Stu Thornton

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Stu Thornton

Time to dig eep into the mind of this man who many argue is actually an advanced AI machine! The man works too hard to be human. Come learn more about Stu with Leigh and have a good ol’ chinwag!

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Transcription Below

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Voice Over (00:04):
This show is sponsored by the Comics Shop. We hope you enjoy the show.

Leigh Chalker (00:27):
All right, good day. Welcome back to another episode of Tuesday Chinwag. My name is Lee Chalker. I’m the creator of the Australian Independent Comic book Battle for Bustle, published through the comic studio system, and tonight the Chinwag is broadcast live streamed across two channels. So just let me fill you in on both of those in case you haven’t heard of them. We have X and across the bottom, I should say, across that little yellow ticker, the addresses of the two channels. So the first one is x Now com X is three, I guess sections, and one is the community. And that is of like-minded people that enjoy comic books and all things creative and art and getting together to learn and just talk and shoot the breeze and meet other like-minded people is also the live streaming side of things, which is chinwag, the Aus Comex Show.

Friday Night Drink and Draw, and let’s make a comic book. It is also the Comex Shop, which is the sponsor of these shows. And the Comex shop has over 100 Australian comic book titles in it. Now it has a flat rate of $9, so that means you can buy one comic or you can buy 20 comics. You still only pay $9. Now that’s a bargain. Everyone can come in and sell their stuff in the comic shop. It’s not just for comic studio comics. Okay, and the other address we have is Aussie verse. Now Aussie verse is a community of people that are very passionate about comic books, very passionate about pop culture and all things entertainment related to comic books. They do interviews with creators and artists, et cetera in the field. They do their own live streams, they do whole videos. What they’ve read this month, they do a whole myriad of stuff.

I believe they’ve got over about two, 300 videos. So there’s plenty of things for you to check out. The best thing you can do to support both of those channels is like, and subscribe ’em. Now they’re over YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram. So just remember like and subscribe ’em anywhere. You can find them because the more likes and subscriptions, the more the tree grows and blossoms and the more people get to watch these shows, the more people get to see what’s out there in Australian comic books, pop culture, and it’s just damn entertaining to be around people that are like-minded. So get on it. So tonight, on Tuesday, chinwag is a gentleman that I have just till now got the pleasure of meeting and we’re going to get straight into it with our who, what, where, when, why, and how parts of the shop. All comments are welcome Omni Bow. Beautiful mate. And we’re introducing this evening, Mr. Stu Thornton. How are you mate?

Stu Thornton (03:26):
I’m extremely well coming to you live from Perth, so it’s still daylight here. I don’t know where it is everywhere else, but it’s sunny and clear than daylight.

Leigh Chalker (03:37):
Yeah, yeah, well, it’s pretty dark outside where I’m sitting at the moment, so I’m envious of you having some extra sunlight. But we do like to keep it as light as possible because let the light in where there’s darkness. So that’s the best thing to do. And thank you for everyone that’s commenting so far. Do send them in, we’ll get to you as best we can. If you’ve got any questions for Stu, join in and good evening to Peter Lane to Omni Bow to Dave Dye and everyone that is watching. Alright, so Stu mate, we’re going to cut the fat mate. We’re just going to get straight into it. All right, straight into it.

Stu Thornton (04:23):
Hit me

Leigh Chalker (04:24):

Stu Thornton (04:26):
Well, who is Stu? I’m a cartoonist. I’m a dad first and foremost. I’ve got two teenage kids. That’s the most important thing in my life, although I don’t tell them that because they get big heads and stuff like that. Other than that, I’m a cartoonist. I’m a graphic designer. Drew my first comic book at six years of age. I’ve been working at the media for the government for ad agencies as a graphic designer, drawing cartoons, comic strips, courtroom, sketch, artist, a whole lot of stuff. And now I’m bringing out my own comic book. So it’s a lifelong dream. It’s probably the big thing that I always wanted to do. And finally I’ve got around it actually doing it.

Leigh Chalker (05:19):
That is fantastic. I love, one of the things, man, that I enjoy most about Chinwag is getting to meet people like yourself who are doing their first comic book after having that ambition such a long time, man, it’s a beautiful thing to me. It reminds Stu the dad, Thornton. There you go. Omni Bow. He’s gotten sick of comments tonight. Mateo Omni Bow. Hello, Nick. May we’ll try and have a great chat. Thank you for watching and your continued support. Yeah, whenever I hear comments like that, man from creators such as yourself, I can’t wait to see your reaction when you finally have your first finished comic book in your hands. You know what I mean? And looking forward to seeing that eventually with you, mate.

Stu Thornton (06:20):
Well, it’s actually funny you say that because today I printed my first pre-print of my outlaw comic to have a look at, see how it looked, see if the font size was right. It was reading well, things were in the right place, da the colours. Yeah. So today’s my first day of actually printing my comic book. So now you,

Leigh Chalker (06:51):
It’s funny,

Stu Thornton (06:52):
I’m a little bit, I think every artist goes through this, is it good enough? Is it, have I done enough? Am I hitting my potential? And still, you look at it and go, geez, I could have fixed this. I could have fixed that. I don’t think any artist is ever actually happy with what they’ve done, which makes us better and better and better. But overall, if I hadn’t have done it now regardless, I’d be 150 and still not have done it. I, it’s taken me this long to do it, and I’m 54 now, admittedly. I have been doing other arty things and cartoony things finally, I’ve got around doing this. This was always my priority too. So it was something I really took my time with to make sure I was happy, at least to some degree with the final product.

But other than that, I mean, as I said, I drew my first comic at six. I still remember it at school. I don’t remember what the assignment was, but I was in first class and something about Dracula’s Castle, and I didn’t even own a comic book back then, or I don’t even think I’d read one. But I knew that I loved this word and pictures together thing. And yeah, it was probably very, very bad, but it gave me a love for, hey, let’s do something else and something else and something else, and to where I am right now.

Leigh Chalker (08:22):
Yeah, no, it’s brilliant, man. So let’s get back into 6-year-old stew. And you were saying you hadn’t read a comic book that you’re aware of or anything. Was it just something, I guess instinctual within you that you just decided that I just liked drawing. Did you like drawing first? Did you want to be a writer? Do you remember back that far as to what was the initial spark?

Stu Thornton (08:54):
I think the initial spark was television, and I don’t know if you guys remember 1960s, captain America throws his Mighty Shield and Iron Man and Thor and

Leigh Chalker (09:05):
Captain America throws his Mighty Shield. Yeah,

Stu Thornton (09:09):
Those cartoons. And George Reeves, Superman just gave me this love for superheroes, but also for the animation side and the cartooning. And yeah, I tried to draw, don’t think I was any better than any other kids at school, but I just loved doing it. And so, yeah, I couldn’t tell you what prompted me to do it, but it was something that I remember doing and I just continued on with it. So by the time I was in the end of primary school, I’d drawn a history comic book that the teacher then produced and gave out to the rest of the class. So it was something that I just knew I wanted to do. And it was, I think it’s like any artist, you don’t, and I struggle calling myself an artist even now, but it’s like any artist that you just have this desire to create and no matter what it is, every single day I’ve either got to be doing graphic design or cartooning or caricatures, comic books. It’s sort of like my day isn’t complete until I’ve made something and created something.

Leigh Chalker (10:23):
Yeah. Yeah, that’s Nick May. Fun fact, Stu and I were both born in September of 69.

Stu Thornton (10:31):
Yeah, we’re like brothers,

Leigh Chalker (10:34):
Twins. Yeah, right. Yeah. I’m

Stu Thornton (10:36):
Danny DeVito though.

Leigh Chalker (10:38):
I was going to say, I could see the resemblance. So in fact, there you go. I could, there was a similarity there. I couldn’t quite work it out, but thank you. Well,

Stu Thornton (10:49):
That’s terrifying really, isn’t it? Yes,

I do remember also what got me, it’s funny, I went to hospital when I was a kid. I would’ve been in 10 or 11, and that was only for appendix. It was nothing severe. But my uncle bought me an Ironman comic, and I still remember Ironman 149 against Dr. Doom, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Bob Layton was the artist. He’s so clean with his art and it was just fantastic. And then a few years later, I had a friend at high school who was collecting Captain American Wolverine that shout out to Justin. Thanks, mate. You got me into this. Good,

Leigh Chalker (11:34):
Justin, love

Stu Thornton (11:35):
You. Yeah, good on you, Justin. You got me into it and I started collecting Iron Man again, back in those days, nobody had any idea who Iron Man was. None of my friends nowadays, everyone knows who Iron Man is, but back in those days, I just collected it and collected it and traced it and drew it, and it just gave me this love for comic books, which I haven’t bought one. I’ve probably only bought a handful of comics in the last 10 years, to be honest with you. But I’ve still probably got a couple of thousand in the lounge room in private place. In the lounge room. Must,

Leigh Chalker (12:19):
Yeah, yeah. No. Did you now, Bo Omni Bow sent out a little comment there saying that you were both born in the summer of 69 and Brian Adams wrote a song about you. So there’s another fun fact, whether he did directly write it for you or not, who cares right now He did. So we’re going to, with that, thank you to Brian. Thank you both to pointing that out.

Stu Thornton (12:48):
I’ve got to have some claim to fame.

Leigh Chalker (12:50):
Oh man. Well, it’s like, even if it’s just a thread, hang on to that sucker, man. That’s what I reckon it’s claim it. You might never get it back just for that moment then that’s

Stu Thornton (13:05):

Leigh Chalker (13:06):
With, so you’ve got your appendix out, you’re given an Iron Man comic. Now the person that gave you the Iron Man comic, was there a specific reason why they chose Iron Man or was it your name? Anything there?

Stu Thornton (13:30):
I think it was just one of those karma, one of those things that fate or something. It was my uncle, and I think he just saw the first comic in the shop and said, that’ll do. And it just happened to be an absolute masterpiece, really, that comic book. And so yeah, I fell in love just straight away with it. And the artwork, the Bob Layton, I dunno if you know Bob Layton, but

Leigh Chalker (13:57):
I know who Bob Layton is.

Stu Thornton (13:59):
Yeah, it is sensational. Him and John Byrne. Those two really just made me want to draw. These guys are great. And so did that Justin Guy I was talking about before he was drawing and I thought, well, if you can do it, I want to be doing it too. So yeah. So that was high school. Every weekend I brought up in Sydney, I was brought up in Sydney, and every weekend we’d travel into the city and go to a place called King’s Comics. I dunno if you guys remember that. And Comic Kingdom and another one down the road in George Street called The Land Beyond. Beyond. And you just spend, I don’t know where we got our money from, to be honest with you. My mother must’ve been funding us, but

Leigh Chalker (14:47):
We just touring, mate.

Stu Thornton (14:53):
That’s it. And as I got older and older, I still collected comics throughout my teens. And I remember once I went to King’s Comics in Sydney and they said to me, you draw, you should go along to this meeting and the Sury Hills Pub every once a month on a,

Leigh Chalker (15:15):
Are you going to tell me you turned up at the Ule Pub a couple of times, man.

Stu Thornton (15:20):
Yeah, with Jason Paulo, who was around the same age. And so we were there with Steve Carter, voting America and these guys, it was like, wow, I’m meeting legends. I remember Steve Carter said to me, never be afraid. And this was a great advice looking back, never be afraid to use too much black. And I thought, wow, okay, black if in doubt, black it out. That’s what I’ve been doing with my comic books. And that was Steve Carter, who taught me that 30 years ago. But yeah, I used to go to that pub. I don’t even remember what pub it was to be honest with you. I know it was in Sury Hills and it was once every, it was supposedly a cartoonist meeting, but really it was a night where everybody got together and drank.

