I've just got the Media Release written, and am preparing to send it (with a preview copy of the First Issue of Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!) to as many media organisations that I can think of! Looks like this little Labour of Love is all ready for the Newsagents next Thursday!
Yesterday, Integrated Distribution Solutions (our Distributor) and Comicoz agreed on the allocations: three copies will be sent to 1,655 Newsagents around this country. So, if your local is not stocking it, ask 'em: "Why Not?!"
If you click here you can see the promotional spiel that has been put together that the newsagents will read...
A week to go until the First Issue of Oi Oi Oi! hits the Australian newsstands. I am nervously excited! And not exactly sitting on my hands, either. I am presently working on the Second Issue! I just thought I would share with you, Dear Reader, the tough editorial decisions that have to be made here in Comicoz HQ. Here are two alternative covers for the Second Issue. Which one do I choose? Why? Which one, as a Reader, would you find appealing and grab your attention on the newsstands? It's not an easy role, being Editor of a wonderful new comic anthology, I must say, but where else would I rather be....??!
It's a tough job, I know, but SOMEONE had to do it! And why not me? I have battled through the bosoms to search for the Ned Kelly review in the new issue of People Magazine (out today and on sale for the next fortnight).
Perth's Supanova is on this weekend, and I have chosen not to attend -- mostly because I have been planning on working on the Second Issue of Oi Oi Oi! (due for release in early October). Sydney's Supanova was on last weekend, and I had chosen not to attend -- mostly because I was planning on working on the Second Issue of Oi Oi Oi!....
But then, the printer's proof of Rob Feldman's book Cartoons, Comics and Cows in Cows arrived at the Comicoz Office Thursday afternoon. Certainly, it has been a book that has been and is much anticipated. No time to courier it down to Rob in Sydney. There appeared to be no option, except to catch a plane at short notice and get down to Sydney to present the book to Rob... I won't go into all the details, but Rob was totally stunned to see me at his doorstep...at about 8 p.m. at night!
Of course, there was then no point in talking to Rob! He was off studying his proof copy. Fondling it like a baby. Re-examining the pages. Sharing some of the inspirations that lead to some of the stories that appeared in the book....
Look, everyone who has released a book, a comic, I'm sure a CD or anything with some creative element involved in its development, will understand Rob's feelings and emotions. Rather than saying anything about it, let's just allow the pictures here to do the talking...
For those Patient Pozible Pledgers awaiting copies of Rob's book, I should tell you that Rob found: A spelling mistake, A picture that looks a little blurry, and three other (minor) adjustments that he wants to correct. So, sadly, the book needs to have these minor revisions before it will be released to the public...and the Pozible Pledgers.
In the meantime, a representative from Dennis Jones and Associates (Comicoz' Ned Kelly Distributor) has asked to see a copy of the book. And so a second proof copy was sent to them last week. (There were only two proofs available.) Any response will be covered on a future Blog posting...
Before setting off to Rob's home, I was fortunate in being able to catch up with Andrew Dixon at his home in the northern beaches of Sydney. Andrew spends most of his working time tripping around the world. (Yes, I know, some people have the worst jobs in the world, don't they??!) So, how lucky was I, when I decided to visit Sydney to actually find Andrew home! We had a quick chat over a coffee -- it had been over 25 years since we had last seen each other! -- talking about his Dad, John Dixon, and other matters of state. And then, I was able to present Andrew with Dad's 2014 Ledger Award... for John Dixon's "Lifetime Achievement in Australian Comics"...
(I finally got to meet Karen from Hive Mindedness Media as well as Sorab and Don from Silver Fox Comics! And -- even though he was in the adjacent table to the ACA -- I didn't even get time to say "Hullo" to Darren "Killeroo" Close...) In the end, I simply ran out of time to meet people. Within three hours, I had to return to Brisbane, and spend some time with my wonderful wife Carlene who gave up some of her time (as she always so unselfishly does) to allow me time with my comic passion...
