Well, the night finally came. The publisher Gestalt swung by my city of Melbourne and launched their new book FLINCH. I finished work at 6.20pm (yeah, I got a job a few days ago... that means that DIGESTED.02 should be published soon-ish), and rushed down to Dymocks on Collin's St. A great big wonderful crowd turned out to listen to the speeches, see the original artwork on the walls, get their books signed by the authors, and pick up a great selection of books by Gestalt.
Tom Taylor's friend (who's name escapes me) MC'ed the evening.
And everyone enjoyed the speeches, nibblies, and drinks.
Even 'Secret Life of Us' actor Samuel Johnson was there...
Local comicbook writers and artists were smattered amongst the crowd... as Tom Taylor, Shaun Tan, and Wolfgang Bylsma got up for their respective speeches.
Wolgang Bylsma (Gestalt Publisher) and Shaun Tan (Picturebook artist) got up and talked about how much they adore the comics medium, how it's emerged from below the waterline, and how hopefuul they are of it's continued growth. They talked of a deep-felt obsession that I myself have long had... it was very affirming to hear.
After the speeches, I got to catch up with some of my comicbook buddies.
Some of my original artwork from WITHHELD was up for people to have a squiz at.
Then it was down to getting RSI through frantic signing.
The famous Shaun Tan being swamped with sketch/autograph requests. Check out his website.
The moment above when actor Samuel Johnson came up to Shaun Tan wanting books signed was a memorable one. Shaun had no idea who he was, as he proceeded to sign his book he asked "and what's your name?"
A peculiar moment when the world seems flipped up-side-down... and you smile. Good on you for digging picture books Samuel. (BTW: Liked your work in the recent UNDERBELLY.)
- Seeing FLINCH in print. Wolfgang went through a real rollercoaster getting this book out to the public. It's great to see a publisher who cares about the importance of the work itself.
- All the speeches... particularly Wolfgang's & Shaun Tan's.
- Seeing/chatting to Tom Bonin again. He only recently came back to Australia from the UK, and flew down from Canberra just for the launch.
- Chatting with various people at the event. Fans, newbies, my friends, and my betters. Thanks for supporting this great medium.
- Talking to Shaun Tan about THE LOST THING, and sitting next to him in the signing. One thing I admire about Shaun is that he's a real illustrator. He lives what he does on paper. It matters to him. Each of his signed sketches for people was different and considered. Its great to meet someone like that. Its rare.
- The chat about THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL that myself, my girlfriend Zora, Greg Gates, and Jason Franks had. Don't ask.
- The finger food.
- All the author signatures in my copy of FLINCH.
- The late train ride home with Zora.
So... congrats to Wolfgang and all the authors. FLINCH is wonderful. Do yourself a favour and buy it.