Julie Ditrich

Main Guest

Julie Ditrich

Julie Ditrich is a fiction writer and a visual storyteller. And a dead set legend. And quite possibly horrified by me starting not 1, but 2 sentence with And.

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Transcription Below

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Voice Over (00:02):
This show is sponsored by the Comics Shop. We hope you enjoy the show.

Leigh Chalker (00:25):
Good day and welcome to another Tuesday Chinwag. My name is Lee Chalker. I’m the creator of the Australian Independent Comic book Battle for Bustle, published through Comic Studios. Now, before we introduce our guest, I’d just like to let you know that the show is simultaneously live streamed across two channels, one channel being Comex, the other being Aussie verse. Now, if you have never heard of either of these channels, their addresses are going across that little yellow ticker box across the bottom so you can easily find them and access their content. Comex is a community based on everyone’s love of comics. It’s basically creators, shopkeepers. Anyone that does have an interest in comic books are all welcome in the community to talk and chat and do their thing. There is also the comic studio, which is the publishing wing of comics, and that is also tied into the comics shop, which sponsors the show.

Now the comics shop has over a hundred Australian independent comic book titles. It is not solely for comic studio comic books, it is for everyone that publishes and creates comic books. There is a $9 flat rate, so that doesn’t mean you just buy one, you can buy 20. It’s all the same. Now, the Aussie verse is a group of people that basically love comic book pop culture and entertainment on their live streams. They have live streams and what do you call it? They’re across TikTok and Instagram and YouTube and Facebook, and they do halls what they’ve collected, they have interviews with creators and people and stuff like that, a whole myriad of content, and they’ve got like 300 videos. Go and check ’em out. All of these places are made with love, and the best thing you can do is like, and subscribe them anywhere you can find them. My guest this evening is a lady that I’ve wanted to meet for quite some time. Tonight is the moment I’m going to introduce everyone to Ms. Julie Dietrich. How are you, mate? Going well,

Julie Ditrich (02:32):
I’m really good and I’m very happy to be here and to meet you officially and also to have met Shane as well.

Leigh Chalker (02:41):
Well, it’s lovely to meet you, mate. I heard a lot about you and know quite a bit of what you do, but I’m much, I’m really interested to get into the nitty gritty of your story and all things comics and stuff like that that you’ve been involved with over the years. So for anyone that hasn’t seen the show, it’s based on who, where, how, and why. Look, I don’t necessarily ask all of those questions. We just talk. It’s, it’s fluid. That’s how we like it. That’s how it is. We just roll with it. So everyone’s welcome to make comments. If you’ve got any questions for Julie, please fire away. And hello to everyone out there. If I forget to say good day and thank you for watching. Hello, Dave Di, there’s our first one.

Julie Ditrich (03:30):
Hi Dave. And also hi to Gary Cha.

Leigh Chalker (03:35):

Julie Ditrich (03:37):
Hi Nick.

Leigh Chalker (03:38):
Yeah, Gary, how are you mate? Alright, and there we go. Alright, so Julie, I’m just going to get straight into the meat and potatoes. Actually, I’m going to take that back because I’m a vegetarian, so I’m going to get into the plant-based schnitzel and vegetables. All right, so who

Julie Ditrich (04:04):
Am I?

Leigh Chalker (04:06):

Julie Ditrich (04:07):
Oh, I am an Australian comics writer and I also write short fiction. I do want to move into novels as well. I have a history of working in publishing from all points of view, from retail, through to editing, through to marketing, through to publicity. I love animals. This is all the personal stuff. I’m an introvert, so actually getting me speaking on here is a pretty good thing, Lee, which means that I really trust you. So thank you for the invitation and thank you to your community as well for welcoming me. I live on a farm and I freelance. I’m into, I’m quite a self-aware person and I like to do a lot of work on myself. So through my personal history, I would’ve done a lot of different courses about finding out who I am basically and all the different parts of myself. And this is something that I channel also into my writing, which is about breaking down characters and understanding characters on a deep and emotional feeling level. So that’s me in a nutshell. I love comics, the genres I like of fantasy.

I’m not necessarily into Torah, but I do like speculative fiction, even though weirdly enough, I’ve written a couple of horror pieces. And actually I shocked myself because I actually was able to do ’em. I’m not a Gore person. I don’t like blood and guts and gore because I’m very, very sensitive to that kind of stuff. But psychological horror is probably more my game. I love mermaids. Anyone who knows me, Gary, you know me. That’s my fantasy creature of choice, which I’ve had a connection to since I was very little. And that kind of is just a little bit of an introduction to who I am. And as I said before, I love animals, so I’m always looking after animals as well. You’re frozen, Lee. Is the connection still there?

Leigh Chalker (06:56):
I can hear us. There we go. You there, Julie?

Julie Ditrich (07:00):
Yeah. Yeah. You froze for a moment. You

Leigh Chalker (07:02):
There mate?

Julie Ditrich (07:03):
Yeah, yeah, I’m here.

Leigh Chalker (07:05):
Yeah, yeah, no, sometimes this is,

Julie Ditrich (07:14):
Sorry Lee, you’re frozen again.

Leigh Chalker (07:41):
Get our connections back up and running and I should be back up and running there. Hopefully

Julie Ditrich (07:48):
I I’m doing well, but you are back.

Leigh Chalker (07:51):
Alright, so I’m back. Okay, well let’s see how we go. Look at that. The Gods are with us now, so

Julie Ditrich (07:58):
You’re a little bit blurry. I’m that though. You are a bit blurry. A little

Leigh Chalker (08:05):
Blur. Okay, that’s alright. Well

Julie Ditrich (08:10):
Starting to become more crisp. That’s better.

Leigh Chalker (08:12):
Yes. Oh, maybe the sun. The North Queensland sun finally got me like all crispy before you mate, but I apologise about that. These bloody technological issues and everything that happened. I’m going to start What got you into mermaids? What attracted you to that? Was that a thing when you were a young Julie or,

Julie Ditrich (08:38):
Yeah, yeah, I think when I was, was in primary school, I remember going to the library and there was a series of books by Ruth Manning Sanders who wrote them, and an illustrator called Robin Jacque. They were from England and there was probably about 15 in the series. And they would have a book of giants, a book of ogre, a book of trolls, and a book of princes and princesses. But there was one there that was called a book of mermaids. And I borrowed it and I was so entranced with the mermaid stories and the illustrations that I borrowed that book over and over and over again. And then of course when you watch animated features like Fantasia, there’s that big kind of Greek Roman mythology. I can’t remember which one it was, but there’s little tiny mermaids in one of the scenes. And then in Peter Pan, the animated Disney feature, hi Dawn, there’s all the mermaids in Netherland.

And there was something about them that I loved. Plus I was a water baby. I was a really good swimmer from a very young age, and I could swim underwater for a long time. So there was something about the water and these scriptures that I just gravitated to. I will tell you this, I always coveted that particular book. So when I left school and I was actually earning some money, this was pre-internet, I looked for the books and there were maybe three in print and all the others were out of print including a book of mermaids. So I found an quarium book dealer in Sydney and he chased down the entire collection bar one, which I didn’t even know existed, but was given to me as a gift about four or five years ago. And he hunted them all down and he found this secondhand edition of a book of mermaids from somewhere in Florida. And I paid something like 200 bucks for it and it was worth every single set. So actually have it in my library. And if anyone was to ask me outside of family photos and things like that, what’s your most valuable possession? That would be one of them.

So I just love it so much.

Leigh Chalker (11:22):
So basically you weren’t aware, you’re saying that that book was in existence, he just went out and about and did his antiquarian thing and found you this book that was associated?

Julie Ditrich (11:37):
Yeah, yeah. I found I was able to order the three that were, IM print through a bookshop and all the others he found for me like the Book of Dragons. And so I’ve got the whole set, but that particular one is my most, that’s my prize possession plus in my library. I’ve got a whole lot of BME books now, all these illustrated ones and mythology ones and everything. So that’s my mythological, I suppose, symbol, character, creature, whatever you want to call it of that I really gravitate to. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (12:15):
Yeah, right. No, that’s cool. That’s really cool. And that got you off into, I guess your fantastical reading and started off the Kickstarter of the imagination I suppose has continued on now, Julie, most people that have particular interests in certain things or totems, have you got a mermaid tattoo on your ankle or anything like that? I

Julie Ditrich (12:47):
Have absolutely no tattoos whatsoever.

Leigh Chalker (12:51):

Julie Ditrich (12:52):
Seen no tattoos, I have no markings, no ink on my body. But I will say that a few years ago, which has got nothing to do with tattoos whatsoever except for some people I met when I was launching one of Black Mermaid Productions titles, I found out that there was the World Mermaid Awards, the very first world mermaid awards and mermaid convention happening in Las Vegas. And it’s like I have to be there, I have to launch this comic there. So all my money came together, we had the comic published, I went over to America, met all this mermaid community that I didn’t know existed. This was in 2011. It was a budding mermaid community out there.

And so for a few days I met all these fantastic people, including a woman called Hannah Mermaid, who is actually an Australian and she comes from Byron Bay and is the most famous mermaid in the world and she does all these incredible performances, is photographed all the time. And I was really happy to find out that she was Australian as well. And then over the years I’m on the edge of the community, even though I’m a good swimmer, I don’t feel the compulsion or need or want to put on a tail and go swimming like a mermaid.

I prefer to write about ’em. But there’s an Australian mermaid’s Facebook page and I’m one of the admins on there and there’s thousands of people on there. There’s all these mermaid activities happening all around the world. It’s really incredible. But as I said, I’m just on the fringe of it, the real diehard mermaid people, they’re very, very serious actually on Netflix, there’s a four or five part series about mermaiding in the US and the trials and tribulations and everything that they have to learn to do, how to breathe underwater, how to pose underwater, all this kind of stuff. That’s a fascinating series. Hannah Mermaid is featured in there as well. So if there’s anybody out there interested in this, it’s

Leigh Chalker (15:26):
Actually like a synchronised type of affair and swimming thing. Is it? It’s very highly organised.

Julie Ditrich (15:41):
It’s a community of people who identify with mermaids and who want to become performing mermaids essentially. And then they choose the degree of performance that they want. Those who want to be professional, they need to be across a lot of skills. For example, they need to know how to hold their breath underwater, how to dive deeply, monitor, keep their lungs, I really dunno the technical aspects of that, but the deep water diving, their competitions, a lot of them actually do that kind of training, learn to hold their breath for four or five minutes or so. They have to be able to descend to the bottom of a tank. They have to be able to pose in certain ways so that the tail is the most important part of the mermaid visual. So they have to be able to pose with their tail on the fin and get beautiful shapes in the water underwater and so that when they’re photographed, there’s these magical moments in the, so it’s very complex craft way I could do so I’m just focusing on my writing. That’s where I’ll put it for

Leigh Chalker (17:07):
Man. I think that’s beautiful. I had absolutely no idea that there was any sort of mermaid community in Australia, let like the world, let alone Australia. I mean, you can tell you’re very passionate about it. I’m feeling the vibration. I’m getting passionate about this mermaid community. I want to go and see this documentary on Netflix and stuff now because yeah, go

Julie Ditrich (17:32):
Check it out. I can’t remember what it’s called, but just put in Netflix Mermaid documentary and it’ll come up for you. And then you’ll really find out about how intricate it is and the challenges that come with it if you haven’t got, you have to look at safety, that’s a real priority and you have to make sure that you’re very calm underwater, that you’re not getting anxious. There’s a whole lot of, it’s very complex anyway, but it’s beautiful at the same time.

Leigh Chalker (18:11):
Yeah, yeah. I love the fact, this is what I love about Chin Wags because I just get to learn so much. I had absolutely no idea that it’s really sparked off an interest in me. I get a real kick out of people finding those little creative niches that bring I guess the best out and their passion and they’re really for it and stuff. You know what I mean? And I think that sounds fantastic. I’m really glad that you’re an admin there and keeping a watch out on the people in the Mermaid community. I’m very happy that you also got to launch your book in Las Vegas. Yeah, that would, yeah. Yeah. Did it when you got to automatically, this is just where my brain goes, Julie. And these are just some of That’s okay,

Julie Ditrich (19:10):
Lee. That’s okay.

Leigh Chalker (19:12):
These are some of the things that I would’ve thought just for humor’s sake, that a mermaid convention possibly would’ve been held a little bit closer to the coast as opposed to Las Vegas in a desert. So what was that like? Did they have giant serious, did they have

Julie Ditrich (19:36):
I know you’re serious. I know you’re serious. And

Leigh Chalker (19:39):

Julie Ditrich (19:41):
So it was going to be in the Mirage Hotel. I had actually booked my accommodation there, and apparently they’ve got a big pool and they had dolphins in there and anything. But that was actually considered to be a bad choice by the people who organised it because the mermaid community very much sympathise and align themselves with marine eco warriors. And part of their philosophy is that no animals be trapped or held captive. And if there were dolphins there, so they actually cancelled the Mirage and then they moved it to the Silverton Hotel, which is even further in the desert. But what they had is a giant aquarium. So all the professional mermaids were able to, and they actually have a mermaid show running there, which is there for everyone. So that mermaid show was on for all the guests and everyone or any visitors to the casino, but also then the visiting mermaids who were part of the convention and the awards were able to don their tails and actually swim in there as well. So that was the thought behind it. But ordinarily, if you look at a lot of groups and pods, they’re called, there’s one down in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. There’s one over in Western Australia in Perth, just up a little from Perth. And there are some up in the Gold Coast and around there. And there’s people who travel from Sydney to SeaWorld and they do performances there.