As I said about a week ago, I have been so absolutely overwhelmed by the response to The Sunday Mail feature since last Sunday. To everyone who emailed or bought a Ned Kelly book: Thank You so much. To Sally Browne and Richard Waugh for your words and pictures: Thank You again. I could never have anticipated such a response! I have been so busy over the past week, that all I have really had time to do is fill orders!
Comicoz' next project is the imminent arrival of new Australian comic anthology Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi! onto most Australian news-stands (on July 1st and 56 big pages for only $7.95). All those who pre-ordered copies of the magazine through our store should find it popping into their letterbox in the coming week. (The courier dropped off our copies yesterday evening while I was at work, and the Distributor received their copies early last week.)
In the meantime, between today and that Tuesday, there is a lot to share with you, dear Reader, and much to prepare for that release date. Let's see how much I can record here for posterity!
Looking further forward, there is an Exhibition Opening that I have been invited to that is dear to my heart. (And, sadly, one I will be unable to attend, due both to its distance from my home and my need to prepare for Oi Oi Oi!'s release.) Still, it is one I feel I should share with you and hope that someone, after the fact, can make me extremely jealous and tell me how good it was to have been there...
Drawn from the extensive archive of the Australian Cartoon Museum, "She'll be right, mate?" is an exhibition that chronicles the issues of Indigenous affairs in Australian society, sports and politics from the last 30 years in cartoon form. Australian cartoonists, including Nicholson, Jeff, Spooner, Knight, Leunig, Tanner, OZ and many others illustrate Australia’s often rocky road towards reconciliation from the Bicentenary to the Apology.
The Exhibition runs from July 4th until August 31st, and is being held at the Burrinja Cultural Centre at the corner of Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey (in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges). The Exhibition will be presented in partnership with the Australian Cartoon Museum. For more information about the Burrinja Cultural Centre please click here; and for information about the Australian Cartoon Museum please click here.
I have to be honest here. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response I received from Sally Browne's Monty Wedd - Ned Kelly feature story in the U on Sunday supplement that ran in Queensland's The Sunday Mail today.
Thank You to all who have emailed or placed an order for the book. I shall attempt to respond (by email or by posting copies of the book) to you all as soon as I possibly can. Due to the volume of orders today for Monty Wedd's Ned Kelly book, there are now less than ten copies of the (200 copy) signed edition remaining! Just remember, there is no extra cost for a signed edition: it is simply a case of first in to obtain this piece of Comicoz publishing history!
If you do miss out on the signed edition, please don't despair -- there will still be regular copies of the book available. As it is, even orders arriving after the 200th signed copy is received will still find a special surprise in the Ned Kelly package sent out! And of course, I won't say what that special surprise is, or it wouldn't be a surprise, would it??!
I must publicly thank Sally Browne for such a wonderfully detailed feature article. Richard Waugh's photograph of myself felt a bit spooky on seeing it for the first time, but I am really pleased with it: it has a great mood to the shot.
Here is - I think! - a link to the first page (click here) of U on Sunday. The feature article appears on pages 24 and 25 of the supplement. Unfortunately,there are no direct links to the article (unless you choose to become an On-Line Member of The Courier-Mail newspaper). As Non-Queensland and Overseas readers may not be able to obtain copies of the paper (and may not wish to become an On-Line Members), here is an exact copy of the feature....
* Note: If you have come to this site, seeking information as to where to purchase a copy of "Ned Kelly: Written and Narrated by Monty Wedd" please click here.
PRESERVING WEDD"S KELLY
For 40 years, they lay dormant in newspaper archives, but now a Brisbane publisher has put together the complete Ned Kelly comic strip in a restored collected edition
WORDS // SALLY BROWNE
There's no Australian who doesn't know the name Ned Kelly. He's a figure who has inspired stories, songs and films — a legendary icon whose heart-thumping tale is part of our cultural landscape. And he even inspired a comic strip.
Ned Kelly, the comic, was a must-read addition to the Sunday papers in the 1970s. Written and illustrated by historian and artist Monty Wedd, it was a feast for the eyes and imagination and told the story of the 19th century bush ranger in lavish detail and historical accuracy. It was syndicated in several papers, including the Sunday Sun in Brisbane, between 1974 and '77
But for almost 40 years, it was forgotten, until a Brisbane publisher decided to dust off the archives and put it all together in one volume. The complete tale has now been collected and published in a hard-cover coffee table book by comic lover and publisher Nat Karmichael of Margate, north of Brisbane.
