The Heading Dog Who Split in Half: Legends and Tall Tales from New Zealand
|Author:||Dr. Michael Brown|
PUBLICATION OCTOBER 2015
New Zealand has a rich--if often overlooked-- tradition of folk legends and tall tales. The Heading Dog Who Split in Half collects together some of the best of these, artfully adapted as graphic tales and complete with background notes. Together these stories conjure up the 'old, weird New Zealand': a place of phantom waka, romantic escapades in the early whaling days, magical sheepdogs and gargantuan crayfish. The book includes Pakeha, Maori and general New Zealand tales from around the country, including the poignant legend of Dunedin's Tunnel Beach, tales of Lake Tarawera's ghostly canoe, musterers' yarns from the Canterbury high country, contemporary urban myths, and more. The Heading Dog Who Split in Half uncovers a New Zealand not found in the history books, but which exists as a country of the imagination, half-familiar, half-dream. The Heading Dog Who Split in Half is a collaboration between writer Michael Brown and comics artist Mat Tait. About ten years ago, while undertaking postgraduate research into New Zealand folk music, Brown came across various local folk tales which he thought deserved to be more widely known. After approaching Tait, whose distinctive comics have been acclaimed in New Zealand and overseas, they began adapting these stories and soon piqued the interest of the local comics community. The result is The Heading Dog Who Split in Half, an anthology consisting mostly of previously unpublished material, which will appeal to graphic novel fans young and old, together with aficionados of Kiwi cultural history.
DR MICHAEL BROWN is a writer with a special interest in New Zealand vernacular music and folklore. His research has included a groundbreaking MA thesis about folk music collecting in New Zealand, followed by a PhD dissertation covering local vernacular traditions like tramping songs and the 'Maori strum' guitar style. He has had journal articles and book chapters published in New Zealand and overseas. He lives with his family in Wellington and works at the Alexander Turnbull Library. He can also be found at notunlikeatrumpet.wordpress.com. MAT TAIT is a South Island based comics artist and writer. He gained a BFA in painting from Ilam School of Arts and then lived in America and Britain before returning to New Zealand and settling in Motueka, where he does freelance illustration and works on his art. His work has been published widely both locally and internationally, including in the comics anthologies Kramer's Ergot (Avodah Books) and Comix2000 (L'Association). His first solo comic Love Stories won the 2010 New Zealand Comics Eric Award for Best Comic, while in 2013 the Goethe Institut published his adaptation of Richard Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman. His work displays a longstanding interest in mythology and local history, and this book is a very natural progression of that interest.