Artist’s comic combines mutants and sea monsters

Artist James Elder works on a scene from his debut comic book Fish Fighters. Photo: Supplied

FOUR-ARMED mutants find love, cycloptic bird-men soar, and sea monsters rise from the ocean, in a local artist’s colourful debut comic book.

Artist James Elder moved from Marlborough to Invercargill in 2017 and, finding inspiration in the region’s culture and landscape, began work on Fish Fighters two years later.

Mr Elder said the story, which features a gang of mutants battling a menagerie of sea monsters, came about while he was surfing at Colac Bay.

He said a lot of his inspiration came from late New Zealand cartoonist Murray Ball, and his work on the comic strip Footrot Flats, and also Billy T. James’ crack at writing comic books with The Real Hard Case Book.

“We’ve got some really good comic book artists here in New Zealand, so I sort of wanted to have a go myself. There’s a lot of artists that are doing really amazing work,” Elder said.

The 38-page comic book, which has been published by independent publisher Dolphin King Publishing, was hand drawn then inked and painted with a combination of watercolours and acrylics.

Elder, who studied animation after high school, said it had long been a dream of his to publish a comic book.

“My next one is going to be more of a picture book, I think my strengths lie more in illustration rather than storytelling.”

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