They’re more along the ocean. So that was kind of an aberration, but really it was about the tank and the accommodation and getting people in from all over the world. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (21:59):
That is fantastic. I love it. That’s a great man. That’s one of the, yeah, that is cool. Thank you for sharing that. I really, I enjoy things like that. Yeah, I do. That’s great. Thanks for

Julie Ditrich (22:21):
Being so open. Want

Leigh Chalker (22:22):
Anyone out there go and check it out, support these people. The best part is as well, is the Eco Warriors and they look at Eco Warrior, send out a message as well looking after animals in the oceans and all of that sort of stuff. Very important. I mean, I’m up in the Great Barrier Reef and we have our fair share of issues up here out in the oceans and stuff.

Julie Ditrich (22:44):
You’ll find that there’s a lot of mermaids who support Marine Conservancy, is that the right word? And Australian ones are definitely aligned with protecting the Barrier Reef.

Leigh Chalker (22:57):
Yeah, that’s beautiful. I love it. It’s fantastic. So now I’m going, when you were getting into your fantasy readings and your fairy tales and mermaids and things like that, and you were mentioning a little bit of, I suppose you would’ve gone down the Myths and Legends route there as well with all the Rome and Legends, things like that, and that flows. Yeah, man. Oh my dad, man, I’ve got books too inside that are like, I’ve kept them for years. Dad used to buy fairytale books and they were all like the Greek legends of beautiful painted pieces. And you’d sit there and

Julie Ditrich (23:47):
Are you talking about the Reader’s Digest series? I think it was a Reader’s Digest series, and they had all these legends from around the world and these most beautiful, beautiful additions with beautiful covers. Is that what you’re talking about?

Leigh Chalker (24:01):
Well, they are leather bound and in the middle of them they’ve got these beautiful paintings and you open them the stories of how they came to be from what areas of the world at that stage and what times, and then the story and things. And my dad was a really eclectic collector of things, man. I mean everything from myths and legends to comic books to Second World War military. We used to have uniforms up in wardrobes, especially bought wardrobes. And he used to collect all of these things and it was quite an, and it was decommissioned rifles and stuff like that from a second world war. And yeah, when we were in places like Sydney and Brisbane, we were always visiting particular individuals. I was tagged along, obviously I was the only child. And where are we going today, dad? We’re just going to see a man and Oh, here’s Dave. Do Julie, my daughter, beach Queensland. Awesome.

Julie Ditrich (25:17):
That is synchronicity, if ever I’ve come across it.

Leigh Chalker (25:21):
Hey, I love it. That’s great, man. The beautiful things coming out of Chin Waggon. We didn’t know that about Dave Dye either, so there you go. No,

Julie Ditrich (25:28):
We did not.

Picking up from what you just mentioned, there was a out at Lithgo every year, it stopped about during Covid, and I dunno whether they’re resurrecting it or not, there was a weekend called Iron Fest, and I started off with, I didn’t go to the earlier ones, I only went to the later ones, but it started off as being a place where artisans could come and show off their blacksmithing crafts and everything. But it grew and it expanded. And they had a lot of people coming in with people who had a passion for a particular military period as well. They would get groups in who would put on Korean American uniforms or Australian uniforms from the Korean War and then Vietnam and then World War I and World War ii, and they’d have all the armaments that were true to the time, and they had vehicles that were true to the time.

So it was always really interesting to walk around and to chat with these people. And weirdly enough, I live on a farm and there was some sheds we’d leased out, and there was a gentleman and some of his friends who collected Vietnam war vehicles. So the entire shed was filled with all this memorabilia from the Vietnam War. I think he might’ve been a soldier there. And he became very passionate. It just went even down to the little nuts and bolts. It was the big stuff. And then all the little stuff as well. It was incredible. So I understand coming from

Leigh Chalker (27:35):
It was pretty, I understand the passion of that collecting sort of thing too, because my family, the Chalker side come from Gunga. So whenever we were in Gunga, majority of our family obviously migrated to Canberra and the surrounding areas. And it was one of those things that, again, I’d get dragged along, but I grew to love it. It’d be like opening Australian war memorial and it’d be like a dead set. It wouldn’t be a day or four hours. It was like this was a two day thing, man. Do you know what I mean? With dad? And we’d scour everything, read everything, go everywhere, look at the artwork, look at all the models and all that sort of stuff. And it was really, I think that’s part of also where, apart from comic books as well, your storytelling telling, like mine did anyway, picks up because you’re reading about these heroes and stuff and there’s heroes and villains on every side, regardless of whether you look at it.

But those dioramas you get, and they’d have ’em like all the little dugouts and the trenches and stuff built, and then they have those mats in the background where they paint the backgrounds of the wars and stuff. I sit there for hours, man. And that’s where I discovered Iva Hill, the Australian war artist from Long Tan and stuff that eventually went to, did a lot of the portraits of the Australian Prime ministers back in the day and stuff like that. If anyone’s never seen that dude’s artwork, going to check him out, that man was amazing. And still to this day, that’s one of my cherished books, Julie, I picked that up when I was a kid. I know. And still my mind. Yeah, there’s

Julie Ditrich (29:24):
Something about these cherished books where you just turn the pages slowly and you caress the paper and you gently put the covers together and there’s something really beautiful about them. But I love the War Memorial and I love that. Is it called Where something of Remembrance? I can’t remember the

Leigh Chalker (29:51):
Hall. Yeah,

Julie Ditrich (29:52):
The Hall of Remembrance. I love going down there. And then I love going into that vestibule where they’ve got all those beautiful stained glass and the mood changes. I mean, I’ve got goosebumps right now because it’s like I can feel myself there and there’s this beautiful silence and this incredible energy and it’s just so calming and tranquil in there. And when you walk past all the names as well of Fallen Soldiers, there is that moment where you reflect and send your respects out as well. I do. There was one particular exhibition that was there I went to a few years ago, I think it was the dude from Channel seven, can’t remember who owns Channel seven. Is it Kerry Stokes?

Leigh Chalker (30:51):
I have no idea. I dunno.

Julie Ditrich (30:53):
I dunno. He actually funded it and it came from this village or town in France from World War I. And there were all these soldiers from Australia who went there to help the villagers and they took these photographs of them with these old fashioned cameras, but then the photos or the negatives were stored in this barn somewhere. And about 15 years ago, they found this treasure trove of them. And so I think it was Kerry Stokes, he put together a team or funded it, funded the project to actually bring them to life. And then they had that exhibition in Canberra at the War Memorial, which was really beautiful. The photos were actually quite incredible. Anyway,

Leigh Chalker (31:48):
See now this is the fluidity. It’s a love when, because I have photos of my family and Gunda guy, one of my aunts, my Nan’s sisters back in the day, and my dad’s sisters had a camera and they were Snap had everything back in the day. So I’ve got a lot of black and white photos around of people from Gunda Guy and Thatum and that area of New South Wales. And I love looking at these people and wondering what was their story? Where did they end up? What were they thinking at that moment? Did they have a good life? Did things happen? I guess in a weird way too, Julie, I love when I go to towns, this probably sound weird to people, but it’s just something I like to do. Okay. It’s just me. What do you do? I like to stop at cemeteries. Alright. If I’m cruising through a town, nothing

Julie Ditrich (32:58):
Wrong with that.

Leigh Chalker (33:00):
Love pulling up at a cemetery man and spending some time wandering around and looking at these old, there’s

Julie Ditrich (33:07):
Nothing wrong with that. In fact, Jewel’s Faber put a picture of Waverly Cemetery up the other day on his Facebook feed and I said, the best views in Sydney, which is true, but some cemeteries are fascinating. When I was really young, I put a car rally together and I got everyone to stop at a cemetery and go and look at it wasn’t meant to be disrespectful, it was. Yeah, I love them too. Rookwood here, Waverley Cemetery, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean out near Bondi and everything. And some of these ancient ones as well. I don’t blame you. There’s something intriguing about them that pulls you in.

Leigh Chalker (33:53):
It certainly is, especially when you’re driving down little roads. And they’re little roads. Your GPSs can take you in the weirdest places, especially in Western New South Wales. It tells you there’s a road, but then there’s just two tyre marks and the grass is six foot long in the middle of it, and you’re wondering where you’re going. And then suddenly there’s the old rusted iron petition gate and there’s a mother and a husband and a wife there, and you’re thinking like, wow, they must’ve lived out here back in that particular time. And I don’t know, I love that romanticism of people on frontiers and adventure and stuff. That’s

Julie Ditrich (34:42):
Probably, yeah, and you speculate, you wonder what are their stories. And there are so many lost stories out there that people will never know.

Leigh Chalker (34:51):
Yeah, I agree, man. I agree a hundred percent. I guess that’s why we like telling stories, mate. You know what I mean? And doing that,

Julie Ditrich (34:59):
Look, I did something because my family have got an incredible survival story from World War ii, but many years ago, my Russian grandmother was alive and she would be completely Ukrainian these days if she was still alive because she can’t stand the Bady Russians. And they got out of Russia because of that. During World War ii, she, I sat down with her and I did oral history with her and I found out the most incredible things and it also gave me a real appreciation of everything that my grandparents and great-grandmother and my mother had to go through to get to Australia. The fact that I was born at all is like a miracle because they weren’t meant to come to Australia. That was post-war. They were meant to go off to Argentina, but two days before they were meant to go, the Argentinians decided not to take any more immigrants.

And so they were given a choice of either Canada or Australia. And their entire basis of coming to Australia was because they had sold all their warm clothes. And they had asked the question, does it snow in Canada? Yes. Does it snow in Australia? No, not really. So they came to Australia. There’s so many hits and misses along the way, and I think it really made me appreciate my family history and the opportunities and the privilege I have of being born in Australia and having a good education and having food and shelter and things like that. But also it really connected me to my family. And I really think I have to do it with my mom and dad as well. And I really think that if people actually sat down and did that with their family, it does actually change you

Leigh Chalker (37:18):
A hundred percent. I would agree. I had a similar I thing happen to me. I hadn’t seen my dad’s family down that way for about 10 years and then under God. Yeah, yeah. And I strangely felt, I guess I’ve always had a sense of, I just felt something was missing. I knew my mom’s side of the family, but I was too young. I was very young when I had lots to do with the Chalkers. And I decided one day, basically I said to Susan, who I was with at the time, basically within the space of a day, I was just like, I’m going to undergo. And it was a bit of, oh, okay, no worries. And I just got in the car pretty much and took off, see ya. Gone and went out on my own travelling and stuff and pulled up in Gunda guy and proceeded to man, learn so much about this other half of my family and what they did.

And it gives you a real sense of, I guess almost wholeness, a sense of connectedness with your ancestors and your heritage and stuff like that. And yeah, I felt a real bond to Gunda guy, even though I live in Townsville, I do in a strange way, consider Gunda guy my place. The cemetery is littered with 150 years of chalkers and family and stuff. And then there’s crazy stories about how my grandfather, his brother was drinking and they were trying to clear rabbits out of their paddocks and they were dropping dynamite down the rabbit Warrens and old mate forgot where he dropped the dynamite. So that was the end of a tread of a young life because it would’ve been awful things to witness and hear of at the time, but good to have that knowledge. That’s what the cavalier nature those days, mate. There was no workplace health and safety.

Julie Ditrich (39:53):

Leigh Chalker (39:55):
It was just, oh, we’ve got to do it, let’s go. But beautiful.

Julie Ditrich (40:00):
I read something the other day that Gen X is the last generation of the kind of free roaming kids and childhoods where you would go out for a day and just eat a sandwich from the next door neighbour and come back at night and go ride off on your bike without any parental intervention. And now it’s completely different. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (40:29):
Yeah. I definitely have that. I like wandering. I don’t do it all the time, but when I get that bug, man, it’s like car gone. There’s not a lot of warning either. It’s just like, I’ve got money, I’ve got fuel, I’ve got a destination I want to go. So I go and it’s very enjoyable travelling road trip. And by yourself too, man, because you do, you get put in unexpected situations. You meet the most amazing people, which add the storytelling as well. I can’t remember the name off the top of my head, but there’s a little town out in southwest Queensland that has this beautiful old cinema. And in the front window is this porcelain giant porcelain statue of Marilyn Mun Monroe. And the last film that was played there, I think it was some like ’em Hot. That’s the one where she’s standing over the vent.

Julie Ditrich (41:26):
No, that’s the seven year itch. The seven year, okay.

