Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr are the immensely talented duo behind ‘S.C.A.R’. As individuals, and collaborators Steve and Antoinette are Gods in the Australian underground art scene. Working as artists, publishers, musicians, script writers and editors for over 30 years now!
Their art is full of the vibes of greats such as Basil Wolverton, Ray Harryhausen and George A. Romero to name a few. Look wise it’s beautifully detailed, unique, surreal often tongue in cheek, occasionally soft, but often brutal. Very very brutal.
We love it and so does the international comic community!
… sadly, however, many of the Australian populace and the very Government itself have had, and continue to have, knee jerk reactions to the art of S.C.A.R; resulting in their work being banned, ostracized and also vilified by the press, members of the moral outrage brigade and general wowsers. Also for over 30 years now!
Indeed, S.C.A.R are makers of creations that can objectively be called polarizing – an attribute attributable to the most important artists since time immemorial.
(Some art by S.C.A.R below)
So get to know all about both the origins of the Australian outsider comics scene, and the works of S.C.A.R by reading their eye opening interview, below…
Basics / Getting to Know
Describe a memory from some stages of your life ….basically trying to piece together pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, politics, crime… ANYTHING really!
SPK, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Morbid Angel, guitarist Fred Frith, and later, various Aussie new wave and experimental bands, Uk artists Stereolab and Whitehouse.
This is the kind of music that inspires me and I often listen to it while drawing and creating comics.
Got no time for politics or religion, especially when they start intruding on individual freedom, social relations, the creative arts and popular culture.
The hydra-headed demons of separatism, censorship and prohibition always emerge and creative freedom is constantly stifled and attacked. Due to the content of our comics we have been excluded from various events, marginalized, vilified, banned and officially censored numerous times over the course of our career.
I’ve always been able to draw.
Early school days – Got into Atlas (Marvel) monster comics, also titles such as Turok Son of Stone, Magnus: Robot Fighter, mainly action and fantasy comics. The weirder the better!
My friends and I had drawing jams, creating surreal monsters, gory Roman battles, swapping ideas, etc. I also attempted to create my own comics, having being inspired by Jack Kirby, Russ Manning, Basil Wolverton and many others.
Art outside of comics also impacted me: Bosch, Dali, Max Ernst, mythological monsters, Norman Lindsay’s Bacchanalian drawings and paintings, etc.
By the time I finished High School I went off comics and was creating surrealist art, along with my friends.
Since the mid – late ‘60s and early‘70s, the only comics that interested me were the American undergrounds: artists such as Greg Irons, S. Clay Wilson, Spain, etc.
I also got into music and was collecting records instead of comics. I was into artists like Zappa, Soft Machine, Henry Cow, Faust, Magma, anything that was wildly experimental.
During the early 80s I got involved in free improv/electronics and played in bands including “Burnt Lungcancer”, “Decay Men” and “Laura on Mars”.
During the early 1980s I discovered EC comics and the whole Dr Fredric Wertham hysteria, which inspired me to create gruesome horror comics – horror being one of my favourite genres, particularly where comics, art and films are concerned.
During this time I became involved with Frank Maconochie and Des Waterman in the creation of Phantastique. I was the creative director and firmly propelled the comic into the horror/fantasy genres, with an obvious accent on graphic and ghoulish imagery. Phantastique soon created a wild media furore. Critics from both the Left and the Right vehemently slammed the comic, its creators and contributors.
After Phantastique I created Charnel House, issue one of which hit the Aussie newsstands, sold very well, and accrued many fans.
(Cover art for Phantastique #1 below)
I don’t really have much more to add. I’ve always been able to draw.
As a kid I loved collecting stickers and cards featuring the art of Basil Wolverton and Ed Roth.
I was intrigued by the surrealist art of Bosch, Bruegel and Dali, and heavily into movies, such as retro sci-fi films and especially those by Ray Harryhausen including “Earth Versus the Flying Saucers”, “Jason and the Argonauts” and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”, etc.
