Since 1984, Fil and Helen have worked as a team beginning with the comic Zooniverse which was published in the USA and began their career in Hollywood. Working on over 200 episodes of TV and feature animation, they set the style of characters which have entertained millions of children around the world for over 28 years.
Fil Barlow: Emmy award winning artist and lead character designer
A veteran of the Hollywood animation industry, Fil was Head Character Designer on ALF, C.O.P.S., Captain N, Extreme Ghostbusters, Godzilla the series, Tutenstein (for which he won an Emmy), Max Steel, Heavy Gear, Starship Troopers: Roughnecks Chronicles, Spectrobes, Dark Fury: Chronicles of Riddick and Igor the feature film.
Fil began his professional cartooning career with Australian Scout Magazine at the age of sixteen, two years later he became a regular contributor to Melbourne based Inkspots Magazine. Minotaur Books proprietor, Colin Paraskevas, published Barlow’s Zooniverse comic internationally in a joint venture with Eclipse Comics between 1986 and 1987. Back then it was rare to see an Australian creator owned comic distributed in the USA.
Richard Raynis, then at DIC, (later to become the producer of The Simpsons) saw Zooniverse and offered Fil the character design position on ALF the animated series, from 1987-89.
After working on several successful shows, Fil returned to Oz and in 1992 created the comic Rex Vectar, which was serialized in Megazone Magazine, during which he also established his own publishing and animation production house, Zoonimedia.
In 1996 Barlow traveled to Los Angeles again, this time with Helen, establishing another animation production house, Artopia. Through his company Barlow went on to work as character design supervisor and lead character designer at Columbia TriStar (Sony)
After more than 14 years in the US, Fil returned to Australia to begin working on a re-release of the original series of Zooniverse to be published by Image Comics.
Fil has also completed a series of 10 animations based on the Zooniverse. He has produced an iPad app for the Zooniverse series called "Kick Off" which is currently in the iTunes Store.
Helen Maier: Comic artist, writer and animator
Helen is a comic artist, writer and director of the publishing company Zoonitoons. From 1996 to 2010 she was the President of Artopia, an animation design company in Los Angeles. Artopia supplied character designs for ProjectGeeker, Extreme Ghostbusters,MIB, Godzilla, Max Steel, Starship Troopers: Roughneck Chronicles, Heavy Gear, Rusty and the Big Guy and the Emmy award winning Tutenstein.
Her company also designed characters for Adam Sandler’s animated feature film Eight Crazy Nights. In 2006 she created the intellectual property Spectrobes with fellow artist Fil Barlow which was successfully sold to Buena Vista Games (Disney).
Helen began her animation career in 1988 as a colourist on Alf the animated series, and started in comics coloring Zooniverse by Fil Barlow in 1986. On her return to Australia, she began painting covers for Prophet published by Image Comics and creating comics. Helen has produced twelve animations based on her original comic concepts. She’s currently writing and illustrating a new story to be published by Image Comics.