Leigh Chalker (41:29):
Yeah. Well the statue was to do with the premiere of that movie. And I only found this out because I pulled up to take a photo and there was a dude walking down the street with a sheep on a chain tied to his belt. And I was like, you’re sort of half am I really seeing this and I can’t let this opportunity go. So hello, how are you? And we got talking for a good 10 or 15 minutes. He ended up being a nice fella, you know what I mean? Probably attach touch, eccentric, but hey just adds a little bit more flavour. But

Julie Ditrich (42:12):
I’ve always been drawn to eccentric people or people that are quirky. I don’t consider myself normal in any shape or form

Leigh Chalker (42:20):
Normal. Yeah, man. What is normal, I think, what is normality? I don’t know. That’s one of those open-ended words, man, it’s just too hard a question. It’s like, why does the sun come up, man? Do you know what I mean? It’s just normal. It was boring. There’s so much to think about and let your mind wander and stuff. But as we’re talking about all these things that influence us, what was the first comic book that tickled you, fancy, so to speak, that primed you for like, Ooh, I like this.

Julie Ditrich (42:59):
Probably all the Disney comics, which I read between the age of say 8, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. I grew up in a rural area, but once a week my father would take either the car or the truck down to the petrol station and they’d have a little news agency section in there. And look, I’ll tell you straight out, and I know people might hate me for this, but I’m a late starter in terms of DC and Marvel. I was never exposed to it. We didn’t have any comic shops or anything like that. So my early exposure was to Disney comics. I still had them all. I used to read them over and over again. They were the most fantastic stories in there. He used to love Donald Duck and going off with his nephews and Scrooge McDuck and a couple of the Mickey Mouse ones, which had really fantastic stories to them.

Love them. I’ve still got my entire collection of them. I might have to go and add some more to it. I just feel very nostalgic about that. I remember somebody at school lending me Mighty Mouse as well. And so I sort of read that. I also, when I was in primary school, there used to be these girls’ annuals and boys’ that came out. I dunno whether you know what I’m talking about, but they always used to have short comic stories in there and I was like bang straight into them. So that’s all the early influences. And then I had a few Phantom comics as well because they were always there in the petrol station. So I bought a few of those and I still have them as well. So in high school I used to live in the library and there were two series, two graphic novel series that I was drawn to. The premium one, the one that just had me in stitches was asterisk and the asterisk series, I just laugh from beginning to end. I just thought they were absolutely brilliant. But there was also Tin Tin there, but I preferred asterisk as well. So that’s all my early introduction to comics. They’re the ones that influenced me the most. But the Disney comics people might just kind of cast aside, but the storytelling was fantastic in they’re really truly fantastic.

Leigh Chalker (45:51):
Yeah. Yeah, I’ve got quite a few of those in the collection. Not heaps. Not heaps. Just because dad, obviously being because my mom was a reader, my mom was a voracious. Good evening, Peter. Hi. Thanks for watching Bud. And hello, it’s Jay, how are you champion? Oh, Julia is easily one of the nicest and best people in the Australian comic book scene. Well, thank you

Julie Ditrich (46:19):
Very much.

Leigh Chalker (46:22):
Is that, that’s him. That’s him. That’s the one. And only

Julie Ditrich (46:26):
Oh S is brilliant. We’ve had lunch together. When we get on the phone, we just talk, talk, talk and talk.

Leigh Chalker (46:35):
Yeah, he’s a good little dude. I like

Julie Ditrich (46:38):
Camp down. Cemetery. Yeah. I actually have sat out at Newtown once I went there to that cemetery to have a little look. So I think you’re right, Don.

Leigh Chalker (46:49):
It looks like half an hour behind the conversation. Again, Don cheeky Dave died there mentioning my pension for sheep as well.

Julie Ditrich (47:03):
I’ve had a herd of sheep. I’ve got three left out of 30, so they’ve been gradually declining. So I’m completely into sheep. And I’ve actually written a graphic novel which actually has a lamb in there as not the central character but the character. It’s not like talking sheep, they’re like, but it’s the catalyst character that starts the whole story for the kid characters. So I’m completely into sheep.

Leigh Chalker (47:40):
Yeah, no, that’s cool.

I’ve had a weird experience with sheep. I’ve not known any of them for a long period of time, just passing by. Really my vision of them is that in the distance, they’re very cool looking creatures. And then when they’re up close to you and they’re looking you over and stuff a little bit edgy, and then in the distance you hear bad, bad, this melodic bad, and then they’re standing two feet away from you and forgive the noise. But you hear this bad and it just freaks me out, man. That is just one of those things I’ve had since I was a kid. So that’s why I was a little bit nervous about the dude with this sheep on a chain, you know what I mean? I was like, whoa, demon sheep. But anyway, all

Julie Ditrich (48:42):
The sheep, I hope the sheep was okay because they could easily choke on that.

Leigh Chalker (48:47):
I don’t think he was leading the sheep, Julie, I got the impression that this sheep was a dear companion because mate, there wasn’t much happening in this town, let me tell you. I actually felt like, I actually felt like he drew the short straw, as in they were all looking from behind the curtains and the blinds and stuff. And they were like, there’s a coast person out there, we need get out there, take the sheep. I think that was how it felt to me anyway. And they probably all cheered when I left, but interesting dude. But no, the sheep looked all right to me, mate, very happy. So yeah, being a vegetarian and also much like yourself, having a love of animals, I do take particular notice of animals and I just remember chuckling away and thinking that dude really liked his sheep, so I can appreciate that, man. I dunno what they did together, have watched the test match cricket. They may have listened to it on the A, b, C radio while they were out wandering the paddocks and checking fences. I dunno. But they were tight, man. So actually when you were talking about those boys annuals and girls annuals, because I keep a lot of comics over just out of reach and I found one the other day, I can’t remember the name of it. Dad used to collect them and they were probably 2000 ad size comic books. They were fairly thick and they had little war stories and then some of them be two, three page stories and then there’d be ads for kids toys, the ad, the X-ray glasses. Come on man.

Julie Ditrich (50:43):
I used to love, I got myself, I actually, you know what I used to look at Lee, those bloody sea monkey ads course, they looked like mermaids, like

Julie Ditrich (50:58):

Julie Ditrich (50:59):
I actually bought, when I was about nine, I bought myself a packet and a little tank for them. I got them and I put them in there and fed them and looked after them. And then it’s like what happened? They kind of disappeared. It was

Julie Ditrich (51:14):
Like, I think they

Julie Ditrich (51:17):
Shrimp or something. I dunno. But they didn’t look anything like the picture. I was heartbroken.

Julie Ditrich (51:25):
I really

Julie Ditrich (51:25):
Thought they were going to be little families with these little, they’ve got those little antenna things with the

Julie Ditrich (51:32):
Ball from them.

Julie Ditrich (51:34):
Yeah, the X-ray glasses. I used to think, oh, I want a pair of those X-ray glasses on,

Leigh Chalker (51:40):
See anything, do his hand up. And then you had the bodybuilder look like Mr. Universe in 30 days with some little metal bar that I remember. They really used to, obviously people used to enjoy them much as like yourself. I mean, look, I’m one for a good mail off and getting things back. You don’t get that as much anymore because I used to love you

Julie Ditrich (52:12):
Just go on Amazon,

Julie Ditrich (52:14):
I’m going to look it up. You get see monkeys on.

Leigh Chalker (52:19):
I dunno, maybe you could, I know. Hey, I tell you what, a mate of mine in the community, ed Kiley does a little mini comic about sea monkeys and they have their kingdom and yeah, yeah, check it out. It’s pretty cool.

It’s good dude too. Ed, he, yeah, that’s one of his, he’s got a little Patreon and stuff, but he does a sea monkey thing and he loves ’em too. And I used to collect toys and they used like Transformers and GI Joe and they used to have little coupons on the back. So when you’d buy 10 of them, you could collect these coupons, stick ’em in an envelope, mail ’em off to some god knows where place to get a rare toy back. It wasn’t in the day where you’d get a drone to two days later or anything. You’d have to wait like six months before

Julie Ditrich (53:11):
I know.

Leigh Chalker (53:14):
Oh man, it was the best day ever. When I got my Cobra commander with the hood, I was happy. But anyway, I digress. But these are just,

Julie Ditrich (53:25):
And don’t you get all the phantom stuff you could get the phantom rings and all of that. All of those things. They’re all collectibles. They’re worth a fortune now.

Leigh Chalker (53:35):
Yeah, yeah. I know there’d be people out there sitting on a pretty penny too, man. We all that sort of stuff. Now with the Phantom talking about that, you’ve got a little connection there with the Phantom, do you not?

Julie Ditrich (53:56):
I do.

Leigh Chalker (53:57):
Would you like to elaborate on that for the people? Would you like

Julie Ditrich (54:01):
Me to elaborate,

Leigh Chalker (54:02):
Lee? I think that would be a fantastic story for you to tell.

Julie Ditrich (54:07):
Okay. So a few years ago I went out to dinner with a whole bunch of comics people and Glen Ford was there and Chris Sequeira was there as well. He introduced me to Glen Ford. And Glen Ford asked me whether or not I’d be interested in actually contributing and writing for the Phantom. I said absolutely. So he gave me a very specific brief at that time he wanted me to focus on, he wanted me to bring in some women readers because it was, the readership of the Phantom is mostly 35, 40 plus year old men, and he wanted to expand the readership or work on that. And at that time, Paul Mason and Andrew Constant, I think were doing Kid Phantom. So they wanted to reach the next generation of readers, but they also wanted to bring in women readers. So the brief I was given was to pitch some Diana Palmer stories and some Julie Walker stories.

But then suddenly Glenn came back to me and said, oh, we’ve got this graphic novel anthology coming out and it features this character called Princess Sin. And he sent me these three princess sin stories that had come out in the 1970s. And Princess Sin was this a real formidable adversary villain who she wanted to both kill the Phantom, but also she covered it to him and just wanted him for herself. And then there was a sequel by Dale McKenty, sorry, a prequel by Ty that had been written prior to these three that were set in a time prior to the three 1970s versions. And then Glenn asked me if I could do a sequel and everything will come out at once. It will come out in conjunction with a game that they were putting through Kickstarter. So I said, yeah, absolutely. So I wrote him a pitch.

I wrote a whole lot of pitches for the other stuff, but then I wrote a specific pitch for that one. He said, yeah, that’s good. Then I did the outline for it. And he said, yeah, but it needs more action. So I learned a lot along the way. I had to learn to work in a different structure to what I was used to and I had to, for every 24 pages of story, basically, you had to have really about three action scenes in there. So it was very action driven and then wrote the outline. He gave me a couple of notes and then wrote the script and then was signed off on. And then a fantastic resilient artist called Wendell Cabell. Canty came on board and he actually did the artwork for that. And then a few years ago, I can’t remember when it was, I think it was pre Covid, the book came out in conjunction with the game, and then it was also published.

There was a print run beyond that as well. So that was very exciting. And then Glenn asked me to do something else, and I had read a few Phantom stories and I wanted to, there was one particular one that grabbed my attention called the Golden Circle. It was set in Paris and the actual story was written in the late thirties, and it was about this criminal gang. They were all women. They were very murderous. They’re real bad is. So I really liked that story. So I said, look, I’d like to do a sequel to that. And so I wrote a 96 page story for issues called the Return of the Golden Circle, and we’re something like six pages away or Wendell was assigned to it. So he’s six pages away. He’s done all the pencilling of inking the last six pages for the whole thing. So sometime this year it’ll come up. And that was so much fun. I don’t know, it was just one of those stories that just flowed out. It was so much fun. I do a lot of research for these stories as well. So

Leigh Chalker (59:12):
I was going to ask you, did you go deep into Phantom Law to do it?

Julie Ditrich (59:16):
Is that I did. I did. I spent several months. Glenn sent me a whole lot of material to read these big volumes and a lot of vintage stuff. And we had to work out where to position the stories outside of wanting to bring in a female audience. We don’t want to alienate the existing audience, but there is a chasm between the traditional reader of the Phantom that loves the vintage material and then the people who love the new original material where you don’t, you’re not reinventing the law, but you have to reinvent, have some of the, I suppose, relationships and dynamics and things for the 21st century, for example. I mean, I identified things that I really wanted to avoid. I wanted to avoid killing animals in there. And I came up with a list and I sent it to Glen and I said, do you agree with this?

Can you give me notes? And he agreed with that. So I avoid killing animals in the stories that I write. There might be an animal threat, but I work towards the notion that there’s a way to get out of that situation without actually killing them. So that’s one of the things I look at. Another thing is how does technology, how does the phantom react to new technology? Is he caught in? Is he caught in the old world? How does he respond to new technology? So this is some of the things I touch upon in this story that’s going to come out. And then I’ve also written another Phantom story that’s a 32 page, a horror, more horror theme story. And that one set up the Daintree sort of close to you. Pretty close,

Leigh Chalker (01:01:38):
Pretty close,

Julie Ditrich (01:01:40):
Not next door, but you are about, in all of our group here, you are probably the closest in location of vicinity to the Daintree. So that was completely different flavour to what I had done before as well. But every single one of them demands a lot of research. So it’s not just the law, but when I write stories, I want to make sure that the scenes that I write, if an expert looked at them, that they would say, yeah, that’s got credibility. And that could happen. I use some explosives in the return of the Golden Circle. And I actually talked to an explosives expert. I had planned this scene. I thought that something could happen in this way. And he said, no, it couldn’t. You’d have to have this, this. And he even tested it and showed me pictures of how he tested it. So I worked with consultants along the way to help me really drill down. And sometimes it’s simple like cars, weaponry, buildings. So really there’s a lot there. There’s a lot that goes in there. But I love it. Absolutely love it.