(Cover art for Charnel House #1 below)
How did you two come to connect – both art wise and personally?
We met at a comic meeting in Sydney in 1991. We both have similar attitudes, interests and tastes. When we met it was apparent that we appreciated the same brand of horror and sci-fi. One of our favourite films was “John Carpenter’s The Thing”.
It was a natural progression for us to collaborate.
What role do you each play with SCAR?
Virtually everything we create is a combined effort. We usually work together, but some concepts, projects and art are generated from either one or the other.
Regardless, we both wind up working on everything in some capacity so we attribute everything to SCAR.
We also work with other creators and acknowledge their contributions.
(Some art by S.C.A.R below)
Favorite other artist(s)?
Kirby, Ditko, Russ Manning, Wolverton, Wood, Al Williamson, Frazetta, Bosch, Dali, Ernst, Norman Lindsay, the list goes on…
There are simply too many to mention.
There are also films and TV series which inspire us – Ray Harryhausen films, Island of Lost Souls, Untouchables, Outer Limits, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, Sword & Sandal epics, Spartacus (original movie & TV series), Sodom and Gomorrah, the original Planet of the Apes, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Romero’s Zombie films, various westerns (for the action and spectacular locations), etc.
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
There is no support system or professional comicbook industry in Australia.
Artists have to foot the bill themselves, and do the marketing and distribution.
But one of the biggest problems we have faced and continue to face is censorship in all its guises, from being officially banned to being excluded from events, which is prohibition by stealth. Creators are ham-strung by political correctness and in Australia, “horror” is a dirty word. Here are some examples that we have experienced:
(i) When Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies compiled a history of Australian comics from 1900s – 1990s in their book called Bonzer published in 1998, they deliberately tried to wipe us from history.
We had sent them a large package of information and visual material and they used none of it. In fact, our package was returned to us some months later, and it had clearly not been opened. Despite Phantastique having made a huge impact throughout Australia and even reaching the shores of America, there was only one begrudging paragraph devoted to it. There was a minor reference to Charnel House but no mention that it was successfully distributed on the newsstand and actually turned a profit. A feat that few creator-owned Aussie comicbooks have been able to achieve.
Antoinette was only mentioned in passing but no reference to her comic Poor Bitch which was published in the USA and distributed internationally. Meanwhile, minor zines, of which only a handful of units were printed, were prominently displayed and other titles received full-page treatment.
Bonzer was supposed to be a comprehensive history of Australian comics and their creators, but in fact was a skewed, inaccurate and incomplete account.
(Cover art below for Poor Bitch #1)
(ii) Just recently we were rejected from the Homecooked Comic Festival, which is an annual event that is supposed to showcase local comic creators.
In fact, this is the second time that we have been discriminated against and treated shabbily by Homecooked. In 2015 we were rejected for supposedly not being “family friendly”. Eventually, we managed to sort it all out by talking with the organiser in person. She admitted that she was unfamiliar with our work!
In 2016 we were accepted at Homecooked and there were no complaints about our content being “family unfriendly”.
Later in 2016 Homecooked learnt that they would not be funded for 2017. They reached out to us for help with their funding endeavours for 2018 and beyond, and we gave it. There was no mention that future events would adopt a discriminatory policy and that we would be rejected. But in 2018 when Homecooked secured its funding, that’s exactly what happened. That’s how they showed their gratitude and appreciation…
In an article promoting Homecooked the 2018 director claimed that the festival would include, “the much-loved action/adventure, humour, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and mystery comics.” These are the genres we work in! Steve was instrumental in creating Australian’s first newsstand horror comic magazine. But in her rejection letter the director stated, “To be honest, your content doesn’t suit”.
We “suited” them just fine when they needed our help, though.
Our art certainly seems to impact on some people and bring out the troll in others.
(iii) Another occasion saw one of our comics banned from a local shop. A while later, we received an abusive message from someone we’d never met saying that he saw our comic and called us “incredibly disgusting” and “unintelligent”.
