The Conways - Betty Roland and John Santry

On the never-ending list of uncompleted projects, a survey of The Conways, an adventure serial featured in the Sydney Morning Herald during the late 1940’s. Written by Betty Roland (1903 – 1996) and illustrated by John Santry (1910 - 1990), The Conways ran for 831 daily strips commencing 9th November 1946 and concluding 7th July 1949. Roland emigrated to England in 1951, where her prolific writing career included lavishly painted serials for Girl and Swift comics. Fellow Australian writer Alan Stranks ( PC49 creator and Dan Dare scribe) helped Roland gain employment with the Marcus Morris stable of comic weeklies. ( A survey of her UK work is also on my to-do-list.) Below: First eight dailies of The Conways.

1 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Fri__Nov_8__1946_.jpg
2 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Sat__Nov_9__1946_.jpg
3 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Wed__Nov_11__1946_.jpg
4 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Tue__Nov_12__1946_.jpg
5 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Wed__Nov_13__1946_.jpg
6 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Thu__Nov_14__1946_.jpg
7 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Fri__Nov_15__1946_.jpg
8 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Mon__Nov_18__1946_.jpg
9 The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Tue__Nov_19__1946_.jpg

2014 in Review: Ben Rosenthal

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
Seeing the download numbers at Man In Suit Comics jump in leaps and bounds.  In May Mike (Perry) and I were excited to hit 1000 downloads in total.  As of today we are way over 6500 total downloads, with some titles breaking or close to breaking the 1000 mark.  Also, accomplishing the goal I set last year – to get more writing done and published.  It shows that I have not been slacking off (which I worry that I do) and that I will/have improved.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
There were many quality books this year.  From the main guys -  HAWKEYE and SAGA were the standouts for me (where they this year?).  Dan Slott is doing no wrong over at Spider-Man, with Superior being a great arc for the book, and Spider-Verse being all kinds of awesome.  D4VE is one of the most comically heartfelt books I have read, and HEADSPACE is a psychologically mind messing story – and I love every bit of it.  I also got around to finally reading THE DEEP Vol 1 and 2 and what can I say that has not already been said about them – brilliant.  Tom Taylor is a master of character and pacing.  

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?
Being a dad is always cool.  Always.  Watching The Legend of Korra with my daughter Parker (yup, she is named after Spider-Man) and introducing her to Sailor Moon were two of my highlights this year.  For no other reason than I was introducing her to my world - and she loved it.  Apart from Sailor Moon wearing high heels while fighting.  She did not buy that.  

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
A mate has a big time announcement to make in 2015, and I cannot wait for that.  The hopeful launch of a series I was involved and wrote two scripts for called CURRICULUM.  Finalising 3 pitches I am currently working on and hopefully gaining some interest with them.
And Hoverboards.

2014 in Review: Ryan K. Lindsay

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

Kickstarting DEER EDITOR to success was huge because I'm super proud of that book and it was an insane fun experience. Then seeing 5 issues of HEADSPACE out the door was a great experience and lesson in making comics. Being published by Vertigo Comics is the sort of bucket list item I didn't think I'd possibly ever tick off, and to then have that boxing noir short partner me up with Tommy Lee Edwards and John Workman was beyond insane. And the final one I cannot divulge but let's just say it was my main goal going into 2015 and I landed it (yay!).

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?

I am pretty sure HAWKEYE has been my favourite book of 2014, with each issue a crazy process bonanza to study. Closely behind it is DEADLY CLASS which kinda came out of nowhere and stole my heart only to stomp on it to a dark punk beat. D4VE was rdiculously funny while also rocking the bombastic action beats. HIGH CRIMES, STRANGE NATION, FATALE, SEX CRIMINALS, RAT QUEENS, SHELTERED, EAST OF WEST, DAREDEVIL, ELEKTRA, FIVE GHOSTS, THE MASSIVE. Surely others I am forgetting.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?  

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is my top flick of the year. Just perfectly in my wheelhouse with a 70s spy vibe over some great visual set pieces. Wait, but that's a comics movie, huh, so I shouldn't say certain episodes of THE WALKING DEAD and AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. have greatly pleased me. Hrmmm, WORDS FOR PICTURES was a great non-fic book...about making comics. Oh, I know, the SERIAL podcast really has been rocking my socks off, weekly. Also, my wife and kids are not comics, and I dig them :)

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

More writing. And actually getting paid for the pleasure. Some great books coming from mates Paul Allor, Ryan Ferrier, Ed Brisson, Kurtis Wiebe. I am strangely excited about the ANT-MAN flick. Finally putting out a trade of my own work. Maybe getting some sleep, and work/life/writing balance. Oh, the DAREDEVIL TV show on Netflix is going to be a religious experience for me.

