where no one can hear it scream: I'm not ready!
I hope it makes a suitable impression and note that eventually a great deal of my work and research into comics will be posted onto this site. There is a forthcoming academic section wherein I will upload my investigations into the nature of the comics form – or exactly how comics actually communicate – something I don't think has been successfully answered yet, pace McCloud and Groenstein.
Meanwhile, this site will be the place to find and read my short comics, much of which are in hard to find out of print or defunct publications, not least my own Street Smell comics from twenty years ago. They are not available for download, but I will print them in hardcopy at some point, since that is my way.
This blog will also be the place where I will announce news of my upcoming appearances and the like, of which there are a few to come in this month and next. Stay tuned!
Comic Con-Versation. Ashfield Library, Saturday September 20, 4pm to 8pm. FREE.
In an age where the big pop-culture cons have evolved to the point where comics are almost the least part of it (unless it’s a movie), I think this sort of community oriented event is the future for comics ‘show and tell’ in Australia and possibly elsewhere. Join me and the cream of the Sydney comics community, Pat Grant, Chris Sequeria, W Chew Chan, Sorab Del Rio, Pat Purcell, Julie Ditrich, Tim McEwen, Jan Scherpenhuizen, Marcelo Baez and many more for a few hours discussing and celebrating the wonderful medium of comics. There’ll be workshops, panel sessions, an artists alley with lots of comics being sold by their creators direct to the public; get them signed, get a sketch, get a poster or a print, have chat about their work. The evening is designed more as a mingle, where the public can mix with comics creators and learn about comics, what makes them special, which are the best ones to read, and of course, to showcase the fabulous collection of comics and graphic novels that Ashfield library has. All of this has been made possible by the wonderful collections manager at Ashfield, Karen Dwarte, whose passion for comics obviously knows no bounds. After doing this, she’ll probably wish she did have bounds, but what’s life if you don’t push them out a bit?
For those of you who couldn’t make my exhibition – and that is nearly everyone, thanks to its three day running time and location is a corner of the Monash Caulfield campus that is in no way easy to find – I thought many of you might like to see some images from my exhibition and ‘closing’ ceremony, especially as many of you could not make it. It took five of us 8 hours to get it up (and two of us 4 hours to pull it down). The examiners have been and gone and the work under my bed or in my garage. I was happy with the installation, even if about 25-30% of the work did not get installed for lack of room. There is no real way that I could imagine it in the space while making it, so even I did not see the work as intended for the first time until after it was put up. And installing a work like this is an organic process. There was improvisation on the day as each space is different, and with a work like this that is meant to be immersive, meant it has to shape itself to the space. I do hope to install the entire work in another space that can remain up for say, three weeks and have an opening on the weekend, but I know the work will look a bit different. But that’s fascinating is it not?
So, you have two places you can go to see pics:
First is the inestimable Bobby N’s blog. As many of us know, he takes great photos. http://bobbynsblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/bruces-exhibition.html
Second is at Dark Matter Zine, run by the marvellous Nalini Haynes. She couldn’t make the closing night as she was crook (and I reckon half of Melbourne was), but her husband Edward came along and took a lot of photos and a video of my short speech. He also returned the next day to do a 45 minute video walk through, where I spoke about the work and research into comics in considerable depth (reflecting the exegesis). I also hope to post a link to my exegesis, but it is embargoed until the examiners reports are submitted and a grade given.
Greetings to you all,
Hard to believe but after five and a half years, my Masters in comics is 99.99% done. It’s my first big new work in many years and is one of many reasons why the The Fight has been delayed for so long (and it’s still not really likely to appear until 2017). It’s called Words Into Pictures, which reflects my having undertaken an in-depth study into the medium of comics, what it is, how it really works, what does it mean to tell stories or communicate anything with juxtaposed narrative images. One thing I learned is that we have to move past McCloud’s Understanding Comics, which is not really helpful towards understanding the medium. Knowing about closure and those six types of transitions are useless when it comes to making good comics.
