Australia Day! A time to shout and sing about the promises of a year ahead. Well, that's what is taking place in the Comicoz Headquarters this morning, as we publically reveal our publishing plans for 2015. Of course, from January it all looks wonderful in theory, because there are so many factors that come into play during a year (like work, family events, trying to find time to sleep) that may somehow limit my capacity to see all these Comicoz plans come to fruition, but a good attempt will be made at seeing most of these plans made into a reality!
First of all, Oi Oi Oi! will continue to highlight new and established comic artists and cartoonists. Newsagent distribution will have to be re-examined if sales for Issue #2 (yet to be released) do not trend upwards. Still, there is a need for the magazine (as evidenced by the number of cartoonists and artists seeking to have their works published with in the pages), so its publication will continue. The Fourth Issue is running a little behind in schedule and is still being worked on this weekend. It will have stories that carry the theme of... WAR! with release date in the newsagents still planned for April.
Some of the Comicoz announcements from this time last year did not see the light of day. Let's not point a finger of blame at anyone: these are just things that happen for a myriad of reasons (and here is not the forum to list or discuss them). All we can do is hope that maybe this year they come to pass! The two major ones were the books planned on Ginger Meggs' artists from over the years by Lindsay Foyle, and the completion of the very first Verity Aloeha adventure from the talented Michal Dutkiewicz.
Those who know me, know I have the greatest respect for Sydney cartoonist Rob Feldman's work. I just find his work so laugh-aloud funny. From a publishing perspective, his book that Comicoz released last year (Cartoons, Comics and Cows in Cars) did not sell as well as I thought it would. Nonetheless, Comicoz is determined to see more of Rob's work in print, and so another Rob Feldman project will get underway in 2015. Rob Feldman Fans (and that's plural -- I am not the only one!) you can again rejoice! One day the world will catch up to us...
Another cartoonist with a zany sense of humour: Peter Player! If you have read the latest issue of Oi Oi Oi! you will have read Peter's "Cheap Gags" story and found it difficult to contain your mirth. Comicoz is presently seeking out Paul Toohey (last seen in Darwin, undertaking a 'serious' career in Journalism) in order that Paul and Peter's weekly strip COOGAN, The Cockless Detective, first published in The Picture magazine between 1995 to 2006 -- back when people read it for the comics! -- can be reprinted in full. So, if anyone knows where Paul is, get him to contact Nat, here at Comicoz...!
One person's work that you are going to see a lot of in 2015 will be Gary Chaloner. Not only is Gary's art going to grace the cover to the next Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor volume due in 2015 (see above, right), but Gary is also going to reprint the complete adventures of his characters Flash Damingo and The Jackaroo! Back in the Bronze Age of Australian Comics (a term coined, I believe, by Dave de Vries when talking about the 1980s) and into the ninteen-ninties, Gary's character was just about everywhere! If you missed out on those tales back then, here's your chance to see them really shine. Gary has given Comicoz permission to reprint them in their entirety...and to say that I am proud to participate in this reprinting is to seriously understate the issue! Not to mention the pride I have in announcing this here for the very first time!
Comicoz is also proud to announce that our biggest selling title to date (Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd) may go into a second printing! Given that I have been told that Channel Nine may be planning a Mini-series on Ned Kelly later in 2015, this couldn't be better timing! And the great news doesn't stop there...!!
The Family of Monty Wedd and Comicoz are presently into some very serious negotiation about Monty's second historical newspaper strip, Bold Ben Hall. With a new distribution deal presently being negotiated (I can't say too much just yet!), there is a good possibility that this planned hardcover -- a companion piece to Ned Kelly -- will be available all around the country in places comic-related masterpieces are just not associated with! Keep your ears peeled on this one!
Finally, leaving the best to last...and ending with a bit of a tease. Neil Matterson is a well-respected Australian Cartoonist. Which of Neil's comic strips (and he has written and drawn a few!) do I rate above all others? (Clue: Try and locate a copy of Issue Six of John Dixon's Air Hawk Magazine from 1988). A planned high-quality hardcover coffee table book featuring the best of this strip, with some autobiographical words by Neil, will make this The Book to share, come Christmas 2015!
And now -- It is Australia Day! Go out and shout and sing....and share this news! Here are promises of some great reading ahead in 2015...and I look forward to sharing them with you...!
On sale tomorrow! In Newsagents all around Australia! Some fabulous stories by some of Australia's finest artists and cartoonists....and one New Zealand artist too....
Inside you will read:
The Second Episode of Alisha Jade's Seven
All-new work by Danny Zemp, Owen Heitmann, and great new talent Lauren Metzler
A Job Dun adventure by Mark Hobby (with Art by Ben Michael Byrne, and Noelle Criminova, colours, and Bolt-01, lettering, helping out!)
