Newcastle is not the only Australian city where its creative people have got together to produce a comic worth shouting about! I have already mentioned ASHCAN in a previous posting. But let me refresh your memory!
"Ashcan is a collaborative project designed to bring together Queensland-based comic artists and writers, giving them the opportunity to have their work published for free in a print medium. Our hope is that giving people the chance to work with and alongside their peers will not only increase their experience and enthusiasm about comics, but also strengthen the sense of communinity for comics in the greater Brisbane area."
So reads the blurb on the back cover of Issue 3 (the cover to that issue is illustrated to the left), published in October 2011...and what I had thought was the most recent issue. How wrong I was! I have -as I began writing here - managed to locate a brand-new web-site devoted to the magazine, and you can read all about it by clicking here.
It seems that another two more issues have since seen print and they are available at the web-site at $6.50 each for physical copies (plus postage and packing). Digital copies are also available.
I cannot seem to find my copy of my First Issue as I type this, but Issues Two and Three are 48 black and white pages long (size 15cms width x 23cms depth) with colour covers, and I am assuming Issues Four and Five are of similar size. I have purchased copies of these issues (ordering is available at the web-site) and I shall tell you my thoughts when they arrive in the mail....
To be honest, the quality of the stories and artwork has improved over the run I have read. Being a sucker for supporting any Australian comic I have purchased them more to support the project rather than for any inherent quality to the stories contained therein. That is not to say that I have not found any redeeming value to the comics. Some of the artwork by some of the contributors (notably Martin Buckingham, Shaun Craike, David Babore, Ben Adams and Darren Fisher) were exceptional, although I believe the format size diminished the overall enjoyment I would have experienced if they had been, say, 'regulation' comic-book size.
I personally really enjoyed the story 'Those Legendary Dreamkillers' from Issue 2, written and drawn by Giles Kilham. (I have included a section of this two-page story at the end of this Blog Posting for you to savour.) Indeed, this story illustrates to me what and why I like the comics medium - Giles has shared a time of his life in comic form, about a band he feels passionate about. Now, I have never been to a Dreamkillers' show, but Giles gives such a masterful feel for his passion for the band, the era and the place that one becomes almost wistful for having missed this experience. This is, in my opinion, comic book writing (and illustrating) at its finest! Great work!
I suppose it is in the nature of Anthologies that the artwork and stories can be a bit of a 'hit and miss' affair. However, I am willing to persevere with reading future issues of ASHCAN, and trust that they - as a Collective - can achieve their Mission Statements...and perhaps by working together can even improve the overall standard of their collective works...
Another Anthology! Another City! Our Capital City, Canberra, in fact....!
Published in February 2012, is this little beauty...!!
DISCLOSURE: Comicoz had a financial investment in helping this issue see print...
'Beginnings' is a comics anthology put together by a collective of comic book writers and artists (mostly) from the Australian Capital Territory. The book is digest size (15cms width x 21cms depth), Trade Paperback format with 174 pages in total ... and all in marvelous colour! Because I invested in the production of the book, I am fearful that you, Dear Reader, may feel that I am somewhat biased in my apprasial of the contents. I shall, therefore, say nothing, but simply direct you to a place where you may consider purchasing the book without any heavy-handed 'sell' on my part. I understand that the cost of the issue is $20 plus postage and packing. For more details, please click here....
Above, is the first panel of the two page Dreamkillers comic strip I raved about in an earlier paragraph. I suggest you read the story in its entirety in order that you can make up your own mind. If you feel I have exaggerated somewhat, you are more than free to send me an email and let me know. But, you will be entirely welcome to your opinion. NOTE: I have NO financial (or other) interest in ASHCAN or any of the artists involved. I have not yet sought permission to reprint these images (although I shall do so soon). Copyright is held by respective artists concerned...
About time I posted an entry, don't you think? Today I want to talk about an Australian Comics Anthology well worth supporting. A few months ago I recorded my surprise in finding an Australian Graphic novel-come-Anthology in a local Op-Shop. I promised you I would inform you if I had any further news.... So, breathe easy, dear Reader...!
Through conversations with Trevor Weeks, I am happy to share with you that there is a Second Volume of artistic brilliance from the team known as the Graphic Novel Collective coming from the University of Newcastle. To your left, is a copy of the magnificent cover artwork, illustrated by Trevor.
Now let me tell you how much of an improvement I feel the Second Volume is to the First. The size of the second edition is the same as the first, although the second boasts eight more pages in this new Volume (a total of 104 pages). But more that that - while the first Volume came well printed in black and white, this new Volume comes magnificently printed in glorious full colour, making much of the artists' internal artwork even more vibrant!
Of the seven artists who worked on stories for the First Volume, five returned to write and illustrate stories for this new Volume (and two newcomers entered the Collective). I particularly thought Fiona Tsang's work had improved in the year since the last collection, and newcomer John Hocking's work was impressive. Without meaning to be mean, I found Tallulah Cunningham's artwork seemed a little too 'muddy' with the colouring on occasion this time, compared to Tallulah's wonderful penmanship in Volume One (although both stories engaged me). I personally - and I suppose this is a very subjective thing - like Roger Quinn's overall artistic style; although of his contributions, my preference was for his inventive storytelling in the First Volume. One thing that made the Second Volume work better as a co-hesive whole, was the introduction of a theme to the volume. Although I'm sure that some of the writer/artists may have felt pressured with this limitation place on them, I thought it still lead to a good variety of stories that left me, as a Reader, satisfied.
I commend the work of the University of Newcastle for continuing this publishing venture. Special praise, too, should go to the Editors, Roger Quinn and Trevor Weeks. Besides both contributing stories/artworks to both Volumes, said gents are also Lecturers at the University! Don't you wish you had studied there??! I do!
And Now the Really Good News!! Trevor has told me that 'Pictures Without Words' is the planned Third Volume from the Scribbles Graphic Novel Collective! Contributions are due in at the end of July, with about 15 writer-artists already considering contributing to this year's annual.... If you are interested in obtaining a copy of 2011's Second Volume, 'Stories from the Garden' (as pictured above) please send a $15.95 money order made out to Trevor Weeks. Thats's $12.95 for the Volume plus $3.00 for postage and packing, which is an Absolute Bargain!
Then send your order to: Trevor Weeks, Co-Editor SCRIBBLE Comics Collective,
Care of: The School of Design Communication and I.T.
Faculty of Science and I.T.
Univeristy of Newcastle
New South Wales
And please let Trevor know you read about it here at the COMICOZ website!
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