Going Rogue in New Zealand

A year or so ago I picked up a bundle of New Zealand comic books in a half-price sale, and I've been casually working my way through the stack. I'm nearly at the bottom of the pile, and I've got a couple of issues of an anthology magazine called "Rogue" which was produced by the "New Zealand Comic Collective" in the early 2000's.

  Rogue (NZ) #9
Year 2003
Review:  Not Required [No Spider-Man]
Publisher: New Zealand Cartoon Collective
  Rogue (NZ) #11
Year 2002
Review:  Not Required [No Spider-Man]
Publisher: New Zealand Cartoon Collective

The format is the traditional photocopied A4 page, folded in half and spine stapled. The outer cover is a piece of colored A4 card. I reckon that the color adds instant shelf appeal, so it's probably a good cost-effective compromise compared to a color cover, especially since we're talking ten years ago when color reproduction was more expensive than it is now.

But enough about the cover. What's on the inside? Ah... unfortunately that would be a real dog's breakfast of stories. And if we're being brutally honest, not all of them are particularly good.

There are two ongoing story arcs which thread through most of the eleven issues of this title. One is named "Earthwrath", the other is "The Mirrors of Time". Both of them are set in a science-fantasy world of global conflict, and both of them are perfect examples of how not to write a story. Convoluted, clumsy and without structure, neither are mature enough to justify seeing print.

There are some redeeming points. In #9, a collective entitled "skanz" offers five different untitled stories, each of which has their own distinct personality, but all are interesting and worthy of inclusion. Also, Joy Moss writes well in "What Happened to Steve?", while Jamie Laurie shows talent as an illustrator, less so when he scripts his own art in solo story "The Uglettes".

In issue #11 (the final of the title, I believe) the success rate is notably lower. Tony Scanlan raises a few chuckles in an over-the-top sci-fi comedy story "Danny Danger", then hits the funny bone again in two one-page funny stories - "Darth Vadar" and "The Bear market". Beyond that, nothing else even comes close to justifying the paper it occupies.

In the final analysis, this anthology seems to suffer the same problem as the New Ground anthology (see NZ Anthology - New Ground #8 for example). Essentially it seems that while there are little pockets of creative talent around, it can be a real challenge to assemble enough of in once place at one time to fill a whole 24 pages worth.

Clearly it takes a great deal of patience, and perhaps an editor prepared to wait long enough and be consistently fussy enough to assemble a whole issue of quality material. The closest I've seen so far is "Pictozine" (see Pictozine, Sally, and Horses), and I'm starting to realize what a rarity Pictozine was!