However, there is a long lineage of comics and cartoons that give voice to a variety of artists and their unique messages. The DIY and dynamic characteristics of putting ink to paper have allowed artists throughout time to tell stories of personal memoir, niche subculture, all things taboo… basically anything and everything that you wouldn’t expect to see from your traditional idea of comics.
Sydney writer and all-around comic enthusiast, Chris Neill, has curated a wild bunch of Aussie talent together for Meet Me In The Pit, a collection of stories about music through the art of comics. We asked the man himself some questions about issue #1 of the anthology series.
Honestly, I just wanted to make a comicbook and I thought an anthology would be a fun way to showcase a bunch of Australian cartoonists whose work I like. I love anthology comics! Some of the all-time greatest comics have come out through the old EC anthologies (Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, the original MAD). Image’s Island was great and Fantagraphics’ new series, NOW, is fantastic too.
Originally it was going to be an anthology of romance comics that were themed around mixtapes, but I simplified it down to just being about music. Everyone has a different relationship with music, so I figured each cartoonist would have a different reaction or idea to my pitch of “Make a short comic about music.”
Most of them were cartoonists who I’ve been following for awhile. There are some amazing cartoonists and artists working in Australia at the moment. I figured I had nothing to lose by asking them if they’d want to contribute and most of them said yes. I’d say about half of the cartoonists and artists reached out to me after I did a call-out on Twitter. My favourite anthology comics are usually the ones that include creators I already like but they also introduce me to some new writers and artists. So the curation process kind of replicated that feeling of, “Oh cool, someone new to follow!”
I think they share a similar collaborative and creative process, more so than they do with film or prose. A comic isn’t just a comic, it’s a combination of a writer, artist, letterer, colourist and editor – in the same way a song is a combo of a writer, singer, band, recording engineer and producer. Of course, not every comic and song uses that process: You can make a comic with a pencil and scrap of paper and then post it on Twitter, and you can record a song with a cheap guitar on your laptop and then upload it to Bandcamp.
With both music and comics you’re working with a limited space to create something. You get three pages to tell a story that conjures a specific set of emotions, you get two-minutes to perform a song that does the same thing. There’s a rhythm to them.
You can probably make the comparison that an anthology comic is like a mixtape or a Spotify playlist.
Hopefully by the end of this year! I’ve got a list of cartoonists that I want to include in issue #2 and I’m going to start contacting them soon. A couple of artists couldn’t be in issue #1 due to scheduling, so hopefully they’ll be available this time around.
Follow Chris Neill on twitter @garflyf