Leigh Chalker (01:02:58):
Sorry about

Julie Ditrich (01:02:59):

Leigh Chalker (01:03:01):
Oh man. I like the phantom too. I get as many of them as I can hear. Facebook music. Great to see you, Julie. Any Katz within Camera shot

Julie Ditrich (01:03:15):
Know? I dunno who the Facebook user is, but I will tell you this interview or this Chinwag was originally going to be in my office, but I have five rogue kittens running in around there. And I walked in there, I was just setting up and they were jumping out of their pen, jumping everywhere. They managed to open up the door to the pen. They were climbing all over the screen door earlier in the day. One had got out and then came and curled up and sat right here. And another one came up and sat right here. And I thought, no, I can’t do this because I’d be forever breaking out of the discussion. So we’ve had to relocate into another room. So the answer’s no for the moment.

Leigh Chalker (01:04:11):
May get lucky though. May get lucky. We’ve had little discussions if mom, cat, angel, that’s name is

Julie Ditrich (01:04:19):
Angel. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:04:20):
Angel, yeah. Who is very lucky to

Julie Ditrich (01:04:23):
Be saved. She’s in the office. But I do have three cats in the major house at the moment. And then I’ve got a bunch of other cats in the Rumper room. I’ve got quite a few cats. I don’t go looking for cats. They find me, find me. A cat dies here, and on the same day, another one will come in and take their place. We’ll just stray in and take their place. It’s like, I dunno what it is, the cat universe is at work.

Leigh Chalker (01:04:56):
Yeah, yeah. Picking up the vibration, man down, I’ll replace.

Julie Ditrich (01:05:00):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (01:05:03):
Oh, that’s cool, man. They know. They’re obviously welcome there. Cats are pretty tricky like that. I’ve got a cat, I’ve got two cats that are my own, but there’s a cat that lives on the street and I’m always trying to get him to the vet, you know what I mean? And bring him in. But he’s been here before, I’ve lived here and all the neighbours know him. And you’ll be driving down the street and he’s on his back on Morris’s across the road chair and Morris is patting him. And then the next day he’s over at Frank’s, and then a day later he is up on the veranda, three doors down and stuff. And he’s like, man, he’s not without a feed, let me tell you. You know what I mean? Plenty of love.

Julie Ditrich (01:05:56):
That says a lot about your community if they’re all integrating and working together to make sure that this cat, this street cat is being looked after and cared for. That says a lot about the people who live around you.

Leigh Chalker (01:06:14):
Well, we all, if we’re driving by, we always like, have you seen Bob the last couple of days? It’s like, yeah, he was over at Greg’s house yesterday morning. So Bob gets around, but everyone knows Bob, so it’s like, I think Bob’s the king of the street man. He lets other cats know too. Don’t you worry about that in the middle.

Julie Ditrich (01:06:33):
Oh, I’m sure he’s very territorial.

Leigh Chalker (01:06:36):
Oh man. Oh yeah. And then typical cat like, oh, you want some food mate? But always Does

Julie Ditrich (01:06:43):
He let you pat him? Does he let you pat him?

Leigh Chalker (01:06:45):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I can pick him up. I don’t know why I’m the only one in the street that can pick him up. Everyone else pats him and he’s happy to sit with them, but he lets I pick him up and give him stuff. Maybe feel

Julie Ditrich (01:07:02):
Something about your energy.

Leigh Chalker (01:07:05):
I dunno, I’ve always sort of been pretty good with animals. Animals. Years ago I used to work as a removalist and sometimes you’d go to houses and there’d be some pretty wild dogs at these houses and they’d always send me to the house because for some reason I’d just play with the animals for half hour or 45 minutes while the dudes were doing the work. I’ve never been bitten or attacked by any animal. Oh, that’s

Julie Ditrich (01:07:36):

Leigh Chalker (01:07:37):
Yeah. The only one that’s left me a little bit pale is the sheeping encounter that I had when he screamed at me. But that’s okay. That was just a one off. We’ll go with that. It’s a

Julie Ditrich (01:07:48):
One off.

Leigh Chalker (01:07:48):
Yeah. Excuse me. All the phantom stuff I seem to remember, and I may be wrong here too, but now Eric Larson from the Savage Garden and stuff like that did was had a character called Dart.

Julie Ditrich (01:08:19):

Leigh Chalker (01:08:21):
Were you involved in that?

Julie Ditrich (01:08:23):
Yeah, that was going back to the late nineties. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (01:08:30):
How did that all come about that? That’s a memory of mine. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but while I was here, I’m like, ask Julie if that was Julie.

Julie Ditrich (01:08:39):
Yeah. I was in a team, a creative team called Blackburn Made Productions at the time with Bruce Love, who was a co-writer, and Joseph Secre, who was the illustrator. And we had just finished on Elf Quest wave dancers. And that was quite contentious in the way in which we split up and we moved on. But Eric had liked what we had done or what we’d created, and he approached us and said, look, he’d like to do a miniseries on his character Dart and sort of an bit of an origin story. He gave us a very specific brief. He said it had to actually show how she kind of discovered darts and that became her weapon of choice. And that how she got her name, I think her real name was Jill. I can’t quite remember her last name, but how she kind of got her superhero name.

He wanted a bar room scene in it where she or somebody’s attacked and she uses darts to fight them off. And he also wanted an alley scene, a dark, like a back alley kind of scene where she comes to help. So we got a specific brief. So we pitched the story and it was going back a bit. And then he said, you can invent any other characters around it. But he also wanted, the other part of the brief was that he wanted a challenge on her name that a character was going to challenge her for her name

And the usage of Dart. And so we came up with this story about this unscrupulous toy maker who works with his wife, and he just sits in the penthouse where she labours in the basement of this huge corporate building, and they were called Gal Toys and where they came up with all these little toys and everything, but the executive, the real bad, he wanted to start a new toy line and he had noticed Dart in the news saving people. And so he decided to steal her name and also her image. It’s really interesting, that kind of idea is ahead of its time because now this happens with celebrity where people steal their name or they hack their night, they start fake accounts and they steal their image or do all of that.

And then the toy dude has this team of super villains who are his strong arms who work for him. And in the meantime, there’s this other group of superheroes that we invented who actually then fall in league and become allies with Dart. And then as she finds out what’s happening and she wants to take her name and her image back, and so then it ends up in this climax where the baddies get their comeuppance. So that’s really what it’s about. So we had to follow a specific brief. We were a little bit ahead of our time because we actually had a gay superhero in there, and that was like the mid nineties. I dunno how well that character was accepted. So it was probably not a conventional superhero story. We had a lot of fun with it. Eric was absolutely brilliant to work with. We’re very grateful. There were three issues that came out. The first issue had two variant covers in it of it. So that’s really that story. Yeah, that really covers that.

Leigh Chalker (01:13:39):
Yeah. No, that’s cool because I mean that you said he was cool to work with because I mean, I haven’t read a lot of the Savage Garden. Savage Garden. Savage Dragon, here we go. Talking about

Julie Ditrich (01:13:54):
Very easy, very easy to do, very easy.

Leigh Chalker (01:14:00):
Yeah. Yeah, they are. But I do know, and I appreciate the fact that he does push the envelope with certain things. Do you know what I mean? To test the waters, and I think that’s very brave. You know what I mean? Particularly back in the nineties as you were just saying, that sort of a superhero and storyline and that coming through. That’s really cool, man. I remember, obviously I grew up not so much DC dad was very marvel. I was very big on Daredevil and Wolverine and the uncanny X-Men. And then I disappeared down the Australian comic book and 2000 ad loophole and a little bit of image, and I picked up a few Savage Dragons. I said it correctly this time for all of you out there, I have seen Savage Garden back in the day at the Townsville Entertainment Centre, and it was a lot better than I thought it would be. So there’s a little piece of history for you and yeah, credit to the man. I mean, what’s he done now? 300 odd of an independent comic book. That’s amazing, man. And he those things out. So

Julie Ditrich (01:15:25):
I think the origin story of image is really interesting and very courageous.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:36):
Full respect. I agree. Yeah, I agree with that. You hear, I guess conflicting stories. Daniel Best would probably know the

Julie Ditrich (01:15:48):
Yeah, I know Daniel

Leigh Chalker (01:15:50):
Of the story. Yeah, he knows all that stuff. But you think about it, God, they were young. I read the other day, weirdly that came up. Rob Feld was asked a question when he left Marvel to start Youngblood and he was like 23 or something like that. And I’m like, I read that. I was like 23, man. I didn’t, I

Julie Ditrich (01:16:14):
Know I didn’t grow up, I don’t think till I was about 33. And that’s only that level of growing up. There’s an additional level of growing up beyond that.

Leigh Chalker (01:16:27):
Yeah, yeah. I didn’t grow up until a couple of years ago, Julie. I just kept the party humming, mate.

Julie Ditrich (01:16:37):
I hear you. Truthfully, I think that a lot of people in comics, they keep their young childlike spirit. It keeps them young physically, it keeps them young mentally. I’m not saying that they’re immature, I’m saying that it’s, and I think this childlike part or ego state or whatever really drives the storytelling as well.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:13):
I would agree with you there because I find that a lot of, well basically people that watch this show regularly would know. So I’ll leave it at this, but I’m an alcoholic and a varying drug addict for many years and have been sober. I’m into my third year of sobriety and stuff and well

Julie Ditrich (01:17:39):

Leigh Chalker (01:17:40):
Thank you. It’s been a battle, let me tell you. But got there. I’m getting there every day. We’ll have

Julie Ditrich (01:17:46):
Chat after.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:48):
Okay, no worries. And I’ve found that creativity has saved me. I’ve always been creative. I’ve always drawn since I was a little boy and I found that throughout the journey so far, everyone always says seems that people complicate everything. And the simple thing was to come back to the path of what, and I guess it was for me, it was to be that little boy that was experiencing the beauty of comic books and the storytelling and the fairytales and all that. So I guess in a strange way, I’m simplifying my life now so that I’m obviously of a mature, I’m 46 now, but di back into trying to appreciate life from a childlike perspective. And instead of looking at things like work, I look at them as play things I’ve got to do. I’m trying to look at things like that. And I found a lot of people in the comic book community are very similar like that, similar humour. I mean, these things boil down from a thing long kept within. And that’s one of my little pet hates is when you’re a kid and you’re sitting there drawing and stuff everyone or you’re writing and that, everyone’s like, nah, look at it. It’s beautiful, that sort of thing. You keep doing that, but it’s the minute you get 15, you hit like 15 or 16. It’s like you need to get a job, put that stuff down, go out and do that.

Julie Ditrich (01:19:42):
There’s several generation of comic creators and other creatives who’ve gone through that. I’ve gone through it. Bruce Love my co-writer from many years ago when he was at school. I hope he is okay with me telling this story. When he was 16, he saw the career advisor at school who was the social science teacher, and she said, now what do you want to do when you leave school? He says, I want to be an actor. And she laughed in his face and said, that’s hilarious. Now what do you really want do? And he was so confused. He left school, didn’t go on, went and worked in a bank for five years. He was good at his job, but he was totally miserable. And I said, look, start off with amateur theatre. Go off and join. Which he did, and he loved it. And then he went and did a two year full-time acting course and ended up doing all this children’s theatre and some television and all kinds of theatre.

And then he moved off into a different direction. But he brought all his acting skills with him, producing and directing skills, which were transferable to the other jobs. There are so many lost people out there who were discouraged from pursuing their true calling, their creative calling. And it makes me sad. And I could have been one of them. I worked in retail for three years. I was pushed into it. I hated it. I learned a lot. I hated it until I finally went off to uni and did the uni course in professional writing that I always wanted to do. So I feel for you. I know what you’re talking about. And there’s a lot of others out there who’ve gone through this is

Leigh Chalker (01:21:38):
What, yeah, I know. It is sad because look, don’t get me wrong, I was very lucky that obviously from what I’ve told you about dad, dad was a marathon runner. Dad did a lot of things. He was like, man, smoked 40 cigarettes a day. They said he couldn’t run a marathon. So within 12 months he ran a marathon when he wanted to. He was very determined. My mother is the most determined woman I’ve ever met, man. You know what I mean? Just the foundation, you do what you want to do still to this day supports me through hell and high water that I’ve put her through. You know what I mean? When she’s right there and not once have I ever felt, even from my family, a holdback on being creative. I think,

Julie Ditrich (01:22:25):
Oh, sorry, I must have misread that. No, no,

Leigh Chalker (01:22:28):
It’s cool. It’s cool. Not from my mom or dad, but I guess from people around me. Like school teachers, like you were saying, the curriculum, even as you get older and you go into deeper into the societal sort of thing, jobs and you meet more people and it’s a little bit frowned upon because man, there’s nothing more. I could sit here and have this conversation with people. I love Chin Wags because it’s like-minded people talking about cool stuff. When you go to those parties, man, and you sit there and some dude walks up to you and he goes, no, I bought that house in 1995. And you go, oh, let’s house. And you go, that made $20,000 last year. Oh, kill me.

