Calling Australian Comics Writers and Artists

12496070_1056238017751194_1138038954868696919_oJust passing on this info for any new writers / artists looking for an interesting opportunity:

So you are a budding artist or writer that wants to have your work published.

You want to be paid for the work that you do.

Well here is your chance. XCT one of Australia’s most successful independent comic book series is creating a new graphic novel this year filled with 10 short stories from the XCT universe. We are offering 10 writers and 10 artists the opportunity to be a part of this exciting project and get paid.

So how do you get involved?

All you need to do is send an expression of interest email to along with samples or links to your artwork/scripts, as well as your page rates. Please also attach a paragraph about yourself and why you believe you would be a perfect fit for XCT project.

Good Luck!

Please note page rates may be negotiated and all payments will be made in Australian Dollars

The Devil You Know #1-3 – Review

The_Devil_You_Know__1_-_Comics_by_comiXologyIf one thing can be said about The Devil You Know is that it is (pun intended) metal as hell. I recently took a look at Satanic Hell and while that actually had a heavy metal band in it, The Devil You Know feels like I should have a Black Sabbath album playing in the background. However, while the concept is sound, the execution has something left to be desired as the story moves with wild abandon without taking its time to develop any of its characters in the first place.

The Devil You Know begins by introducing us to the Greydon Cross, an unspecified executive at and undefined company, who comes home to find his wife and child murdered and is then shot by Satan himself. When he wakes up in Purgatory, he is met by God who describes the relationship between Heaven and Hell as somewhat mutually beneficial agreement, but Satan has been a bit of a pain lately, so he wants Greydon to kill Satan, and take his place. Greydon agrees, and dives (literally) headfirst into Hell without any hesitation – and that’s only the first eleven pages.

There is nothing wrong with packing a story with so much that it is overflowing. In fact, the first issue of any new series is going to come across this challenge. The problem with The Devil You Know is that it has so much within its first 22 pages alone, that any character comes across as a vessel for the action rather than a living, breathing, person. The murder of Greydon’s family takes two pages, and it doesn’t seem to affect him at all beyond a few swear words- in fact it doesn’t even seem to come up again throughout the next two issues at all. I’m not saying that this series has to be centered around the grief and heartbreak of Greydon losing his family, but on one page he says that “my family was really the only thing I cared about” – so even a mention of them would have been nice, considering that they are the reason he is taking on this mission in the first place.

Greydon isn’t the only character who suffers from flat characterisation. God comes across as a vessel for exposition and plot developments – without any hint of immense power or stature. Every other person Greydon meets fall into a small pool of character archetypes, like the noble savage or the tough woman, without exploring the possibilities offered by them. It feels generic and flat and doesn’t give any tension to any of the action, of which there is plenty.

What does stand out for the most part is the art. Kellik’s pencils invoke a grittier version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and the monster designs while fairly standard, are fun and well executed. Nunun Nurjannah’s inks and Victoria Pittman’s colouring do make the art look a little too clean in the first issue, but they begin to compliment the pencil work of Kellik nicely by the third. The action is expressive, and while it it may be hard to place the positions of the characters in some scenes, for the most part the action is easy to follow.

The Devil You Know has all of the ingredients of a great story – the art is fluid and the premise sound – but the creative team hasn’t quite found a way to put them together yet that satisfies, putting all of the courses on a single plate without letting the reader enjoy each individual bite. If the team can slow down, and place a bit more focus on character, then they could have a winning book on their hands.

You can buy the title on Comixology here.


