Author rants about comics, politics

1. Do you guys read Drawing Silence? I forget if I’ve written about it on here before, but I was reminded that I might not’ve. Draw is a main man of mine, and his creepy, excellent and just all round fanfuckingtastic narrative piece Stillness has begun updating again. This may upset those of you who were right into the abstracts, but I know for sure they’re not gone for good. He’ll keep doing them, there’s more.

But did you see the last one? OMG wow. This is where… this is the kind of thing where Draw’s shit really starts to talk about the difference – or sameness? or imbrication? or multiple points of contact? – between static images, and images that approximate movement. There is SO MUCH movement in his work. But it is movement that talks about movement. And makes it. And has this kind of “means of production” thing going on. I don’t know. Go and have a look!

Anyway, he’s been on RFC a bit of late, commenting back and forth with me, and I figured, maybe some of you would like to know who he was. Pictured above: Draw and MVH,  joint winning the Eric Award for best webcomic 2010. That’s me on the left (as per), in what may be my worst picture ever.

2. I know I’ve written about this comic before, but I just want to mention it again. Heliothaumic is presently engaged in fictional/metaphorically hassling colonial state power, and in particular, the application of that power to any kind of dissent, even if only tangentally related (or related through paranoia.) Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so. Anyway, Robyn approves.

3. In relation, Robyn also approves of Te Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe and Tino Rangatiratanga. And with Te Urewera being returned to Tūhoe custodianship. Of course, none of these things require my approval – they exist in the interests of, and through the valiant efforts of those people to whom they apply. All I will say is that, being a Pakeha kiwi, there’s absolutely no reservation in my heart about any of these. I don’t feel as if anything is being “taken away” from me when land is rightfully returned to the people who live on it, especially since Tūhoe never signed the treaty. Te Mana Motuhake & Tino Rangatiratanga simply don’t require me to say anything, other than that I am happy to have my support on public record, and to offer my assistance where and when it may be useful.

One of the ways it is useful, I sometimes think, is to firmly avoid every saying any kind of nonsense like “we’re all New Zealanders.” On some level it may be practically true, but like all categories, nationality is about descriptive limits rather than prescriptive blueprint, and especially, category is discursively formed. I’m not a New Zealander, by some people’s rationale. Despite being born here, I’ve read too many books and don’t like tomato sauce enough to be a real “kiwi”. Foucault’s Chinese encyclopaedia probably applies.

Oh, New Zealand. You do a good job of looking like a country, but really, you know, you’re a contested territory. It’d be great if we’d all admit that, and consider that the reason we move towards restitution with Tūhoe is because it is ethically right. Not because some great objective force in the sky requires that we act one way or the other, not because liberals have no brains, and not because nobody recognizes that a war was fought here, and to certain extent won, by the British army. But because regardless of what happened in the past, we’re presently engaged in making the future.

In that future, what I would like  is a world where ideas that weren’t mine (or from my cultural bias) and actions based on mutual compassion, honesty and trust were in steady supply.

4. For those of you curious about updates, rest assured. Today’s will be up by tonight. Peace out.


  1. hamshi

    That’s a great photo Robyn. Aren’t all countries contested territories? I can’t think of any fully sovereign state that’s managed to complete one of those awful nation-building projects.

  2. Robyn E. Kenealy

    You make a good point! All countries must, by definition, be contested, as, even as they aren’t colonial, they’re still decided upon by reasons external: the monies, the trade, or, as Michael Billig would have it, the wars. Lol nations attempting nation building! Categorical fail.

  3. draw

    thanks Robyn for the nice comments and the plug. I think Toxic might be one of my favourite Abstract comics

  4. Robyn E. Kenealy

    That’s cos it’s HOT. Seriously, I was looking at it again, and it’s so beautiful the way the colours come in. It’s like weather.

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