Leigh Chalker (16:07):
Yeah, yeah. And hopefully didn’t spill beers on the pages that they brought in to show to everyone their ideas and stuff like that.

Stu Thornton (16:15):
That’s funny because I did get a big talking to about bringing original art in and they said never bring original art. Okay. Learning curve at the age of 1819.

Leigh Chalker (16:27):
Yeah. Yeah. It’d be soggy when it went home. But if there’s anyone out there, Ben Sullivan. Hello Ben, how are you buddy? And good aid Stu from Ben. Good man, Ben. Sloppy tune. We have three pickles to beat today. Yes, Alex, we spoke about that. That’s due. We’ll see how the challenge goes, mate. But I did throw it out there. Land Beyond, beyond was a weird place. Best prices in town though. So Alex is a, yeah,

Stu Thornton (16:54):
It was hidden down a little hallway down in Georgia Street, so you had to sort of find the place.

Leigh Chalker (17:01):
Yeah, one of those sneaky little arcade comic book places like just off the beaten track. But if anyone of the Legend Brigade is out there watching Chinwag tonight that went to Ule Club back in the day, let us know what pub it was so we can fill in the details because that would be really cool. It’s a beautiful story to think that you were there with all of them, man, because they’re all good dudes too, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting ’em all and they’re still going strong, man. They’re still going strong. So yeah,

Stu Thornton (17:42):
I didn’t keep in contact with any of ’em, but I remember once Jason Paulo and I went over to Bodine America’s apartment and there was a whopping great carpet, python or something in the place, and being from Sydney, people just didn’t have stuff like that. And so I thought, wow, this guy’s completely out there and he’s got something like something out of Adam’s family to me back in

Leigh Chalker (18:08):

Stu Thornton (18:09):

Leigh Chalker (18:10):
Well, there’s Gary er, good day Gary. And he said, the Chippendale Chippendale. So there you go. See the idea of Bo having a giant snake just cruising around his lounge room doesn’t shock me because I’ve met Bo a few times on live streams and stuff like that, and I think that with his house day decor, you know what I mean? I’m surprised. I’m not surprised at all. There was a snake, maybe some throw pillows and varying other things, but we won’t go into too many details there. That could be a Pickles moment. And from Alex, we’ve got the Yule for a bit was the Strawberry Hills Hotel, and this was 1999 to 2002. Era of

Stu Thornton (19:05):
That would’ve been it. That would’ve been it. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (19:08):
Thank you. That would’ve

Stu Thornton (19:09):
Been around 91, I reckon.

Leigh Chalker (19:12):
Omni Bow, what was that Omni bow? Something about You’ve got a giant snake butter ching, get out of here. Omni Bow. Geez mate, come on. Keep it real. It’s like, come on, we’re talking comic books. We can keep it in a reality based scenario, man. Give yourself,

Stu Thornton (19:32):
Because comic books are firmly based in reality.

Leigh Chalker (19:34):
Oh, absolutely, man. I’m often known to jump in a big iron suit mate and go off to work every day, mate. I mean, that’s just the neighbourhood I live in, man. You’ve got to pay to have a hazmat suit on to walk outside, get attacked by things magpie, take your eye out. You know what I mean? Like stray cats it, that’s just getting to the car, let alone getting down the street. But anyway, I digress from that. So when you were having your beers and stuff back in those days, man, you would’ve been learning a whole heap. Hey,

Stu Thornton (20:14):
I was in total awe the whole time. These guys, as far as I were concerned, were like Gods, these were my heroes. And they’d bring up names like Chana and Dev and wow, I can’t believe, pinch myself. I can’t believe I’m sitting amongst these people. Then to see Jason Paulo, how he’s gone over the years from where he was in the same boat as me and our careers went in completely different directions. I went into the media and so newspapers and he obviously continued on with comic books. So now here I’m coming back again into the comic book land, which is if I had a dream job, it’d be to draw Aussie comics and that’s it, a dream job. But back in the day too, I used to collect front pages of newspapers. So I’ve got copies of the Titanic, world War I, the Bomb being dropped in Hiroshima. I’ve got copies of all these front pages, and it was just such a big Wow, wow, wow. The front pages I found myself years later creating front pages. So that would’ve been my second best job. So I’m lucky enough to say, Hey, I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to do the two dream jobs.

Leigh Chalker (21:46):
Oh man,

Stu Thornton (21:47):
I’ve always wanted to do.

Leigh Chalker (21:49):
Wow, not too many people can say that. When you look back at things, man, when you have those moments of reflection like that, headlining and front pages of newspapers, draw and comic books, meeting all these people and stuff like that. Because assuming that with you talking about Australian comics and meeting the dudes at the Yule Club and stuff like that, that while you were collecting Iron Man, et cetera and enjoying Bob Layton and John Byrne, you were obviously also picking up copies of Australian comics back in the day as well. What of those comics sticks out in your mind, man, like

Stu Thornton (22:33):
Eureka Southern Squadron number one. That was the one that really I thought was awesome, and I believe they’re coming out again. They is Southern Squadron,

Leigh Chalker (22:48):
Is that correct? Yeah, Southern Squadrons come back out through Reverie, I believe, man. And they’re doing crossovers from memory with torn and different characters and creating a whole modern version of them currently and stuff. And one of the artists that, well man, two of my three mates of mine got their helping out their spie and Ben Sullivan who said, good Day, and Hayden Spar and Tad, there’s a dark nebula coming back to pumping out stuff as well at the moment and being as popular as ever and Adventure Illustrated and man there, there’s lots of stuff happening at the moment. So in a weird way, you sort of came in at the time where everyone was pumping. There was a bit of a hi ats a bit. You went off on your career path and followed Dream number two, you know what I mean? Now that you’ve had an opportunity to come back to dream number one, everyone back in the day back then is bringing comic books out at the same time as you’re about to bring out your comic book, man. So like that, depending on how you look at it, I would think that that’s a pretty special occasion, man.

Yeah, I reckon

Stu Thornton (24:15):
It’s huge. Don’t you worry. I’ll be grabbing all of those new ones too, to Adam, to the collection. I think I even got one that Gary er did. I only just found it the other day, the Olympians, and I think it was made in the United States actually, and I just found it the other day. I went, oh wow, I’ve got this. So that’s pretty cool too. But there were so many Australian artists that were really grabbing me back then, as I said, my love was Marvel and DC to some degree, but I almost, I followed artists I think just as much as I followed any particular characters. So the John Burns, the Bob Layton’s, Mike Z, and then when To McFarland came in, I was blown away by that.

You try and steal a little bit for your own art here and there, but somebody told me once the first half of an artist’s career is you’re throwing things in. I’ve just learned how to do this. I’ll do that and I’ll throw that in. I throw that in. And the last half is taking stuff out until you’ve got this bare bones basic, you almost go back to basics and simplify it. So simplify it where I am now. So my comics are a lot more basic than what they were 20 years ago when I was putting in a lot of crosshatching or whatever. I’ve taken all that out now and stripped it back to just really easy storytelling.

Leigh Chalker (25:51):
Well, you’re feeling confident and you found yourself, mate. You found your voice with your artwork and your identity. I guess that’s what happens. I mean, from my perspective is a lot of those names that you just mentioned, then for me, mark Vetri was a really huge influence on me still to this day, love his work. But when I was younger, mark tech era, AV Salters, the dudes from Ghost Rider and stuff, I used to very much draw very much like them. But then slowly over time, just much like yourself, man, you just lose a bit of that or that curl becomes a bit more yours. Or even weird things like you find a thickness of pencil that changes it, or some people like drawing with paces, some people like drawing with lead pencils and that sometimes changes things. And yes, you find other inspirations.

I grew up in a family that while comics with my dad was a huge influence on me, I was also very lucky that the first art, when was I? Probably about five or six and my, yeah, that’d be about right. And my grandma was cleaning out a cupboard and I didn’t know anything about my granddad. My granddad was a returned veteran from the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea. He spent three and a half years over there and they’d send him back, like two was over. But he just kept going back that he was wanted, that’s what he wanted to be and where he wanted to be. But what he did was he used to paint and do sketches, and I didn’t know anything about this because when he came back at that stage, I’m assuming that things like PTSD and traumas of such nature weren’t really a relevant thing.

But he used to draw and paint and he did that in the war, and he brought back a whole heap of artwork, and they were amazing pieces that I first saw. And some were on giant pieces of board that were painted versions of all of the aircraft that were used in Papua New Guinea by the Americans and such. There were sketches of him and his mates sitting under trees and the volcanoes and Papua New Guinea, like on fire and jungle settings. And man, I’m hoping someone in our large family on that side still got some of those, but they were pretty mind blowing as a kid. So from that I had comics and then I had this, and then I veered off into paintings. So I’ve found that over time, all of my melting pot of influences have just come into, there you go. And sounds the same as you, man. You know what I mean? You just find your way and stuff like that. There’s no right or wrong artwork, man. It’s just what makes you feel wrong with expressing yourself any way you choose. As long as you’re not hurting people, don’t hurt people, but just keep drawing and stuff.

Stu Thornton (29:21):
Yeah. Well, that’s it. I’ve spent a lot of time doing comic strips and political cartoons for the paper and whatever else. Lucky enough, I’ve got it here. Actually. You have the front page of the newspaper with a cartoon up in the Northern Territory. I found myself, I ended up travelling Australia when I was 26. A mate of mine said, what are you doing? I said, well, with my life, nothing. He said, well, let’s travel Australia. So we did it for a few years and we travelled around doing everything from fruit picking to, I used to clean the public toilets at five o’clock in the morning as a job. So we did anything we possibly could. We used to bus and try and get some money.

Leigh Chalker (30:17):
Yeah, yeah. What did you like busing? What did you do? You playing guitar, get going, guitar, bus guitar. Yeah, yeah, right. You singing classic guitar, man,

Stu Thornton (30:31):
I’m not very good at it. No. I started playing guitar when I was about 14, so I just taught myself how to play guitar and I can play chords and try and drown my voice out with the chords and people usually pay you to shut up. So you ended up making some money that way. But then I found myself in Darwin, and I was only going to stay there three months. I stayed there four years, went back to Sydney, thought Darwin’s my home, went back there again and stayed there for another 16. So about 20 years in Darwin. And at that stage I got a job with the NT News, which is the newspaper up there, of course. And I got do my own. I got to do the front pages, but I got my own cartoons on there too.

And so that was the chief minister and the treasurer at the time. So yeah, I got to do my own political cartoons and put them on the front courtroom sketch artist, which was at times really freaky also, because you don’t go there for somebody who’s just stolen a loaf of bread. You go there because you’ve got murderers, and it’s a real story. And some of them, do you remember the Falcon murder? Peter Falcon got killed, or he disappeared in the Northern Territory, and it was Bradley Murdoch apparently who killed him. I had to go draw Bradley Murdoch in prison, and he’s behind this perspec, he wasn’t in prison, he was in court and he was behind this perspec wall with a security guard there. And there’s no way in the world he could have got to me, but I’m not usually intimidated by people, but him looking at me, knowing that I was drawing him, I’d sort of go, he’s freaking me out. He really burnt into my soul, if you know what I mean, his eyes and yeah, he was freaky. Yeah, some of the other ones that you just think, they didn’t affect me at all, but him. Something about him just,

Leigh Chalker (32:37):
Yeah, just some bad juju coming off that dude, man. Yeah,

Stu Thornton (32:40):
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve heard, and I dunno if he’s been found guilty, but the body’s never been found. And I dunno whether he’s or not, but from what I hear, being in the territory, whether he’s guilty or not, he probably deserves to be there, apparently. So. Yeah. Scary man.

