South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 30 June 2017
Category: News Comments View Comments


This month there's lots of news with an Afrikaans flair, including highlights of two new books, one of which is a graphic novel. There's also details of an online exhibition, an introduction to a rebranding, and an update on recent crowdfunding projects as well as Jason Masters' secret project.

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel

Lately South African comics creators have become involved in diverse projects, some of which you will see under the spotlight in this news roundup. Consequently this one is longer than usual as there has been a lot happening quietly over the past few months that is now coming to the fore. In fact, there have been some news stories that I have had to hold over for the future.

In this update you'll also find the regular sections, including news in briefer formats, a summary of recent brainwavez/airwavez coverage, and highlights of events coming up in July.

Falcon Comics Is No More... But From The Ashes Shall Rise Farukon Studios

Last year I reported on the much awaited launch of Falcon Comics, the brand under which comics creator Luis Tolosana, who now prefers to go by Zen L, had been publishing his comics for years.

Zen L is quite unpredictable at the best of times, with projects, ideas, and initiatives (nevermind social-media accounts) that come and go, so I wasn't completely surprised when he announced recently that he was changing the name from Falcon Comics to Farukon Studios, especially as work-in-progress iterations of the new logo have been appearing here and there for a few months. I was a bit sad, though, because Falcon Comics has become a strong brand within the local comics community that members of the public know and recognise.

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel

I asked him about the change and his response was: "Changing the name from Falcon Comics to Farukon Studios was an easy decision to make. Video and animation are disciplines I've always wanted to explore. Comics will still be offered as a service and a few personal projects might pop up in the future but, realistically, the world wants effortless media consumption. It would be wise for me to align with the future."

It seems as if the new brand will consolidate his various projects, which have included comics, video, and animation, in one place but the focus in future is likely to be more on video than comics.

I also asked about the origin of the name. "'Farukon' [ファルコン] is 'falcon' in Japanese. I'm fascinated with their culture and they are so advanced in all these disciplines. I felt I needed to tip my hat to them," Zen L says.

You can find Farukon Studios on Facebook. (For now.)

Sometimes A Wolf Is Just A Wolf

Kobus Galloway's new book, 'n Wolf In Skaapsklere En Ander Afrikaanse Idiome [A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing And Other Afrikaans Idioms], has been published by Penguin Random House South Africa. The book, which is in Afrikaans, is a collection of 150 illustrated idioms (presumably in the form of a pun, which is Galloway's standard approach to humour), as well as an explanation of the meaning of each idiom.

The book is available at local bookshops and online stores. (You can currently buy it at a great price through Raru.)

The Bennett Contemporary Winter Art Show 2017 Opens Online

A group exhibition featuring fine art by number of South African artists, including comics creators Conrad Botes and Gerhard Human, has opened online on the Bennett Contemporary web site.

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel

Botes' contributions include sculptures and paintings, with one of the standouts being his Zuma series [ Zuma 1, Zuma 2 ], which includes controversial irreverent subtle details (you'll have to zoom into the pictures to find them) reminiscent of the political and social commentary and satire from his Bitterkomix days.

Human's works, on the other hand, comprise a series of four acrylic works in his signature style, which is also found in his comic works, that centre on sandstone formations in the Cederberg [ example: Cederberg Sandstone Formations I ]. A print of his David Lynch portrait, which he produced for In Dreams, the Spoke Art tribute to David Lynch that was held in New York in April, is also available.

The Bennett Contemporary Winter Art Show 2017 runs until 22:00 (CAT) on 21 July 2017. You can view it online at the web site.

Conrad Botes: Official Site
Bennett Contemporary: Official Site, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

Prontuit Profiles Zapiro And Sifiso Yalo

Prontuit, an Afrikaans magazine programme (I presume, anyway, as I've never seen it) on satellite TV channel Kyknet, interviewed three political cartoonists for a show. Two of the videos, featuring Zapiro and Sifiso Yalo, have been posted on YouTube. Although the programme is presented in Afrikaans both cartoonists speak English during their interviews.

YouTube link

In the segment on Zapiro the programme offers a brief overview of his career and how he got started as a cartoonist. The show also visits him in Cape Town to interview him about some of his controversial cartoons.

YouTube link

Sifiso Yalo, who appears in the third segment, speaks about his work and how he comes up with ideas for his political cartoons.

Sifiso Yalo: Facebook, Twitter

Crowdfunding Update: One Failure, One Heading For Failure, And One Not-Quite Success

I've highlighted three South African comics-related crowdfunding campaigns in the past two monthly news updates. Here's a followup as to what happened with each campaign.