2015 looks like it'll already be a quality follow up to 2014. I know sequels aren't often good, or better, but I have high hopes for us all.

Ryan K. Lindsay

2014 in Review: Jen Breach

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

Scholastic Graphix acquired Doug Holgate's and my three book middle grade graphic novel series Clem Hetherington.  It's ridiculous. And awesome. It's ridiculously awesome.

I heard Lynda Barry speak and saw an exhibition of Richard McGuire's process notes and original art for Here.  Both were extraordinary and I'll be thinking them for the next year at least.  

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?

I always answer this question without looking at my bookshelf, so there are inevitably things I have forgotten.  I'm okay with this if you are.

Jase Harper made two of my favorite things of the year - his book Awkwood and his mini On My 42nd Birthday I Was Washed Out To Sea, which was completely perfect. Pat Grant's nailing it with his Ambient Yeast chapters. Fulto's We'm was a delight, as ever.   

Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsene Schrauwen, Emily Carroll's Through the Woods and Eleanor Davis' How To Be Happy were excellent collections of excellent works.  I really dug Kris Mukai’s Commuter, Kerascoet’s Beautiful Darkness, John Martz’s Cat Named Tim, Luke Howard's stylistically diverse range of mini comics. Daryl Seitchik’s ascerbic yet vulnerable tone is completely compelling and Leslie Stein's water colors continue to make me giddy.

My favorites of the year might be Sophia Foster-Dimino’s Sex Fantasy minis which are perfect and Jesse Jacob’s Safari Honeymoon.    

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?

I feel like non-comics culture really stepped up this year - I saw amazing concerts, astounding art, shook what my mama gave me to some fun music and read some great books. Good job, culture, you done good.

I've been up to my elbows in post-apocalyptic stories as I write more Maralinga.  I've been particularly delighted by Dog Stars by Peter Heller, Far North by Marcel Theroux, Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, Jeff Vandemeer's Annihilation and most extra especially Colson Whitehead's Zone One.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Doug and I will have a picture book called Something's Amiss at the Zoo out from Lothian Children's in the Australian winter and we'll be launching it at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, I think.  It'll be my first trip back to Australia in more than 2 years and I'm looking forward to seeing all my comics buddies in their shiny lovely faces.  

There are some other books that I'll be happy to meet - a collection of Dakota McFadzean’s Dailies and Max DeRadigues' Moose both from Conundrum, a new instalment of Ethan Rilly's Pope Hats series from Adhouse, Richard McGuire’s Here (is out in 2 days as I write this eeeeeeee!).  Max DeRadigues started a new Oily series in 2014 called Bastard and it's already great, more of that will be awesome.

I'm taking all of January off work to finish the first draft of Maralinga as a palate cleanser in between the second and third books of the Clem Hetherington series.  Just the idea of an entire month in the studio makes me swoon a little with happiness.  I hope Doug and I will be able to self-publish a little more Maralinga while we work on Clem Hetherington next year - it's been more than a year since the first twelve pages went up and we are nearly four months overdue on the second instalment.  I'm deeply embarrassed about both of those things and hope we can figure out that magical - and so far elusive - balance.

2013 was good, 2014 was better, 2015 will be best :)

Jen Breach

2014 in Review: Matthew Nicholls

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
My biggest highlight would be releasing issue zero and touring all around Australia with illustrator Chris McQuinlan. It was awesome and so much fun. It would be great if I could do that every year.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
I always enjoy releases from my fellow indie's, there's too many to mention here. I was also happy that Sandman started up again, even though it's as consistent as my comic Collateral.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?
I released my first book. It's a limited edition hard cover book of illustrated gothic poems. I'm so proud of this book, it came out exactly how I envisaged.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
A better year than 2014. I had a lot of medical issues this year, so I'm looking forward to that being over and moving on next year. I'll be releasing a lot more through Boy In A Box Productions and I'm also hoping for a US released book.

Matthew Nicholls Writer

The Legend of Rock