Leigh Chalker (32:58):
Yeah, just a bad dude all around. Yeah, he’s not running for mayor anywhere, that’s for sure. When you’re up in the nt, what else? What was it about the Northern Territory? Not the first person that I’ve met in my life that went to Darwin on a holiday and suddenly they’ve never come back. Seriously. It’s like a wild land sort of thing, and if you like a bit of action and adventure and stuff, you know what I mean? That’s as good a place as anything find it.

Stu Thornton (33:41):
Yeah, definitely. Particularly back in 96 when I first got there, it was, well, parts of it were half the size of what it is now. Although Darwin’s only small. The Darwin itself has only got 120,000 people in it. The Northern Territory has only got 250,000. So it’s a very small community. But you got a lot of the big city luxuries. You still go to the movies, you can still, you’ve got still got shopping centres, you know what I mean? So it’s still got the big city luxuries, but it’s still a very much a small town and a community. And I think I fell in love with that. That was sort of my people where they were a bit rebellious a bit.

And back in those days too, you have mandatory sentencing. So if you stole a Mars bar two weeks in jail, you didn’t screw up. Unfortunately, those laws have been watered down a lot, and our crime is rife. But back in those days, in the nineties, it was a different place and it was really, really appealing, great lifestyle. It was all about in Darwin, during the dry season, there’s no rain at all, and it’s just 30 degrees every day. So you’ve got this perfect weather for six, seven months of the year, absolutely brilliant. But then you’ve got the wet season and two months of, that’s called the buildup, and it’s just hot and sweaty and no rain, high humidity, a hundred percent humidity, 35 degrees,

Leigh Chalker (35:19):
Then the rain like, yeah.

Stu Thornton (35:26):
Well, during my trips, I did stay in Townsville for a while. I did stay in Townsville. Cairns also couldn’t find any work, so I left there. But yeah, it’s very much like Townsville. It’s the same sort of deal. Darwin’s actually a thousand kilometres higher than the Cairns, so we were closer to Bali than we were anywhere else in the country. So, which wasn’t bad. 90 bucks over in Bali. I remember one year we went over to, I went over to Bali just to buy the kids’ Christmas presents.

Leigh Chalker (36:06):
Oh, true. It

Stu Thornton (36:07):
Was cheaper to do that than buy ’em here in Australia. So hop over,

Leigh Chalker (36:12):
Ducking over to Barley to pick your toys up, have a few scooners and stuff, dance a Friday night or away. I’ll be back by Sunday presents.

Stu Thornton (36:21):
Yeah, I think the bin tanks went down quite well.

Leigh Chalker (36:25):
The bin Tank, man, I tell you, I don’t know if it’s this way in the southern states, but man, there was a period there where it’s like every third person had a bloody bintang single it on. They’d be cruising around anywhere you go, you could be driving, I don’t know, out west in the middle of so-and-so nowhere, you know what I mean? And the Hitchhiker Tang single it on, and you’d be like, what is it with this thing?

Stu Thornton (37:04):
It could have been me. I did get a couple of, I must confess, get a couple of Bintang single. They even got a hat with Bintang on it, so yeah.

Leigh Chalker (37:14):
Oh yeah. What’s that? Now? The gardening hat, or is that what you do?

Stu Thornton (37:19):
It actually just sits there gathering dust. So unfortunately might

Leigh Chalker (37:26):
Hat now you might have to spark her up mate, get it reliving, man, look at my,

Stu Thornton (37:34):
Well, it’s one of those Terry towelling ones, so it’s pretty appalling, really. But

Leigh Chalker (37:42):
Soft spot for Terry Towelling Stu, you know what I mean? A Terry towering hat, man, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to dinner in a Terry Towelling hat, but if I was out with someone camping or something and I was like, oh, I need a hat, and they threw me a Terry towelling hat, man, I’d whack that on my scon with pride, man go.

Stu Thornton (38:02):
Particularly if it’s got big tank written all over it.

Leigh Chalker (38:05):
Oh, mate, I might question myself there, but I might be one of those third people just for a moment just to, I guess just to feel what it was like to wear some Ang clothing, man. You know what I mean? Just to, I don’t know, absorb what it was like. So Stu, the next time you look at that Terry towering bintang hat, man, you think of you. All right. That might scare you now, man. But not in type way. I hope

Stu Thornton (38:37):
I’ll probably never look at it the same way again.

Leigh Chalker (38:39):
Oh mate, thank you. See, we’ve changed Tang. Terry towelling hats forced you forever. That’s fantastic. It’s speaking of hats, dude, I’m going to grab a prop because I don’t know why I have a hat and it’s a hat I’ve had for a long time. The hat came to me, it didn’t come to me like someone flicked it off at me at the side of the road. It hit me in the head, you know what I mean? But I was in a shop and my old uncle in gun guy said to me once, he is a slow talker. He is a cool dude, man. And his name was Pat and he had a hat, and I really liked this hat. And he’s like, everyone should have a hat. And I was like, oh yeah. Well Pat, where do I get a hat? Sounds like I’m writing a kid’s book saying this.

And it’s like, I’ll take you down the road and we’ll get you a hat. And I was like, okay. And he said, you’ll find the hat or the hat will find you. And I’m thinking, what is this like Gunda guy magic or wizardry? That’s about a hat finding me or something. Lo and behold, man, I went into that shop and I found a hat. Now I don’t have the hat that I’ve been wearing for 15 years to show you right now, but what I do have is a hat found me about three weeks ago. And I don’t know what it was about this hat, but I had to have it. And you’re talking bintang hats, man, I’m gonna’ going to throw one up at you. I’m going to go the pineapple hat. I like it. It’s refreshing. It’s good. I tend to find, sometimes I like to put it on, it brings me comfort. But anyway, that’s enough of what disturbs me.

Stu Thornton (40:25):
Actually, I had to found me was many years ago, it was one of those little stalls in the middle of a shopping centre and they’re airbrushing stuff on a caps, and you buy them for 25 bucks or whatever, and I’ve actually got it here or not far away.

Leigh Chalker (40:42):
Oh, look at us,

Stu Thornton (40:43):
I’ve got a fourth monkey cat. So I got, well, I got my monkey put on a cat. Somebody else did. And I probably only wor it four times ever. And that would’ve been 10, 12 years ago, I suppose

Leigh Chalker (41:04):
Years. I love it. Otherwise,

Stu Thornton (41:06):
He lives on his, he lives on my land.

Leigh Chalker (41:11):
Look at you guys who knew that we were so close had such an affinity and weird fixation with headwear man. Oh yeah, Nick May, the infamous pineapple hat. It’s something. There’s no doubt about that. I dunno, man, I can’t explain some things you just need in life. Pineapple hat, your fourth monkey hat. These things just happen, man. It’s the flow. Don’t force these things. They just happen and you just got to take it when you get it. So with your time in Darwin and the Northern Territory, had you been trained with artwork and stuff, or self-taught and with getting a job to do the cartooning and things like that, was there any scholastic prerequisites or was it just a Johnny on the spot? Have a beer with the right bloke because that’s how it is in some of those little places. And then next thing you know, come in Monday, bring your pen and paper, we’ll see how you go.

Stu Thornton (42:19):
It’s funny how life just throws things at you and they’re usually curve balls and you don’t even realise at the time what’s going to happen in the future. When I was younger, I would’ve been 21. I went and signed up for graphic design in Sydney at school Uni, TAFE College, whatever it’s called. And I did graphic design and at the end of the first year, they failed me with a D for being too cartoony. So from Greg, I knew what my strength was, so I just applied it with everything I did with the graphic design. I then went the second year and I thought, okay, no more cartoons. And unfortunately, being out of home at that age, the cost, I dropped out of graphic design, didn’t touch it again for years and years and years. And I did end up start cartooning though, and I started the cartoonist for St. George Yellow War Rugby League team back in 2000, 2001. So I was drawing a comic strip for them for their newsletter and for online. And then I ended up in Port Headland up the top in Western Australia. And I was cartoon strip, comic strip for the paper there. But that was really the extent of everything. I did arty for a lot of years until I was in Port Headland. I was doing manual labour and I crushed the bottom three discs in my back.

It put me out of action for a year, six months I couldn’t walk. So I just sat there and Drew and the rehab company said, what can you do? Then sitting behind a desk? I said, I dunno, graphic design. So they got me a job in a graphic design studio. I learned how to use InDesign, illustrator, Photoshop on the job. So you just learn as you go, which then progressed to the newspapers. So where I made my way up to the creative manager of the art department got made redundant. They then called me back, I went back again for another seven years. They then made me redundant again.

Leigh Chalker (44:40):
They weren’t sure whether they wanted you or not. Get out, go back.

Stu Thornton (44:44):
It took them 10 years to figure out they didn’t. So more fool them. But I ended up being the last man standing. There was another artist, his name’s Louis and Gee, he was good. He still is. He’s a far better artist than I am. Far better designer. And we were the last two. And it was good because he was always a step ahead of me, so I’d be striving to do better and better and better and learning from him. As a result though, he thought, bloody hell, this guy’s on my coattails. I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to do better. So the two of us pushed each other along to do a better job and a better job all the time. It was good. Yeah, that’s cool. But yeah, the 10 years at the paper, the role, because of the redundancies around the country with newspapers, it ultimately happened that I wasn’t just doing the Northern Territory papers, but I was doing the front pages for Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, Geelong, gold Coast, and Hobart. So you’ve got three papers a day. I was doing the front page, back page, any graphics on the inside?

Leigh Chalker (46:01):
No wonder you didn’t get any time to bloody draw comic books, man.

Stu Thornton (46:05):
No, you didn’t bother you seriously. By the end of it, I was flat out. But even before that, the newspaper has a, I used to say it was like being on a game show. Okay, you’ve got a graphic to make or cartoon to draw or whatever. It’s got to look professional, it’s got to be fresh, it’s got to be new, it’s got to be clean. Time starts now, you’ve got 20 minutes. And so because in 20 minutes time there’s another job and then there’s another job and there’s another job. So there was a great learning experience for all those years too. You taught you how to work quickly and produce and work hard, which

Leigh Chalker (46:47):
Well, that’d be where your cross hatching went. Hey, you know what I mean? Out the door, oh man, someone gave me a 20 minute deadline. I’d be like, yeah, I’ll walk myself out the door. You know what I mean? I’ll even pay for the cab home. Don’t worry about it. You not a catch day.

Stu Thornton (47:06):
Well, basically everything is like that. I think I’d do a front page in half an hour, ultimately just put it all together. But I think it’s like anything, you do it over and over again. You just get quicker at it. You just know what you’re doing and bang, bang, bang, bang, and you throw it together. It’s almost like you’ve got a routine or a template in your head. I know what I’m doing.

Leigh Chalker (47:36):
When you were given your 20 minute job, did they give you like a, I need a man standing. He’s arguing with a lady, they’re outside of a courtroom. Did they give you anything like that? Or was it just like, I need a cover, hit it. Were you given any prompts or anything?

