The HONK is a comic adventure novel for middle grade readers. Hex is thirteen and small, with glasses and haystack hair. He’s the ‘New Kid’ at yet another school. This time, however, it’s a high school, and Pinkerton High is going to be one weird ride. Hex finds a strange computer loaded with an old online game called HONK SPACE. The game promises a life-changing prize: the HONK. In decades of frenzied game play, no one has ever found the HONK. Desperate to change his life, Hex vows to find this mysterious prize. But he’ll need new friends and allies to win the game, and to survive at Pinkerton High.
Progress on the cover: the odd curved computer on which the game runs, the four main characters, and retro-pixelly game imagery. The background teems with lurking threats and enemies …
The Universe of Honk Space is dominated by space klowns. Their spacecraft can appear odd to human eyes.
Pixel art elements for the cover.
An early cover, showing Hex above, with Ken, Oriana and Nara astride the world.
Eventually I want to print a full cover edition of The Honk, with internal illustrations like this.
The Honk – Internal Illustrations
The HONK is a hybrid novel for late primary age readers: extensively illustrated, but also a decent read. I’m writing for children who are past Junior Fiction, but maybe not up for vampires and dystopia. The HONK has a lighter tone, a less serious world view, some silly jokes, and this is communicated in the illustrations. The book is, however, a complex and lengthy story with touches of darkness, but also a lot of fun and humour, as good hearted kids battle against some awful adults.
Detail of Hex’s chart – his way of dealing with his various new classmates. Hex tells the story and draws the pictures that fill The HONK.
Space Klowns – Hex sees them everywhere. Is he losing his marbles?
Nara, a fellow ‘new Kid’ from the Horn of Africa, soon becomes involved in the search for The Honk, along with her friend, the gregarious, sports-mad Oriana. Hex’s new best buddy, Ken Harada suffers from chronic girl-o-phobia, further complicating Hex’s life. That’s Ken in the background, wondering what he’s missed.
Hex plays Honk Space as Sir Hexalot. His first flight in the K.S.S. Glitterbucket ends dramatically.
Another secret entrance to Ken’s underground lair: the South America Door. Don’t tell his little sister!
Your first class as the New Kid can feel like this.
Boys need to see representations of boys being affectionate, vulnerable, and open with their feelings. Ken and Hex hug, relieved to have their buddy back after a difficult situation tests their new friendship.
Everything Linus draws becomes real. This series of simple, gentle, colourful stories is for young children. The images tell the story; the words add another layer. Linus books can be enjoyed without being able to read. All images and text © Andy Hook
Linus can draw his world. His friend Rubbaduck can erase Linus’s lines with his bill. Fun ensues.
Lazy Bunny is a children’s picture book I’m developing. A parent, desperate to send their young child to sleep, tries to tell the most boring, sleep-inducing story ever. Lazy Bunny is born, a grey bunny hopping down an endless grey road, stopping frequently for rests under greyish trees. The child interjects, and the story becomes more interesting as new characters appear. Will Lazy Bunny and his friends ever reach SleepyLand?
Lazy Bunny isn’t boring enough to send the little boy to sleep.
The Zac Power series continues to encourage reluctant readers to get involved in stories about Zac, the cocky schoolboy super spy. Hardie Grant asked me to illustrate Zac Power covers and internal illustrations, many of which are diagrams of ridiculous spy gadgets. After doing a bunch of these, I wrote my own, under the series pseudonym H. I. Larry. ‘Zac Power: High Risk’ was a best seller. Here are some of my covers and internal images.
Prince Egbert is a selfish and lonely little prince. The King and Queen leave Egbert in charge of the castle, and in fact the whole kingdom of Egges-upon-Toast. Egbert causes mayhem and ends up in dire straits. The moat is filled with strawberry-flavoured milk. We’ve all had days like that. Prince Egbert is to be a picture book. Here’s the cover.
Lots of small boys, and not a few girls, collect these during the AFL season. I created caricature/story cards of AFL stars and online activities for Teamcoach which, I hope, made collecting these a bit funnier and more fun.
