NZ comics go back long way
CARTOONIST Adrian Kinnaird’s love of comics started when he was a 5-year-old reading Winnie the Pooh.
But the story of New Zealand’s comic book pioneers goes back much further than that.
Kinnaird will delve into that history at the Auckland Art Gallery next week as part of the Auckland Writers’ Festival.
The Sandringham cartoonist and writer founded the first blog dedicated to the national comic book scene in 2009 after getting frustrated with the lack of recognition for local artists.
‘‘I came away from a book deal which fell over, heartbroken and disappointed,’’ he says. ‘‘I saw a whole bunch of my colleagues in the same process.’’
His book From Earth’s End: The Best of New Zealand Comics chronicles the industry’s history, from its forgotten rise and fall in the 1950s to the contemporary cartoonists of today.
Kinnaird hopes the blog and book will help reintroduce New Zealanders to comic books.
‘‘For a long time when I was a young cartoonist it was really difficult drawing comics because a lot of people felt you were wasting your time and that it was just not going to amount to anything,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s quite hard thinking people have spent their entire lives here working on stuff that hasn’t been respected or cared about.’’
But the industry is finding its feet again and Kinnaird foresees a positive future.
He spent eight months trawling through archives at the Auckland Art Gallery and Central City Library and spoke with experienced cartoonists including Tim Bollinger to research the book.
‘‘There’s actually a wealth of material once you start looking. There was amazing stuff – you wouldn’t believe things I got out of notes which were filed away for nearly 30 years and hadn’t been read for that long,’’ he says.
‘‘Once I started digging there was a huge amount of detail and there’s still more to find really because New Zealand comics were so poorly documented over time.
‘‘There was a huge pressure taking the whole of the industry on my shoulders to do my first book on the subject,’’ Kinnaird says.
‘‘I had to not think about it too much or it would just be paralysing to even start the project.’’
He is now taking a step back from representing the community to ‘‘get back to being a cartoonist for a living.’’
Three pieces of artist Noel Cook’s original artwork, which haven’t been viewed in public since 1979, will be displayed at Kinnaird’s Auckland Writers Festival session on May 17. The talk will be in the Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium from 1.15pm to 2.15pm. Go to writersfestival.co.nz for tickets.
Comic crusader: Cartoonist Adrian Kinnaird will speak at the Auckland Writers’ Festival.