Stu Thornton (47:55):
Different editors give you different prompts. Some of ’em would actually draw it out as a little mud map, a little thumbnail sketch, and you’d just recreate that into something. Others, particularly after doing it for so long, the editor at the paper that I was working at, the one I worked directly with the most, particularly after years, he just gave me the freedom to run with it. And he’d say, okay, basically this is it. Go for it and I, whatever. And nine times out of 10, yep, perfect, let’s run it. So you sort of get to know what you’re doing. And we did some really, really good stuff too. It was actually only last week, I think it was a four year anniversary. He came up to me and said, the editor did and said, look, it’s a toilet paper shortage around the country. People are lining up the toilet paper. There is no toilet paper. Do you remember this?

Leigh Chalker (48:53):
Yes, yes I do.

Stu Thornton (48:55):
He said, what we’re going to do is we’re going to print eight pages of the paper as toilet paper and call it the toilet paper edition. So we just basically had blank eight pages with perforations down it and a little watermark in the paper and we printed it, which the printers thought, Hey, you’ve made an error. What’s going on with these pages? No, no, just do it. It was all top secret. We brought it out. Next thing you know, the B-B-C-C-N-N went global. It’s actually a copy of that newspaper in the UCLA Museum of print. So that’s my claim to fame with that one. Yeah, so we’ve got this a newspaper and I used to say it was a crap paper anyway, so hey, art imitating life sort of thing.

Leigh Chalker (49:47):
Oh man, that’s so cool. See, that’s not a thread, man. That’s a rope you can hang on to with that one. But do you man, they were dark times that no toilet paper thing, man. You know what I mean? Very dark. It was like the empire was moving in or something because I’m not getting into the regularity of people’s bowel movements and stuff. And whether they roll a scrunch or pad or lay down or do whatever you’re going to do, that’s your business. But all I’m saying is I’m taking it from the perspective of walking down that aisle and the lights are on, the shelves are empty. There’s two, like a six pack. And I don’t know, someone’s randomly realised they’ve picked up a double twin pack of paper towel and they must’ve come down the aisle and they’ve seen, and man, there’s old ladies fighting with their purple hair and they rip scrunches out and they’re like dropping elbows.

And man, it was insane. You know what I mean? And then you get those, I mean, I don’t get it. But then there were those other moments where you’d be walking in and it’s not like there’s a spruiker out the front of Woolworths man going palette of toilet paper palette of toilet paper here. But suddenly everyone sniffed this stuff out and they walk. People are walking in with their legs bent in and they, oh, bust them. You know what I mean? They don’t want to use bloody, the palm leaf out the back or whatever they’re going to use, or their kids’ T-shirt. They’re tried to be civilised, ducked down to the Woollies man. And you get these people walking out, going, looking up and down with their 6 32 packs of toilet paper. What is with that? I never understood it, man.

Stu Thornton (51:38):
And that’s what we were trying to do with the newspaper. A community service. Basically

Leigh Chalker (51:43):
Community service. I dunno your editor want to admit to that. You know what I mean? Our newspaper, no,

Stu Thornton (51:50):
He’s a good bloke actually. Very good bloke. He had a lot of fun with it. The paper, I don’t think I’ve got a copy of the toilet paper, unfortunately. The show is you go,

Leigh Chalker (52:04):
I remember one NT paper front cover and man, it made me laugh. I saw it on a Behind the news one night, BTN, that a BC show. And they gave, yeah, they gave you a headline of the week and it was, you have a firecracker night up there where everyone can go out and just cut sick with firecrackers. And I dunno if you’re going to know the one I’m talking about. Yeah, why?

Stu Thornton (52:30):
I’ve got a cracker up my cracker. That’s

Leigh Chalker (52:32):
The one. That’s the one. Some dude stuck a firecracker up. He’s cracker mate. Mate.

Stu Thornton (52:38):
It actually happened a couple of times. We also had why I had a Bunger in my B hole. So it happened a couple of times because Kraken night up there is insane. It’s like, oh man, it’s like Afghanistan, it all you can smell is gunpowder. It’s bang, bang, bang, bang, lock it, put your dogs in the house because they’re freaking out. And it’s constant

Leigh Chalker (53:05):
Brilliant. It just makes me laugh, man. I don’t know. People do weird stuff. And maybe we are digressing here, but now that I’ve got a man that’s worked on the N NT newspaper and stuff, now I come from a weird part of Australia and far north Queensland, man, I thought we were strange up here and stuff, but what would prompt our man to stick a firecracker up his cracker and think that that dude or someone in that group that he was with wasn’t going to have to ring triple zero. I’ve no idea. Well,

Stu Thornton (53:43):
It was to impress a girl, apparently.

Leigh Chalker (53:46):
Oh right. I’m sure that’s marriage material, mate. Hey, he was winner that night with his bloody bits all over the backyard. Oh man.

Stu Thornton (54:03):
And that was the thing about the NT News too. And the editor there, I started having a go at the headlines and I ended up getting finalist for Headline of the year nationally twice. And then I won one year too. So I’ve had Did you win

Leigh Chalker (54:24):
It with

Stu Thornton (54:25):
Hobart paper Actually, and it was a pretty straight lac. It’s funny, different what I could get away with in Darwin I couldn’t get away with. In Hobart it’s two different, I remember Darwin, we had a sperm bank was running out, and we’ve got a lot of American soldiers over in Darwin. And so we went to America to say, Hey, fill our sperm banks. So I had on the front page and I got away with it too, we’ve got your Marines now we need your seamen.

Leigh Chalker (55:04):
And I could not

Stu Thornton (55:06):
Get away with that down south, like in Darwin, that’s fine, but down south, no, but I want it with Hobar when they had lockdown and it was pretty straight laced compared to that. But it was, we’ve got a moat and we’re not afraid to use it. So that one resonated with the people in Tasmania. And yeah, it got me headline of the year. So that was a pretty good accolade. I’ll keep that one. But other ones I got finalist in was when NT suddenly lockdown was over in the nt and we did it first. So the pubs opened first and we wrote on the front page, our pubs are opening, the rest of the countries are still closed. Do you think we’re going to rub it in? You bet we are. And then the headline was, screw You We’re Having a Brew. So that got me through to a finalist too, as did John Millman, the tennis player, the Aussie tennis player, beat Roger Federer once.

And so we had on the front page, Millman Rogers Federer, and that got me Eddie McGuire on the footy show hanging, handing it out. Carl Stefano in the morning. So quite a few times we got onto the Today Show or whatever, the paper became quite famous back in those days. It was funny for the headlines and whatever. We brought out two books of headlines, which went straight to number one in the best sellers. I probably got 10% of the first book and 60% of the second book were mine. And it became quite, we had the living room come up and see us 60 minutes.

I don’t know if you remember English comedy back in the day back when we were kids. And there was a show called, not the nine o’clock News, and it was Giff, Reese Jones, Mel Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stevenson, who’s Billy Conley’s wife. And these guys were doing this, it was just around the same time as Faulty Towers and the Goodies and all those sort of guys. And Grise Jones and Mel Smith actually introduced Queen at Live Aid. They were the ones up on stage saying It’s your Majesty the Queen. And then Freddie Mercury runs out and does the famous live age concert. Well, my editor said to me one day, oh, we’ve got somebody coming in doing a BBC documentary on us, Griff someone. And I thought, GRE Jones, this guy’s comedy royalty. So he came in for four hours with us. I did a front page of him and ended up finding myself on his BBC documentary. So I thought, wow, this is absolutely brilliant. So the paper was doing really well at one stage, I think we won six big awards in me in one year. And that was for journalism as well as stupid things like headlines.

But yeah, back in, I was lucky to have been there in its heyday. I dunno how it’s going now. As I said, I’m in Perth now, so I dunno how it’s doing nowadays, but I know there was a real purple golden era back then. I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

Leigh Chalker (58:36):
Yeah, that sounds so cool. You are making a rope here now, man. I’m telling you. It’s like you can do a ladder with all these things threads to rope. We’ve got a ladder, you just need to interject it and you’re out here, look at you, go

Stu Thornton (58:49):
Look. Seriously. Hopefully at the top of the ladder is my comic book. That’s the thing, the outlaw. That’s the thing that I’m really, but it’s not even about doing well. I want to bring it out. And I think that’s it. Whether it sells whether my mom is the only one who buys it, that doesn’t matter.

Leigh Chalker (59:10):
Yeah, well I fudge my sales. My mum buys a hundred copies straight off the bat, mate. Well sold out the first run. Mum’s sitting hundred copies. It’s like, come on now, mum.

Stu Thornton (59:28):
Yeah, well as I said so far I’ve printed one and I’ve got it. So yeah, I’ve sold out already on my first run.

Leigh Chalker (59:38):
There you go, mate. You’re a headline dude, writer. It’s how you write the headline, isn’t it? That ain’t even know what’s going on behind the scenes. Get out of here. That’s just a headline we want. But alright, so you’re in the nt, you’re cruising around, you’re banging out these headlines and stuff like that. So at what point in stew’s Creative Zeitgeists was the Outlaw Brewing Man? How far go?

Stu Thornton (01:00:15):
I can tell you 1986.

Leigh Chalker (01:00:17):
Alright, hit me. Take us back to 1986.

Stu Thornton (01:00:22):
Some mates and I used to collect comic books and I remember walking down after school, you’re walking down the road and you’re talking about every kid does superheroes and geez, if we were superheroes and we were doing this and that, and it was the very start of an idea that I then drew and that was called one A 100, you’d have to read the comic to understand it, but it was like a licence for, what are you, the superpower police, I suppose. And they had this one, a 100 licence. So I drew this comic book and then later on I thought, how about Ned Kelly? And developing that idea into something new millennium, Ned Kelly and I drew that one. And then I thought, oh, I’ll morph them together. And I did morph them together and drew the comic book. And I was living in Darwin and because it’s bloody hot, I used to stash my things against the wall, my artwork. And I’d probably drawn it for a year, year and a half. And I’d got all these pages, maybe a hundred pages done, and the air leaked and it leaked all the way through the pages. All the ink went through, the whole thing completely destroyed.

Leigh Chalker (01:01:43):
I did

Stu Thornton (01:01:44):
Sort of look at it and say, okay, well this gives me the opportunity to improve upon it. So I drew it again and I pencilled it. And then when I hurt my back, as I said before, I sat there and pencilled out a hundred pages. And that was in 2006. I finally got to now and I thought, I’ve just got to do it. So I’ve started inking it, inked, two issues out of the three. One of them’s ready to go now I’ve just got to edit it, do the final edits. The next one, I’ve just got a script a little bit better and I’ve got two issues ready to go. And then I’m still going to ink the third issue, which is the final one of the trilogy. So yeah, alcohol and this whole concept started 86.

Leigh Chalker (01:02:30):
The concept started with a group of mates just like riffing and talking and oh man, what a beautiful inception for an idea. One of the things, and man, I really

Come from Townsville, which is in far north Queensland, which much like the Northern Territory is quite isolated. So you don’t probably have a lot of people. I had a lot less when I was younger, people that were creative, they were musical creative or sporty creative, however, but not necessarily like comic book drawing, creative or serious about it to a certain extent as you get that fire burn and you want to do this stuff like you did. And I found it very difficult to find people that were like-minded after about the age of maybe 13, 14 and stuff. So I became used to the idea of creating these ideas in the theatres of my mind and stuff. Like say you’re sort of very on your own man. You’re not sure what’s right, wrong. You just sort of get a vibe of I’m just going to do it because I dunno anything else to do.

