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Burnt Toast#3, 1990

For the last year or so I've been regularly reviewing comics for my university newspaper, Newswit. Quite a fun little column which delved into the occasional controversy and even got one or two people to hear of me. The high-light of the stint was probably an interview I conducted with the editor of the locally-made Pounding Tales.

Of course, the interview ended up being severely edited, a sometimes necessary but painful process, and the best thing about writing your own 'zine is that the person doing the editing is yourself.

But the point of all this is something I realised whilst doing my column. The production of Australian comics, (and the many related fanzines and such), is an extremely risky business, and many worthwhile projects have simply faded due to bankruptcy. Sure, what I'm doing is fairly safe, I haven't had to invest a great deal of money, but there are others not in such a position.

But while risky, it is also something that should be done. The creation of anything, from something the size of Burnt Toast to the extremely successful (but nevertheless defunct) Southern Squadron is a wonderful thing, regardless of the quality of the result. I feel like a mad scientist whose creation is better than anything I expected. Such feelings, and such creation, should always be encouraged, for the same reason we read books and watch films, and dream about producing our own.

Now I'm not telling you to go out there and buy an Australian Comic because you feel morally obliged to. It's as the Buy Australian campaign says, if you do read comics at least find out what the local market has to offer. There are things out there that are worth looking at (my current favourite being Pulse of Darkness) and while they're not as good as the best DC and Marvel can produce (a logistic impossibility) a lot of it's better then the worst.

I'll have to admit that as a child I never had the specific ambition to produce my own magazine. I didn't know what I was missing.


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