That sort of people. And I just, due to circumstances and relationships and stuff was around a lot of those type and you sort of feel like you have to fit in. And I guess I tried to assimilate into that and through that I felt like I was always seeking something myself. It turns out and that self was not being allowed out. And since sobriety, I guess, and what we were talking about earlier, which I mean maybe this will probably segue into it, and through spiritual and self healing and endeavours and stuff and such, you tend to revert back to the things that you were, I guess before certain things sink their teeth into you. You know what I mean? So there’s a healing process and that comes through it. And we were speaking earlier before, and I know you don’t mind me asking you about this, but with now I’m a meditator. I have studied and been taught transcendental meditation, so I practise Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s technique, and I was taught by my teacher, and I practise that twice a day for 20 minutes. I have found that through my sobriety and my healing process that has, I guess given me an overall sense of clarity and balance across all fields, emotional and creative as well. But the one thing I’ve found with it is the creative side of things has really exploded, man. It’s like, yeah,

Julie Ditrich (01:25:17):

Leigh Chalker (01:25:18):
Yeah. And you practise your own mindful technique. Do you find that that helps you with your creativity?

Julie Ditrich (01:25:29):
Yes, absolutely. I was always very creative, fully on tap with creativity up to the age of 17. And that’s because up to the age of 16, in year 10, we were still doing creative writing, doing some art, all that kind of stuff. But when I went to start to do the HSC, we had to switch parts of our brain to essay writing. And so I remember the first couple of essays and the English teacher said to me, oh, you are actually writing creatively, but you need to be writing logically and putting your case in. And so then I had to switch and work like that. And then I went and did three years of management studies as well. So it was all report writing. And so by the time I actually got to uni to do the very thing I really wanted to do, which is professional writing at University of Canberra for the first year, I really struggled and I just didn’t understand what was going on, why I was working so hard at what had always come naturally to me.

It’s just that for five years I hadn’t done anything creative. And so I had writer’s block essentially, and I just couldn’t understand it because it had always been so organic and just always sitting there and the stuff I was generating was really cliched and dry and lacked substance and it was forced and all of that. And so one day I thought I had already been dabbling in hypnosis and self hypnosis. I was fascinated with it. So one day I put myself into a state of hypnosis and then I had to write a short story, and I actually gave myself the suggestion that it was already completely written and all I had to do is formalise it by actually typing it out. You’ve just faded away, Lee, you’ve frozen. Are you there? Sorry, can you hear me?

Leigh Chalker (01:27:54):
My back and I back. I can hear you. So I hope I’m back. Yes,

Julie Ditrich (01:28:02):
Yeah, you are indeed. Alright, so I gave myself that suggestion. There was a particular very difficult story to write because I had a really good idea, but it was quite difficult to write. But when I kind of brought myself out of it, I had imagined it was already there on paper and already written and in the computer and everything. But then it just came out. And when I handed in, I actually got my first high distinction and it was kind of shocking to me. I didn’t quite understand the mechanism, but then I started doing more and more, and the mechanism really is that I was operating from beta brainwave activity, which is what you do when you are fully awake and aware. It’s like 28 cycles a second, but if you are operating from that, you can actually block off the door between your mind and your subconscious, your conscious mind and your subconscious, and you actually have to drop your brainwaves into alpha brainwave, and then that opens the door up so you can access all this incredible information inside that. It underpins all your creativity. So by using hypnosis, I would actually drop into that. And then after that, the writing came easy. There was one other time I had some writer’s block, and that was just post covid.

I had actually caught covid. I got through it pretty quickly. It was gone in three days, but it did affect, I was very tired for three days. It was after I went to one of the conventions for 18 months. I had been wearing masks and sanitising and had hardly gone out. And then I went to a convention and I thought, right there is distance between me and the people here. Maybe that’s enough distance to, so I took the mask off because your customers or the people you want to speak to, they actually, you could see that the mask was like a barrier between you. But I also talked to all the other comics people on either side, and we’d be like face to face, and I didn’t even consider that maybe they had covid, but I ended up with Covid and I just felt very tired for three days.

I didn’t really get anything else, but my concentration was affected a little bit, and it was hard for me to tap in and write again. So I just had to find my rhythm again and use a lot of hypnosis when I was going through doing a lot of work on myself too, and I was dealing with some stuff that creativity was just dampened a little bit, but with the self hypnosis, I was liberated. Again. Now I’m really pleased with everything that’s going now. Like I’ve got access to stuff I’ve never had before. It’s like, whoa, right? I’m dreaming on a level I’ve never dreamt before, really full on multidimensional, inter planet surreal kind of things that is like, whoa. And the observer in me looks like, sucks all this in. I can use this in this story here, or I can use it here. So yes, the tool for me, self hypnosis is the tool to undo writer’s block or just to keep me in that alpha brainwave, which is where you want to go to access all the full expanse of your creativity and beyond, if that makes sense.

Leigh Chalker (01:32:24):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, it does, absolutely. To me, Julie, if Shane can bring up that last comment that just popped up before from I believe the person saying, kg kjb, good evening, evening. Appreciate the insights of behind the scenes with your writing, drawing, et cetera. The meditation and dealing with writer’s block is very interesting. One of the things KJB, one of the things that when I discovered ages ago that Julie was into mindful techniques, I did want to bring this up on a chinwag. And Julie was gracious and comfortable enough to discuss it, as you can see, because is what I’m going to agree with Julie here, because to anyone that hasn’t a case of, I completely understand what Julie’s talking about because with my time of meditation and what it’s done for me and the clarity it has provided me, it has also done things that, and this is for me and what it’s done for my artwork and writing, I see a lot of Facebook posts from other creators and artists and stuff, and in varying groups.

I’m not going to pinpoint anyone I don’t want to at all because it’s not throwing stones. This is a personal thing. It’s just an observation that I’ve made. A lot of people seem to struggle and have, I guess they’re nervous about their artwork. They don’t feel like their writing’s the best and getting it out there and stuff. I also felt like that. But one thing that meditation and being more mindful has taught me in bringing a balance and a clarity to myself emotionally and just clear is the fact that meditation for me has taken away things and it’s taken away anxieties, it’s taken away negativities, it’s taken away fear. And the fear doesn’t go away overnight, but it’s slowly is clearing away. And through those things going away, it’s allowed me to have a far more clear vision of what I want to do art and creative wise, it may not be for everyone.

It certainly may not be for everyone, but for me, I believe it has worked amazingly well. It was the final catalyst for me in very much becoming sober. There were a few iffy parts last year where I was teetering and when that was the decision made to follow that practise and that pursuit, I have no doubt in my mind that I will be sober for the rest of my life and very happy doing exactly what I’m doing and heading in the direction I’m coming. And I certainly hope that that shows for people. I just want people to understand that there’s a power in it. It makes you feel good, and it just makes you see the world a bit better. You see a little bit more magic. One story I’ll tell you if Julie, while we’re talking about, and we’re talking because this is just chinwag the first time. The first time is a far bigger buildup, but I went on a mission, one of my road missions to see this teacher. It just so happened that she was going to be in this very tiny beach at the edge of the Daintree. So off I went and see another, this is how Chinwag and the fluidity

Julie Ditrich (01:36:16):
Is this a teacher from your past or a teacher for the future that you wanted to meet

Leigh Chalker (01:36:23):
Teacher for the future, to practise transcendental meditation. You have to go and do a four day thing with, I guess a course is a way of describing it, but you have to be taught by someone that is a teacher of it. And the lady that I got was, there’s no one in North Queensland, and it seemed like, wow, I’m going to miss this. And it was, now you have those moments in your life where you’re just like, it’s got to be now, or I’m never going to do it. I need it now. I get a phone call, oh, hello, my name’s Valerie, so you can’t get to Brisbane to do this course, and I’m actually going to be on the go just in this little beach in Port Douglas next week. Would you like to me to teach you how to do transcendental meditation? And rung her up. And I’m like, is this serious? And she’s like, yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’m actually heading up that way for a holiday and I’m more than happy for you to come. And I was like, right. All right. So anyway, I go on this, okay, go this.

And there’s a true story, man. There’s more details. The nitty gritty blew my mind there. And so I head up, and when you go to Port Douglas, if you’ve ever been from Cancer Port Douglas, there’s a coastal road and it’s like that, and it’s drop off. So it’s some crazy stuff, but it’s cool. So this beach that I went to didn’t have a sign or anything. It was down a dirt road, and I thought it was going to be closer to Cairns, and it ended up being closer to the Port Douglas, the base of the dain tree. So anyway, I’m racing. Suddenly there’s this dirt down this dirt road, and I get there and there’s these dudes sitting around in Tinies smoking cigarettes, drinking Forex and stuff. You know what I mean? And I’m thinking, and a shack. And I’m like, whoa, this could be Wolf Creek stuff. You know what I mean? I may never come back. You know what I mean? Should I be writing a note, man? You know what I mean?

My last will. And then I thought, no, I’ll just go down this road. So I head down this road, and I’ve never ever talked to this woman before, but she’s just given me this address. This is my address. So I roll in there and there’s a lady, and she’s standing at the front of this house, and I pull up and she looks at me and she goes, are you Lee? And I said, yes, I’m Lee. And she’s like, I’m Valerie. She’s like, park up, come in. And I was like, okay. We had to take five things. I had to take five things. I had to take five offerings, a white handkerchief, a bunch of flowers, and three pieces of fruit. I didn’t know what this was all about, but I went with it then. And this was the first step of the journey to understanding the magic that follows. You know what I mean? It’s crazy. And so I go in there and I can’t really go into the processes of it and everything. There’s a lot of things that happen in that. But I was welcomed and discussed and talked about things and blah, blah, blah. And then I sat down and I had my first lesson and meditation and had to quiet my mind and begin learning the techniques of this particular meditation.

And I, boom, couldn’t believe it. And she’s like, you can come gently. And I, I’m out of it. And the really crazy part is Julie, everything was brighter, and I went down to a beach with her that was right out the front door, obviously. And there was birds chirping in trees that were that big that I was seeing from 20, 30 metres away that I would’ve missed otherwise. And everything was bright, sun was bright, wind was bright, just things was glistening and stuff like that. And man lift. I was like, whoa, this is insane. It is. Like my brain had just some, I don’t know, just trapped door just opened.

And that was my first experience. And I spent several days with Valerie and amazing lady, very peaceful, calm, nothing much seemed to bother her and stuff like that, wise, I guess, in a strange way. And I just continued the practise on, and that’s what I wanted to do. And yeah, it does, man. It just makes a little difference. But people are going to probably think, wow, man, Lee’s out there, but I’m not really, I just believe in it. I possibly didn’t beforehand. Synchronicities and things got me there and pushed me off, and it just happened. And it’s just funny how things like that can happen, man. And yeah, I don’t know, man. It’s just made me really, I don’t want to be the best. I don’t see any competition in creativity at all. I think creativity, you should only be in competition with yourself in terms of what you want to produce and things like the argument of he’s better, she’s better, da da, da, da.

It’s non-existent when it comes to a subjective thing like art, be true to yourself. Have your own voice, put it out there and people gravitated to it. But the best thing is if you get it out there, you don’t have to live in fear. You can be proud because you took that mark, man. Do you know what I mean? I’ve got it out there. You know what I mean? No one can take that away from you. Yeah, check it out if you want to or not, but I’m glad that that came up. Thanks, mate. That was awesome to hear. I have been starting meditation last year to deal with life’s bullshit and tribulations, and I swear it has helped this old comic nerd deal with quite a bit. Well, mate, I’m glad my story resonated with you because Yeah, keep going. It gets better. Trust me. It gets better. It’s pretty amazing. Julie can tell you that, because

Julie Ditrich (01:43:14):
Truthfully, when you were telling me that story, I was seeing it all in a comic book. In my mind, I sing it in comic panels in my mind. I could see you on the beach, the shack, the offering, everything. I think maybe it’s something for you to explore in a slice of life comic to tell that story in a slice of life comic. Have a think about it. I could see it all.

Leigh Chalker (01:43:53):
I’m glad you said that because there is a huge part of me that has thought about that. And again, here you go. It’s been in the back of my mind, but it’s not. I guess that’s the first time I’ve ever really spoken to anyone about it in sort of that sort of a detail in a livestream as opposed to in a private conversation. It was a very interesting story to go through full of synchronicities directions from people from my past that had just popped up to remind me that, Hey, go that way, and things like that. It was a real I man. It was fully

Julie Ditrich (01:44:50):
Spiritual. Were they people that you had unfinished business with?