Review: Satanic Hell #1 and #2

Satanic_Helll_issue_1_of_7__Story Grigoris Douros

Art Kevin Enhart Newel Anderson

Colours Jimmy Kerast

Right off the bat, Satanic Hell is going to draw comparisons with Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus. Both deal with strong anti-establishment types of music – Heavy Metal for the former and Punk rock with the latter – and both deal similarly with religious fanaticism, and how the cast reacts to it. But that’s where these similarities begin and end. Where Punk Rock Jesus took a more nuanced response to Christian fanaticism, Satanic Hell simply decides that it wants to flip the bird to fundamentalist Christianity, and ride off into the sunset in a black hearse. Although the themes are completely sound in a ridiculous kind of way, the characterisations of the cast feel week, and the story doesn’t rise above feeling fairly flat.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Satanic Hell is set in a dystopic Texas, where financial woes on a state-wide scale have led to a fundamentalist sect of Christians taking over the governing body. Abortion is illegal, homosexuality is medicated and repressed and, of course, rock music is banned. Enter Satanic Hell, a three man heavy metal group – Exodus, Dante, and Death Priest – who are delivering their own brand of revolution in a series of underground shows. If that sounds completely ridiculous, that’s because it is. The entire thing has a strong pulpy vibe to it in a way that means if anyone tried to parse the particulars of how these events came about, you’re bound to find some holes, so it’s best to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The problem is that to back up a tale as ridiculous as this, it needs a strong central cast. That’s where Satanic Hell stumbles – none of its three main characters are particularly interesting, each feeling less like real people and more like they came straight out of an angst ridden teenager’s creative writing project. They never rise above the stereotypes, even so far as Dante having a fairly clichéd upbringing, and it means that the events that take place never feel like they have much weight. Again, there isn’t inherently wrong with this cast of characters, they just don’t feel fully realised yet.

That said, there are some fairly decent moments in these two issues. The scene involving two clueless Christians and Death Priest carrying the cross is fairly amusing in a ridiculous kind of way, and the show the band plays has some of Enhart and Anderson’s best art across the two issues. Helped along by Jimmy Kerast’s muted colours and use of light, their art is suitably grimy and rough. Aside from problems regarding the similar facial designs, the art is strong across the board.

That’s the main crux of these two issues – with having to build such a ridiculous world, the characterisations have suffered. But with the promise of such a world, and backed up by some solid art, Satanic Hell could flesh out into something fun, and only two issues in, it definitely has time to do so.

Review: Diskordia – Feels Like Falling

Diskordia_vol_1_pdf__page_69_of_356_I came very close to giving up on reviewing this title. That’s not often the case, and in this instance I’m glad I forced myself to read beyond the first issue, because it has a lot to offer.

What put me off initially was the challenging way the story is told. I just found the different story threads hard to pick up initially and I also struggled with the regular changes between first and third-person perspective. However by mid-way through Chapter 2 the   flow of the story established itself for me and it’s a more than interesting one. The official synopsis covers it pretty nicely:

Feels like falling introduces readers to the surreal and bizarrely captivating world of Diskordia, A place where thought, dream and reality are interchangeable concepts; where the rich and powerful buy and sell emotions and minds like stock; where just beneath the surface of our consciousness lie terrible and fantastic beings who could destroy the world utterly if they were to ever emerge from its depths.

Exploring the vastness of this psychedelic everscape is sardonic youth Jackal Black; a man who is abruptly ripped from his unfulfilling existence and exposed to the true nature of the world he thought he knew.  Now Jackal must decide his place in it all lest he remain a helpless leaf blowing in the winds of chaos. Hero or villain, victim or victimizer, Conqueror or crushed insect, the nature of his very identity is up to him.

There’s some great pages of prose to flesh out the world even further, although the story stands up well enough if you want to skip those initially.

Diskordia_vol_1_pdf__page_99_of_356_Onto the art: it is nothing short of stunning. As you’ll see from the couple of examples in this post, this is a story set in dimensions that free things up nicely to create some surreal landscapes and situations. Diskordia‘s creator Rivenis (Andrew Blackman) has some superb art chops and it’s that in particular that’s kept me interested in a big way. I’d personally love to see some prints of some of the pages, they’d be brilliant to hang on the wall.

If you like dark fantasy, great art or both, this is a series worth immersing yourself in. Here’s where to buy issues of Diskordia and a trade is on its way in coming weeks collecting issues 1-9.


Headspace To Be Released In Print



IDW’s press release immediately below. For those interested, here’s our review of the Headspace series to date.

‘Headspace,’ Originally Appearing Digitally From Monkeybrain Inc., Is Making Its Way Into Reader’s Hands, (And Their Heads) This April!

San Diego, CA (January 13th, 2015) – The thrilling and complex tale of a town that discovers their own terrible reality becomes even more frightening when the Sheriff of Carpenter Cove discovers whose mind he and his neighbors now reside in. “Headspace is a comic made by true craftsmen at the top of their game and the result is one hell of a trip,” says Paul Allor (G.I. JoeTMNT)  “Great characters, amazing art, and a central mystery that I actually care about. I have no idea where it’s going, but I’m in for the ride

From breakout creators Ryan K. Lindsay (CMKY) and Eric Zawadzki (Last Born), Headspace delivers twists and turns that will make any fan of suspense squirm!

