Birds of a Feather

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Working with Frantz Kantor on new comic romp 'Magpie' is fun.

I think I'm in some kind of sequential-art Eden.
 
Right now I'm involved in creating a comic book series called Magpie, and it's progressively blowing me out of the water in ways I'd never have expected.
 
A few months ago I started working with fellow Australian artist Frantz Kantor — we were introduced by Nat Karmichael of the publisher Comicoz to work on a specifically Australian-themed superhero yarn for his national zine — with our first issue out within the pages of Oi Oi Oi! #7 on January 31.
 
 
This time took the role of writer only, with Frantz to handle the graphics.
 
I already knew of Frantz and had a great deal of respect. A veteran of our local comic book scene and a presenter of regular demonstrations around Australia on 3D art, he also worked on the celebrated, iconic Inkspots in the 1980s.
 
As it turned out, he's also a super-nice guy and we realized we have shared passions in 1960s/70s TV shows, Will Eisner's Spirit, Japanese anime, sci-fi, and both grew up loving Russing Manning's comic Magnus, Robot Fighter.
 
His initial design sketches, especially of character 3D Man, reminded me of a bizarre cross between Pixar's The Incredibles, characters in early MAD magazines, '60s farce Roger Ramjet — and something completely new.
 
He's wild to work with, and it gets me thinking outside the box, since I'm bouncing out of his artwork as well — with a lot of to-and-fro happening.
 

 
I've never been so interactively involved with another creator before. Writing novels and doing my own comics is a matter of flying solo, while with other comic artists I usually simply send a script, and let them fly.
 
With Frantz, he interprets what I mean, adds his own flair, bounces it back to me — and in the next script I'm already conjuring up new angles based on his visual ideas.
 
So, yeah, I'm loving this.
 
We're also determined to make this series "Australian" without resorting too far into culture/phonetics. Things like freckles (Frantz's inclusion) help.
 
In the meantime, our character Magpie in many ways is shaping up as a Wolverine-like scrapper, who's snappier with dialogue and more canny than her male peers — but bearing a tragic past as has already been written into #3, out later this year.
 
Just don't mention apples, OK?
 

Andrez Bergen

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