The fronts of these cards were lenticular: if you tilted the card, the image would change to an action photo of the player. You could transform him back and forth by moving the card. I loved lenticulars when I was a little boy. Lenticular cards were as close as we got to smart phones 🙂
Og Og Alive
This online game proved very popular. Funded by Film Victoria and the ABC as part of their Game On program, its premise was simple: you are alive. How can you stay that way, and then, find love? Players could be Ogog or play as Ogina, his female counterpart. The raw art style still appeals to me.
Some parts of the game, programmed by the very talented Darren Ballingal and Daniel Zabinskas, were fiendishly hard. I never did reach Disembodied God Mind status. My son has found the original game file, so we’ll make OgOg Alive again soon.
The Oddbodz Comics & Games
These comics were published in K-Zone magazine for several years, a new one each month. I developed a short list of my favourite Oddbodz and told stories about their homeworld, Oddbodia, where the ugly is beautiful, the young are born old, and the silly is sensible. The hubris of ultra-genius Myron Megabrain is often the catalyst of the action. I also worked on some rather silly Oddbodz online games. I’ll include a few screenshots of them here.
The Oddbodz Games
There were six of them on K-Zone’s website. The one shown above involved the fiendish Time Turnips, super-intelligent Turnip life forms, shooting Time Bombs at the Oddbodz. These could either age or rejuvenate you, depending on the type of Time Bomb. Funkly D. Foole uses his Time Toilet lid to block the time bombs, and reflect them back up at the Time Turnips. Then there was Nerdy Neville’s trip back to the year 2 Million B.O. ( Before Oddbodz) in the Time Toilet. The Dinobodz ate the time toilet, so Nerdy has to shoot them with his Underpants-mounted Lax-o-Ray to make them, well, pass the pieces, so he can rebuild it to time-travel home. There was Myron’s Headswapper – typical Myron! A game show was hosted by Staring Sara, there was Funky D. Foole’s Disco Oddferno dance challenge and a scary one, in which Mimi Screami wakes the Nearly Dead in a graveyard.
Staring Sara’s Wheel of Foolishness, a complex game show which rewarded silly answers over factually correct ones, nearly killed the programmers 🙂
Oddbodz & Space Oddbodz
Glow Zone Pty Ltd asked me in the mid 90s to create a shedload of weird and wonderful images to be printed on small disks of cardboard with glow-in-the-dark and thermal-sensitive inks (which became transparent if the temperature changed) silk screened on top. My initial thought was: Why? What the heck are kids collecting these bits of cardboard for? Then I thought: What would young me have liked to see on them? Lots of spoof monsters, dumb super heroes, some sneaky pro-environmental messages, exaggerated teacher types, and anything else my unconscious threw up as I doodled. They were really small, and the silk screening was quite crude, so this influenced how simple the images had to be. I was lucky enough to have some talented artist friends who worked alongside me on the Glo Caps: Wendy Foard and Richard Bell both made some great little images.
Glo-Caps must have been a hit, because Glow Zone soon asked me to develop a set of collectible cards. Again, I thought – how can I make these actually decent, with some play value? So I started drawing weird characters for the fronts, again using glow-in-the dark-ink (the off white areas), and wrote surreal stories that could be swapped by putting any card back together with another, along with top and bottom images of the characters that could be recombined endlessly – the ‘Bodyswaps’. I would have loved these as a kid, and I later found out that many thousands of Aussie and New Zealander kids did like them a lot. I am regularly contacted by these kids, who never recovered after seeing the Oddbodz, and maybe became just a bit quirkier and artier than they might have been (:
Below is a detail from a Space Oddbodz poster given out as a prize.
I wrote and drew comics based on a subset of the Oddbodz for K-Zone magazine for several years. The kids who liked these were a slightly different generation from the card fans, as the comics flourished in the early 2000s. I’ve included some comic pages on the site – click Myron Megabrain reading comics on the Homepage to see them.
I create illustrations for a range of clients. Here are some examples.
The above image was commissioned by Veolia Transport. The following images were created for Mt Buller Ski School and two paper merchants.
I love limitations. Icons, logos and symbols are great fun to distill down. Here’s one I co-designed with Chris Tucker for the Hawthorn Football Club.