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Mandy Ord

Allen & Unwin (2011)

ISBN: 978-1-742-37216-7

Reviewed by Ross Murray

Mandy Ord is now a staple of the Australian comic art community with a career spanning over fifteen years beginning with her self-published venture, Wilnot.

Sensitive Creatures follows her full length Rooftops (2008, Finlay Lloyd) and is a collection of short graphic narratives that were originally self-published or found homes between 2002 and 2010 in publications including The Lifted Brow, falcon vs monkey, Tango, and Torpedo.

To the glancing eye Ord’s work may look unrefined but on closer inspection there’s close attention to detail and a surety in line, definition and layout. Ord conveys emotions through facial expressions, and body positioning with great care and definition. There’s never a time when you’re unsure what the characters are thinking or feeling.

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Issues #1 and #2

Written by Sorab Del Rio (Australia)

Art by Emerson Dimaya (Philippines)

Lettered by Don Ticchio (Australia)

Inked by Maria Abella

Silver Fox Comics (2011)

ISSN: 1838-8655

I need to preface this review by saying Zorro is not my fandom. I love a good swash and buckle, but my experience with Zorro is limited to the Antonio Banderas films of 1998/2005. However, I was very interested to see what an Australian writer would bring to this story, so accepted review copies from the publisher.

This new comic series jumps in with two feet. It seems the assumption is the reader will have familiarity with the story of Zorro, and will not need anything about his motivation or his past explained. In one way this was a good thing, as it meant the action began on page one, but it also meant I was a bit bewildered for much of the story as to who the characters were, and why things were happening. That said, over the course of three stories (issue one is a double feature), there was a gradual reveal of character backgrounds and relationships, which worked quite well.

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Marianne de Pierres and Brigitte Sutherland

MDPWeb

June 2011

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

Marianne de Pierres is one of Australia’s most prominent science fiction authors. Under a pen name, she has also published acclaimed crime novels, and her most recent book (as de Pierres) is a YA dystopian novel that is receiving rave reviews. She has had games and songs inspired by her books and worked with other creators to build interactive content. She has created a unique online brand with multiple websites, with an online persona as active and interesting as the author in real life. So it’s no surprise that de Pierres is pushing her boundaries once again, seeking to expand her readership in new ways with Peacemaker, a web comic based on de Pierres’ own Virgin Jackson world (so far only seen in short story form).

The first issue of Peacemaker introduces us to Virgin Jackson, a ranger in a futuristic national park enclosed in an Australian super city, the US Marshall Nate Sixkiller, come to investigate her or the park (we aren’t really sure), and the beginnings of a strange, supernatural storyline.

While the story itself is perhaps a little hard to assess in such a very short first issue (although having read in Virgin’s world before, I guarantee quality plot and characters as the comic progresses!), I could unequivocally recommend this issue on the strength of the artwork alone – Sutherland has produced high quality pictures that tell as much as the dialogue, bringing Virgin to life.

In this new venture, de Pierres has created something special, with a heroine that is already shaping up to be not just tough, but interesting on many levels. I look forward to following Virgin’s adventures in future issues.

Jason Fischer

After the World Saga. 2

Black House Comics (2009)

ISBN: 9780980600643

Reviewed by Natasha Pearson* and Gillian Polack, July 2010

Gravesend is a post-apocalyptic zombie novella. It is the second of a new Australian pulp series published by Black House Comics. While the series calls itself a “saga”, this has to be tongue-in-cheek, as the novella is an unlikely form for a saga. Fischer’s novella definitely builds on the previous one, however (set in an Australian law firm) and its action begins after the zombie plague has taken hold and the last of the healthy humans are under siege.

The story is set in Kent in Gravesend (which is a pun that was inevitable the moment the subject of the novella was linked to the writing of Jason Fischer), and begins with the main character Tamsyn Webb on guard duty watching for zombies from a clocktower. It launches straight into the action with a mass zombie attack. Fischer then explains how the world has changed to become a place infested with the undead and how bleak the future looks for the villagers living in Kent. Things begin to get worse, as more people are killed by the zombies, but hope comes in the form of a transmission from America.

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