The first campaign was Amazing Heroes Series 2 by Fresh Monkey Fiction, which started off well in early May on Kickstarter and was intended to close in early June but after only raising US$15 836 of an intended US$60 000 goal the project creators closed the campaign at the end of May. The intention had been to fund a second series of action figures modelled on superheroes from indie comics, this time including Stray, by Vito Delsante and Sean Izaakse. Previous campaigns have been hit and miss but it's unfortunate that this one did not succeed. Fresh Monkey Fiction specifically used the crowdfunding method in order to gauge whether there would be a market for this series and what people are interested in as the most successful campaigns featured Golden Age heroes. The result is a plan to start developing a new line of four-inch figures (slightly smaller than the current ones) with more articulation and the possibility to expand the line to more heroes and villains. The company will be announcing more on this project later in the year.

The second campaign, this time on Indiegogo, was to help to fund the creation of Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa, an animated series and comic series by a collective called Awali Studios. Indiegogo has finally decided to give an indication of when the campaign is supposed to end, and it seems there are still 12 days left - I had initially thought it would be ending at the end of June. The campaign is doing a little better than it was a month ago, with US$271 having been pledged, but it's still far off its goal of US$1099. You can jump in for as little as US$1 but rather opt for the more useful, but still affordable, US$5, US$10, or US$25 tiers.

The third campaign, which is being run on Thundafund to help with the financial costs of running the Open Book Festival, of which the Open Book Comics Fest forms part, is closing out its final day as this news story is going live. It stalled a bit, which is not uncommon for crowdfunding campaigns, especially those run by inexperienced campaign managers, but there has been a late surge this week after a good push on social media and the current total is sitting at just under R61 000. The campaign required at least R25 000 to succeed, which was enough to cover the costs of the venues for the 2017 festival that is taking place in September, but was aiming for a dream goal of R250 000. At least the extra R30 000 (I'm assuming Thundafund and the payment processors will lop about R6 000 off the top) will help the festival to cover a few other costs and perhaps assist in leading the way to it becoming more self-sufficient in future years.

A New Afrikaans Graphic Novel Will Be Launching At Open Book Comics Fest

Speaking of Open Book, Willem Samuel has collaborated with writer Sjaka S Septembir and illustrator Swart Streep (David du Plessis) on an Afrikaans graphic novel that will be launching on 9 September 2017 at Open Book Comics Fest.

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel

In Die Avonture Van Bal-Oog & Brommel: Moord In Ixia Straat [The Adventures Of Bal-Oog & Brommel: Murder In Ixia Street] Bal-oog Belisitiek and Brommel Bos are best friends who have grown up in Milnerton, a suburb in Cape Town. Bal-oog is in love with Anja, who unfortunately has a boyfriend, Kobus Burger. When Kobus disappears Bal-oog and Brommel decide to investigate. Chaos ensues? (I haven't read it yet so I don't know.)

The characters were originally conceived by Sjaka S Septembir and Swart Streep in 2000 in the comic Bal-Oog Belistiek and the two self-published the graphic novel Bal-Oog Belistiek No.1 in 2002. In 2014 Willem Samuel, the creator of the autobiographical comic series Mengelmoes, joined the team and the result is this new graphic novel.

Die Avonture Van Bal-Oog & Brommel: Moord In Ixia Straat is being published via print on demand and 300 copies are being made available on pre order for R270 until 16 July 2017. The price includes numbering, signing, and shipping (to South African addresses). The payment can be made via PayFast directly on the web site. Presumably after this date the price will go up.

Die Avonture Van Bal-Oog & Brommel: Moord In Ixia Straat: Official Site, Facebook
Sjaka S Septembir: Instagram

Comics Creators Make (A) Music (Video)

Nas Hoosen, once of the members of the Sector team (he writes Red Air), has directed an Eighties inspired music video for the catchy song Jetlag by the Johannesburg based indie rock band Shortstraw.

YouTube link

Hoosen isn't the video's only connection to South African comics, however. Kim Bussiahn, who is better known as an animator and illustrator but who has also created comics, which includes contributing to the Darker Forces: Degeneration/Darker Forces: Devastation project by the Velocity team and creating the cover for GEP Pulp No. 9, appears in the video as an extra.

Sadly, an opportunity was missed to sneak Velocity: Macabre into the video - and there was a perfect scene for it too.

Jason Masters' Mysterious New Project

After Jason Masters' main run on the James Bond series ended I asked him what was next and he said there was something in the pipeline but he couldn't talk about it yet.

