Frantz Kantor is a man with a venerated past: a veteran illustrator, animator and production designer based in Melbourne, who’s currently working on Magpie — an all-Australian super hero comic character that appears in the national comic anthology magazine Oi Oi Oi!
Why did you start making comic books?
“I never made a comic book before [Magpie]. I’ve been involved in the Australian comics industry though, and have tried many times to get major magazines in Australia such as Australian Penthouse to create a comic section like their U.S. counterparts. Otherwise, I’ve worked for comic book publishers mainly doing cover illustrations for Decay Magazine, MAD Magazine, Inkspot, and a comic story in Fil Barlow‘s Zooniverse — published by Image Comics. Then there have been many, many comics for advertising clients.”
Who were your local comic book influences?
“I was very impressed by the great work in [1980s ‘zine] Inkspot, especially Steph Campbell — he was a poet with a brush. We shared an admiration for the comic work of U.S. artist Jeffrey Jones.”
Do you believe there really is an Australian comics renaissance right now? If so—how do you account for it?
“I think so — probably due to the popularity of social media and the availability of digital printing, as well as pop culture and comic conventions. Australians have always had a great love of American, English and French comics, and our distance helped us keep a lid on copying, so we naturally developed strong individual styles ourselves — not too closely influenced by overseas stuff.”