(iv) In the mid 1990s, our complimentary copies of Spore Whores, published by Eros Comix (a part of Fantagraphics, USA) was intercepted by Australian Customs and sent to the Censorship Board. Spore Whores was deemed a Prohibited Import, effectively banning it in all of Australia.
A couple of decades later, Spore Whores was picked up by Bloody Gore Comix in Canada, who have been very supportive of our work.
We have faced discrimination and been dogged by the ignorant and the fashionably offended throughout our career. Even as far back as the 1980s when Phantastique was published, Steve received death threats from irate feminists who hadn’t even seen the magazine.
Issues of Phantastique were banned in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
(Cover art for both versions of Spore Whores #1 below)
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Creative freedom, producing a product and finishing a project, meeting other great artists and connecting with fans.
Lately we have been compiling our art into graphic novels. It’s hard work but it is gratifying to finally hold the printed product.
Our first graphic novel was Savage Bitch, which compiled the entire story that ran as a weekly serial in Picture magazine in the 1990s, published by Australian Consolidated Press. Long time friend and collaborator, Dave Heinrich, helped us by compiling the graphic novel and even contributed an illustration.
The book also includes an Introduction by comics icon, Stephen R. Bissette.
You can get Savage Bitch here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/words/SavBit.html
(Cover art for Savage Bitch below)
Do you consider what you are making to be art, design, re-hashed crap?
It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
We enjoy creating art, comics, stories – whatever – and feedback from our many fans indicates that they are very impressed by our creations. Detractors, on the other hand, are sometimes hyper critical, resentful and even vindictive on encountering our work.
We seem to polarise viewers – they either really love it or hate it. There’s no in-between.
People in Australia have been conditioned and exposed to the lowest common denominator material consisting of middle-of-the-road mediocrity. Sometimes they don’t know how to react to our work as they have never seen anything like it and have no reference point.
An example of that is our graphic novel anthology, Weird Worlds – Subversive Science Fiction Stories. Overseas, this book would be very well received but here in Australia it is often seen as too way out and bizarre. We try to be original and we are always seeking weird art that we’ve never seen before and hope that with enough exposure people will grow to appreciate the previously unfamiliar.
Pete Correy helped us by compiling Weird Worlds and he also wrote the “Foreweird”.
Get it here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/WWv1.html
(Cover art for Weird Worlds below)
When and why did you first start making art – drawings, paintings, etc?
We began as children – it was intuitive.
We really like monsters, especially evolutionary creatures and mutations. It was natural that we would design our own monsters.
In fact, last year we compiled a pin-up book full of fantastical beasts, strange evolutions and interplanetary monsters, called Bestiary of Monstruum.
Get it here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/MonBes1.html
Our most popular pin-up series is Femonsters, which won the Golden Stapler Award in 2011.
Femonsters is a unique pin-up book which displays and portrays fascinating and fanciful hybrids of human females merged with animal, alien and mythological creatures.
Femonsters #14 was published last year and can be found lurking here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/Femons14.html
(Cover art for Femonsters #14 + the Bestiary of Monstruum below)
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Surrealism is probably the most influential artistic movement. We especial like the weird hybrid and demonic scenes by Bosch and Bruegel. In fact, we appreciate anything fantastical.
That has carried through to our comics, even naming one of our anthologies, Fantastique, a variation on the original Phantastique. It features a collection of surreal science-fantasy stories set in bizarre worlds.
It was originally published in 2006 and re-released in 2017 and includes an Introduction by local comics legend, David de Vries.
Get it here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/FanExt.html
(Cover art for Fantastique #1 below)
Describe the process of producing your comics? – Dot point all o.k.!
We usually do it the old, antiquated way:
* Produce some roughs
* Then pencil and letter the comic
* Later, we might insert some changes to the images and plot.
Often, we’ll write the script on the fly, which is sometimes based on a rough concept or storyline that is set in a particular “universe” or fabricated world. A simple drawing of a peculiar character or creature might trigger an idea for a situation, narrative or an entirely imagined world, its denizens and environment.