It feels good to do it. And the one thing with the community, the Comex and Aussie verse and stuff with like-minded people, like meeting yourself, et cetera and other creators, is that I’ve had the opportunity over the last couple of years to I guess meet people that are like-minded and also be able to, I guess stretch my imagination as well out of the little cage zone that I had. But I get to riff with other people now on ideas and stuff too, man, as an older dude. And I find that it is the most unreal feeling to be just banging out ideas and then can see someone else go, oh yeah, what about this? And we’ll do that. And it’s all just coming and zinging around. And then at the end of the day, I think after an hour or two you’re sort of exhausted because your brain’s just exploded.

All these thoughts and stuff. And then to be able to piece things together, it’s a wicked sensation man. And I wish I would’ve had that when I was a younger fella like you did. But the other weird thing is, Stu, in talking to you about your journey, man is strangely similar tale because I always was drawing battle for bustle was a conceptualised idea back in the late mid nineties came to fruition about mid two thousands. I just did a stream of conscious three issues, I think, of comic books, no script, nothing. I’ve still got them. I’m a hoarder. Sent ’em off to some, they’ll call local act at the time. The dude goes, yeah, I like the idea, but you’ll have to go back to the start. I’m went, oh, okay. So I had to start it again. Much like yourself. Went through a whole turn, was getting there, getting there, getting there. A few things came up was playing music, doing other art, and life gets in the way as it sort of does. Just being busy, being a drunk really, and having fun man and travelling and shit.

And I absolutely shredded my back at work when in about 2018 I think, man, vertebrae five, six and seven, boom, gone completely. See you later. Had the hospital, had to get it fixed up and that much like you, man, I was six to six to eight months. Not much movement, man. Real like what am I going to do? I can’t go back to what I was doing. You get down, man, real down, you start doubting yourself at that point. Dug out the box mate, you know what I mean? And started drawing again, you know what I mean? And going back and putting things together. And from that point on, much like yourself, the fire started burning again. You could start having a look at what you were doing and things and things had improved. It was still there. You still wanted what you wanted when you were younger and things.

And in a weird way, it’s a very strange thing how something like that, I guess in a strange way be a little blessing man. You know what I mean? Not the pain and stuff that you go through, but just how it can give you a bang, go and do this. It has to take something quite extraordinarily painful, maybe sometimes to spin you off in that direction you should be on. But I would say, man, that you are going to be in for a good time, man. Do you know what I mean? It’s like there’s a lot of people that just love comic books and the community’s really thriving man. And stories like yours are cool because man, I’m like talking to another dude that knows about don’t put a cracker in my clacker. You know what I mean? Everyone else thinks of lunatic when I’m talking about that. They don’t believe me. Well, it’s here. It’s real, real. I know. I feel vindicated. I’ve been carrying that around.

Stu Thornton (01:08:25):
I’m pretty sure the guy who wrote that went over to Hong Kong and is actually an editor now for, maybe it’s the New York Times or something like that. And he runs the digital side from over in Hong Kong. So his career has gone gangbusters. Started with old crackers and crackers. But yeah, it’s funny, I’m still actually doing,

Leigh Chalker (01:08:51):
I wonder if that bloke that decided that he wanted to impress the woman of his dreams by doing that injury to himself, which created a group of people to come up with that headline and then years later has just spurred them off into all of these other directions like digital editor of the New York Times and stuff, and where you’ve gone with it after working on it. Oh man, that is such an unusual, we

Stu Thornton (01:09:26):
Did a whole lot of headlines actually spurd with why I stuck a cracker at my cracker, why I Stuck a Buner at my B hole. Why I stuck a coin in my groin was another one. Somebody put a coin in a beer. The guy drank it and we had this X-ray of this gone through. So he’s got a coin in his groin. Basically the sandpaper story in cricket. Remember when people got banned for two years in cricket for tamper Steve Smith, the captain and Dave Warner. Our headline was Why I had some Sticky Near My Dickie. He pulled it out of his pocket and that went huge too. So we did a whole lot of Yeye front pages and that one cracker spurred on a whole lot of ’em. Whole lot of headlines,

Leigh Chalker (01:10:24):
Man. That’s funny. Hey, how’d you get from the NT over to wa? What took you over that way?

Stu Thornton (01:10:36):
My wife has supported me at the nt. I actually left a pretty good job. I got made redundant from the paper, but in that position you sort of met a lot of people. And then I was offered to go for a job as an advisor to the leader of the opposition in Parliament House. And I went over there for two years. And so I learned politics, getting paid well, all good. But then my wife got a good job in Perth and she has supported me through my career the whole way. My turn to pay back. We’ve been together 18 years, my turn, she was back and she would’ve hit me if I hadn’t have Anyway, so we packed up the house, rented it out, and moved down to Perth about six months ago. So she’s doing really well. She’s happy. Perth’s a lovely place. Seriously, if anyone hasn’t been to Perth, it is sensational. It’s actually, I Googled this, it’s the sunniest city in the world

Leigh Chalker (01:11:39):

Stu Thornton (01:11:40):
Somewhere, anywhere else. It’s also the most remote city in the world, further away from every other capital city. So wow, there’s two big stats that impress me, but Perth’s got everything. You don’t realise in Darwin, just how much you don’t have when you’re there for so long. I’ve come down here and discovered Costco and Ikea and a whole lot of things. Even what’s Aldi? We don’t have Aldi up there. So I’m thinking

Leigh Chalker (01:12:10):
What hell al, I was just going to say to you, they opened up an Aldi in Townsville like three months ago and it’s like every man and his dog was like, it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened in Townsville, man was Aldi. It’s like, I don’t know. I dunno. I just walked past and was thinking, what the hell’s going on here? I’m,

Stu Thornton (01:12:31):
The funny thing is too, in Darwin, when anyone goes down south in Darwin, they always come back with a box of crispy creams. If you’re in the airport, you see someone with a box of crispy creams, they’re going to Darwin because is they

Leigh Chalker (01:12:44):
Got the emergency services like police cars out the front, getting the Krispy Kre, man, whoever’s ordered them. And that,

Stu Thornton (01:12:52):
That’s funny you should say that. I remember once I was in Sydney and it was in, I think it was Keth Street or somewhere like that, they had a Krispy Kreme or a donut shop. I think it was Krispy Kreme, this would’ve been 20 years ago. And I’m in line and there’s coppers in front of me and I’m thinking, well this is ironic, isn’t it? They bought four boxes of them, like 12 in a box, so they’re walking out with this that is seriously, that’s just, that’s the way it should be. Coppers in there

Leigh Chalker (01:13:21):
And they’re donuts. Yeah, no, I know, man. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? You know what I found funny the other day? I was going for a drive down the road, man up yonder and there’s a police station on the road. And my city at the moment, much like anywhere in Australia, I’m presuming, has a little bit of a crime rate that’s a little bit higher than what it was when we were younger. And so there’s stolen cars, there’s people being beaten for their Nike shoes or whatever. I mean, just manic stuff going on, man. And this is just me, me being a concerned citizen wondering where taxpayer dollars go and stuff like that. And I’m thinking to myself pretty quiet on the street here today. You know what I mean? Carbo goes straight past me, man. Straight past the police station about a hundred miles an hour, right? And you know what I see standing on the corner is a policeman whipper sniping the side of the road and he does this, Hey, you need to slow it down. And I drove past, hey. And I thought to myself, man, that’s the go. That’s what it’s like in Townsville, man. So it’s one of those things, man. Police officer in a high crime facility, city whipper, snipping the lawn out the front of his police office. Surely they would’ve had a Jim’s lawn mowing that could possibly have done that. Oh, you lost your sound.

That might be you,

Stu Thornton (01:14:56):
Mate. You now

Leigh Chalker (01:14:59):

Stu Thornton (01:15:00):
I lost.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:01):
Yeah. Alright. Oh, well it doesn’t matter. It was just the policeman out with, we’ll get back to, we don’t have to come back to that man. It was just one of those weird stories. But

Stu Thornton (01:15:13):
I’m intrigued now. You’ve got me, I’m intrigued.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:16):
Did you get up to, I’ll make it more action packed for you, mate.

Stu Thornton (01:15:20):
Okay. The very start is when I lost you about 60 seconds ago.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:25):
Okay, I’ll make it quick then everyone, let’s see if I can get as many details then I’m going to test myself here. Right? Gone down yonder the other day, man, going down. I’m just cruising man. And we live in Townsville. Townsville’s a high crime.

Stu Thornton (01:15:38):
I’ve got this

Leigh Chalker (01:15:39):
Right? So I’m cruising down and I’m thinking to myself, it’s a nice day out here. Next thing you know there’s Car Man stolen car. Go straight past me, man. I’m sitting on 60, this thing gone. It’s like, see you later. It’s down the road as it’s going down the road, it’s right in front of a police station and out the front of the police station’s a police officer and he’s whip snipping and he just goes like goes, Hey, I need to slow down there and to the stolen car that flies by. And I was standing there and I was thinking to myself, surely they could have allotted that man a car to be out stopping crime as opposed to perhaps give the contract to Jim’s lawn mowing. But these things are above my pay rate, mate. So I guess it’s just an observation that I made. One of the funny little things. Yeah, you have heard it. You can blame technology for that nick mate. You know what I mean? Geez mate, come on. So don’t give Nick

Stu Thornton (01:16:40):
Working in Parliament House. It certainly opened my eyes to a lot of ludicrous decisions that are made by the powers higher up. And you may get,

Leigh Chalker (01:16:57):
Oh, come on brother. There we go. You’re back. You dropped out on me there. Oh no, I didn’t panic Stu. I didn’t panic. It’s happened to me before. Okay, I’m cool, man. But you don’t have as much of your story to tell as what I did. So we nearly doubled up there, man. So people are going to be like, what? They’re telling their stories twice now.

Stu Thornton (01:17:27):
Mine was really quick. I’m baffled by what the government does and having been in parliament now since seen it Yeah. Completely dumbfounds me some of the decisions that are made.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:36):
Yeah, yeah, I know. I know. Bureaucracy Man at its finest. But what do you do? They only boat. Yeah, don’t let me in charge of anything, man. It’d be fun. I’ll put it to you that way. And very interesting. Now with Outlaw, get back to this part for a bit because when you started redrawing it and stuff like that, now you said that you only did the pencils to begin with, so you’d done the whole first and second issue in pencils and then went back and re inked. It was because I myself, I like to pencil and then ink the page. I sort of change from time to time, but I don’t do too many blocks of pencils and stuff like I prefer to Chinwag Dejavu episode. That’s right, Nick. That’s right, mate. Twilight

Stu Thornton (01:18:39):
Just say that.

Leigh Chalker (01:18:41):
Yeah, he did. Chinwag got, I know. Hey, fancy that. And Stu, while we were just talking about outlaw, did I tell you about the outlaw that drove past me the other day? About a hundred K an hour down the road anyway? Oh yeah. Well I could tell you that again if you like. There you go. Anyway, third time. Yeah, let’s break that cycle. Let’s get back to the comic book. But now what was your thoughts behind doing all the pencils first and then coming back to the inking?

Stu Thornton (01:19:15):
I’ve always thought to myself that I was a penciler. Yeah, right. I’ve never even now I’ve inked it, not confident as an Inca or anything like that, but as I said, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. And there can’t be any excuses at the end of the day. I’ve just got to do it and bring it out. And I mean, if could be a Penciler and have someone else Inc. Me and someone else colour and that’d be bliss. But usually artists are out there doing their own stuff. Let’s face it, nobody wants to inc. Stuart. So Stuart after the Inc. Himself, which I did, and as I said, if I don’t do it now, I just will never do it and I’ll never be entirely happy with my work work. And it’s something that I always knew I wanted to do and I always was determined to do it. So much so that the characters in there that I’ve made up with my friends, they all have a tattoo on their arm, on their forearm and on the inside and it, it’s this one here and one of my mates and I both got it. It’s actually a mask. So they’re two eyes and it’s a stylized sort of mask

Leigh Chalker (01:20:35):
I got.

