01 November 2011

Gestalt All Star Book Launch Extravaganza!

This last Saturday night (29th of October), All Star Comics in Melbourne played host to a book launch like no other. Internationally-renowned authors from across Australia converged on Melbourne for the official launch of four stunning, critically-acclaimed books:
  • TORN
Gestalt authors; Tom Taylor, Colin Wilson, Gary Chaloner, Justin Randall, Christian Read, Bobby.N (me), James Brouwer, Andrew Constant, Emily K. Smith, Wolfgang Bylsma (Editor-in-chief) and Gary Edwards (Editor), were instore for signings & Q&A sessions.

I got ther about an hour before things kicked off.... said hello to Gestalt friends that I hadn't seen in a while, and then we all intermittently began setting up before the crowds came.

Gary Edwards (in the hat)... Editor of Gestalt Comics.

The rest of the Gestalt creators begin to arrive.

Trevor Wood (right).

Bruce Mutard.

"A candy you may take, hmm."

All Star Comics owners, Mitch and...

... Troy.

The top-front shelf of the counter displayed all of Gestalt's books on offer...

... with other local and Australian comics underneath.

Slowly... the crowds filled the store.

Jason Franks and Frank Candiloro (front)

The chicks roll in.

Wolfgang Bylsma (Co-Founder, and Editor/Chief of Gestalt Comics).

Justin Randal.

Justin's second volume of CHANGING WAYS is well on it's way to being completed in the very near future. I can't wait until I can hold it in my hands, because it's simply one of the most chilling and beautiful looking comics you'll ever read.

Larry Boxshall. (of NonCanonical fame)

Tom Taylor. One of the most prolific comic writers around.

Trevor Wood - who was indespensible in making sure the audio was setup and working that night. Trevor also illustrates the great webcomic Sawbones with writer Jen Breach, which they then publish as a physical graphic novel.

Andrew Fulton.

Totally packed!

Gary Chaloner & Justin Randall.

Gary Chaloner. One of the 'stayers' in our field. Gary has been consistently making some of the very best comics for decades. He was there to promote his soon-to-be-released UNDERTAKER book... remember that comic from the 90s...? well he's back! - I can't wait!

Larry Boxshall.

Wolfgang Bylsma talking into the Larry Boxshall mic.

Larry Boxshall

(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

Here's me signing for my great readers. I literally had my hand scribbling sketches (and my hancock) for the entire hour of signing duties. I was on over-drive, but pumped. Felt on top of the world. It was so, so good to chat and sign for all the readers that were generous enough to come down for this event and me. Thank you all... you made my year.

In the final stretch of my signing, I noticed a woman in her 30s or 40s sitting to my left with a crutch under her arm. Quietly sitting there while i signed and sold some of my framed prints. While I signed for people, I even joked with her once. Before long, the signing was over and all us authors were required on-stage for the big Q&A session... so I quickly finished my last few signings, packed all my gear up behind my table, and pushed the table against the wall to both make room for the packed crowd... and also to protect all my gear in the corner.

Me, answering a question on the panel of Gestalt creators in a fun Q&A session... see more photos here.
(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

Once the Q&A was done, we all mingled with the great crowd and had fun meeting new people and discussing ideas around reading, writing, and comics in general.

As the night wore on, and the crowd thinned, those of us left decided to go to a nearby pub for dinner and drinks. I went back to my packed bags and books, and then noticed something... all my money had been stolen. Remember the woman with the crutch I mentioned earlier...? well, she had stolen all the money from my wallet and kitty for the night. In total, about $500...! And she was gone. I felt like I'd been kicked in the nuts. How do I know it was her...? well, while I was sitting down during the Q&A session, I noticed her sit behind my table (I assumed because of having a crutch), and then observed the top of her head duck down below the crowd level every-so-often. What a scrag.

Quickly, others noticed my sudden change in mood, and upon telling them of what happened, I proceeded to (unintentionally) put a wet blanket on an otherwise AWESOME night for everyone. As we retraced the night, Troy, Mitch and others realised that no one knew her, and that she didn't arrive with anyone... but was just wandering around. A few people observed that she wasn't always leaning on her crutch during the night, but sometimes just carrying it around. She'd obviously done this before, and had either found out about it through the facebook invite, or had followed crowds in off the street. Who ever she was, she was good. I had racked my brain with "I should have" and "why didn't I just" the whole night. But on such a warm and friendly night where the whole store is filled with so much love... the last thing that crossed my mind was pessimism. That bitch taught me a harsh lesson.

Anyway, as i said, when the crowd slowly faded from the store, the remaining people left decided to go to a nearby pub for a bite and drink. Although I wasn't in the mood, Larry Boxshall and the rest dragged me out. Thanks to everyone for trying to lift my spirits (particularly Larry), and ESPECIALLY the owners of All Star Comics; Troy and Mitch... you guys are the absolute greatest.

Australian comics icon, Greg Gates.

Two awesome cartoonists; Gary Chaloner & Dean Bhishma Rankine.

I stayed at the pub for a little while, but just wasn't in the best of moods for a late night. Sorry if I seemed a little short or distant to some of you, but i just wanted to go home, hit the shower, and sleep it off. I did feel better in the morning.

  • To the absolute slag of a bitch that stole all the money from my wallet, bag and kitty while I was on stage answering questions with the crowd. Rot in hell.
  • The great, Great crowd and friends on the night that made up for it.
  •  Larry Boxshall for being such an awesome MC, and later buying me a bowl of chips. You're a legend man.
  • To Mitch and Troy (All Star Comics owners), who did a great job in hosting the event, and afterwards, went out of their way for me.
  • To Gestalt for organising one of the best comic book launches I've ever been to, let alone been part of. Thank you.
  • To all that bought my books and prints... which in retrospect, I should have just given away for free to all you great people - ha!
So, apart from the pig that stole my money, it was a brilliant night. Seriously... it was a blast. Best time I've had with my clothes on. For all that didn't make it on the night, you sure missed a good one (A GREAT one). Comic books need much more of these events! As Bernard Caleo would say... Huzzah!

- Bobby.N


Jason Franks said...

Oh, shit, dude. You know I feel your pain on the lost float...

Glad you had a godo night? I wish I could've hung about afterwards, but I had work to do...


Bobby.N said...

No probs Jason. Yeah, I immediately thought of you... last week in the same boat.

Maybe we should warn Trevor, incase these things ahppen in 3's?


Bruce Mutard. said...

Cripes, I've been joking about European quality pickpockets that I've heard now work about here, but it sure as shit ain't no joke anymore. Good on you for trying to keep your spirits up Bobby, but let it be a lesson to us all. Guess there'll be a story in it for the next Digested.

Bobby.N said...

OOOH... you bet. :)

G said...

Hey Bobby!

Thanks for posting some really awesome photos and summary of the day & night. Sorry I couldn't make it to the big launch. Will have to pick up all the comics from All-Stars next time I get a chance to make my way out to the city.

Sorry to hear about all your money and wallet being stolen, too. That woman is pure evil.



Frank Candiloro said...

Jesus, that friggin' sucks as to what happened to you dude. Hope it didn't bring the night down too much, but it was good to see you and the rest of the Gestalt crew. (Btw, read Digested 5, loved it! Superb stuff).