Leigh Chalker (01:44:53):
Yes, they were. Yes, they certainly were.

Julie Ditrich (01:44:57):
When you’re on the path, there’s a period of time all these people that you’ve got unfinished business with will start to pop up in this short space of time. And that’s the opportunity to wrap it all up so you can move on.

Leigh Chalker (01:45:16):
Yeah. You know what, Julie, that’s exactly what happened. It was things that I’ve been carrying a really long time that were all tied into obviously drinking and not accepting certain things and having doubts about myself, which came through my creativity and my life, and me as a person. All these things were all tied together, and suddenly it was, man, it was just like, bang, this person, okay, wow, I haven’t talked to you for 10 years, but we need to work this out. You know what I mean? And it was all dynamically, peacefully. It was like things were just, it was weird, man. It really was. And thank you for that, because I wondered if that was meant to happen. It just seemed to happen in a really strange short period.

Julie Ditrich (01:46:05):
I went through it as well in my early twenties. I went through that and all these people, I had issues with a teacher in primary school that was very sadistic. She came for whatever reason, to visit my parents’ house when I was there. And when I knew she was coming, it’s like I reverted to a nine or 10-year-old. I went and hid in the bathroom, and then it’s like a voice inside of me said, this is actually an opportunity to heal and confront, not necessarily to confront her about what she had done, but to actually look at her in the eye and see her for what she’s, and I kind of forced myself out of there, went and said hello. And I looked at her and from the perspective of a, what, 21, 20 2-year-old, and I just thought, you are absolutely pathetic, which is not a very generous thing, but it was suddenly for you, it was like the thought was that if you would be so cruel to children, really it says everything about you and none of those children, including myself. And then I felt this as if I was empowered by that recognition and I didn’t have to deal with her again. I mean, I can still go back and feel the feelings and access the stuff, but I don’t think of her. It’s like, you are gone. I don’t have to deal with you. You are out. Does that make sense?

Leigh Chalker (01:47:54):
That does make sense. Yeah. Completely. Yeah, man, this is another one of these fluidity things, man. I’ve meant to talk to you about this stuff because these are the things that I think about man on my path now. And when you were talking,

Julie Ditrich (01:48:14):
I’d be talking to Bruce Mutar about if you are going to contemplate about doing a slice of life story about what you’ve just outlined, I’d be talking to Bruce Ard. He’s the king of slice of life in Australia. I think he’s in Western Australia. And I’ve got the highest respect for Bruce. He’s very introspective, and a lot of that introspection comes out in his work. For example, bully me a book that came out a number of years ago. It’s fantastic. So anyway, just a hint.

Leigh Chalker (01:48:55):
Yeah, no, thank you. I’m very grateful for that. I will. I know of the man, I haven’t met the man or had a chat to him, but maybe he’ll like to come on a chinwag one day,

Julie Ditrich (01:49:09):
Maybe. Maybe.

Leigh Chalker (01:49:12):
You never know, mate. You never know. When you’re talking about with meditations and stuff, your dreams become more vivid. And this is also tying in with creation and stuff and creativity in general. Did you often find that I was never particularly, I didn’t really remember a lot of dreams. I seem to remember a lot of traumatic ones, but never really the fantastical or the ones that I possibly should have enjoyed. And did you find as you were becoming more mindful, you were finding it a little bit easier to remember your dreams or enjoying them more? They were becoming a little bit more loose and vivid perhaps.

Julie Ditrich (01:49:59):
I’ve always had very intricate dreams even when I was a kid, really, really complex dreams. But there’s certainly in the last few years as the more work I’ve done on myself, the more access I have to some other deeper subconscious parts. I dunno how they’re all connected. I don’t that. I just accept it. And I had the most incredible dream last night in a way. It was like I was another person who went through a supernatural event, but I was both observer, but kind of in this man’s body experiencing this supernatural event. And it was like, where in the hell did that come from?

And some of them inform my writing as well. I do remember a few years ago, this is going back to about 2006, I was in a comics group in Sydney, and there was one of the artists there said, oh, Julie, I’d like to do work with you on a story. I said, all right, well, what do you want it to be? And she said, oh, horror. And I was going, oh, shit. I was so scared, I tell you because it’s completely out of my comfort zone. I said, well, what is it? Tell me some stuff that you’d like to have in it. And then she gave me, I said, give me a list of images that you’d like to see in the story. So she gave me half a dozen images and I was like, oh, holy. How am I going to do this? I write about mermaids and the human experience through mermaid stories.

How am I going to write this horror thing? And then one day, shortly after I dreamed this dream and there was the whole horror story in the dream, and I quickly woke up and took all these notes, and then in an hour I had the whole outline for the story. Then I had to go away and script it. But I had the whole outline. I knew exactly what happened, had all the imagery, I had all the climax, everything. That’s yet unpublished story because I’ve expanded it to 32 pages. But I think I’m looking for an artist right now. There’s a particular one overseas that I would write to work for on this. And it’s truly, I shock myself, truly. I think one of the best stories I’ve ever actually written, and I have no idea where it came from. Absolutely no idea where it came from. So that’s the thing. You can access parts of yourself or that you wouldn’t. Yeah, best work always done during sleep it and we know it. Yeah, that’s right. You’ve just got to kind of hand yourself over to your creative subconscious part and get your logical mind out of the way. One of the things, I used to teach this comics mastermind course about how to write for comic.

Leigh Chalker (01:53:29):
Tell us about that. That’s something that’s super impressive as well

Julie Ditrich (01:53:35):
Tell you about that. But one of the things I used to say to the students is that when you are writing, don’t avoid. You start off wanting to get the beginning and moving linearly towards the end. But I think there’s a point, you actually have to let that go because you are created, your creativity does not work in a linear fashion. So sometimes there was one book, like Elfin, the very first book that I wrote of the six part series, I had no idea what the first opening scene was. I had no idea. All I knew is it had to accomplish. There was about half a dozen goals. I had to set up the hero. I had to set up plant some stuff for future storylines. I had to set up a dynamic between two characters. I had to set up the location, had to do all this stuff, but I had no idea how to do it. So I wrote everything from the second scene onwards, and then suddenly right at the end, because your subconscious works, there’s a solution. It’s problem solving. While you are working on something else, it’s problem solving. By the time I got to the end, the whole first scene was there, and bang, you go in. So just trust your creativity and your subconscious. And if it starts throwing a bit of dialogue out, that’s not going to appear until issue two, page six, quickly write it down.

Or because the subconscious doesn’t, we’ll just throw stuff out at you and you have to be able to record it quickly so that it’ll all string together at the end. It’ll all come together. It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. You want to get all the frame done first, but sometimes there’ll be a little section in the middle that you’ll suddenly put together very quickly, but by the end of it, it’ll all come together. So just free yourself up from the idea of writing in a linear fashion and just let whatever happens, happens. But be sure to capture it either on your phone, record it, put it notes on your phone, keep a notebook with you all the time. So you are actually changing it to a material form. The worst thing is when you’re going to sleep at night, you start getting all your ideas and you just want to go to sleep and you go, oh, I’ll remember in the morning. You don’t remember it in the morning. You have to get the information down then because lose it. Sorry. The big rant. But

Leigh Chalker (01:56:36):
It was perfect, man. I actually see a real, I collect a lot of my ideas for writing similarly, jots of dialogue and stuff. That’s why I’ve got notepads everywhere and they’re all, they know where everything is. I’m a weird filer, but I find that my art is also the same. I can work out stories and lay out the images and stuff and the panelling and things, but I tend to find that things are really organic when you’re in the flow in particular, you may get six panels that you’ve worked on, but then these other ideas will come in where I could flesh that out, and then that suddenly becomes a giant splash page with something totally different. And you just go with it, man. That’s why I always laugh with everyone. It’s like, I hate, I’m not a deadline, dude. I’ll treat my artwork. I’m painting. So it just takes as long as it is. It’s more like the enjoyment of it and the process. But I like doing things like that too, man. I’m not quite as regimented as some, but everyone has their different techniques.

Whatever works, it’s cool. As long as it’s good stuff and you’re happy with it, that’s what I like. But before I get onto talk to you about your online thing, I’ll tell you the last dream I’ve had more, but I’m going to tell you how weirdly vivid everyone out there, and then I’ll stop. So you get a little chunk of my mind here. This is about probably three, four weeks ago. I’ve had a pretty traumatic couple of years. I won’t go into too many details, but things have happened. So you go through a bit stuff. So I wake up and I’m in the, well, not awake, subconsciously wake up, and I’m in this honeycomb sand cave, right, with rippled and everything, but it’s a sand cave. And there’s this Egyptian dude at the end of a tomb, not a tomb, but the things they have, the body’s in a sarcophagus and the lids pulled back and he’s got a baby by the leg.

And I’m standing and he’s like, unwrap this. And I’m like, Annie uses a staff and he flicks back the bandages. And this mummy’s face is a lady, but she’s just recently passed, but she’s covered in leprosy and things like that. And I was like, I, I’m not touching that man. And you got to put the baby down. And he started laughing. And then everything goes a bit hazy as, I’m not really quite sure what his purpose was about this, but I basically discovered that where it comes back into recollection is that the baby was my child. And my child and I were going to be used to have this super leprosy from this Egyptian priest, I guess be the Guinea pigs. And that passed away individual was my wife and subsequently my son a child. And I recovered in this illness. I did the only thing I could was to stop the dude’s evil.

So I killed him in a rather tormented way. I set fire to the cave that had all these totems and jewels and stuff in it. And then the only thing I knew what to do is that I was dead. My child was dead. And then I ran out of the cave as it was on fire, and I jumped off the cliff with both of us. And then I woke up and I wrote that down, but I can’t remember the middle part, but I just can’t remember the middle part. But these are the sort of dreams that I up, if you believe in astrology and all this numerology and stuff too. I woke up at 3 33 and I looked at, I was like, okay, okay, that’s weird. But yeah, I wrote that down. But I have lots of dreams like that now since meditation.

Julie Ditrich (02:01:24):
That’s full on.

Leigh Chalker (02:01:26):
That’s full

Julie Ditrich (02:01:28):
On, and that’s very powerful. It’s very evocative, and it’s great if you convert that into a scene in a story, my goodness, me that would

Leigh Chalker (02:01:41):
I be honest with you, I had to have a cigarette after that. I did. I woke up and I,

Julie Ditrich (02:01:45):
I’m exhausted just listening to it.

Leigh Chalker (02:01:48):
Yeah, yeah. But this is what runs through my head now. I dunno. There we go. For everyone out there in the world, this is what chin wags are. But anyway, on a lighter though, let’s move out of the honeycomb depths of ancient Egypt and whatever that story was, which possibly will be looked at further down the track. And tell us about your classes that you used to hold, mate.

Julie Ditrich (02:02:20):
Yeah, I mean, people can still access them, but they’re all recorded. So I set up Comics Mastermind in 2016, and we ran a number of different courses. Jason Franks did the mechanics of visual storytelling, which was a split into two 90 minute sessions. And that’s about anyone who’s coming in as a beginner into comics. It’s all the technical stuff you need to learn about everything from lettering to word balloons and how to lay out a script, all that kind of thing. And then I ran a six, sorry, an eight week course, which was, I can’t even remember now. I haven’t taught it for two years now, or one year, whatever that one was, eight weeks. So we go into everything from idea generation to understanding the categories and formats in comics, because you have to actually, if you are given a brief, you have to understand the category.

Is it a original graphic novel? Is it a comic book series? You have to understand the container in which your story has to fit. If it’s a series, you have to understand that you have to put a cliffhanger at the end of every single issue so that your reader can move through the story until the end, that kind of thing. So we covered all that. Then we looked at all the word picture combinations and all of that kind of stuff. And then we look at the structure or look at how to structure comics for micro comics or macro comics that they’re my terms for the more epic stuff. And we look at characterization.

There was one unit which is split into two, so we spent three hours on it, which is called show and don’t Tell, which is about how to actually, instead of telling in words, you actually show concepts through illustration and go through that very intricately and look at symbolism, colour, symbolism, all kinds of things. And then we culminate in a project analysis where I take one of my projects, 48 page project and break it down bit by bit, talk about the thought processes, talk about the mistakes I made in it, talk about the things I got and the entire thought process behind it so that you can kind of jump into a writer’s mind and then learn from their mistakes and learn from their triumphs as well along. So all of that was in eight weeks. And then we had a lot of masterclasses, just one off. We had Thomas Campy. Have you interviewed Thomas?

Leigh Chalker (02:05:43):

Julie Ditrich (02:05:44):
Do you know Thomas? He’s an Italian graphic novelist who’s world renowned and won multiple awards. He lives in Australia. He immigrated here about 10 years ago. No. Do you know Oz Comics?

Leigh Chalker (02:06:00):
Comics from Nat Carmichael?

