There’s been a lot happening behind the scenes on the ‘roo front, so let’s get right to it:
KILLEROO GETS POLITICAL!
I recently received a request from Killeroo fan Phillip Gleeson for clearance to use a specific image for a tshirt campaign against the NSW Government’s decision to allow hunting in its Natural Parks. As it sounds like the kind of cause that Rufus himself would get behind, I not only granted that clearance but took it upon myself to make a great t-shirt design for it, including remastering the original image and some powerful typography.
The t-shirt is now available (at cost price – no margin to keep it as cheap as possible) on Redbubble.com HERE.
So show your support to the cause and wear it proudly!
Unfortunately Killeroo will no longer be featured in Velocity #3, due to the story not being completed in time for their release date. I take full responsibility for this, Neville was more than generous with the extended deadlines but I still couldn’t manage to get it across the line. The story WILL be completed at some point, but where and when is not known at this time.
Previously going under the working titles of ORIGINS and DEUS EX RUFUS, Ryan Wilton’s SCARS book now has a lovely cover image, check it out! (layout may change prior to publication).
KILLEROO: THE GANGWARS ANTHOLOGY
It’s all systems go with the Anthology book, pages are coming in thick and fast and lettering and toning for completed stories has begun! Much more stuff to share soon, but for now, check out this page by Louie Joyce!
INTERVIEW: STEVE BOYD
Melbourne artist Steve Boyd dropped by to give us some of his thoughts as he works away on his Killeroo story for the GANGWARS ANTHOLOGY, working from a script by Will McLaren.
DC: What’s your take on the Killeroo character, how do you visualise him as you’re working on the GANGWARS story?
Steve Boyd: I have never been a fan of the ‘violence solves the problem’ moral in storytelling, it doesn’t ring true to me, so I think Rufus uses violence only when he is pushed to the limit. I think there is a lot more to Rufus than most people see. He doesn’t say much, but he thinks a lot.
Personally I like to see Rufus not as a mindless killer, rather I believe he is a deeply moral individual, which probably comes from a deeper connection to the Spirit of the Earth (He is half animal) and the tribal teachings of his upbringing. I think perhaps this side of him will come out more in future stories as the characters past is revealed, in Gangwars and beyond.
I see him as an outsider, (as a giant therianthrope would be if they were born into this world.) Look how anyone with difference is treated in our society. I don’t think he understands White Man, in all his destructive ways, but finding acceptance, loyalty and friendship amongst his gang has given him something to fight for. I think this is what the fans really relate to. I want to have him in my corner!
DC: You’ve just recently worked for the upcoming INK TALES book, and now KILLEROO – how does your approach for tackling the page differ for those as opposed to when you’re working on your own ZED MERCURY book?
SB: Well, first of all the setting is completely different to the world that both the Ink Tales story and Zed Mercury are set in. It’s set in the real world, and therefore has realistic humans rather than the demi-gods, cacodemons and monsters in my bonepunk stuff. No one will notice if you stuff up the facial proportions of a monster but if you screw up a human face it is glaringly obvious- we look at people’s faces every day. That alone makes it instantly more challenging, as making human characters emote is really difficult, as any artist will attest to. Comics can tend to be a bit wooden when artists draw the same face again and again and I aspire to bring more to my comics than that. Comics as a medium are sometimes sold short, and I believe, can be as emotional as a film, why not? This is why I find Jim Lee’s work booooooooorrrriiiiing. We can do better.
Even things like the backgrounds and props need to ground it in the setting (early eighties) and this requires extra attention to research. Also putting a giant Kangaroo next to human characters in a human world runs the risk of looking a little goofy or out of proportion, so I have been doing a lot of thumbnails and studies to get this looking right.
Furthermore drawing a giant human/kangaroo hybrid is really difficult (try it!), and Darren Close is very particular about what he wants – As well he should be! Looking back on some old sketches I can’t believe how wrong I got it. He looks like a fucking camel. Darren’s guidance has really challenged me to do better work and I hope I can do the character justice.
DC: You’ve decided to draw Rufus wearing a very distinctive tshirt in your story, can you tell us a bit more about that?
SB: Well I am a big fan of rock and roll, and considering the setting, I wondered what kind of music Rufus would be listening to. Originally I was going to put him in a Midnight Oil tshirt, but I didn’t think that was ‘punk’ enough, remember, Rufus is an outsider. So I decided to give him a Radio Birdman tshirt because they seem to fit better with his rebel ethos. Those guys were getting kicked out of and banned from pubs all over Australia for their raucous gigs around the time of the story, and I imagined Rufus going to one of these gigs and loving the shit out of it. They have a really iconic logo too, and it fits nicely right in the middle of his chest, like the icon of a super-hero. I’ve been listening to them while drawing, it’s like taking musical cocaine 🙂
DC: Thanks Steve! Now get back to work!
When Killeroo returned to publishing after a long hiatus last year (with the standalone GANGWAR story), I was faced with the daunting task of essentially starting the whole distribution system again. Building a rapport with stores and keeping in touch can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially with the interstate shops. Thankfully there are a few stores like KABOOM COMICS in Toowoomba that are keen to help out local publishers with vigour!
DC: Tell us a bit about Kaboom Comics.
Todd Baillie: Kaboom kicked off in 2004 as a tiny shop and has now grown into one of regional Australia’s best Pop-culture stores. We have always pushed for more of comic community that just a retailer/customer type store, I’ve been to weddings, christenings and so much more with my customers, some are more like family than just a customer.
DC: Some local stores are seeing the benefits of using social media to talk to their customers, but you’ve really taken it to the next level with podcasts and youtube videos as well – It must be a massive undertaking, have you seen a lot of benefit from your customer base?
TB: We have seen a massive upswing in sales because of the videos and podcasts but Geek Speak promotes a number of stores and not just Kaboom. It is a massive amount of fun to do and customers seem to love listening and watching. We have had a number of customers buy books we talk about on the shows and the aussie stuff is a great example of that.
DC: You’re very supportive of locally produced comics (including Killeroo) – how well do they sell in your store, is there a definite return in this for you or is it more a case of building goodwill with creative customers?
TB: Aussie comics sell really well in our store, it’s because we really push them, not just hide them on a shelf and forget about them. We really hand sell the aussie books and people react well to that , they love supporting indy aussie books.
DC: What’s the feedback you’ve had from customers for Killeroo?
TB: Fans have loved Killeroo, we have trouble keeping enough copies in-stock (Need to re-order more ), and everytime a customer picks up the first book, they are back to pick up more… it’s addictive… but less damaging than crack. 😉
For all the latest news, the best place is the Killeroo facebook page, or if you’re on twitter, check us out at twitter.com/killeroo
Hooroo for now!