Dark Oz Comics is a South Australian publication that produces a unique line of Australian horror anthology involving local urban myths.
Founder Darren Koziol will showcase his original horror comics Decay at San Diego Comic Con – the largest annual comic appreciation gathering in the world – in July
He will be the only Australian comic exhibitor at the event.
Koziol said going to San Diego Comic Con International had been a life-long dream.
“Horror fans will love Decay. Decay is a mature reader’s title and some of the horror stories don’t necessarily contain monsters but may just be people in really horrific situations,” he said.
“Every comic is an absolutely amazing collection of Australian writers and artists, with a huge variety of great stories.
“They (San Diego Comic Con) liked my comics so much, as it’s something different and unique for their show – Australian comics with well over 100 top Aussie creators.”
Drop bears are a fictitious, predatory carnivorous version of a koala that have been adopted into contemporary Australian mythology. They are large and vicious animals with long fangs and sharp claws that drop down from trees and attack unsuspecting victims.
The comics also include many other deadly Australian creatures such as killer crocodiles, savage kangaroos and the mythical creature the bunyip.
However, Decay is not restricted to Australian horror and contains a mixture of horror genres including zombies, vampires and psychotic murderers.
Koziol has been a lifelong fan of comics and published Decay Issue #1 in 2010.
Each comic is 52 pages, double the standard American comic, and includes five to 12 different short stories.
Decay issues are regularly posted to international readers. Koziol aims to boost sales outside of Australia following the San Diego trip.
Some of Decay’s more popular characters, The Sisters – a trio of bloodthirsty vampires – will get their own full-length comic, with art by renowned pin-up artist Michal Dutkiewicz.
Koziol said he planned to launch the new series in San Diego next month.
Since its inception, Dark Oz Comics has featured in multiple Australian conventions including Oz Comic Con, Supernova, AVCon and the Royal Adelaide Show.
The publication also includes a separate science-fiction anthology called Retro Sci-Fi Tales, which are created in the mould of classic fantasy comics.
Unlike Decay, Retro Sci-Fi is a family-friendly comic and includes short stories about aliens, space battles, time travel and dinosaurs.
“The quality of Dark Oz Comics over the last three years is extremely high in production and content – they’re made to a world standard,” Koziol said.
“There is always at least one Australian creator on every story – either the writer or the artist – there is no better collection of modern Australian comic-book creators.”
Koziol said he hoped having his own stall at the world’s biggest comic convention would not only help increase his growing international audience but also showcase some of Australia’s best talent.
Dark Oz also offers one-off private items for clients. Creating comics where readers are sketched into their very own story – a superhero fighting off villains or your everyday citizen left to fend off a zombie apocalypse.
All comics are collated and published in Adelaide, which hosts the touring OzComic Con every year.
Decay and Retro Sci-Fi comics are available internationally and can be ordered on the Dark Oz website.
San Diego Comic Con 2016 will be held at the San Diego Convention Centre from July 21-24.
This article was first published on The Lead.
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