Julie Ditrich (02:06:02):
Yeah. Yeah. Is it comic? Yeah. So one of Thomas’s books has come out, which is all about Superman, that’s come out through Nat Carmichael, but find Thomas on Facebook. His stuff is incredible. But he did a masterclass on how to work in European comics, and we had a lot of other, Colleen Dorin came and did a masterclass where she broke down the troll bridge. Do you know Colleen from in

Leigh Chalker (02:06:38):
America? I know her work. I know Colleen, I believe, if this is correct, I don’t know her personally, but at the time, Todd McFarlane left Spider-Man, and Eric Larson was about to take over Spider-Man, I believe from memory. Colleen was the lady that did the in-between issue of that. And I read an article once that they were big shoes to fill, but it to her a lot. And I noticed she’s had a successful career, and I noticed that she popped up on a phantom cover maybe 12 months ago, 14 months ago. I wondered if, yeah,

Julie Ditrich (02:07:19):
She did, because she said she hasn’t got that in her repertoire, and she wanted to do one for fruit. So she did one of those. But she’s won several Eisner awards as well, one of Neil Gamer’s favourite artists, so they work quite closely on projects. So she’s adapted three of his short stories into graphic novels. And currently she’s working on Good Omens, the Good Omens graphic novel, which was written by Neil Gaiman and Terry prt, and it was the biggest, it was a Kickstarter that raised the most money ever, like over $3 million. Wow. Yeah. So there were people all over the world who ordered this, so she’s currently working on that. But one of the mass classes she did was actually taking one of the stories that she did for Neil Game and Troll Bridge and actually breaking it down and talking about all the research and her process as well.

So we’ve had quite a few of those. But the last lot we did was, I noticed that when I was reading a lot of the Australian Society of Authors has a mentorship programme, and I had been reading some of the submissions that came in for that, and going back a few years, and I’d been reading a lot of other submissions elsewhere and pictures, and I noticed that a lot of beginners actually don’t necessarily understand genre as well as they should. So a lot of projects were coming through, and in the first six pages, there were like six genres in there. So we did a series one, which was Daniel Best actually put together, which was one on the conventions of the superhero genre. Jason Franks did one on the Conventions of Horror, the horror genre. I did one on fantasy, and Bruce Mutar did one on Slice of Life. Yeah.

But I had so much, we all as a team had so much creative work on that. It was just competing, the teaching was competing too much with that. So at the end, not at the end of last year, but the end of 2022, I made an announcement that if anyone wanted the content, they could just purchase the recordings. We weren’t doing any more live training. All the materials go with the recordings. So there’s exercises and practical exercises that you can do. Those are still marked. If anyone comes in and buys the recording, we’ll send it all out. If they want feedback, they can just send it back and then we’ll supply the feedback and everything. The only thing is it’s not live anymore. So

Leigh Chalker (02:10:38):
I think, man, that’s fantastic. Again, you do read a lot of people just starting out a hundred percent sure. And I had, because man, that’s a good crew, and you’ve got a good lot of things for people to start foundational stuff from people,

Julie Ditrich (02:10:58):
Small foundational stuff.

Leigh Chalker (02:11:00):
Yeah. Oh yeah, man, I was talking to Jason Paulo about 12 months ago on a chin wave. I

Julie Ditrich (02:11:07):
Love Jason, I’ll get on very well with him.

Leigh Chalker (02:11:10):
Champion man, what a champion. He is that

Julie Ditrich (02:11:12):
Guy. I have to tell you a story, right?

Leigh Chalker (02:11:16):
Yeah, please. Yeah.

Julie Ditrich (02:11:18):
Many years ago when Black House Comics was operational, and baby Kirk was running out

Leigh Chalker (02:11:25):
With Eke and their little, the Sherlock Homes comics and stuff like

Julie Ditrich (02:11:30):
That, because Jason, he was doing EEC there. And Baden said to me one day, Julie, Jason is incredible. I’ll just kind of be in discussion with him and talk about this idea for a cover. And then I come into work the next morning, the whole cover’s there, it’s all finished. The whole thing is finished in less than 24 hours. And I remember Glenn Ford telling me the same thing. Of course, Jason did a lot of work on The Phantom as well. I dunno what it is about his brain, but he can generate artwork so quickly and really accomplished artwork. So I’ve had some good chats with Jason. He’s a good guy.

Leigh Chalker (02:12:15):
Yeah, he is, man. I’ve had lots of good chats with him too. He’s a funny, funny man too, but he knows his stuff. Oh

Julie Ditrich (02:12:23):
Yeah, absolutely.

Leigh Chalker (02:12:26):
One of the things that he said to me in that Shinwa, and I thought it was notable because it was a mistake that I made when I started, because obviously I just did it from home and it was something I grew up with. And my background story is my dad died and I wanted to do an Ode to Dad, and then this thing just became bigger than what it was. So I learned by myself, and I didn’t have anyone to reach out to being in North Queensland. And since I’ve come into the community and being able to meet people and talk to them and stuff, and meet Jason and Mr. Chalan and yourself and varying other people to get help and bits and pieces of knowledge and stuff. Jason brought up at the time, he said, everyone needs a mentor. When you start getting into this, the best thing you can do is have someone to talk to about your art. Am I heading in this direction? Think about that. May pick up on that. You’re getting better. Things like that. And I think that anyone that’s out in those rural areas that can’t access getting the conventions and that a lot things like what you’ve created there, Julie and the other people that were with you, would sound to me like they’d be a great starting point for anyone to Yeah.

Julie Ditrich (02:13:48):
Well, we had Marcello Bayers doing art direction or giving art feedback on some of the submissions that came through Comics Mastermind, and there was a lot of support in that regard. But I think the people who really appreciate all of the mentorship stuff is not the younger people. The 18, this is going to be a controversial statement. Sorry. When I started Comics Mastermind, I thought that our major customer base would be like 18 to 35, and I was completely wrong. It was more 30 to 60 or 35 to 60, and who I think the 18 to 30 group went online and got a lot of their stuff online. I think they worked a lot in some groups and things, but the most of the people who came through and did the courses were in the 30 plus 30 to 60 plus age group, and they knuckled down and did a lot of the assignments and things like that took it quite seriously. I’m not saying that the younger ones, but it was just a different approach. It was completely different approach.

Leigh Chalker (02:15:20):
Yeah, sure. Do you reckon that might have something to do with what we were talking about before, how when you do get to that say 30 age, you do start having a little bit of a, Ooh, I should have given that a shot. That’s where my heart is. You know what I mean? And I might have a little dabble and see if I can learn some more and get back into that field.

Julie Ditrich (02:15:45):
That could be part of it. Yeah. I think there’s lots of reasons, and this is not a message of condemnation in any way. It was just that I suppose,

Number one, I didn’t do any kind of market research. I made a supposition about this. But number two, I think it’s because between the ages of 18 and 30 is where I would’ve needed it the most. And I went seeking that help, certainly through uni and doing a lot of courses and things. And I think that I thought that a lot of other people might have the same mindset, but I think they had other priorities. And I think that with the clients that did come in, they were really wanting to experiment in the form and play around in the form and see whether or not it was a match for their skillset. They’re either very devoted and passionate about it or wanted to see whether or not it would suit their skillset, because sometimes you can’t, if you’re jumping from other mediums across, it’s not necessarily an organic thing.

Probably the closest would be screenwriters or storyboards who could jump across, who could transition across, because some of the skills are transferable. I think that picture book writers or illustrators can jump across. I did a picture book course a few years ago with a very, very famous and well-known children’s ex publisher, but editor who specialises in that called Kathy Tasker through the Australian Writers Centre. And when I did the course, I found that there were some crossovers to comics, certainly about the show and don’t tell stripping back the dialogue and letting the art reveal the story. So there was crossovers. I think that children’s picture book writers or illustrators could make the leap. But I think there are other mediums where it’s a little bit more difficult and they have to really shift, do a mental shift.

Leigh Chalker (02:18:17):
Anyway, it’s not tricky. I mean, it should say it is tricky doing comic books. It’s certainly not, I’m just going to bang out a comic book. You know what I mean? There’s a lot more than that. This

Julie Ditrich (02:18:36):
Yes, yes, yes. I always say this to someone the other day, it’s like going to the ballet, right? There’s these beautiful dancers leaping across the stage. You don’t even hear them when they land. They look so delicate. They’re so athletic, they, but no one actually appreciates or understands that it’s taken 20 years of work to get to that point. And writing a comic story can be exceptionally technical and on a reading, oh, look, this just flows. Look, the pacing, the story unravels. It’s all great. It looks really easy, but it’s not. There’s a lot of finesse and a lot of thought that goes into getting all those elements right. So yeah,

Leigh Chalker (02:19:30):
A lot of delicacy too, in terms of, you got to have your, it’s funny because talking to Rob O’Connor last night, when you first start drawing last week, I should say, when you first start drawing, you’re very focused on four brands, and it’s not until you start developing comic books and understanding storytelling that you realise how important backgrounds are,

And that those little drawings in the background mate, they’re worth a thousand words and they can set up a story. Absolutely. A keen eye. I’ve always loved, I’ve never, I think one of the things that I loved about comics when I was growing up is that comics would keep me there, and I would analyse everything. I would reread them, I would analyse the background, how they flow. I don’t know, it’s just a thing for me. And I’d follow the story and I’d swish and go like Wind. Some of them that had done real well, you read some, and they’re clunky and an un oiled machine, but some just flow, and you’d feel like, man, you’d spend half an hour, 45 minutes, just pure bliss man reading these comic books from cover to cover and enjoying the ads in. But I was a bit disappointed with no X-Ray hands anymore after the night. Someone cottoned onto that, Julie like, bloody making my fun away.

And then you sort of, I don’t know. I fell out of comic books probably through the two thousands there. I was moving more into obviously a very voracious novel reader as well, and started developing my own ideas. I had this weird idea, I don’t know if this is correct, but when I first started developing Battle for Bustle in my own comic book stories, I had this notion in my head, I felt like I’d devoured as much as I could from things that influenced me, and I wanted to put that away and isolate myself for a period of time to see if I could translate what I’d learned from reading and observation into what I could do into a comic book form. So I spent five or six years just creating, I guess, in isolation other than novels, no comic books. And then I came out into this world where comic books were like, man, I just read that comic book in two minutes. You know what I mean?

It was weird, that whole step there. I’ve always hated the fact that comic books are looked at coffee table things. I think comic books should be looked at as beautiful pieces of art. Man, to me, they’re the perfect medium. They’re lovely artwork, lovely story created. Storytelling is like as precise a good one from a bad one. You know what I mean? It’s no hiding it. You know what I mean? And I think, yeah, it’s very tricky in anyone that says that comic books aren’t tricky, man. Give to go. See how you go. That’s what I reckon. Yeah.

Julie Ditrich (02:22:59):
Good luck.

Leigh Chalker (02:23:02):

Julie Ditrich (02:23:04):
I just want to just go back a couple of steps to what we just discussed. I have to add that when I started the comics mastermind courses and everything, part of the reason I also started it is because when I started in comics, certainly when I was doing my professional writing degree, which introduced you or introduced the students to all kinds of writing that you could make money from, comics were never ever mentioned. They weren’t on anyone’s radar. I stumbled on comics writing as a profession by accident, and I had no comic writing skills. There were no comics writing courses around. There were a few books around, I think, but I hadn’t come across.

I think that Eisner had a couple of books, but certainly Scott McLeod’s book wasn’t out then when Scott McLeod’s book did eventually come out, it was a revelation to both people working in the industry and people who wanted to understand the medium. The only reason I actually could write comics was because I had studied television and screenwriting in my course. So I was able to take the concepts of screenwriting married with my understanding of comics from all the ones I read when I was a kid, and then actually translated into the real published deal. So there was nothing around, absolutely nothing around when we really needed people like Gary Channeller, Tim McEwen, Jason Pulis. We all came from an era where there was no support. We had to make discoveries for ourselves. We had to make mistakes along the way and just learn on the job.

So part of why started Comics Mastermind was just to help people come through if they truly wanted to learn about the comics medium, but do it quickly without having to scramble for themselves. Of course, the internet has opened up a world of possibility as well, in a way that just wasn’t there, because really the internet came into being in the late 1990s Worldwide Web. I was using emails in the maybe early to mid 1990s, but the Worldwide web. I remember when Black Mermaid got our first website, that was probably about 19 98, 99, and then the worldwide web started to explode after that. So where the internet has gone in the last 23, 24 odd years is incredible. So there’s so much access to stuff there now.

Leigh Chalker (02:26:38):
I agree.

Julie Ditrich (02:26:39):
I’m doing a lot of visual research at the moment. I used to use Wikipedia and do all this stuff, and then I went onto Pinterest the other day and I put in some key words on it, and I’ve been looking for this specific traditional costuming from a particular region for a project that I’m working on with Marcello Bayes at the moment. And I had wanted to get this book, which is out of print and I can’t find it anywhere. And I found a whole page of visual research on this costuming on Pinterest, and it’s like, holy shit. Hallelujah.