We’re not especially interested in stories set in the “here and now” that’s boring! However, we have produced some tales that are set in the “real” world. But even those are somewhat skewed. We’re far more inspired by weird horror-fantasy tales of the imagination.
When we do hash out a script or storyline, we might add extra elements to it, both in terms of the story arc, images, character traits and the overall tone, i.e.: satirical, grim, surreal, gruesome, etc. We also further develop and expand on the various worlds or “realities” that we have created. These environments are just as important as our characters and often impact on their actions.
Whilst we know you both through your art and comics – care to share with those at home the details of your other creative endeavors… if any?!
We have produced music under the name of TeknoSadisT.
We don’t do song-based pop or rock. The music is primarily concerned with minimalist rhythms, loops, atmospherics and audio abstractions that incorporate fragments of improvisation, voice and other sounds. We see it as creating sound sculptures.
All our TST albums are available on Bandcamp: https://teknosadist.bandcamp.com/
(Some TeknoSadisT album art below)
We’ve written a few screenplays.
One of the first screenplays we wrote was a short for a competition to be produced in Bryan Brown’s Two Twisted TV series. There was a massive amount of submissions and we got shortlisted, but didn’t make the final cut.
However, our screenplay called, Curse of the Swampies, written with Paul Elliott, won Best Feature Film Screenplay at the A Night of Horror International Film Festival 2010. The Judges were Stephen Sewell (The Boys and Animal Kingdom) and Anthony Egan (Needles and Mortal Fools) and they independently chose our screenplay without ever conferring with each other! Curse of the Swampies is about a bizarre race of female predators that assimilates men to propagate its species.
The following year, our screenplay The Desert of Burning Sin was awarded Third Prize for Best Feature Film Screenplay at the A Night of Horror International Film Festival 2011. This story depicts a war between humanity and the Nether-Realm which is consuming the Earth and terraforming the landscape into a surreal Hellscape.
Although we’ve won awards and had several discussions with various film industry personnel, none of our screenplays have been produced. Australians don’t seem to like taking a risk on something original and prefer to follow trends established overseas first.
Many Australian film makers, directors and producers, insist on following a specific political agenda and display a limited comprehension of concepts outside of their field of reference. Also, many wanted to compromise the content and the context too much and make it derivative of everything else that has already been done.
We are still open to discussion about our screenplays if anyone is interested in bringing them to fruition.
(Some Curse of the Swampies art below)
Odds & Ends
Who was your 1st crush and why?
Vamps and vixens from the ’40s comics.
Does sex change everything?
Sure does – sex sells! Sex also spices everything up.
Our best seller is the hardcore graphic novel, Weird Sex Fantasy – Tales of Sex and Death for the Totally Jaded. This anthology is our second graphic novel and compiles all the stories that we contributed to Sleazy Slice, which was published in Canada by Robin Bougie (Cinema Sewer). Robin wrote the Introduction and even coloured one of our illustrations.
Again, Dave Heinrich contributed his valuable expertise by designing the book and illustrating the back cover.
Weird Sex Fantasy contains extreme material and has proven to be our most popular title.
Get it here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/WSFv1.html
(Cover art for Weird Sex Fantasy below)
Please describe what you think the Australian psyche / zeitgeist is today?
It’s in chaos – socio-political confusion, frustration, a dicey economy, stunted wages, crime waves, and droves of homeless people!
It’s a disgrace!
Which cartoon character, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?
(Please sketch a prototype of your design.)
Probably, Whacky Spakki, she’s so wild and other-worldly and she has a penchant for “Urth Boiz”!
Spakki was featured in our anthology, Phantastique – Tales of Taboo Terror and we are currently putting the finishing touches on a brand new Spakki story which is slated soon for publication in Australia.
(Some art of ole Whacky Spakki below)
Who would win in a fight and why: He Man Vs. Ned Kelly?
(Please draw the battle in all its violent beauty!)