Well, he still can't talk about it but he has started to post teasers on Twitter so we're likely to find out about it soon. Here's one to blow your mind a little bit:

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel
Above: So many song lyrics come to mind to describe this but I'll spare you the cringeworthy Eighties references and terrible puns. [ Image Source ]
It seems that the project is a new series that Noble Transmission is producing and Jason Masters will be drawing. Noble Transmission is a US based "comic book entertainment company for the digital age", which is headed by entrepreneur Austin Harrison and includes comics creators Mike Raicht and Zach Howard on the team.

Just in case you aren't sure whether he's working hard enough:

(Presumably the cropped fish above is from the same project.)

I'll have more on whatever this mysterious project is once some details have been released. Meanwhile, here's one more teaser:

South African Comics News Roundup: Farukon Studios, Crowdfunding Update, Jason Masters, And Bal-Oog & Brommel
Above: There is about a 10% chance that the new project is a right-wing adult colouring book featuring weapons and fishing. It's probably called Guns, Girls, 'n' Goldeyes. [ Image Source ]
Noble Transmission: Official Site, Facebook, Twitter

News In Brief

• Open Book Comics Fest launched its own Facebook page earlier this month. Previously the comics content was included on the main Open Book Festival Facebook page.

• Diorgo Jonkers has posted new comic scripts on his web site: Password Ethic, The Three Wishes, and Happy Cake. He's also posted a helpful essay examining where he gets his ideas from. The takeaway is the questions you should ask yourself as you look at the world and how you can evolve those into a story.

• Sector Issue 2 is now available on Comixology for US$1.99. The digital edition of Sector Issue 1 was released on Comixology in March of this year and I've previously reported that the first two issues are also available on

• An interview with Zapiro has been published in the new issue of Index On Censorship, an international magazine that is "dedicated to free expression". The interview, by Raymond Joseph, discusses censorship and drawing.

• The dates and venue for the next FanCon Cape Town Comic Con have been announced: 28-29 April 2018 in Halls 8 and 9 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which will be in the new wing that has just been built. Exhibitor applications will open in September 2017 and tickets will go on sale in February 2018 via Computicket.

News In Brief In Pictures

It says what it means and it means what it says.

One of my all-time comic favourites @Bouletcorp drew in my sketchbook, reminding me to take myself seriously, always.

A post shared by Kay Carmichael (@kay.carmichael) on

Previously On The Wavez

In case you missed anything, here's the local-comics content that has been posted here and on airwavez since the previous news roundup.

Yesterday I posted a story announcing that preorders for the first issue of the new volume of Stray, by Vito Delsante and Sean Izaakse, are now open. The post explains the ordering process, showcases the cover and its two variants, and talks a bit about the new storyline, which delves into Stray's past. If you're interested in the story, or in supporting Sean Izaakse's work, preorder the issue and consider placing an ongoing subscription with your local comics shop.

Earlier this month #sacomics Cast Episode #4 went live on YouTube. It has a bumper news section as the previous episode was a special one that looked only at all the South African comics that were available at this year's FanCon Cape Town Comic Con. (That video has been particularly popular - thank you for your support!)

Episode #4 also has an expanded art-showcase section and features a review of Shameema Dharsey's The Cat Lady.

YouTube link

Upcoming Events To Diarise

South African Comics Calendar Of EventsJuly is looking to be a quiet month for big events as we've just had the two biggest ones of the year, FanCon Cape Town Comic Con in April and ICON's 25th anniversary in Johannesburg in June. The next one, Open Book Comics Fest, is only in September. However there is still lots to see and do for the next month, it's just more low key.

Shameema Dharsey will be at a market on 1 July in Wynberg, Cape Town, being organised by the South African Psoriasis Association.

The exhibition Reversible Journeys, which opened in June, is still on in Cape Town until the end of July. It features fine art work by residents of Muizenberg, including N.D. Mazin (cartoonist Andy Mason).

In the UK Sally Jane Thompson will be participating in Small Press Day UK at Forbidden Planet Nottingham on 8 July.

EGE will be taking place from 28 to 30 July at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The first two EGEs both had artists' alleys but as the first was only moderately successful and the second was very unsuccessful it's possible that it has now been retired. I've certainly heard no news of anyone taking part this year. Readers Den Comic Shop will, however, have a stand so there will still be some comics representation at the expo.

Finally, there will be three Open Art Sketch Meets taking place in Cape Town, two on Saturdays (8 July and 22 July) and one on the evening of 13 July to coincide with Art Thursdays in Observatory.

Tags: #books, #comics, #fancon, #open_book, #sacomics, #speculative_fiction

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