Leigh Chalker (02:27:18):
Yeah, yeah. It’s like I found the jackpot exactly what I was looking.

Julie Ditrich (02:27:22):
Oh, I did. I found the jackpot.

Leigh Chalker (02:27:27):
I think one of the things that I’ve wanted to do with Chinwag, because this is the other thing too. When I started Chinwag, I really had no idea what I was doing with it. It was just a sort of thing to get a couple of mates together and have a long form talk. And then things started evolving and that as I guess I’ve become more confident with myself and had the changes and stuff, and I’m sort of realising as well, talking to people is not just me learning, but then from people like yourself and all the other people that have spoken and all the other guests, it’s like people that have sent me messages going, wow, so amazing to know what Gary Cha thought of this. Or Jason Paul thought of that. I’d never thought about this. You know what I mean? And then you start thinking like, wow, there’s other people out there that are watching this to learn and things. And I really admire what you’ve done with the Comics Masterclass. And is that just Comics Masterclass in Google

Julie Ditrich (02:28:32):
Comic Mastermind? I haven’t, haven’t put any PayPal buttons up there for a long time because if people are really interested, they’ll just email me and then I’ll let them know. But all the descriptors of the courses are on there, how long they are, what each module is about, who teaches it, all the biographies of the people who teach it. Everything you need to know is on there. I would really encourage people to understand genre more, because if they don’t, it can really jeopardise the, this is not a word, but the pitchability of a, something they want to take to a publisher if they don’t fully understand the genre. Or I do remember reading.

I think you have to really drill down. I think you have to be really open to learning. So I’m glad that you are open to learning. I remain in a state where I’m permanently open to learning. I was speaking today with a friend of mine who’s up your way. She’s an aboriginal archaeologist, and I just shut up and just listen to what she has to say and it just soak it all in. And I think part of being a creator is really keeping everything open to learning and know that you, no matter how old you are or how experienced you are or how wise you are, you are still learning new things all the way and just let them all soak in. But also I think it’s important for people to be self-aware and to really understand the concepts within psychological concepts. So there’s a lot more of it out there. There’s articles everywhere about what narcissism is, for example, whereas 20, 30 years ago, you wouldn’t find anything like that. So people are really understanding some of these concepts, but look at things like defence mechanisms and how people use those.

And not only can improve your characterization and put conflict into your stories, but you can learn a lot about yourself and how you react situation, how people are reacting as well. I think there’s a lot of really fantastic information about archetypes. There are the hero’s journey archetypes, but there’s ones that go beyond that. I’ve just learned a whole new set of archetypes, which are to do with addiction, and it is absolutely fascinating. Trauma-based stuff. This whole world has opened up that I wish I knew had these tools when I was a clinical hypnotherapist many years ago. This is lifted the lid of everything. There’s a woman called Caroline, miss MYSS, who has identified something like 60 different archetypes in the world, and everyone has about eight archetypes inside them. You read the list and then you see, hey, that’s one of my archetypes.

Leigh Chalker (02:32:09):
You can identify with certain, you can

Julie Ditrich (02:32:13):
Identify your eight kind of archetypes. Are you a scribe or an author? Is one of them an advocate, which is somebody who might be in the justice, a police officer or a judge or somebody like that. There’s the white knight, someone with a hero complex who goes in and rescues people all the time. When you see them all, it’s like, whoa. Not only can you relate, it’s putting them all together for you, but you can actually come up with a character study for your stories as well. We got to meet. We got to

Leigh Chalker (02:32:55):
Meet. Yes. That’s Lloyd Lloyd. Sorry to interrupt. Cheeky bugger. Hang on.

Julie Ditrich (02:33:03):
No, that was lovely.

Leigh Chalker (02:33:05):
Yeah, he pops up every now and that’s usually him. Yeah, he likes the camera more than me, mate. He takes it after.

Julie Ditrich (02:33:14):
Anyway, look, I’ve just gone on a bit of a ramble there. Yeah, no,

Leigh Chalker (02:33:17):
No, no. I like that because I think, again, this is a fluidity of chinwag because it’s, I dunno everything about archetypes and stuff like that, but with modern psychology and things like that, things are definitely becoming not as, when I was young in school, people were just looked at as different, you know what I mean? Oh, he’s a little different. He’s that. You know what I mean? There was no specific understandings towards someone that may have not been normal. Here we go to normal again, and now we understand behaviours and what’s brought about from people. And again, I guess the psychology of shadow work, what we don’t like about someone else is an automatic, is a reflection of us, so we should accept and that sort of thing. I think all that sort of stuff, man, is very interesting to get into if you want to be a better writer. I think that’s also super interesting to get into if you want to be a better artist, because you do understand the subtleties of a glance a smirk.

Julie Ditrich (02:34:29):
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Leigh Chalker (02:34:31):
How integral those little things in the background are that some people wouldn’t notice. You know what I mean?

Julie Ditrich (02:34:39):

Leigh Chalker (02:34:40):
Yeah. Again, for people out there, again, I guess that comes down to the depth of how you want to go into comic books. Some comic books. I no disrespect anyone. I love comic books, so I love everyone that creates comic books, even if I’ve never met you. Alright, so I’m just talking. So don’t send any emails to Shane because comics are beautiful, but obviously there’s different ones. There’s light and fluffy ones, there’s deep and dark ones, there’s psychological ones, there’s ones that are based on, I’m currently, I’m currently in a state of admiration for autobiographical comic books because I’m doing battle for bustle and I’ve had two years off that because of all the trauma and addictions and stuff that I’m getting over. And I finally come back to my comic book with a whole different outlook on life. But I’m also doing an autobiographical exploration of my own experiences over the last couple of years through addictions and breakdowns in relationships and how people treat you and things like that. And it’s a multimedia type thing. So in order for me to, I guess sort of have a gauge on where you’re going, that stuff can be raw. You start off that sort of stuff, real angry and then you gauge it. Man, there’s a lot of things that I would recommend people go check out Sarah Firth’s book. That’s Brave. Bo Jardine did a book about his heroin addiction many years ago that’s available for free on his website. That’s brave. Autobiographical books are brave man. Spie, my mate. Rob talks about depression and anxieties with sluggish, brave.

They’re all, I guess their own.

Julie Ditrich (02:36:32):
Darren Close did one.

Leigh Chalker (02:36:35):
Oh yes, he did too. Yeah, which was very

Julie Ditrich (02:36:37):

Leigh Chalker (02:36:39):
Yeah, I can’t remember the name of that. What was the name of that? Oh, I know. It’s him on the drawing desk down. He was shortlisted for a ledger for it. I can’t remember. The people did two.

Julie Ditrich (02:36:53):
He did two parts to it, I think.

Leigh Chalker (02:36:56):
Yeah. Yeah, because Struggle.

Julie Ditrich (02:36:58):
Struggle. Thank you.

Leigh Chalker (02:37:00):
Thank you. Yeah, that was beautiful. It was

Julie Ditrich (02:37:04):
Shane, was it? Was that Jane?

Leigh Chalker (02:37:06):
Yeah. Thanks Shane. Yeah, that was Shane champion. Yeah, no, it was beautiful. Alright, well Julie, as I wind down this evening’s show, I guess we’ve covered a lot tonight, man. We

Julie Ditrich (02:37:25):
Did cover a lot. I have one party thought as well.

Leigh Chalker (02:37:29):
Is there anything that you would like to add before we wander off into the evening and allow the people to digest all of the things that we’ve discussed?

Julie Ditrich (02:37:41):
I would like to add something. You said this about five, six minutes ago and that was about how you used to study comics and break down and look at all the panels and everything in the panels. And that is one of the best ways to learn about comics that you will learn so much from doing that. I used to do pre comics, I used to do that with film with my friend Bruce Joseph was part of it. And our two friends, Nick and Paul, who run makeup effects group in Sydney, they happened to have won the actor award for best makeup just in a week ago for the movie. Talk to me, the horror movie, talk to me. But we used to get together maybe every six weeks and one of us would be the leader and we would choose a movie. The leader would take us through the movie scene by scene and then we would just break it down, look at how the music is used, look at the colour palettes, look at the costuming, look at how lines are used, diagonal lines and shots, everything, break it all down.

And then later on after I started to do that with comics as well, you can learn so much. So I would advise any people who are into comics to do what you did before, which is just to pick up a graphic novel or a comic book and then read it from beginning to end quickly and then go back and then look at it panel by panel by panel and look at what the intention is of the writer and the illustrator and the artist in the book. I think that is a very, very powerful thing to do, to learn about the craft.

Leigh Chalker (02:39:50):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s all. Thank you. I’m glad. Yeah, I would agree with that. I didn’t know that you were going to agree with how I learned, but I’m very thankful you did. And the weird thing is to add to that is another dad story before we move on, because he was a cool dad when I was young and I was going to bed, he used to come in and you’d chill out with me, he’d put your kid to bed. And what we used to do is we used to read a comic book, so he’d have the comic book and I’d be sitting there and he had like a thousand voices, so every character would have a different voice and he’d be boom, boom, bang, bang. And while we were sitting there, he really, I don’t know, I just got lucky, I guess. I dunno. And he was like, you draw your foreground characters first.

You see that. You see how the background, that sort of thing. Can you see from this angle here, the man is going to come, Spiderman’s going to come up and stand on that corner. Why is he doing that? Oh, because he’s come from there. Yes. And you’ve got to think about things like that. So as he was reading me, these stories he was putting me through, I didn’t realise at the time, but I guess it’s so subliminal things that your parents do or your brothers and sisters do. I guess so yeah, it just so you observe, I guess. And I’ve got lucky, so I hope everyone’s listened to what Julia has said. It’s been a wealth of knowledge and I hope people investigated. Really? Oh man, it’s been a super pleasure, man. Yeah, no, no, mate, I appreciate getting the opportunity to meet you. It’s, we’re hoping to have this happen last year, but things happen in the way and maybe looking back on it now and how we spoke about meditations and spirituality and how it is for creativity, maybe perhaps at that stage I wasn’t ready to talk to you about those things in such an open fashion as well.

You know what I mean? And we’ve had, this is the moment where it combined and I’ve learned a whole heap of stuff. And Matt, it’s been a good chinwag and this is the beauty of the Chinwag man. I love Chinwag. Alright, I suspect

Julie Ditrich (02:42:18):
There might be some behind the scenes chats about those themes as well

Leigh Chalker (02:42:23):
In the future. No, I suspect so. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s cool with me. That’s cool with me. Alright, well Julie, is there anywhere that if people are looking for you, people want to reach out to you, have a yarn, find your work, whereabouts do they?

Julie Ditrich (02:42:38):
You just go to julie dietrich.com, my website or email me or if you are interested in comics masterminds comic mastermind.com. Yep.

Leigh Chalker (02:42:54):
Okay, very good. Alright, so on me on Facebook, oh, there you go. V Julie on Facebook and have a yarn to it. Wonderful Australian creator. Super happy to have Julie on the show and had an awesome chinwag. Do so love Tuesdays because remember Tuesdays for Chin Waggon. So everyone out there, everyone that’s watched, thank you very much. We will be back next week, seven 30 next Tuesday, 7:30 PM Queensland time. Weirdly enough, the last comic book we discussed. Good on You. Bow, he’s a champion. That Omni Bow. Thanks

Julie Ditrich (02:43:35):

Leigh Chalker (02:43:37):
Yeah, no, Omni Bow is bow from Aussie verse, so, oh, okay. He’s a good man. He loves his comic books, mate. Well, does he? Yeah, he does. Now, weirdly enough, the last comic book we talked about was from Darren Close struggle and in a strange way to bring the circle to a close for tonight’s show is Darren Close will be on Tuesday, chinwag next week to discuss all things. I guess Darren Close and we’ll have yarn and all of those things. Weirdly enough, Julie, the first comic book I ever did was Kroo Comic. And do you know, I don’t recall I’ve ever met Darren in person, so it’s going to be another

Julie Ditrich (02:44:20):
The opposite ends of the East coast.

Leigh Chalker (02:44:24):
But technology brings you together, even though sometimes technology just scrambles you a little bit at the start.

Julie Ditrich (02:44:31):

Leigh Chalker (02:44:32):
Alright, well I’m going to let everyone go

Julie Ditrich (02:44:35):
And thanks Shane.

Leigh Chalker (02:44:37):
No problem. Thanks everyone. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, AIE verse Comex Show, sponsored by the shop. So get in there and check out the comics. Hey, yeah, there’s Little Loy, man. The comic shop sponsors the shows like and subscribe across all platforms and media. Chinwag is always made with love. Be kind to everyone out there. Kindness goes a long way. Like smile, be happy, find peace, love, create, and community as Unity. Have a lovely evening. Thank you.

Julie Ditrich (02:45:13):
Lovely to meet you. See you later. Bye.

Leigh Chalker (02:45:17):
See you. This show

Voice Over (02:45:18):
Is sponsored by the Comics Shop. Check out comex.cx for all things Comex and find out what Comex is all about. We hope you enjoy.


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