Even though we were supposed to be lying about doing not terribly much in between waddling to the next home-cooked foodstuff, the fact that comics were everywhere pervaded our consciousness until we could no longer ignore them.
By far the most ‘everywhere’ sort of comic here is the Phantom, a cheap, cheerful black and white comic of the sort that gets all over your hands and up your nose. As an Australian myself, I grew up reading the Phantom, mainly because they were handed down to me, from my father and his father before him. Here, the Phantom is abundant, in corner shops next to issues of the Beano and the Dandy, which are shipped from sunny Dundee.
We found this delightful sign in an Auckland bookshop. How wonderful, we thought, that the kids are stealing graphic fiction. The future is bright indeed if comics are so desirable and shiny that wee buggers can’t be trusted to linger in a bookshop without being watched by cameras and menaced by large signs.
It warms the cockles of my heart to think about some young nipper, comic shoved obviously up his jumper, making off with years’ worth of painstaking, back-breaking work. Go, young thief! Run off to the suburbs, tell your little ankle-biting friends that graphic fiction is well worth making off with. One day, your love of the form might translate into actually paying for it.
Finally, we found this exhibition in the huge and splendid Auckland library - Joking Aside: Caricatures, cartoons and comic illustrations. We discovered that in the early days of NZ cartoons, many of them were done by Scots.
Several of the best piss-taking caricatures were kept by the very politician they mocked, who hung them up in his house and chortled good-naturedly at them until the day he expired, presumably because he was laughing too much.
We like Auckland. Here, comics are lavishly displayed and the selection is various. Bookshops protect them with scary signs and elderly cartoons are quietly treasured.
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