Welcome to my 'zine tree!

Here in my studio, I've got this wire-y thing hanging above my computer desk chock-full of paper goods that have kept me curious.

Instead of filing one thing away when I wish to add something, I've decided to do these features about some of the creators' works on the tree.

There's a little bit of everything up there - some photography, some stickers, some floppy comics, but most of it is cartoon and comics art and all of it is independently produced.


Tell me about your shames, thus your comics.

NM: Those comics are part of a project I’m still working on that stemmed out of a research essay and project I did for my final year of university in which I looked at comics written by women and analysed them in regards to representations of body image and shame (shame being an umbrella term for embarrassment, humiliation, sadness etc).

I then identified three types of body shame (sexual shame, body image shame and body fluid shame) and then listed as many things under these three categories that related to myself. These were based around things that have happened in my life that i felt shame about or were made to feel ashamed about either at the time or afterwards.

I’ve then begun making comics for everything on this list and the second volume of comics from this project will be finished by the end of the year.

>>See the Shame Self Portrait website
AG: What comics did you read last week?

I haven’t been reading a lot of comics lately as I’ve gone back to reading non-comics since I started working in a second-hand bookshop! I did get a copy of Patience by Daniel Clowes, and I was crying at the end because I loved it so much. I also read the new Michael Deforge comic Big Kids a few weeks ago which I thought was pretty good and is probably my favourite work of his so far.

>>Read this entire comic
AG: “Woman on the Verge” is the comic of yours that hangs on my ‘zine tree. The story, which is about artificial vaginas for sale on Ebay, has a fold-out poster at the end that reads “Take & Give Nothing in Return,” as three men pleasure the central female character. The ambiguity of this statement is probably why I’ve kept the poster on display in my own studio – I can’t quite suss out the kindness within this phrase, and many of your comics seem to feature a comedic sensibility that is saccharine and harried, not so hedonistic. Help?

NM: Argh, I really hate that comic and want to burn every copy, lol. I made that during a very weird period of my life and have tried to erase it from my memory. But I can say that statement wasn’t meant to have any type of kindness about it. I guess it’s about being selfish in how much you take from other people without fulfilling any expectations they might have about getting anything back from you. I think it’s meant to be hedonistic in that sense; thinking only about yourself, your own pleasure and ignoring everybody else. And as a result, deriving your happiness and pleasure from yourself as opposed to other people, especially in regards to relationships and this stupid thing society has where they shame people who are single.

AG: Does being in Sydney (AU) affect the creation of your comics?

NM: Definitely. There’s not a huge comics scene here and I only have two friends in Sydney that I can talk about comics with. In this sense, it’s quite bad in terms of knowledge sharing and in terms of coming up with ideas and projects for collaboration. But I turned to comics as an artistic outlet initially because you don’t have to interact with anybody to make them and now i’m doing creative projects that aren’t comics in order to fulfill that other part of me that revels in collaboration.

Last year, I went to Chicago for CAKE and this was a very eye opening experience in terms of seeing just how much bigger the comics community is in America, as it’s a fraction of the size here. I don’t think people here tend to be that interested in comics, at least in my social circles anyway, which is why I try to make my comics accessible for non-comics audiences.
AG: Top 3 creative activities/ music/ art /film you’ve enjoyed recently?

NM: I’m currently reading Whipping Girl by Julia Serano, which is about sexism and expressions of femininity in regards to transwomen, whilst it covers a lot of other ideas about gender, terminology and trans-related issues. I’m finding this really great as it’s helping me understand more about these important topics which I think everybody in the world should make a concerted effort to do.

I’m also reading a thick volume of Eileen Myles’s poetry from the 1970s until now and think it’s brilliant, I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far and find a lot of it relatable and also humorous.

I'm also pretty into Jean Genet at the moment. He made one film in 1950 called Un Chant D’Amour that I recently watched which stuck with me because contextually, I think it is pretty great to see an explicit movie about gay characters and masturbation -
and also it’s really artful and visually nice and has a beautiful rhythm and pace that I admire.


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Support Nicky's work by purchasing the first volume of Shame Self Portrait>>