There are a couple of Exhibitions running at the State Library of Queensland at the moment that I highly recommend you attend if you are in or near the Brisbane area...
The first is LOOK!, which I understand was created by the State Library of Victoria, and features a wonderful array of original artworks, sketches and drawings by more than forty of this country's most talented illustrators. I know this is not really a comic-centric exhibition, but the artwork is so superb that it would be remiss of you not to attend to see just what talent there is in this particular genre of illustration. Leigh Hobbs (who appeared in person at the November Stanley Workshops), along with Shaun Tan, Graeme Base, Bob Graham, Terry Denton, Lucia Masciullo, and Stella Danalis ... are just a few of the artists' whose works are on display.
One of the most marvelous thing I learnt from the exhibition, was the size of the original artworks. Whilst most comic strip and book artists work one or two up from the eventual printed size, many of these illustrated works are eventually reproduced in book form in the exact size of the original. This made some artists' work (Shaun Tan, as an example) even more phenomenal - the exquisite detail just took my breath away!
If you want to catch this FREE Exhibition, you have until March 4th (so there is still some time); my suggestion is to go at 11 a.m. on February 10th and/or 11th when Curator Mike Suttleworth will take you on a tour of Queensland Children's Picture Books held at the Library.
While I enjoyed the Picture Book Exhibition, I found another Exhibition being held at the same time more of a nostalgic experience ... it is all about the Queensland-produced Cane Toad Times
I have seen this Exhibition twice already, the second as recently as January 20, when former Editorial Team Member Anne Jones shared some of her stories about the making of this wonderful magazine. (She is curating further talks on Feburary 18th and March 17th, both Free and at 11a.m.; it adds a wonderful light to the Exhibition and the politics of the magazine's time...)
The Cane Toad Times ran from 1977 to 1979 and then again from 1983 to 1990: its by-line was originally 'The Eccentric Voice' before being made available in various interstate locations as 'Australia's Humour Magazine'. Essentially, however, it was a Queensland vehicle for the writers and cartoonists from the era when to be a political activist in Queensland was tantamount to treason! If you did not grow up or live in Queensland in those days (as I did), it is difficult to explain the political repression that took place in those days; and The Cane Toad Times was seen to be such a subversive magazine that one could only help by supporting it and buying copies when they went on sale (if one could find it)! I am uncertain where my old copies went to, but reliving the original artworks of cartoonists like Judy Dunn, Matt Mawson, John Shakespeare, (and, for me especially) David Tyrer and Max Bannah was a really overwhelming and emotional experience when I saw the Exhibition the first time round. I really found the Nostalgia hard to handle in a manner I cannot articulate.
In a certain way it makes me sad to think that there is no national magazine that sets out to challenge the norm in our society today, or at least allows Australia's creative cartoonists a forum for their works. Besides The Cane Toad Times, there has been a short history of some Australian magazines that have done this in the past ...Smith's Weekly, Oz and The National Review (to name a few) ... why can't there be another?? (While The Lifted Brow tries and I subscribe to it, it hasn't quite reached the pinnicle of those just mentioned. Even The Bulletin gave cartoonists' a medium, and in its prime sought to challenge.
I cannot recommend this Exhibition highly enough. It runs at the State Library of Queensland until March 25th. If you are unable to attend, then at the very least have a look at some of the information you can find about it at the Library's web-site, by clicking here.
I'm pretty Excited about this News, so spread it around, Friends!
Here's a few Cartoon Competitions offering some serious money as prizes!
First of all, there is the Women on the World International Cartoon Competition (WoW) - it is open to all women cartoon and caricature artists worldwide over 18 years to comment on world and/or women's issues. Entries close February 24, 2012.
Winners will be announced on International Women's Day - March 8, 2012 at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery - Coffs Harbour, with Prizes - 1st $1000, and 2 merit awards of $750 each. For more detail of this Competition, please click HERE!
Then there is The 24th Rotary Cartoon Awards - it is open to all artists worldwide over 18 years. There are two sections: A National Section with 6 categories and an International one with a set topic.
All entries are eligible for the 'Cartoon of the Year'.
Prize money totals $10,000. Entries can be sent between March 1 and May 31st, 2012.
Winners will be announced on July 21, 2012 at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery, Coffs Harbour.
For more detail of this Competition, please click HERE!
Details about these Competitions can be found at the Rotary National Cartoon Awards web-page http://www.rotarycartoonawards.com/ or by clicking HERE!
2011 has been a year of Lows and Lows for the Australian Book Publishing Industry as a whole, with retail outlets Borders and then Angus and Robertson ceasing to operate. As such, it seemed an odd time to even consider launching Comicoz' first book, John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor.
However, from a Comicoz perspective, the year has been one of Highs and Lows. With a commitment to deliver copies of the book to John Dixon personally, I had no choice except to publish - irrespective of what the market was doing. Meeting John was certainly one of the major Highs of the year; being able to launch the book at The Avid Reader in front of Family, Friends and Air Hawk Fans was another. Cracking the Top 10 Sales of Independent Booksellers (even if for one week!) was an unexpected surprise.
The Lows remain. No Australian Distributor has expressed any interest in carrying the book, a situation that remains at year's end. I have chosen not to follow up Diamond's offer to carry the book, as I want to see it in Australian Bookstores before it is in overseas comic stores. I am certain to revise this thinking with the Second Volume, whenever it comes out. I have been waiting for some external contributors to add to the page count of the next Volume; although the longer I wait the less likely I shall choose use them - the Second Volume is increasingly likely to simply carry Air Hawk stories.
Overall sales have remained slow and steady, although more than half of the print run remains unsold. This ordinarily would ensure I give up on any future Air Hawk project (a course of action favoured by Mrs Karmichael), but I remained bouyed by continuing interest shown by both Air Hawk Fans and Independent Booksellers around the country. I am also interested in a particular Print on Demand Printer/Distributor that I learnt about through the Queensland Writer's Centre. Interested to the point of planning to soon sign a contract no less!
With conventional Booksellers going under, it is up to Publishers like Comicoz to seek out newer innovations in getting Publications 'out there' where the Readers are. Whether this means different means of marketing, or seeking opportunities in a changing publishing environment, or looking for a different product to give the modern reader (or even a combination of all these options) - Comicoz remains positive and committed to its future. I trust you will join us for the ride!
Comicoz is Nat Karmichael's publishing imprint. Nat is committed to preserving a permanent collection of Australian comic and comic strips. He feels that there is a need to recognise comics' contribution to and depiction of Australian culture.
Since 2011, Nat has self-published over twelve comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of
Oi Oi Oi! -- the last series of nationally-distributed comic books of original stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He is a member of the Australian Cartoonists Association and edited the Association's journal Inkspot for 14 issues from late 2015. For numerous years he was the Lead Judge in the Ledger of Honour Awards for the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly the Ledgers). These days Nat dreams of retiring from his occupation as a Clinical Nurse in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital, so that he can spend more time with his long-suffering wife and their six children and fourteen grandchildren. And perhaps publish some more comic-related books.
Comicoz acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respects to elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.
Australian Publications since 1976:
1 x Poster
19 x comics (one a co-production with Cyclone Comics in 1988/9, one a co-production with Cowtown Comics in 2022)
2 x Paperback books
10 x Hardcover books