Dylan Horrocks has written and drawn graphic novels, comic books, comic strips and short stories in New Zealand and overseas, and has contributed to numerous anthologies in New Zealand and abroad. His graphic novel Hicksville (Victoria University Press, 2010) was first published in 1998, and has since been published in six languages. Hicksville is #12 in Rolling Stone’s list of the Fifty Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels of all time. He has also written comics for Vertigo and DC Comics, and his comic strip ‘Milo’s Week’ appeared weekly in the New Zealand Listener between 1995 and 1997. His most recent graphic novel, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, was published by Victoria University Press in 2014. Dylan Horrocks was awarded a 2016 Arts Foundation Laureate.
Place of Residence: Wellington
Horrocks, Dylan (1966 – ) is a cartoonist, writer and illustrator. He was born in Auckland, and has lived there most of his life, except for a few years in London, and short periods in the USA and Bougainville when he was a child. He attended Green Bay High School and received his tertiary qualifications from the University of Auckland. He is married to youth health researcher Dr Terry Fleming and they have two children.
Horrocks has contributed to anthologies Dirty Stories, vol. 1 & 2, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 1997, 2000); Comix 2000 (L’Association, 2000); 9-11: Artists Respond (Dark Horse, 2001); Bizarro Comics, edited by Joey Cavalieri (DC Comics, 2000); Bizarro World, edited by Joey Cavalieri (DC Comics, 2004); Little Nemo 1905-2005: Un Siècle de Rêves, edited by Benoît Peeters (Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2005), and Les Belles Étrangères : Douze Écrivains Néo-Zélandais (Sabine Wespieser, 2006). Horrocks also contributed to the Political cartoon, Better Luck Next Century (Top Shelf, 2001).
He has also published two major essays, ‘Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud’s Definition of Comics’ in The Comics Journal #234, (2001) and ‘Perfect Planet: Comics, Games and World-Building‘ in Writing at the Edge of the Universe, edited by Mark Williams (Canterbury University Press, 2004).
Further contributions to literary works include Are Angels OK? The Parallel Universes of New Zealand Writers and Scientists, edited by Paul Callaghan and Bill Manhire (Victoria University Press, 2006); Look This Way: New Zealand Writers on New Zealand Artists, edited by Sally Blundell (Auckland University Press, 2007); Darkest Day: Comics for Christchurch (Funtime Comics, 2011); Cartozia Tales (Cartozia Press, 2013) and Beyond the Free Market: Rebuilding a Just Society in New Zealand, edited by David Cooke, Claire Hill, Pat Baskett and Ruth Irwin (Dunmore Press, 2014).
Horrocks has published written works in the graphic novel genre, including The Names of Magic (Vertigo, 2000-2001): issues 1-5 (trade paperback, 2002); Hunter: the Age of Magic (Vertigo, 2001-2003): issues 1-25; Batgirl (DC Comics, 2003-2004): issues 39-57; Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (DC Comics, 2004): issues 180-181, 184.
Horrocks has contributed as an illustrator to Highway Robbery by Joy Watson (Scholastic NZ, 1999); The Adventures of Audubon by Peter Rees (Weldon Owen, 2005); As Far as We Know: Conversations about Science, Life and the Universe by Paul Callaghan and Kim Hill (Penguin Books, 2007) and The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield (Scout Books Shorts, 2012). He collaborated with Emily Perkins on All Hail Ellie, Destroyer of Worlds! (Hicksville Press, 2010).
He has also published two non-fiction works, Nga Pakiwaituhi o Aotearoa: New Zealand Comics (Hicksville Press, 1998; revised 2000); and New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels (Hicksville Press, 2012).
Prose short story, ‘Steam Girl,’ in Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (Candlewick Press, USA, and Walker Books, UK, 2011) was shortlisted for the 2011 Sir Julius Vogel Award for best novella. ‘Kitty Capulet and the Invention of Underwater Photography’ in Monstrous Affections: an anthology of Beastly Tales, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (Candlewick Press, USA), was published in 2014.
Horrocks’ two major comic series, Pickle (Tragedy Strikes Press/Black Eye, 1992-1997) and Atlas (Drawn & Quarterly, 2001-2006) have received critical acclaim. Pickle was shortlisted for 1997 Ignatz Awards (USA), and Atlas was shortlisted for the 2002 Harvey Award (USA).
Horrocks also publishes serials and stories on his website, Hicksville Comics.
Horrocks’ graphic novels, Hicksville (Black Eye, 1998; revised edition Drawn & Quarterly/Victoria University Press, 2010); Incomplete Works (Victoria University Press, 2014) and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (Fantagraphics/VUP/Casterman etc, 2014) have been successful in New Zealand and abroad.
Hicksville was shortlisted for the 1999 Harvey Award (USA), 1999 Ignatz Awards (USA) 2002 Prix d’Alph’Art (France), 2004 Barcelona Comics Festival (Spain) and the 2004 Attilio Micheluzzi Award (Italy).
Tom Spurgeon for The Comics Journal wrote of Horrocks, ‘both the work and the artist seemed admirable. Hicksville was the first accomplished graphic novel of the post-alternative generation, a sweetly-told love letter to the comics medium full of visual iconography at once universal and specific to its New Zealand locale…All of these things indicated an artist more interested in personal exploration than careerist explication, a rare find in any art form and even more so in the world of comics.’
Horrocks won the Eisner Award (2002), a USA comic book industry award for ‘talent deserving of wider recognition.’ He was the 2006 Auckland University Literary Fellow, a fellowship which provided him with a full-time opportunity to work in an academic environment.
Incomplete Works (Victoria University Press, 2014) is hand-picked selection of Dylan Horrocks’ short comics from 1986-2012. The collection was reviewed by Tim Gruar for Booksellers: 'the collection of unfinished works is a sort of taster for what could have been […] Essentially, they cover a highly productive period between 1986 and 2012 when Horrocks was trying to find and re-find his voice in comics. You can see him toying with the familiar themes of melancholy cartoonists, levitating women, bizarre characters in top hats and even a couple of proto-superheroes looking for their four colour newsprint destinations. As always, his work is personal, self-deprecating and explorative. He tries out illustrative poetry, intricate rendering and more ‘messier’ styles.’
Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (Victoria University Press 2014) publishes Horrocks’ online serial of the same name. The graphic novel was described by Alison Bechdel as ‘a tour de force. There’s something very pure about Dylan Horrocks’ comics. That’s perhaps an odd word to describe this book which is so much about desire. But Horrocks’ line and his imagination both seem to flow freely and directly from some primal source. If you’ve ever wished that Hergé had written comics for grown-ups — gorgeously drawn and playful adventures that explore the serious anxieties of midlife — your wish has come true, and then some.’ Sam Zabel received highly commended at the 2015 PANZ Book Design Awards in the Best Illustrated Book category.
Dylan Horrick received a 2016 Arts Foundation Laureate, and is the first Laureate Award recipient primarily known as a graphic novelist and cartoonist.
Last Updated December 2016
- Hicksville Comics website
- Interview with Dylan Horricks for New Zealand Herald
- Review of Incomplete Works for Booksellers
- Interview with Dylan Horricks on Radio New Zealand
- Dylan Horricks' speech at the New Zealand Arts Foundation Awards 2016
- Article on the 2016 Laureate Awards by NZ Poetry Shelf
- Dylan Horrick's profile on the Arts Foundation website