“Headspace is a personal tale Eric and I started kicking around over two years ago,” said series writer Ryan K. Lindsay, “It’s been an honor to have it digitally distributed by Monkeybrain Comics, and to be able to bring in amazing talent like Sebastian Piriz, Marissa Louise, Chris Peterson, Chris Kosek, and Dan Hill in various guises has been a collaborative blast. Having the collection now through IDW is so, so cool and I feel the emotional core of the book is strong enough to shine through the Philip K. Dick insanity in a John Carpenterflick tone we were going for. This tale of a sheriff fighting his way out of a killer’s mind is full of high concept right next to the emotional lows.”

Look for the collection in stores this April, and remember you can get any of the acclaimed Monkeybrain titles in print from IDW at your local comic shop.

Review: Headspace 1-5

headspace05_lowres_pdf__page_1_of_22_I originally profiled Headspace from Ryan Lindsay (writing), Eric Zawadzki / Sebastian Piriz (art) and Marissa Louise (colours)  over at Bleeding Cool a number of months back. Since that time the team have produced issues #3, #4 and #5, with #6 coming up soon in the eight-issue series.

Headspace is a story of a town called Carpenter Cove and its cop, Shane. The hook is, Carpenter Cove is purely a construct of another person’s mind. A mind that needs to be controlled for purposes that become clearer as the issues progress.

Having just re-read issues #1 and #2 and devoured the other three directly afterwards, I feel safe in saying that this series initially promised a lot and it’s delivering that promise, plus some. The setting of Carpenter Cove as a purely mental construct allows for locations and events that otherwise couldn’t be pulled off, and Zawadzki’s art accentuates the achievement.

Lindsay’s writing brings the psychology of the characters to the fore and it brings depth to a story that otherwise could be written off as a ‘cop versus monsters, a villain and the shadowy government agency’ schtick. It’s so much more than that, and aside from a minor criticism that I find the story timelines / dimensions a little hard to grasp sometimes, it’s hard to see any downsides on this series beside the disappointment I’m expecting when it wraps up in issue #8. For what it’s worth I’m going to miss the writer’s notes at the end of each issue as much as the comic itself.


Here’s where to go and get your own fill of Headspace.

Wolves of Summer Kickstarter: Jump On!

Project_Update__4__WOLVES_OF_SUMMER__The_Complete_Collection_by_Tony_Keaton_—_InboxA late heads-up that the creative team behind the mini-series Wolves of Summer (our reviews are here and here) have a Kickstarter finishing very soon. It’s already reached it’s funding goal, which is great.

If you read our reviews you’ll know we’re fans, but the reason we’re promoting the Kickstarter is that the prices and rewards are some of the better ones I’ve seen.

I’ve thrown in my dosh happily – have a look for yourself in the next 24 hours and decide if you want to too.


The Dazzling Career Of Gary Goo Goo Gillespie

A Cyclone comics super special #1, January 1987 issue, featuring dozens of artists:



Phantastique – Aussie Horror Magazine

A classic piece of Australian comics history. The issue I own is #4 – 1986:



Moth City Season 3 Part 2 Review

Moth-City-Iss-6_preview-coverI always thought a great ongoing series is like an old friend. Every few weeks it comes to stay, brings some beers, and then leaves with the promise of some much nicer beer the next time he rolls into town. Moth City always feels a bit different. It walks into your house with a fine brew, lets you enjoy it, and just before you finish punches you square in the gut. But man does it feel good.

The emotional punch comes midway through the issue, when Governor McCaw makes an ultimately reprehensible choice. This choice, while evil and would damn any normal person to hell, feels earned and in character. Too often do the main cast in issue make a choice that feels underdeveloped and out of character, but Gibson maintains a strong grasp of his cast as he moves forward.

Also, who would have thought that the most noble and human of his cast would be the first one infected? Jun continues to battle his inner demons, as well as all the outside ones. This leads to some fairly exciting and tense moments as the remaining uninfected battle both sides of the coin. One thing that ultimately seems missing is more emphasis on his feral side, but with a large event looming at the end of the issue, it seems like things can only get worse.

As usual, Gibson’s art duties are stellar. His panel design is fantastic, and while the first half of the issue is light on the motion panels, that is easily forgiven when the aforementioned scene takes place and Gibson really shows the potential of this format.

Really the only thing that can be said otherwise is that a lot of this issue feels like it is setting up for the big finale, and while that won’t be a bad thing in the long run the tease begins to drag. That said, when this issue gets rolling, it really gets rolling.

Moth City only has two more issues left before the end, and Tim Gibson has kindly posted the first issue on Comixology for free, so really at this point, you have no excuse.