Anyhow, this comic has been created expressly to be exhibited, not read in print. That is, you must encounter it in public, in person, moving around with respect to the work, rather than you turning pages in an intimate encounter with a book. This work is much, much larger than you are. I created it as one way to start exploring what is really going on inside the medium of comics (and it’s not literature). In this case, I have literally exploded it, deconstructed it so that the usual modes of encounter with comics and exhibitions are challenged. You’ll be in a large gallery space trying to figure out how to encounter this comic which you normally would be reading… so how do you approach it? That is up to you.
The exhibition starts on Tuesday July 15 and runs three days until July 17. That seems ridiculous, but it is an examination exhibition, meaning it has been set up expressly for the benefit of my examiners. They are currently in possession of my exegesis – the written document – which you won’t have access to yet, though I may put it up or print it down the track, depending on the result.
I am however, going to have a nice drinksies and gathering on the evening of July 17, from 5:30 to 7pm. Not the most convenient of times, but it is being held on campus in the faculty masters gallery and there are lots of rules about holding public events like this. So, I am inviting you to come along and take a gander at it in the way it is meant to be ‘read’. Will it see print one day? Probably, but it will not be the same work. You’ll understand when you see it that there are things that simply can’t translate to print.
Another reason you may find this work intriguing is that the story is from The Return – volume three of my trilogy. Robert Wells as an old man. His daughter, Andrea, the principal protagonist of The Fight. His grandson Michael, the principal protagonist of The Return. Come and find out what you might be reading um… god knows when The Return will come out… 2025?
So, the deets you need are:
Thursday July 17, 5:30 – 7pm.
Faculty of Art and Design Masters Gallery, room D2.09 (second level of D block)
Monash University, Caulfield Campus.
See map below. Very close to Caulfield Station. Parking along Normanby Road and Station St opposite Caulfield racecourse.
COULD YOU DO ME A BIG FAVOUR AND LET ME KNOW YOU’RE COMING SO I KNOW HOW MUCH I SHOULD CATER.
22-23rd May, 2015
Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE
Yarra Bend Rd
It’s late autumn and the leaves are almost all red, brown and gold on the ground. It’s time for some good festival fun at Nexus, put on by the Bachelor of Illustration at NMIT. This is about the 4th or 5th year this has been run, so it must be good to last despite all the cuts in TAFE budgets. Through a series of panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions, it burrows into the methodologies of animation, comics and moving images, finding correspondences and differences so that students and the public might learn a few things about these mediums. Take a look at the schedule here, where you’ll see I’m running a comics workshop on the Friday the 23rd, a panel discussion with Nicki Greenberg and another mystery guest, then there’ll be a book fair in the afternoon. Doesn’t cost much and you might learn something!
To register attendance, go to the email at the base of the Schedule page: http://nexusfestival.blogspot.com.au/p/schedule.html
When: Saturday May 10, 10:30am – 4pm.
Where: CAE, Level 4, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Cost: ASA Members $155; Member of a Partner Organisation $185; full price $230.
Bookings: 1800 257 121 (toll-free) or visit www.asaauthors.org
I love to teach comics. I have spent 25 years making them and though self-taught (there was no other option when I started), I think I’ve learnt a few tricks (or a hundred) over that time so I am more than happy to pass my knowledge on. The only possible outcome is more and better comics; how can that be bad? Moreover, you can learn stuff in a short time that took me years to figure out! In this workshop, I will give you some insight into the magic of visual storytelling, which is the core of comics – more so than great drawing or sharp dialogue. Through discussion of examples and practical exercises, you’ll gain an understanding of comics as a medium and the process of ‘writing with images’. I’ll give you a grasp on the rules to comic layout and storytelling that will be pertinent whether you want to draw yourself, or write for other artists. Sure it costs a bit, but lunch is thrown in as is water, tea, coffee and bikkies. Main thing is I reckon it’s a small price for knowledge. I could be wrong.
12-5pm, Sunday, 27th April.
Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote.
