Adelaide’s Darren Koziol is not only a writer, editor and publisher, but the man behind Dark Oz — created in 2009 to publish Australian comic books, mostly anthologies, that showcase the work of hundreds of local creators, and a few international guests too. Their flagship title is DECAY, a mature readers’ horror anthology with (thus far) 21 big issues that weigh in at 52-pages apiece.
Recently Koziol also started Retro Sci-Fi Tales, a PG-rated old school science fiction anthology. There have been a number of other smaller projects along the way, and now the vampire Sisters, from DECAY, are getting their own ongoing series.
How did you get involved in the Australian Indie Comics Explosion panel at San Diego Comic Con?
“I’m attending San Diego Comic Con this year and am actually the only Australian exhibitor. There’s usually a waiting list of two to three years to get into SDCC, but they were so impressed with the Dark Oz comics that they let me in this year when I applied; it’s something quite different and unique for their convention.
“The panel Australian Indie Comics Explosion was set up by Neville Howard, another Australian comic book creator, who’s been to SDCC for the last four years in a row and has already held panels there previously. He set up this panel and asked me, as sole Aussie exhibitor, to be part of it — and of course I said yes!”
What kinds of things do you intend discussing/presenting at the panel?
“I’ll be talking about, and promoting, the new comics that I have for sale at the convention. From the huge catalogue of material published so far, I’ve picked the ‘Best Of’ material, had it remastered, coloured (where needed), re-lettered, and resized it all to U.S. comic book proportions.
“From there, I have produced two new anthology series specifically for SDCC — the horror stories have been collected in Ozploitation, and the sci-fi stories in 2525. I have four issues of Ozploitation and three issues of 2525 debuting.
“I’m also selling the Cthulhu anthology there, and I’m giving the first issue of the new Sisters series its international launch [with a cover by Frantz Kantor]. All of these comics are in very limited preview quantities, launched exclusively for SDCC. The regular Australian releases will be out in September. There are other Australian creators on the panel talking about their future projects, but I’ll be able to direct the fans to comics they can actually buy there and then.”
Do you believe there really is an Australian comics renaissance right now?
“There certainly do seem to be a lot more people making indie Aussie comics at the moment. And like with everything — from TV to film, games, comics, et cetera — the quality is improving all the time, which then pushes everyone to keep raising the bar. Digital publishing is a big help these days, meaning you can print good-quality comics in low quantities. And social networking and the internet means that communication and promotion can be done everywhere, and it’s so easy to work with creators you can’t physically meet.”