“fnplfnp” and the cover Annual 2

Toby Morris is a cartoonist, an illustrator, a writer, and a dad based in Auckland. He wrote and drew his first comic at the age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. He has self-published over twenty comics and in more recent years produced two books for adults and two for children: Capsicum, Capsi Go and The Day the Costumes Stuck.

These days, he is the political cartoonist for Radio NZ, writes the nonfiction comic series The Pencilsword, and draws everything under the sun as a freelance illustrator. In 2017 he was nominated for the Russell Clark Award for illustration at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, but perhaps his most prestigious achievement is drawing the cake and scones on the box of Edmonds baking powder. He is terrified of drawing horses.

My favourite books when I was ten:

Tintin series: I loved all kinds of comics, but my favourite was always Tintin. Great adventures, funny characters, and beautifully drawn. Tintin books were so immersive – it’s a whole world you get to dive into, and they had a huge influence on me!

Paul Jennings: I was obsessed with Paul Jennings at this age. His stories started off real and recognisable but always had these twists that took them into amazing and unexpected places. They were very funny and often very gross, which is a great combo. 

Puzzle adventures: I don’t know if they’re still around, but I used to love puzzle adventure books like the Agent Arthur series. I’m a really visual person, so I love storytelling that mixes text and images – and these books switched between text and comics and illustration and mazes and maps, and along the way, you could pick up clues for puzzles that you had to solve to move the story along.

And one thing I’d recommend to kids today: The range of comics for younger readers has gotten so much better that it makes me want to be a kid again! The Hilda series by Luke Pearson is a great example. So fun and clever and appealing.

Toby's website: xtotlworldwide

Political commentary: the wireless