Stu Thornton (01:20:37):
Yeah. And they’ve all got that tattooed on ’em. So I always knew I wanted to be a superhero. That wasn’t going to happen. I could pretend I was. And

Leigh Chalker (01:20:48):
Mate to your wife and your kids, you are a superhero man. No,

Stu Thornton (01:20:53):
Not to my wife. No. She doesn’t think so. No. But the kids also, they’re teenagers. Not so much anymore either.

Leigh Chalker (01:21:03):
I’m trying to help brother out.

Stu Thornton (01:21:11):
No, I’ve got two very good kids I’ve got to say. I’ve been very lucky. My wife is a very hard worker and she’s very impressive. So my kids, they’re great too. So I’ve been blessed to have a really good family around me. What

Leigh Chalker (01:21:35):
Do they think you doing? Outlaw.

Stu Thornton (01:21:43):
Oh dad, you’re at the computer again or you’re at the desk again. It’s funny, when they were younger it was, oh, dad’s a cartoonist. Nowadays it’s Dad’s a cartoonist. It’s not so cool for a teenager anymore for dad to be anything.

Leigh Chalker (01:22:06):
You just wait until I turn 18 Stu, they’ll be coming to you mate and they’ll be like, Dan, can you draw me a tattoo? And you’ll be like, aha. Yeah,

Stu Thornton (01:22:13):
Yeah, probably. Actually my daughter will probably be 15 doing that. She’s 14 now. She’ll probably be asking me a 15. But yeah, so I think all the parents’ dads are a bit daggy after a certain period where they’re superhero to begin with and they’re idle and then it gets to, oh, you’re a bit of a dag. And then I think hopefully come full circle to dad, you’re my mate when they get older. So hopefully that’s what’s happened. That’s what happens. I’m like that anyway. I like to think that’s what’ll happen one day that they’ll turn around and actually like me again. But right now, yeah, I think they probably think I’m a bit daggy and bit of a nerd and bit

Leigh Chalker (01:23:01):
Fair enough. You know what it’s, I reckon when outlaw one’s out and you’re happy and you’re feeling good about achieving something because man, I would think that from someone that’s been had an idea in their head for a long time, like me and you just getting that damn thing out of your head is an amazing feeling. It’s like it makes you lighter. You know what I mean? Not just lighter weight wise and off the shoulders either. It makes you feel like as in you admit it, you feel good about yourself. One of those things that you knocked on the head mate. You know what I mean? And see

Stu Thornton (01:23:50):
This is huge bucket list stuff for me, comic books, it’s probably, there’s a million things I still want to do, but this is the biggest that I wanted to do to say, Hey, I brought out a comic book, I’ve done it from start to finish. I’ll be happy I’ve done one. But as I said, it’s a trilogy. By the time that’s finished, I’ll done it and breathe a sigh of relief. And I dunno where life goes to from there. I’ve got a million other characters, not a million. I’ve got quite a few other ones to go to.

Leigh Chalker (01:24:27):
Excuse me. With the original artwork being on paper and it getting rained on or not rained on, but air conditioner leaked on it. I was going to say rain on, if that was what happened, Stu, why would you leave your artwork outside? But then it occurred to me it was the air con. But anyway, don’t worry about me Stu. My mind goes in weird places, Mitch. It’s like I think I live in another parallel and come back to revisit myself for a brief moment. I don’t know what goes on in my head. And did you move? Hello? Sk bit late to the stream. Pencilling, inking. It’s all in the lettering. sk. Yes it is. The lettering is very important as it allows us to read the comic book Sk who is at the top of his game when it comes to lettering. If no one’s ever seen any of sks lettering, jump onto sigma and check out his stuff because SK is a champion. I do like SK known him for a long time. He’s a feisty, well fueled, enthusiastic comic book creator and that’s what I like so good on. Yes. Kay. You keep rocking there brother.

Obviously you don’t draw on paper anymore. You decided after the air conditioning leaking, you went to digital or there?

Stu Thornton (01:25:59):
No, I’m an idiot. I’ve continued on with paper and just HP pencil straight onto paper.

Leigh Chalker (01:26:07):
Come on. Everything I do. Well you know what Stu mate, welcome to idiot V because I’m the same man paper for me. I love the tactility of it. I dunno what it is. Nothing against digital artists. You’ve got to have the creative ability and thing to be doing it on the computer and that love you all love anyone that’s a creator. But for me personally, I just like the feel of paper. I like the sound of the pen running across it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but I’m the

Stu Thornton (01:26:38):
Same. I’ve got a Wacom tablet that sits next to me at my computer and I’ve probably used it five, six times ever. And I’ve just found it. I’m actually find it easier to use a mouse on the stuff I do than I do that for some reason. But otherwise, everything’s on paper. I pencil paper, I ink it, rub out the pencils, I then take a photo with it and send that to myself in an email, which then goes through Photoshop, illustrator and InDesign to give you some the colours, some shading or whatever else. But everything really, yeah, it’s paper. And even this week it comes out actually into NC News tomorrow. I still do the footy posters. The footy mascot when they win the premiership and they do the

Leigh Chalker (01:27:28):
Yeah, I’ve seen them.

Stu Thornton (01:27:33):
Oh, might have. Might have small ones, but because Darwin has their footy season in the wet season, which is now the grand final was last weekend, so it comes out in the paper tomorrow, the current ones, but that’s one of the ones I did a few years ago for nightclub. That’s

Which the Tigers and so yeah, they’re coming out the moment, but that’s all pencilled straight into a paper, ink it and then I throw it in to get all this colour or whatever else and do a bit of graphic design to it, which is basically all day. All I do is graphic design because that’s my job. Then I get home and I sit in front of a computer and I graphic design some more. I think I’m really lucky that the thing I do for downtime and relax is also the thing I get paid to do. So I don’t think there’s many people who always knew what they wanted to do and then were able to pursue it and get paid for it and make a living out of it.

Leigh Chalker (01:28:38):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, very lucky indeed with the inking, just from anyone out there that, because lots of people watch these shows and stuff. KJB, really great chinwag fellas. Thank you very much mate, for your continued support and watching appreciate that from a perspective of other people out there that in a creative sense and learning, because inking can make some people nervous. It has certainly done for me while I’ve ined other people’s work all the time. What makes you nervous about inking your own stuff? What’s your thought processes there? You think of yourself as a penciler and then you come to the, so you’re pretty gung-ho with the pencilling. You just boom straight into it with the pencil, but you come

Stu Thornton (01:29:34):
No drama whatsoever.

Leigh Chalker (01:29:36):

Stu Thornton (01:29:37):
When it comes to ing

Leigh Chalker (01:29:40):

Stu Thornton (01:29:42):
I’ve never really, I haven’t practised enough and I think it’s the thing. So all I use is, what’s it called, an art outline pen. I’m no good with a brush. I’m no good with anything like that. So I’ve had to do everything well. So everything’s just with an outline pen and straight onto the thing. If I want a thicker line, it means I’ve got to draw a thicker line rather than with a brush where you just, I can’t do that. So it’s something that’s foreign to me because I haven’t practised it. I think people say about talent all the time and you hear it all the time. And I think talent is a bit of a strange thing. I don’t think it’s almost like it doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. If I was never the best artist at the school, there were other people who were far better than me. Justin, for example, who I mentioned earlier, who got me back into comic books, he was better than me as far as I was concerned.

But the thing that differentiates me now from anyone else is that I practised over and over and over again. Ash Barty in tennis, got to be number one in the world and sure she might have some talent, but she also got up every morning at 5:00 AM and practise tennis for hours and hours and hours. So I think talent is almost, it’s passion and passion equals persistence and that’s what talent is. It’s really, I can hold a pen just like anyone else, just like you or just like my kids and write my name. My pen control is no different to anyone, but I’ve practised it over and over and over and over. I’ve drawn more superheroes than I can count. I’ve drawn more human figures in when I did life drawing or whatever. You’ve done it over and over again until you get to a stage where I don’t have to think anymore. Everything’s just circles circle for the head, circle for the shoulders circles, for the chest circles, and you put it all together and it turns into a person. It’s also the way you think. If you’ve asked anybody how to draw Superman, most of them will draw Superman like this with his arms in the cape. Like George Reeves was at the beginning of the old black and white Superman comics. But nowadays I think, okay, if I’m going to draw a Superman, I’m going to have you flying at you with them for shortening his hand out like this cape filling after the frame. It’s the way you think. And that just comes from practise. I don’t even know if it’s actually talent, it’s just practise.

Leigh Chalker (01:32:30):
I think it’s also developing storytelling because I think splash pages per se can tell a story just as well as a panel page. So how you lay your page out and the thought that goes into it, your perspectives, the imagery in the background, because a picture can speak a thousand words too. And splash page is generally if we’re talking a cover silent, I’ll keep talking, Stu, there you go. See how cool I am under pressure of the livestream, man, just people disappear and I keep talking. It’s just like I do. Have

Stu Thornton (01:33:09):
I disappeared?

Leigh Chalker (01:33:10):
Yeah, briefly, but that’s okay, you’re back. Couldn’t keep your way, mate. It

Stu Thornton (01:33:16):
Could very well be the internet here. The internet, remember it’s per, I’ve gone back, it’s like time travel. You’re talking to me and it’s seven o’clock here, so it’s like time trouble, isn’t it?

Leigh Chalker (01:33:30):
Yeah, the internet and all this JY stuff. But don’t worry about any time, time travel with me. I think I probably did some time travelling back in my heyday mate, like at varying times on the weekends and stuff. So

Stu Thornton (01:33:52):
As I said, I backpack and travelled Australia, an ex art student travelling Australia for a few years. Yeah, I time travelled a lot back in the day and it’s funny how boring I’m nowadays no time travelling at all. But yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:34:09):
I’m picking up what you’re putting down Stu. And it’s funny how time travelling, past future presence, all that matters and we’re sitting here talking about comic books. So it’s just, it’s one of those things, man. The future is now I suppose in a strange way. Yeah, but storytelling man, you can learn. I reckon when it comes to comic books, man, storytelling is the hardest part because people can draw. The only thing stopping people from drawing every kid draws, every kid paints and stuff, you know what I mean? They just get to a point I guess, where either A, they lose interest or B, I suppose they’re not encouraged to a certain extent the way society is, I guess it’s not really looked at favourably depending on where you grow up and the socio demographic of your town and stuff. It’s not really looked at favourably somewhere would rather you swinging a hammer.

Nothing wrong with swinging a hammer as long as it’s not at people and maybe an inanimate object that helps create something. But no to the hammer swinging at people because it’s all about love, man. We don’t like that violent stuff that don’t live here, but just where you are and stuff I guess depends on certain things. But oh man, I like comic books because it allows me to go back to almost, I guess thinking about being a kid, man, how you just let your imagination wander and run wild and you come up with different stuff and it’s cool to you and then you just learn, man, I guess you get a little bit tighter with things and stuff, but all art’s good. But see, Stu, I don’t know how you feel, man, but I’ve had a pretty interesting year this year and for me, I won’t go into loads of details about it, but I’ve had lots of time to think about things.

