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27 February 2007

Comic Phones

Meet two artists working together on a comic of a different kind.


JOE VELIKOVSKY: We think it is a turning point in subversive entertainment.

PAUL McCARTHY: This is the new face of the comic strip reinvented for a medium that might be more relevant to young people of the digital age.

DEANNE TAYLOR: There's not a lot of 14-year-olds I know that buy the paper so maybe this is the best way for them to be exposed to it.

PAUL McCARTHY: Joe Velikovsky and Deanne Taylor originally came up with the idea of creating a newspaper comic strip over cups of coffee in Rundle Street. They created Dr N Sayne, inspired by their belief that science is stranger than fiction.

JOE VELIKOVSKY: There's "Lefty" the robot rights activist. "Sparky" the glow in the dark fish, which is based on a real science experiment.

PAUL McCARTHY: The newspapers weren't interested but a bit of lateral thinking found an unlikely outlet for their work: the phone tech company, Mobster, who were looking for a new gimmick.
For a fee subscribers receive regular instalments of Dr N Sayne on their phone screens. It's a situation that has even the comics' creators amazed.

DEANNE TAYLOR: I avoid the phone rather than use it but, you know, we're talking about a generation that communicate in many different ways through this little box and, for that reason, I think it fits nicely.

PAUL McCARTHY: As a comic obsessed kid, he loved "Mad Magazine" and the darker humorous work of someone called Deanne Taylor. 20 years later he was astonished when he took a job at local computer game company Ratbag, and there was his hero.

JOE VELIKOVSKY: After working together for a while we said we should collaborate on something. So I gave him the strips, and he went away and came back with just amazing designs and just really brought the world of Dr N Sayne to life.

PAUL McCARTHY: Deanne Taylor grew up in Elizabeth and spent much of his life in Adelaide, but his work as an artist has won awards around the world. He's worked with some of the biggest names in show biz.

PAUL McCARTHY: His career took off when he met Bill Hanna in 1978 when the famous animator came to Adelaide to promote "The Flintstones on Ice". He showed him some of his drawings and Hanna gave him a job. But Deanne Taylor's crowning achievement was a Disney movie. He was art director on Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas".
Together the team of Taylor and Velikovsky have collaborated on more than a 100 Dr N Sayne strips.

DEANNE TAYLOR: The crew send me whatever progress they're in. They actually rough it in, in the digital world, and they send it to me by email and I'll knock it into shape if it's off or say I'm good with it and they go to the next stage.

PAUL McCARTHY: It's this high tech world that inspired Dr N Sayne that could eventually see the character find an even wider audience. Ideas for an animated feature film are also on the drawing board.

DEANNE TAYLOR: With the tools, the computer tools you have available in your own lounge room these days you can pretty well take a really good idea and produce it good enough to get really strong interest.

JOE VELIKOVSKY: It's funny how technology kind of steps out of left field and surprises everybody. A year ago I would never have seen this coming either.


story notes

turning point
A turning point is an important moment of change.

Example: The birth of my first child was a turning point in my life.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

subversive
Subversive comes from the verb to subvert. To subvert means to try to undermine or weaken something - usually ideas or political systems. If something is subversive it tries to weaken accepted ideas. Here, he uses Ďsubversiveí to describe entertainment that is controversial - not everyone approves of it.

new face
He says this is the new face of the comic strip. He means itís the new image or the new look of comic strips.

comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of cartoon or comic panels.


reinvented
To reinvent means to make again, invent again or to find a new way of doing something.

relevant
Relevant to means connected to, of interest to.

fee
A fee is an amount of money paid for something.

subscribers
Subscribers are people who pay in order to regularly receive a product.

instalments
An instalment is one of a number of small parts into which a story has been divided.

collaborate
To collaborate means to work with someone else for a purpose. A collaboration is when two or more people work together. We could say itís a collaborative project.

gave
Gave is the past tense of the irregular verb give. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: give

went
Went is the past tense of the irregular verb go. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: go

came
Came is the past tense of the irregular verb come. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: come

brought
Here brought is the past tense of the irregular verb bring. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: bring

grew up
changed from being a child to an adult

Example: I grew up in the seventies.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb grow up, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: grow up

spent
Here spent is the past tense of the irregular verb spend. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: spend

won
Here won is the past participle of the irregular verb win. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: win

took off
began to go very well

Example: Sales eventually took off.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb take off, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: take off

on the drawing board
Something that is on the drawing board is being prepared or planned for.

Example: There ia new shopping complex on the drawing board for this site.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

out of left field
If something comes out of left field, itís unexpected or surprising.

Example: This new idea is out of left field, but it might work.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

would never have seen this coming
He means that he couldnít have predicted that comics would be read using mobile phones - itís all a surprise to him.