Plenty of people can depict He-man and Ned Kelly really well but we had an idea that had been percolating for a while and were inspired to draw that. It’s a scene from “Captain Chronic and his Bovver Boys versus the Bull Dykes!” from our series New World Disorder. They are equally matched. Both sides are as bad as each other, like Aussie politics today… It’s anyone’s guess who will win.
(Art below of the battle in all it’s gory glory!)
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
Waste of time and brain cells; better off doing something creative and using your own imagination – it has no limits and it won’t damage your brain cells or kill you!
What role did toys play in your childhood?
Roman soldiers and dinosaurs…
(Some art by S.C.A.R below)
What are the top 3 items you own?
2nd hand Prog and punk CDs/50s horror comic reprints/early SF and Horror novels
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
Nothing much to write about as they slip away once waking up…
I have dim memories of some vague, meandering and mostly abstract, nonsensical journey that has no relevance in the real word.
One dream that was jotted down, however, actually saw print in “The Rapid Eye – A Literary and Arts Dream Journal” Fall 2013. It centred around an invented creature called a “Gorganism” rampaging on a railway station.
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
We hope that our volume of work will last the test of time.
Steve will most likely be remembered for creating Phantastique in the mid 80’s, and we recently resurrected that title as a graphic novel in full bloody colour called Phantastique – Tales of Taboo Terror, which celebrates the retro horror-fantasy of years past but injects a modern garish element. It features various other local creators including Rod Williams, Pete Correy, Dez Waterman, Ross Radiation, Glenno Smith, Glenn Lumsden, Ryan Vella, Dillon Naylor, Jason Paulos and Fred Enroht.
As Dez Waterman, the original Art Director of Phantastique said, “This is the magazine Phantastique was always supposed to be”.
You can get Phantastique here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/PhanV1.html
(Cover art for the recent updated version of Phantastique below)
If people wanted to collaborate, work with you or just buy some art – how should they get in touch?
People can get in touch with us through our website at www.weirdwildart.com
We also try to attend the Melbourne Comic Group meetings held in the city on the first Saturday of every month and people are welcome to talk to us there.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
We recently collaborated with Dave Dye on our series, New World Disorder.
New World Disorder was going to be published by Millennium Press, USA, in the 1990s and we had produced two issues worth of material before the company folded.
We published the comics ourselves as undergrounds and they had long sold out, so we recently reprinted the original two comics into one volume.
Get it here: http://www.weirdwildart.com/books/NWDvol1.html
Dave Dye was interested in the idea and produced a story in the New World Disorder universe which we will be printing in an upcoming volume.
In the meantime, Dave published the story in Amazing Tales #2: https://wotsleftbooks.weebly.com/amazing-tales-2.html
We have also been collaborating with Ben Sullivan on a story set in our Unworld universe, called The Romazons – Harpies of Hades.
We have a story called Ordeal of the 5 Beasts which will debut in the first issue of “Reverie” anthology, and we are currently working on another story for them.
We are also included in the Bloody Gore Comix Anthology coming out of Canada with our story Blood Bath of the Blood Bitches!
(Cover for New World Disorder below)
Any major projects you want to hype?
This year, Bloody Gore Comix (Canada) is also publishing our own anthology, Kill of the Spyderwoman and Other Skin-Crawlin’ Stories.
This volume reprints our hardcore stories Kill of the Spyderwoman and The Hungry Thing which were originally published by Eros Comix, USA back in the 1990s. It also includes a dozen more of our stories that were produced around that time.
We are particularly excited about the publication of our first novel called Weird Wild West by Bizarro Pulp Press, USA.
The book will include black and white illustrations by us and the cover is being illustrated and designed by Dave Heinrich.
The initial concept of Weird Wild West was conceived in the early 90s with the idea that it would eventually become a comicbook, but it never did. Then one day we were discussing steampunk with Ethan Somerville and we mentioned that we had a steampunk western. Ethan was instantly interested. And so the collaboration began on Weird Wild West, not as a comic, but as a novel. We have already written seven books in the series and are currently working on the eighth.
( Some Kill of the Spyderwoman and Other Skin-Crawlin’ Stories art below)