And I think I believe that the most important thing that anyone can do and in any life is to create something. And whether that be a comic book or be the greatest chef in the world or something that you can put your creative juices into, it can be anything you like. It could be crocheting, like doilies, man, if that gives you peace and creativity helps you out, then man, you go ahead and do that. If it’s banging a hammer, you go ahead and do it, whatever. But that’s just where I’m at Stu, because creativity quite literally saved my life mate about 18 months ago. So that’s why I really enjoy talking to people about their creative journeys and stuff, man. And without harping on about it, it’s like you also see the joy that it’s given you, the fact that for 30 odd years you’ve hung on to outlaw wanting to get it out. Yeah. What do you got left on issue two? You just said you got the ink work done, so your artwork’s pretty much done. You’ve got to tighten up the script A it. Then you’re thinking about issues.

Stu Thornton (01:37:58):
I’m looking at having both issue one and two. I’d like to bring them out at the same time. Issue. One’s almost like an introduction. So issue two is where the action starts. I’d like to bring ’em out at the same time. And then hopefully people or somebody mom might want to read issue three, so I reckon I’ll have them all completed within the next month or so. Both of them ready to go to print. So you’re looking at midyear,

Leigh Chalker (01:38:27):

Stu Thornton (01:38:27):
Where I am with them. You got to remember, I also work full time. I’ve got a family. It’s bloody hard. Anyone who does hats off to everyone out there who does this because it’s drawing a comic book from the writing, the pencilling, the inking, the computer work, the lettering, the blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s a lot of work

Leigh Chalker (01:38:51):
Work especially too when yourself, you’re learning on the job man because you weren’t comfortable with your inking and stuff like that. And your learning, you’re getting better at that. I mean, the lettering would’ve been tricky because that’s what the other reason, I love talking to people like yourself, man, who are doing it the first time. I’m not that deep in, I’m not that old at comic book either, man, I only brought out my first comic book in 2020, so I was much like yourself drawing at home, and it was just the timing of the back going that brought me out into it. But hearing other people’s stories, because I think it’s important, I don’t think, I know it is important for creators to tell their story because it’s so essential when there’s people that purchase the comic books. And sometimes I think our world moves so quick and life moves so quick for people that they don’t have moments to just slow down and enjoy things like they used to once upon a time for whatever reason that is.

Like Internets and computing, who knows man and the hectic nature of life and stuff for whatever reason. But I’m not sure if people that collect comic books understand what goes in to creating a comic book. And that’s why with these shows and talking to people like yourself, I love to be able to hear, even you say that, I’ve got a full-time job, I’ve got a wife, I’ve got two kids, and then you branch that off. I’ve got two kids that got to get to school every day off. I might have to drive an hour every day. I’m sitting up here at night trying to get this childhood dream complete man, and I’m 53. I’m wondering what I’m doing, but I just got to do it. And I just find that that’s a beautiful story, man. And a credit to your well man, perseverance, which is a huge thing. I think that everyone that has a dream should have dedication. The fact that you’ve obviously, there would’ve been people in your time that have said like, man, what are you doing? You know what I mean? You’re drawing a comic book again and you know what, you’ve just gone out bugger off. You know what I mean? I’m getting this thing done. That’s an awesome thing. That’s just determination.

And I like the fact that it’s lovely to see what goes into the page because even though someone might get a page and go like, no, no, no, turn over. There’s more to that page that you’ve just looked at as a reader, then they would possibly understand the thought, the depth of feeling sincerity in the artwork and the writing, the fear knowing that you want to release it, but something’s holding. There’s just so many more things that go into a comic book page and then that’s just one page. And some comic books have got 24 pages and 36 pages, and then you’ve got to send it to the printer. But before you get to the printer, you’ve got to send it to a graphic designer and they’ve got to do things and then you’ve got to collate it. Then you get, and there’s just a whole myriad of things.

And I guess to a certain extent, before we move on to our next topic, while I’m rambling a little bit, that’s what brings me to the point of why I am 100% anti AI creation because there is nothing about that that is remotely human. And that’s what creativity is. If someone wants to call me out on that, that is pro ai, I am more than happy to have you on a chinwag and you can discuss until you are blue in the face, what you believe the pros and positives of AI is challenge thrown out, come on. But creation is a human based determination, learn practise skill that all people are capable of. And if anyone out there wants to put the time in to learn any skill, you can do it too. Don’t tap away on a keyboard and steal other people’s shit and then turn around and win a competition and give artists that have slugged their life out for 20, 25 years. Man curry don’t like that. They ain’t cool with that. But anyway, that’s my rant for the evening. Back to Stu,

Stu Thornton (01:44:05):
As I said

Earlier on when you were saying about who is Stu? I said, I’ve got to create something every day, so I’m fully with you with your creative stuff, but something else creative is also you’re bearing your soul to some degree. And particularly if you’re publishing it, you’re now up for ridicule or up the critique, you’re up the, it’s not like an AI obviously, isn’t that so soul? It’s something that’s really deep and personal and a computer can’t emulate that. So I’m agreeing with you about ai. I actually only recently discovered really what AI meant, and it means stealing other people’s artwork and putting it all together or other people’s stuff, other people’s soul, other people’s creations and putting it together to create something. And that to me, that’s not art though.

It’s soulless garbage, I suppose that’s the way I feel about it. Again, I could be wrong, but one thing I’ve learned in life, I’ve got an opinion on everything, but I know nothing. So I could be wrong about everything I say, but that’s my opinion. It’s art. Something that’s personal and it’s scary. Bringing out a comic book for any artist has to be, Hey, I’ll put a lot of work into this and it is now open to critique. It is now open to blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And yeah, you’re bearing your soul. And I found that even with putting together newspaper, the artwork in newspapers, whether it be a graphic or you’re Photoshopping politicians on the Muppets or doing whatever you’re doing, and you get that invariably you get the comments on Facebook, well, that’s a shit job or whatever it might be. That’s still something that took you hours to do or however long it took. And it’s partly your, so it takes some courage. I think being an artist and AI doesn’t have that courage. It’s almost hiding behind a computer programme.

Leigh Chalker (01:46:32):
Look man, I always haven’t seen the world. I do it now. I’ve been through some personal changes and stuff like that, but one thing that I would suggest is anyone that feels like they need to leave a negative comment about anyone’s artwork, unless it’s constructive, just roll on. And that’s like anything people need to, again, there’s two sides to the story, I guess the sword. People should be able to express themselves in any way. We are in a democracy, so therefore people do have a right to their opinion, which we both share. We agree you’re newspaper man and a comic book dude and I’m a creator and that sort of thing. But when it comes to just vicious commentary, you know what I mean? Because you may not like something of someone’s or that sort of thing, it’s not necessary, man, that can do a lot of harm.

Stu Thornton (01:47:46):
I think that what I learned over the years of, I mean obviously your artwork when you’re in a newspaper goes everywhere and everyone sees it and there is negatives, but that usually says more about the person who made the comment than it does me all my work. If somebody’s angry, they say bad stuff. You see it all the time on Facebook or whatever, that people are writing negative stuff. And that is usually a troll that is angry at themselves, angry at life, unhappy with their life. And so I don’t take that personally as a graphic designer. When you’re doing a lot of magazines and you’re working for a lot of companies and a lot of clients, you get a lot of changes and a lot of critique. So I now don’t take any of that personally. I don’t think I ever really did. I was happy just to change it and do whatever I had to do.

Leigh Chalker (01:48:39):
I would think the critique though, that you received from an editor or someone in the staff of say newspaper or magazine that you’re working for, that’s not essentially negative because the people that you’re working for and working with you, you’re trying to achieve a goal as together and you’ve got to get it right. I mean, you are representing someone who’s paying you for the ad or something, but I feel really down for people, not that really put their heart and soul into something, man. Do you know what I mean? Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a good artist. I’m just someone that tries. I’ve got a long way to go, man. You know what I mean? I got miles to go. I’ll be dead before I’ve even gotten there, dude. You know what I mean? To where I’d like to be in my mind’s eye.

But I really love seeing people try and I really love seeing people proud of what they’ve done mate. And while we can’t all be Picassos and we can’t all be Pollocks and get to the top of the pile and that, I think people should be allowed to express themselves creatively without some dickhead or a pack of them just attacking them for not being something that they were never intended to be other than themselves. And I think that that is something that, I think that’s the big thing that as a creative person doing comic books or anything, you have to, you’re not going to like it, but you’ll get ’em. They’re going to come. You know what I mean? And that’s one thing you’ve got to steal yourself up against, man. You know what I mean? But it’s still not cool getting it, you know what I mean?

Stu Thornton (01:50:46):
Something that one of the old judges, a master chef said in an interview and it really stuck with me. He goes, that Gary Ma, I think his name is, and he said, one of the old judges on the old master chef and he said, I don’t like everyone I meet. I can’t put my finger on sometimes why I don’t like them. Something about ’em rubs wrong against me. I dunno. So it only stands to reason that not everyone’s going to like me.

Leigh Chalker (01:51:14):
And I thought,

Stu Thornton (01:51:14):
Wow, that’s profound. That’s huge. And it’s no reason at all the people aren’t going to like me. I’ve done nothing to them. But there’s something about your personality or whatever, just clashes with somebody else. So any critique I get or anything like that in life, it’s like water off a duck’s back because I think the most important thing is can you sleep at night? Do you like you? Now, I haven’t always done the right thing in my life. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I can honestly say that I go to bed at night sleeping well, that yeah, what I try my best to do the right thing. I try my best to do my best to work hard.

And you get all them together. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else says. They can say whatever they want. They can turn around with my outlaw now, if I bring it out and say, gee, it’s rubbish art, terrible story, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’ll still look at it and go, Hey, I’ve done it and I’ve achieved. And whether it sells one copy or a million or Netflix, bring it out as an animated series. Best case scenario, worst case scenario, it doesn’t sell any. And I get negative credit, I’ve still done it and I’ve achieved. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what happens from there onwards, as long as I’ve done it.

Leigh Chalker (01:52:37):
I think that’s pretty much it, man. In terms of be proud, achieve, try your best, do what you can. Don’t listen to what other people say and just do your thing. I’ve said it before, Stu, you’d agree with this, if we listened to everything that everyone told us we couldn’t do, we just wouldn’t get anything done, man. So it’s like

Stu Thornton (01:53:01):
I remember being told when I was young, get a job in the government when you leave school, it’s a stable career, stay in it. Don’t go into art. Whatever you do, there’s no money in it. And here I’m having, well graphic design, which is still art, it’s just in a different form and cartooning and I’ve bought a house, so don’t listen. I remember actually when I was about 17, I went into NewsCorp in Sydney and I talked to the editor there and I said, look, here’s my artwork. I want to get a cadetship. And he looked at me and said, every kid does that, think of something else to do. Years later there I’m at NewsCorp doing front pages and cartoons and whatever else. So don’t listen to the negative. Follow your dream. Definitely. And he’s still actually a member of the Australian Cartoonist Association that I’m a member of now. So it’s funny that that guy who told me, no, you can’t succeed is now almost appear, I suppose to some degree

Leigh Chalker (01:54:12):
Too aggressive.

Stu Thornton (01:54:14):
He’s far more funny than me

Leigh Chalker (01:54:16):
That there was a comment, sis, if you can just put it back up, aggressively relaxing. I achieved your worst case scenario and I couldn’t be prouder of it. What’s the worst case scenario? Aggressively relaxing. Can you elaborate on that if you don’t mind? Please mate. Thank you. Sorry Stu, back to you, mate. I’m just not really sure what that comment means. I just wouldn’t mind it being elaborated upon, that’s all. So I could understand.