Hola, it’s time to get down to home-style comics cookin’, put on by probably the city for comics in Australia, the City of Darebin. More comics artists per capita than anywhere else I’m sure. There’ll be a ton of things to do on the day. There’ll be performances, lots of drawing workshops for kids, face painting, cosplay and dress-ups, and best of all, 30 tables and stalls of comics goodness for you to come and find something interesting to read, chat to their makers, get something drawn or whatever. I am biased, but I love this festival and it’s so community based and scaled, quite apart from the big pop culture expos where comics get lost amid the colour and movement of motion pictures and what not. I will be behind a table selling my books and also with lots of information about the Australian Society of Authors, where I handle their comics and graphic novels portfolio. But I can also answer all manner of questions about being any kind of an author. See you there!
You can checkout the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HomecookedComics
Inkers & Thinkers symposium has passed and I can say with complete bias that it was fabulous. All the papers were most interesting and before long there ought to be podcasts put up so you can listen to them. I’ll provide a link here when they become available. My short summary of it all is that there is a burgeoning of comics scholarship in this country, in line with overseas and perhaps in response to that movement. The thing is that I feel the arrival of so many diverse and interesting comics in the past twenty years has made passionate fans of the medium, and where they are scholars, made them want to research it. I am one of them with a thesis being produced by project: a comic created especially to be encountered in a gallery. More on that when it is due for exhibition in July. Anyhow, comics scholarship is a global phenomenon, albeit still very niche. There are no comics studies departments – yet. Nor is there a specific comics theory and vocabulary either, borrowing as it does from cinema studies, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, art theory (not much) and wherever a scholar grasps for ways to explain their ideas. That’s how all new scholarship is created.
So, for those who could not attend, you can download an illustrated pdf of my speech, here. Please share the link around to those you think might be interested, as I think the ideas it contains are important, and they are to serve as springboard for ideas and discussion on comics in this country.
Hello all you inkers and thinkers,
By now you may have heard something on the grapevine about an interdisciplinary academic symposium on comics called Inkers and Thinkers – the Evolution of Comics. Apologies if you have and don’t care, but for those who are curious, read on. It’s the spawn of an affair between the University of Adelaide’ Discipline of Media and the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice (what you can do when you win a Nobel Prize, eh?)
It’s on at the University of Adelaide, 4th April, 2014. It is a one day gabfest that bring many of the foremost thinkers and not a few inkers to talk about the medium we love, called comics; to discuss its newly acquired space in Australian culture and what challenges and possibilities face it in the coming years. I will be giving the keynote speech – A State of the Comics Nation address- which will site contemporary comics making in this country within its recent history, the global marketplace and then pull no punches in describing where I think it should go, why and some ideas about how to get there. Bring shoes to throw!
Other speakers are:
There will also be a screening of Bernard Caleo and Dan Hayward’ Graphic Novels! Melbourne! doco from 8pm.
It’ll run from 9am where it’s tea and bikkies while we register and wet our lips for what’s to come (no, no, not like THAT!)
I’m on at 10am and then it’s the above until 6pm. Lunch will be provided!
And you know what’s one of the best things about it aside from all the mind-expanding new knowledge about comics you’ll get?
Yup, you read that right (or left if you’re a pinko). Won’t cost you your pinkie.
AND NO, you don’t have to be an academic to come along. We want anyone who loves comics, makes comics or is even simply curious about the medium to come along and not only hear what we have to say, but have your say, too. Simply put your hand up when question times arise; there’ll be lots of those – and then there’s the tea breaks and the drinks thereafter.
So, run along to this site and register so that you’ll be let in and I’ll see you there.
More info: http://www.inkersandthinkers.com
Crikey, it’s that time of the year again when a very big bum hovers over Melbourne to let loose a big pile of… COMICS!
Okay, it’s a little later than the first Saturday in March, being March 15, but that was so a couple of extra books could be squeezed in. Well, they needed that extra time to get over the line, so we moved the line. It’s our launch, so we can do that. Two more books; that means more for punters; no one loses.
There will be 10 comics and Gns on the table:
The MC for the day will be the legendary Larry Boxshall, so bring cotton wool for your ears; he’ll probably drop more f-bombs than The Wolf of Wall Street.
So, you need to be seen on Saturday March 15 from 2pm to 6 at The Fitzroy Beer Garden, 243-245 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
Find out more here: http://bigarsecomics.tumblr.com
and indicate you ‘like’ it and that you’re coming, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/345995578872755/