Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My small part in Pop Culture

My small part in Pop Culture 

In October 2015 the last of the big three pop culture conventions rolled into town, the Australian Movie and Comic (AMC) Expo was being held over the weekend of the 17th-18th and I popped into the Melbourne Show Grounds to lend support to the publisher of a comic that was featuring two of my stories: Darren Koziol of Dark Oz publishing.

Darren Koziol’s mother Gillian says that anyone else with his initials would probably never utilize them or be scarred for life. She made this joke as we were going over the logos of Dark Oz’s DECAY comic the bi-annual horror anthology that has just reached its milestone 20th edition. Gillian was referring how Darren’s name and love of the horror genre has been used in a rather imaginative way in his publications branding. Decay of course comes from his initials why Dark Oz is made up from the first three letters of his name.

Darren began DECAY as a labour of love back in March 2010 writing stories, compiling other talent and editing in his own time. That he now has released twenty issues and become the longest running Australian horror anthology with over 150 creators contributing is a grand accomplishment considering he is still self-publishing. Along the way he has made friendships that has resulted in some of Australia’s top artists contributing as well as others as far flung as the UK, USA and Argentina.

Darren’s belief in his comic has taken him all over Australia attending the various pop culture conventions promoting and bringing his product to the market place. Based in South Australia Darren has since an early age been fascinated by horror, fantasy and science fiction, with a genuine affection for the earlier styles as opposed to the more modern high tech. effect laden movies of the last decades. This has been carried through with DECAY’s sister publication RETRO SCI-FI which comes out once a year, usually in tandem with one of the twice yearly DECAY comics.

While talking to Darren it is evident he is very proud of his achievements, more so with issue twenty because this comic he has designed and the lay out himself as well as contributed lettering (a new skill he taught himself) because of necessity due to the unavailability of others who he had relied on in the past. Another milestone was the republishing of the CUTHULU (stories based on the popular H.P Lovecraft monster) issue as an US comic standard size. The CUTHULU issue was one of the more popular comics with an original commanding a price tag of $150. Needless to say they were a popular item and good seller at the convention.

Darren’s enthusiasm is still high with each issue getting that little bit more notice and sleeker in quality, one of Darren’s stories was picked up by International SciFi/Fantasy magazine Heavy Metal last year, so the rewards can be measured.

 In these days of Kickstarter, short lived anthologies that run out of steam by the second issue and Aussie publishers that only release a four arc comic series one issue a year at a time it is great to have Darren and DECAY helping putting new creators and exciting stories out at a regular schedule and giving Aussie comics the shot in the arm it constantly needs.

For more information on the comic: www.darkoz.com.au

originally published in the BBCN issue 239 Nov 2015

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