Archive for the Magnum Opus Category


Posted in Jitterati, Lovely pictures, Magnum Opus, Shameless Namedropping on May 12, 2008 by brunswick

The music review for Obvious Errors, Poor Execution by Snowfield in today’s Salient accidentally calls the album Oblivious Errors. As about a million pedants are probably now pointing out to Tristan, myself included.

There’s a really good cartoon spread this week. Matty’s come up with The Nunja, which looks like a winner. It’s an extremely well laid-out cartoon, so well done there. It makes me want to do something technically challenging. Well, more technically challenging than laughing at prostate cancer.

Before visiting the reclusive Brett, I was rushing around the library returning stuff and trying to write Jitterati in my head. I passed a sour-faced ex in Cuba Street… there’s something satisfyingly schadenfreudish about seeing someone, who isn’t pleased to see you, when they’re not looking their best – not that that you’re looking your best either, but you still look a damn sight better than them. I’m quite happy at the moment, although I’m finding that it’s still taking me hours to do anything. I have to write down lists of activities so I don’t forget what I’m doing and get distracted. I can easily spend four hours just editing those little .m4a tags that music files use in iTunes.

I’m reading a lot of Iain Banks at the moment. I read The Bridge at Brett’s suggestion when I told him about my Bridge graphic novel, and I’ve also read the revolting but hilarious The Wasp Factory and Whit, which boasts an excellent heroine.

I’m about halfway through George McDonald Fraser’s Flashman series. This series of historical novels, for those of you who haven’t heard of them, are the continuing adventures of Harry Flashman, rake, cad and cowardly-custard hero of Victorian England. Through bluster, cunning and bad luck he manages to witness and participate in many of the 19th century’s biggest events, and emerges with an almost superhuman reputation despite having the moral fibre of Weetbix. Anyone who witnesses his true character has the unfortunate tendency to die before the medals get handed out. There are cameos from many historical notables (portrayed in a way which must’ve displeased their living descendants)  and an astonishing amount of rumpo. The genius of the character is the gulf between his thoughts and actions – the books are purportedly written in the early 1900s when Flashman is in his eighties and has nothing to lose by finally telling the truth, so he eviscerates Victorian pomposity and hypocrisy with the honesty and cynicism of a survivor. Oh, and did I mention the rumpo?

I believe that this popular series of 12 books influenced Blackadder, not only in the deviousness of the title character, a modern man set apart from his contemporaries by cynicism, but most obviously in the character of Flashheart – the excellent Wikipedia article says as much. Flashman also owes something to Ian Fleming’s James Bond, repaid when Fraser wrote the script for Octopussy.


Posted in Magnum Opus, Utter Trivia on February 5, 2008 by brunswick

I’m starting to remember my extraordinarily vivid dreams again, which is a good thing. It’s where I used to get most of my material. I had several pearlers last night, which are going straight into the graphic novel:

• The Brunswick characters and a range of miscellaneous bunnies are put inside a floating pre-fab as a scientific experiment. They are stunned in the morning to find that they have drifted into what appears to be a nightmare version of Moscow, complete with black onion domes, power pylons and incredibly narrow skyscrapers. They think that they’ve landed right next to Novedevichy Cathedral, until a group of Asiatic soldiers appear and start killing each other.

• It is a dark and stormy Edward Goreyesque night. Fitz is attached to a kind of weather balloon, and finds herself entirely unable to navigate the landscape.

• Fitz commits some sort of atrocity and disguises herself by painting herself a normal colour and hiding amongst other bunnies.

• Real Fitz turns up on my doorstep and I’m so pleased to see her I don’t care what happens next.

It’s actually 4:30am with no signs of slowing down.

Posted in Lovely pictures, Magnum Opus, Utter Trivia on February 2, 2008 by brunswick


Good party. Most of the people who read this site are still in the room as I’m typing this – little do they know! I took some more photos of the lovely Sam so I can make some progress next week. I also have lots of lovely DVDs. I don’t really need to leave this room for the next week.

More contact from Moscow. It’s nice to be remembered so fondly. It’s made me think a bit about what I’ve achieved in the past 20 years. It could be worse.

Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about

Posted in Lovely pictures, Magnum Opus on January 21, 2008 by brunswick


This is a fairly unrefined test of one of the photos of the radiant Sam. I knew she had the kind of look that would suit Flash. Can you see the potential here? All I have to do is repeat this about 600 times.

Casting call for doomed project

Posted in Brunswick Soundtrack, Jitterati, Magnum Opus, Utter Trivia on January 20, 2008 by brunswick

I took several photos of the radiant Sam… I was going to work on them tonight, but I’ll deal with Jitterati instead. The brilliant thing about posing for this project is that the character will still be recognisable as her. There’s lots more characters, so if anyone else wants to be in it, let me know.

The Beatgirls were excellent, but unfortunately Narelle wasn’t in the Glam Rock lineup, although their venerable founder Andrea was. After three encores they plugged their fascinating website (choose the ‘no flash‘ option, it’s a hell of a lot faster).

