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Interview

Baden Kirgan p1

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. This issue features Baden Kirgan, the publisher of Black House Comics, which produces comics like The Dark Detective, and novellas like the After the World saga, including titles like Gravesend, Pack Rules, Killable Hours and Grave New World. Also Norman Wallis reports on the Lifeline Bookfest which is on from June 12 to 15 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It’s a dream come true for lovers of cheap second hand book treasure hunters. First up, Baden Kirgan.

READERSVOICE.COM: When did you get the idea for Black House Comics?

BADEN KIRGAN: In 2008 I was supervising a printing press and reading a trade of The Walking Dead. I realised that we could easily print books like these cheaply.
I did a bit of research and worked out no one was really publishing comics locally on a commercial scale (apart from the evergreen Frew Publications) and with the resurgence in interest in comics worldwide I thought this was an opportunity I should look into.

RV: Where did you get the authors and artists?

BK: I posted a message on the pulpfaction.net message board, “Proto publisher in need of talent.” Pulp Faction is a forum for Australian comic book creators, so I figured that was as good a place as any to start. I have also put notices in the Australian Horror Writers Association newsletter for the After the World titles. We’ve built our roster up from connection made through these ads and the websites involved.

RV: When you were first starting out in publishing, what mistakes did you make and how would you avoid them now?

BK: I had a good background in print and business in general so I don’t think I have made too many mistakes from those perspectives.
The one thing I have learnt is that before committing to any project, to make sure you get a good reading of the writer/artist’s strengths and weaknesses. I have had a couple of projects abandoned because the artists involved promised a lot in their proposals but ultimately could not deliver the quality.

RV: Do you read a lot of Sherlock Holmes and gothic literature? [One Black House comic is The Dark Detective. Sherlock Holmes. From the secret files of Mycroft Holmes.] Can you recommend a few titles of books, fiction or non-fiction, you’ve come across over the years?

BK: I do enjoy the occasional Holmes book and since starting this title I have been rereading them in between other books. I love Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics as a take on gothic Victoriana. As a rule I enjoy sci-fi and horror books, with the odd political title thrown in. [Mr Kirgan is involved in politics]. I’m enjoying King’s Under the Dome and Farmer’s Roverworld books at the moment.

RV: You have a commerce degree with a major in economics. I was wondering how you came to be involved in the printing industry.

BK: My grandfather, father, uncle and brother were all print tradesmen and I had no intention of following them. During school and Uni I worked a McJob and when I finished promised myself I would never wear a name badge again. After uni I took a graduate position with a big bank and I hated it – nice people but boring predictable work and not actually producing anything. Three weeks in they told me I would have to start wearing a name badge and that was the final straw – I quit. My father was not having anyone loafing so I went and worked in the factory as a table hand while I looked for another job and here I am sixteen years later, print company owner!

-continued next page
-copyright Simon Sandall.

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