DAVID MAHLER is a comic artist and filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia. His work has appeared in Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, The Suburban Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Palooka Mag and more. His debut graphic novella Deep Park was published by Pikitia Press, and he is currently finishing his first collection, Junior Catharsis. David can be found online at Tumblr and Vimeo.
ON SCENES AND PROXIMITY
I’ve been reading comics my whole life, and started drawing as a child. I’ve been self-publishing comics since I was fifteen or so, mostly mini comics. I’m definitely part of the Australian scene, but I’d say I more draw inspiration from Japanese manga these days. Some essential artists for me would have to be Takano Fumiko, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and Osamu Tezuka. Anime and manga are pretty big down in Australia. I guess it’s the proximity.
The thing is, there really isn’t much of a scene down here, at least compared to the States. Our cons are smaller, our drawing nights are smaller. But we’re there, we’re just as creative, and we’re just as diverse. There are stacks of fantastic creators but we’re more known amongst ourselves and our Tumblr followers, I guess.
ON WEIGHT AND CONSIDERATION
I’m a filmmaker and animator, and I see many similarities between the fields. I kind of see them as interchangeable. It’s all about story. One story might work best in motion, one might work best with the time manipulation you can achieve with comics. With this comic I was to put it frankly more interested in the words. Which is taboo to say in comics; a true pro gives equal weight and consideration to both, right? But here I had a script, a rant, that really just needed illustrations.
“Earth Maps” is an excerpt from another book I’ve been working on. It’s a collection of shorter works which bounce off each other, but that’s a long, long way away. I started drawing this comic when I was living in Japan a couple of years ago. I met a hero of mine, a manga artist named Yokoyama Yuichi, and was inspired to . . . rip him off in my own style, basically. His comics are so abstracted—they hit your brain in such a unique way. I tried to look at the page as a canvas and find ways to incorporate cubism and abstraction to compliment the panel format while also conveying base symbols which could support the text.
My approach with comics like this is to first find the key, vital images that form the foundation of the piece—so no follow through between panels, jumping from image to image. But then it’s necessary to find a narrative strand, a few panels that work together and contain a story of sorts—like the farmers in this comic. I find that a single moment of identification is enough for an audience to engage with a piece, and take what could have been a dry comic to the next level. I hope.
Want to be considered for future installments of The New Comics? Send your work to Comics Curator Keith McCleary via the Entropy submissions page.