Dean Rankine and Hagen giving us a page each... filled with much merriment
Sarah Laing from New Zealand makes Oi Oi Oi! a truly international magazine, with her Possom story
Some cheap gags by Peter Player (if you don't find his work funny, you must be dead!) to round out the issue...
And have a look at that fold-out cover artwork by David Follett...! Worth the price of admission alone!
56 pages on high quality paper, 16 pages in full colour, high gloss cover....
Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi! Issue Three on Sale Tomorrow!
All of this for only $7.95....buy a second copy for someone you love!
Although I believe that (ahem!) Comicoz has published two of the better comic books in 2014, both Monty Wedd and Rob Feldman have to be excluded from my judgement of this Award. And as I alone make the decision, this Award would be held into question should I choose either Rob or Monty, as it would give the appearance of being biased towards my own books. So, to prevent what might seem a conflict of interest, I shall exclude any Comicoz book from 'entering' this Award, now and in the future. I have again decided to announce this Honorary Award on the birth-date of one of Australia's greatest comic book artists (Monty Wedd, born on January 5th.... 94 years ago today).
As in previous years, the Comicoz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book still does not bring its recipient any monetary rewards or worldly acclaim, and the Award bestowed remains a totally an honorary one. However, as I said last year (and as I say again this year) Awards are fun things and they generate discussion, which is healthy for our medium.
I am not bribed into choosing the recipient. The Award is simply my summation of who I think is deserving of it, based on the Australian comic books I have read during the past twelve months. As a Reader, you are welcome to disagree and make your thoughts known, but I shall not change my mind, and the Award will still stand…
The winner of the Comicoz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2014 is....(drumroll, drumroll).....
...The ANZAC Legend: A Graphic History by Dave Dye.
Mildura-based, Dave Dye works in an environment away from any comic scene, and has slaved 'for over 5000 hours' (that's three years full-time!) to produce the detailed history of the ANZAC story. His book covers the period from about June 1914 to May 5th the following year all over 200 wonderfully detailed pages. As I said last April, when reviewing the book on this Blog: There is no way that the Reader can approach a read of this book as "a light read", given the amount of detail presented. "The story is presented in a manner which makes it easier for the layman to understand why, who, where and what took place", says Dave. And this is exactly what one gets.
I have noticed in booksellers in recent days (when shopping for Christmas presents) other books that seek to depict the ANZAC story in Graphic format. Sadly, I did not find Dave's book among those offered for sale, because Dave's book stands head and shoulders above all others that seek to depict this essential part of our Australian history. Initially, when I read some of Dave's blog (before I had seen a copy of the book) I was a little concerned about Dave's art style: it reminded me of an older style that were prevalent with earlier British boy's comics I recalled from my youth. However, seeing the finished product in its entirety and completed form, I new feel it is eminently suited to Dave's story. The story has been painstakingly put together. Dave's two visits to Gallipoli and 28 years in the Australian Regular Army (where he obtained his Diploma of Visual Art) have been put to great use.
The book is available directly from Dave's website (Click here to be taken there) for only $35 (and $5 for postage and packing, $10 if you are in New Zealand). A PDF version is also available. This is an essential book that should be on all Australian (and New Zealand) book-shelves; the fact it is written in comic book format should matter little.
Publisher Nat Karmichael has today announced the first of Comicoz' publishing ventures for 2015. A high quality hardcover 'coffee table' book is planned to be released at the end of the year, featuring 'the absolute best in Australian cartoonists and comic book artists'. Karmichael states he has invited 100 Australian cartoonists and comic book artists to participate in the proposed publishing venture.
Karmichael stated: "Following some Facebook discussions over the Christmas holiday period (although my brain never seems to take a holiday -- it's always seeking ways of getting the comics message out there!), there seems to be a belief that those within the local comic/cartooning medium that not enough emphasis is credited on female practitioners of the craft. To ensure there is no bias in this invitation, I am ensuring that exactly half (that is, fifty) of the people invited to contribute will be female. During those discussions, I made a statement that most Australian female artists and cartoonists produce works that are more left field and of greater variety and scope that their male counterparts (based on the contributions I get for my newsstand released comic anthology Oi Oi Oi!): so here's a chance for my hypothesis to be proven or forever dispelled!"
The book is planned to be offered to Dennis Jones and Associates, to ensure national bookstand distribution. Release date is scheduled for 'later in the year', with profits raised from the book to be given to a national charity (yet to be formally announced).
Other Comicoz Projects to be scheduled in 2015 will be announced later in January. Comicoz' Annual Award Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2015 is planned to be announced on January 5th.
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