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Bobby N. p3

Bobby N. on the growing interest in comics in Melbourne.

READERSVOICE.COM: Judging by turnouts for events at the All Star Comics book store, like for the Noncanonical podcast, and events like the Sticky Zine Fair, there seems to be a healthy amount of comics creators and fans in Melbourne. Has this really bloomed in the past couple of years, and what’s really got it going, would you say?

BOBBY N.: Yes, it’s swelled in the last 3-4 years. As I mentioned earlier, it’s gone from an average of five people to over 30 each month… and it just keeps getting better. Communication through the internet and affordable P.O.D printing has helped over the last few years, but the other crucial ‘social’ resason is that more people are involved. In making comics, talking about them, publicising them.

RV: In your new anthology No Map, But Not Lost you have collected a lot of your stories from 1995-2011. Do you plan on doing a graphic novel in future, or do you prefer short stories, especially autobiographical pieces?

BN: Yes, my interest is definitely in longer stories. I’m currently working on 2 behind the scenes while I bring out my Digested series, so stay tuned.

RV: How did you learn the hatching and grey tones in pieces like Oxygen, and the attention to detail in the backgrounds, the shadows and greys, and varied camera angles in your

BN: I learnt from observing all of my favorite books, then copying, practicing, and refining. Finding out what worked for me, and what didn’t, and over time one develops a style without ever having planned on arriving there. The camera angles probably come from my observations in film and story-telling in general. I’m a compulsive observer and rarely look upon things from the ‘surface’ level that others do. When I watch a film, if I get moved, I’m asking ‘why’. The varied angles probably have their roots in film, yes, but also my own photography (where I learnt ‘framing’) also has a little to do with it.

RV: What is Gestalt co-founder Wolfgang Bylsma like?

BN: Wolfgang is great. He has the same passion for the medium as I do, which is half the reason I’m with Gestalt.

RV: What are some of your plans?

BN: Well, I have about 2-3 issues left on my Digested series, then it’ll be collected. Then it’s onto the other bigger projects/novels that I mentioned earlier. I’m really excited about getting to them.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.