Stu Thornton (01:54:47):
Well, I think my worst case scenario that I was saying is nobody buys my comic and I get criticised, but still I’m happy where I’m now, but seriously, I want to be bringing out a few issues. If it means I’ve got to buy a lot of them, then I will

Leigh Chalker (01:55:07):
Mate, I think, are we

Stu Thornton (01:55:10):
Stopping ’em in stockings for Christmas presents?

Leigh Chalker (01:55:13):
Yeah, just jam ’em out to your neighbor’s letter boxes and stuff and

Stu Thornton (01:55:19):
Pretending I’m pretend I’m good, I’ll sign them even sign copy.

Leigh Chalker (01:55:25):
Just make sure you have the right Nick echos and then wait out pens and stuff to get ’em in the right spots, mate, because you don’t want black on black and white on white or they’ll never see. That’s

Stu Thornton (01:55:35):

Leigh Chalker (01:55:38):
Excuse me. I think when is, now you were saying it’s going to come out midyear and you are with Comex Studio, so you’re with myself and a fair few of people that are rolling through with Comex at the moment, the studio system. What’s your thoughts, man? Are you heading in a Kickstarter direction? Are you printing them yourself and distributing? What’s your thoughts on all of that sort of thing?

Stu Thornton (01:56:16):
I dunno, I’m happy to be led at this stage. If it means I have to do the majority of the funding myself, then so be it. I’ll save up and I’ll do it. If it means Kickstarter at the moment, I mean still in the creative process rather than the business side of thinking. So I mean I will get into the business side no doubt, but at the moment I’m still, Hey, I’ve got to produce this before I can bring it out so I’m in that frame of mind. But as I said, if it means if I go through comic, it was a godsend finding sizzle and these guys and you guys that suddenly I could talk like this with people who understood rather than being isolated, just sitting in my room drawing comic books. Now I feel like I’ve sort of got a bit of a community, which it is, but I’ve managed to join it and yeah, hang on, what have we got here?

Leigh Chalker (01:57:19):
Aggressively relaxing. So you’ll come back to that. Your work really, really hard on a book. You put it out, people are polite about it at best, but I still made a comic book aggressively relaxing. I thought that’s what you were saying. I just wanted to double down that. Mate, congratulations for getting your comic book out and about. And you know what, if you’ve got any copies of them, why don’t you reach out to the comic shop and have a talk to Shane about putting it in the shop and trying to get it out to some more people, mate. And you keep doing it, bud. You keep going. And thank you so much for watching the show and thank you very much for your comments and keep going with them, man. And don’t stop your artwork, mate.

Stu Thornton (01:58:11):
No man, don’t let the bus, it’s wear you down. That’s what I’m determined to do. Just keep on striving ahead and doing what I love.

Leigh Chalker (01:58:19):
A hundred percent. A hundred percent. I love it, man. I’m very happy with the outcome of tonight’s show, Stu, and how our conversation has brought other people out to say how proud they are of their comic books and stuff like that. Man, it’s a beautiful thing. The community, this is the stuff I love about Chinwag man, just being able to talk about stuff and with gas bagging and anything can come up, but then you get comments from aggressively relaxing the beautiful things like that, your stuff tonight. Now Stu, the other one thing that I mate, when you said just earlier in that segment there that you found siz com x, et cetera, what was it that, how did you come across the Comex network and comic studios, et cetera, mate, where were you? I’m personally as a hunter. I’ve always been part of comics and stuff since I started. And it’s always interesting for me to find out where people first came across it. Mate was randomly on Facebook or was it YouTube or did you just one day want, it’s a beautiful thing, Peter Lane, it certainly his brother. Did you just type in Australian comic books one day into Google and comics came up or something, mate, how was your journey to find the community?

Stu Thornton (02:00:09):
Well, I’ve been cartooning and obviously drawing for a long time. And as I said earlier, I became a member of the Australian Cartoonist Association about three or four years ago, which I’d never, I always thought, it’s funny how you doubt yourself, I’m not good enough. And then suddenly bang. Yeah, no, you are in, oh, thank you very much. So I think I might’ve seen something might’ve been drink and draw or something come up on Facebook and I thought, oh wow, who are these mob? And I had a look and that’s how it got me in. And then it said Australian artist talent or whatever, it was applied and I thought, okay, I’ll give it a go. And I think that’s the whole thing is all the way through my life, I haven’t mean, I’ve given a lot of things a go. I’ve done a lot of things,

But I’ve never given the comic book stuff a go and I’ve thought time to do it and I’ve given it a go and yeah, here I am now. So it’s all about my advice to anybody is never be afraid to do stuff. Give it a go no matter what. If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got a passion, got a whatever, just give it a go. Don’t doubt yourself in studying that. Would I be in the same position if I had have done it earlier? Maybe not. So I don’t regret not doing it earlier or anything like that. I don’t have many regrets in life without, if I didn’t do everything I have done in my life, I wouldn’t be where I’m now. If I hadn’t have done whatever to meet my partner and have my kids, I wouldn’t have ’em or no regrets, good or bad. It’s led me to where I am. So I don’t regret not doing it earlier, but I’m just glad I’m doing it now and meeting Ciz and these guys and you guys has just spurred me on to do more and more and more and more and yeah, more confidence I suppose. Not that I’m confident, not that I’m not confident, but it’s given me a bit more of a kick up the ass.

Leigh Chalker (02:02:18):
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s cool man. If it means you are going to keep producing, I’ll keep kicking, then I’ll help kick. And if it means bringing out some good comic books, but man, that’s really cool because the communities, it is a beautiful thing, man. It has brought like-minded people together, man. And it is all about promoting Australian comic books and stuff like that from everyone. Again, I just want to reiterate from everyone, the comics community is about the Australian comics community. There’s no fees and you don’t sign up and stuff like that, you know what I mean? If you like comics and you’re from anywhere, you can be part of the community. It’s not a clan like-minded people like Stu and myself and other creators and people like Talk and Jive mate.

Stu Thornton (02:03:14):
It’s not a cult.

Leigh Chalker (02:03:15):
No, mate. No, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to break it. Well no one told me anyway, so here I’m everyone’s probably down there with candles, like voodoo dolls. No, under my back, you and me both. Yeah man, we’re sitting there. He said we weren’t a cult. Oh, we start jumping around in our chairs. We’ll be in strife, mate. We’ll know what’s going on in the head office there. But no, no, it’s really cool, man. I love hearing stories like your stew, and you know what, it’s where you are is where you’re meant to be, man. And sometimes it’s like, I sometimes think too, man, what if I would’ve done it when I was younger, but I wouldn’t have had the life experiences and stuff to get me through to that point, man. And it just is what it is. All things happen for a reason. Timing is everything sometimes and yeah, and everyone’s time is different to others. So you just travel along your journey, man, and do what you got to do, mate. So we’re looking midyear. You’ll have completions, you’re madly punting along, you’re trying to get issue three and a lot of them done. You’re working hard, you’re learning your skills.

When we’re finished the show, if you want, after this, man, I’ll show you in some detail about the markers and stuff that I use. Might be something that you’re interested in for inking. You may not have thought of them. Like I’ve just learned things like that from talking to other artists and stuff like that, that it saved me a little bit of time here and there. That may work for you. They may not, but all info is good info and realistically, but are you happy with how your chinwag has gone tonight, mate?

Stu Thornton (02:05:19):
Oh man, I’m happy. I dunno if there’s anyone left listening or watching, but yeah, no, I’m happy. I’m happy if you are happy, generally

Leigh Chalker (02:05:31):
I’m very happy because I’m happy that I was part of your story tonight, mate, and was able to hear it because it’s very, it’s something I don’t know man. There’s just a whole heap of stew. Again, I won’t go into details, little bits and pieces of me come out in these shows that I do, but tonight is another one of those weird synchronicities or signs that tell me I’m on the right path because I, the headline, and I’ll go over it again, there’s a cracker in my clacker has been an ongoing joke and one of those things that, I dunno just with family and friends and I remember being with a family member, my uncle, when we saw that on BTN and he and I were in absolute hysterics to the point where there were two men sitting across from each other in a lounge room, like tears man. And we thought it was the funniest cool, just one of those moments and getting to meet a dude that was working on the paper at that, that knew exactly the, it’s just man,

Stu Thornton (02:07:00):
Some of the things we could get away with. Just quickly, a guy got locked out of his hotel room in Darwin and he was naked on his honeymoon night and he was locked out for 45 minutes walking around Middle Beach Casino in the hotel, completely naked, trying to get back into his room. So the headline I got for that one was Walking the Halls, holding his Balls and you were allowed to put that stuff on the front page. I don’t think I’d get away without the Sydney Morning or in Sydney, but we’re allowed to get away with that at the NT News. So that was, yeah, lot of fun working there. I could honestly say there wasn’t a day that I didn’t go home laughing about something that day. It was just a room full of really talented, hardworking people who were lunatics.

Leigh Chalker (02:07:51):
It was brilliant. Yeah. Well mate, sometimes lunacy and genius is a fine line they say. And laughter certainly does make life travel a lot easier. And if you don’t laugh, laugh often, then you’ll probably find a lot of things will go good for you man, and your days will get better. Alright, Stu Thornton, the fourth monkey, creator of Outlaw, going to be an up and coming release on comic studio. Hold that cover up for us, my friend, and show everyone what it looks like. Very beautiful. I look forward to seeing it, mate. I also have to say I’m very, very thankful and proud to be here with you tonight and knowing that you just did that today and to see how happy you are about it, Dan, to take the first steps to, I guess man, achieving a goal that you’ve had for a very long time. So that fills me with much joy and yeah, I’m really, really stoked, man. So very proud for you. So thank you.

Stu Thornton (02:09:05):
I’m honoured to be on this show and talking to you, dude, it is huge and something that I’ll be putting another bucket list thing ticked off is being here now. So that’s good. End Monday.

Leigh Chalker (02:09:19):
Yeah, man, unreal, eh, I love talking to new people. So Stu, I’m going to tick you off my bucket list too, mate. It’s been a pleasure to meet. Good on you man. Lovely man. Good on you now. Alright, so that’s Stu Thornton everyone. And so as we bring ourselves to the end of another chinwag on another Tuesday, I just want to remind everyone to like and subscribe Comex and Aussie verse on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram like and subscribe ’em anywhere you can find them because that’s how the tree grows and that’s how we get some more people and that is how the community grows as well. And the community is a healthy one, and the more we water it with people’s vibes and their energy and stuff, the better it gets. And so more comics will get produced and beautiful, beautiful artwork and that’s what we want. Now, I came across an old saying the other day on my way reading, because you all know I like to read things and I thought this was a cool sort of a thing. Just leave tonight’s show on.

There’s an old thing called the four H pledge. Now I’d never heard of the four H pledge before, but what it involves, it is the four Hs are head, heart, hands, and Health. Now the head stands for Clearer Thinking, the Heart stands for Greater Compassion. The hands stand for larger service and health stands for Better living. And some would say they are the best things to base your life on food for thought. It’s up to you if it helps or not. Just leaving it out there with you in the world. So Chinwag is always made with love and community is unity. Thank you very much. We’ll see you next Tuesday. Peace. Thanks, man. No worries man. Good. This show, this

Voice Over (02:11:32):
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