I’ve had some more (utterly foul) radio ideas, must get cracking on that.

Cracking On Soundtrack:
The Crane Wife ~The Decemberists
Tones Of Town ~Field Music
Close To Paradise ~Patrick Watson

Blah 2008

Posted in Brunswick Soundtrack, Magnum Opus on January 11, 2008 by brunswick

I seem to have reached some sort of impasse. I’ve spent 15 years drawing Brunswick, five years writing and taking photos for this graphic novel, six months organising the material and planning its production… and for the past fortnight all I’ve managed to come up with is a single page. This block is definitely psychological in nature, and I can only ask for your patience. Don’t bother visiting the website for updates – if you come here first, and if I’ve actually managed to produce anything, you can be sure as hell I’ll be making a noise about it.

Impasse Soundtrack:
Family Tree ~Björk
Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer ~Of Montreal
Marry Me ~St. Vincent

15 year obsession

Posted in Magnum Opus on January 5, 2008 by brunswick

The reason why I’m trying to keep the return of Brunswick low-key is that it’s still very difficult for me to produce. I’m trying to draw a strip that’s the equivalent size of the original weekly strip, and while I can crank out Jitterati (and the Brunswick daily strips) in exactly two hours, the old weeklies used to take up to 12 hours to draw… although by memory I think I had that down to six by the end. So please bear with me until I get back into the swing of this.

I have to start drawing at some stage, I suppose…

Posted in Brunswick Soundtrack, Cartoon stuff, Graphic Novel review, Magnum Opus on January 4, 2008 by brunswick

There seems to be some of bug in the WordPress template which means that the background of the index page doesn’t come up the proper colour. The easiest way to fix this is to click on to what you can see of the post title.

I meant to spend the day drawing, but I organised the old Brunswick Soundtrack instead, which I haven’t done for a few years. I also flicked through some how-to-draw comics books and read an interesting (but overlong) analysis of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again. I still haven’t decided whether or not it sucks. Taking into consideration that it’s a parody of Silver Age comics doesn’t make up for acres of Photoshopped textures where backgrounds ought to be, and the lack of, well style compared to The Dark Knight Returns.

I’ve also read Alan Moore’s Lost Girls, which isn’t particularly porny, but the handsomest graphic novel I’ve ever seen, a beautiful, high-quality book-as-object comprised of about thirty 8-page chapters printed in three volumes. The mostly-pastel artwork includes references to Beardsley, Mucha, Schiele and Klimt. Hilariously, these were all artists I studied at Design School (Schiele’s images of strung-out anorexic junkies are a particular obsession with design students), one of the few parts of that course that enriched my life.

I’m starting to work out how the new Brunswick storyline fits together (after working on it for nearly six years). Disgracefully, I haven’t drawn anything since the 20th of December. It’s a mental block I have to overcome.

There’s 700+ songs in the Brunswick Soundtrack Soundtrack:
Strawberry Jam ~Animal Collective
The Black And White Album ~The Hives
Version ~Mark Ronson

Hang on a sec…

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Lovely pictures, Magnum Opus, Utter Trivia on January 3, 2008 by brunswick


I’ve been sorting through photos to use as background images. I have more than I thought – I’ve been idly snapping away for years, but they require collating. I seem to have something of a mental block when it comes to drawing again, but I’m getting up early to do something about that.

The bait is still being eaten, and although the big rat seems to have disappeared, I saw a little mouse scurry under the washing machine. Maybe the bait makes them shrink?

Lynn Freeman very kindly singled out FB:L4G for praise in her theatre column in Capital Times. I don’t think I’ve ever met her before, so it’s not one of those Wellington praise-my-friends things.

Oh, I put up the first page…

Wellington is full of Cnuts

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Jitterati, Magnum Opus, Utter Trivia on January 2, 2008 by brunswick


(Cnut is another name for Canute the Great.)

I was in town this evening taking background photos for Brunswick. The bars I wanted to use were closed and Midnight Espresso was too crowded, so I went into Chow and promptly exited again after tripping on that stupid little step they have and nearly faceplanting at the feet of two dozen braying DJs, project facilitators, account managers and other cnuts. I tried taking photos in Hummingbird, but was informed by a suave young bar guy that I’d have to ask the owners, who were on holiday. I told him the photos might be used in Capital Times (which should have been out today) and would be good publicity, and he cooly informed me that they don’t need publicity. “Good attitude” I retorted, and left. In the end I took the photos in Kaffee Eiss, which is becoming one of my favourite places in Wellington (see this week’s Jitterati, by coincidence).

Oh, and I walked back along Lambton Quay and a car threw an egg at me! It missed me to such an extent I didn’t even realise I was the target until the car sped off. What kind of cnut drives around Wellington at night with a box of eggs? Someone who has never known the loving touch of a woman, of course.

Ideally I want Brunswick to update on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (the holy trinity of comic update days) but considering the effort it takes me just to get dressed at the moment I think I should ease myself into it. So instead of staying up all night drawing, I think I’ll go to bed. Yeah.

More radio recording on Sunday from 2pm onwards. Bring scripts.