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The Early Years
by David Thomsen

Brunswick's Muse
by Cat Spiers

Brunswick: Redux

The Jitterati Signal Box

Wellington Comics



Starting in December, Brunswick is a weekly Flash comic. Each week there will be a new 30-90 second episode. The file size will be kept between 200-500k, because New Zealand lacks a widely affordable broadband service. This year's storyline will eventually appear in a book of some sort.

Something to look out for: in June 2007 the play Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory is on at Bats Theatre. Auditions in March, I think. If you live in Wellington and are female, funny, and aged 15-25... and can sing a bit... we want you. More details as I get them.

Hello, and thank you for visiting. This website contains the complete archive of all 900+ Brunswick cartoons which have appeared since 1993. Brunswick, to quote a sadly deleted Wikipedia article, is best described as "an Antipodean version of 'Bloom County", and first appeared in the student magazine Salient, published in Wellington, New Zealand. It quickly spread to every other student magazine in the country (not a big deal when you consider there's only eight universities in NZ) and lingered for exactly 10 years and 259 weekly episodes. Immediately on its print withdrawl it became a daily webcomic, and remained so until September 2006. It's now a Flash cartoon, play, and psychological test of audience patience.

Brunswick is a daily cartoon strip following the adventures of Alex Kincaid, her friend Brunswick (a giant yellow rodent) and Fitz Bunny. There is a character guide here. It is written and drawn by Grant Buist, who is a graphic designer from Wellington. He has three degrees (arts, design and business). He also paints murals and directs music videos. His email is Brunswick belongs to Brainstorm Ltd, which is a collection of a dozen quality cartoons from around the world. It is run by Chris and Pascalle of ‘Zap!’.

To expect a helpful plot summary to date is optimistic to the point of clinical derangement, but so far Alex Kincaid (the blond one) has discovered a large yellow rodent named Brunswick (the short yellow blobby one) in her shower, and this has had an adverse effect on her social life, i.e. her boyfriend Brent has run away screaming. Alex is being comforted by her friend Finn (the studly one with black hair) when she discovers that Finn never really liked Brent at all. This has lead to arguments and recriminations and all that other cutting edge narrative dialogue stuff which wins writers Pulitzers and makes dopey strips like this worth returning to daily and telling all your friends about, etc. etc. especially if you live in Singapore or Denmark or on a US military base...who'd've thought it? Also Fitz Bunny (the pink one) has turned up with potential for much mirth and violence...namely, after her and Brunswick have a picnic overlooking their strangely generic town they visit Rick's Cafe, where they encounter the owner Rick, who set up his establishment with the proceeds from a number one single twenty years previously and now employs ex-band members to make coffee and brood on what Might Have Been. Alex and Brunswick and Finn have also gone to a concert put on by Fitz's band 'Myxamatosis' and met Alex's friend and workmate Leilani. Fitz has acted as Finn's lifecoach and is abusing this position as you would expect when a nasty little two-foot high rabbit gets a speck of power. In fact, she's been sidetracked into arms dealing, which is a perfectly respectable career unless the arms in question happen to be... thwacky sticks. And now the mysterious Mapplethorpe Dragon (the tiny green and purple one) has turned up in a package... actually all that happened years ago and things have gotten quite complicated since with a lot of new characters. I'm sure you'll pick it up eventually.



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Brunswick: The Early Years
by David Thomsen

When I first came to university in 2001, my first impressions of university magazine cartoon strips were that they were either humourless, soulless, directionless, or – as in the case of Brunswick – utterly bewildering. My first impressions were correct, and as the would-be cartoonists seemed to realise that they had no commitment to their work, or actual talent, they fell away one by one to do other things. But one cartoonist seemed to be more committed to his work than the others, and Brunswick stayed afloat to tenaciously bewilder me week after week.

My bewilderment was almost entirely due to the fact that Brunswick had an eight-year history that I had not been made aware of, and featured characters that I had not been formally introduced to. Grant seemed to assume that first-year students would somehow intuitively gravitate towards the Salient archives in the university library to understand the history of the cartoon better – which, after a length, I did, although I was actually a second-year student by this time. It wasn’t until I discovered an early Brunswick anthology in my cousin’s bedroom that I figured out why the cartoon so bewildered me.
I found that in the very first cartoon, in 1993, and not unlike a certain waistcoated lagomorph of Lewis Carroll, Brunswick the rat arrived to distract Grant’s Alice from the serious issues of everyday life and lead her thoroughly down the rat-hole. She has been there ever since, and seems to have grown accustomed to it; she never did return to the pressing issue that had been fatefully interrupted on her first week.

In the first cartoon we are also introduced to the contradictory nature of Buist’s work. It can blend the serious with the frivolous, popular culture with high art, the incongruous with the established, the topical with the historical. What at first bewildered me about Brunswick, its scope for experimentation and the audacity of its duality, is now the thing that sets it apart from other cartoons for me. Few artists are talented enough to successfully integrate contradiction and change into their work without it resulting in discord, and not enough are appreciated for it; here Buist is exploring the potential of locating his characters in a fixed-panel daily cartoon and incidentally contradicting the story of how his characters first met.

I have a feeling, now that I’m writing this introduction and putting conscious thought into the matter, that Alex’s exploration of serious matters has merely been postponed by the appearance of Brunswick and his menagerie, and that when she is able to return to these issues, she will be better equipped for a passage of self-discovery.

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Brunswick's Muse
by Cat Spiers

For many years the only reason to read Salient was Brunswick. As a naïve eighteen year old first-year at Victoria University I was familiar with Brunswick, but can’t say I fully understood it. Everyone I knew began their week at varsity with “have you seen Brunswick yet?” and then a brief discussion of the contents of the strip, generally followed by laughter. I would glance at Brunswick as I flicked through Salient as it was, in truth, the only interesting thing in the entire magazine. My occasional perusal turned to avid reading when I was introduced to its creator, Grant. Knowing the following his esteemed strip had, I felt quite star-struck when I met him.

Having a conversation recreated in ink is an odd experience, but being quoted directly by a small pink bunny or a yellow rat is odder still. Even though Grant claims I was only a Muse for one week, I feel I have had a considerable impact to the genius that is Brunswick but not always on purpose. Mustapha the Sex Zebra, for example was Grant mishearing me telling him I was wearing a “sexy bra” while wearing a zebra print shirt. I claim no responsibility however for Fitz falling in love with a nuclear warhead, but it was my Sixties telephone Grant drew when Fitz called up possible buyers. Whatever similarities we share, being small, cute with a thing for pink and a fan of power tools, she is a creation of Grant’s imagination. I am not. Baby Iris, however, is another story…

No longer appearing in Salient, Brunswick has moved on to greener, more Americanized pastures in cyberspace with the “Daily Strip”. This is of course a bonus for Brunswick fans as not only can we enjoy our favourite yellow rat more than once a week, but there is the added advantage of Brunswick being seen as he is intended in all his yellowy goodness. The title “Daily Strip” is of course meant to be ironic, as for Grant to put up a new strip each day means he has chained himself to his desk for several nights in a row, or has been up for a period of twenty-four hours or more and will be out of action for a similar period while he recovers. This means if you decide to knock on his door on a random afternoon he will probably be sleeping so one must perch on the foot of the maestro’s bed reading his Q magazines and bounce occasionally as to ensure he hasn’t fallen asleep when one tells him of your various essay related issues. One must make allowances for genius.

Not being a Brunswick fan from the beginning, one never knows what suggestions or ideas Grant will use, and what he will ignore. There has been at least one occasion when I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea, only to be told “Fitz did a similar thing in ‘97”. Being a Muse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


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