Karmichael's passion is comics old and new —his company Comicoz publishes both rediscovered and yet-to-be-discovered works, and he is particularly keen on telling Australian stories. So was Monty Wedd, who was an enthusiastic collector of Australian memorabilia, even opening his own museum.
Karmichael. who also works as a psychiatric nurse, remembers first meeting Wedd at a comics event in the late-1980s.
"He was so easy to talk to," he says. "He had a lot of history in his head of the olden days of Australian comics. I wondered why he'd never put Ned Kelly together in one volume. We said we must do it some day."
Unfortunately, Wedd didn't live to see the completion of the book — he died in 2012, aged 90 — but Karmichael has continued to work with Wedd's family to preserve his legacy.
Wedd, who grew up in Sydney, began working as an illustrator in the 1940s. His comic characters included Captain Justice, a vigilante bush ranger, and The Scorpion, who was banned in Queensland. Wedd said: "The authorities objected to The Scorpion not being brought to justice, but if he had been I wouldn't have had a series." He also created the animated dollar bill character that sang in the introduction of decimal currency, and developed historical series such as Captain Cook's journal, Bold Ben Hall and the Birth of a Nation. He worked on animated series in the US, including The Lone Ranger and Rocket Robin Hood. But Wedd was a big believer in telling Australian stories.
In the 1970s, he was commissioned by News Limited to do a Ned Kelly series following the release of the film starring Mick Jagger. It was a project he took to with gusto, stretching out the original 30-or-so weeks proposed to three years.
"He meticulously researched it," Karmichael says. "He went to the places where Ned Kelly attended court. He went to all the townships in order to get accuracy to the nth degree. This was the days before the internet of course."
Wedd was very much a character himself. He was also something of a collector, and in 1998 opened a museum in Williamtown, on the central coast of New South Wales.
The collection features several military uniforms and a propeller from Sir Charles Kingford Smith's plane.
"Some people would call him a hoarder and others would call him a historian," Karmichael says.
"Monty liked collecting artefacts that pertained to Australian history. He was very passionate and thought the best way to educate young people was through mediums they could relate to. He felt that history books were boring and didn't get the kids involved.
"He was concerned that we were getting too much education about things that happened external to Australia. He was keen to relate it to young people and thought comics the best way to do that."
In the 1940s, when Wedd began drawing, Australia had a thriving comics scene. The government had placed an embargo on overseas comics, which meant that local artists were creating at a rate of knots. Titles would sell up to 00,000 copies.
"There were a lot of publishers locally that were willing to put out Australian comics on the newsstands," Karmichael says. "That lasted for a long period up until about 1959, when the government relaxed the ban."
Then, there was a huge hunger for American product, and Wedd even sent his character Captain Justice to America, something he was reluctant to do.
Now the comics scene is thriving again, with numerous local producers putting out their works in print and online. Karmichael hopes to help those creators with a platform for their work. He has published a new collection of works by Rob Feldman, Cartoons, Comics, and Cows in Cars, which he describes as "bizarre Pythonesque humour". And he is publishing Oi Oi Oi! - an anthology of new Australian comics which will be available at newsstands on July 1.
The first volume involves a story about a guy who gets drunk on New Year's Eve, which may seem a little odd, Karmichael says, but has a uniquely Australian feel to it.
"Stories like that I think have to be preserved for people to read and think hey, this is not only a cool story, this is a funny story, this is also an Australian story that I can relate to."
Karmichael hopes to promote more work.
"There are a lot of artists and cartoonists today who don't really have a medium in order to express themselves," Karmichael says. "I think Australia has become a very diverse population. We've got a whole range of stories that Australians want to tell.
"I've always been fascinated by Australian comics - both past and present. I think comics are a reflection of Australia and its history. Comics represent our way of life - how we think and our vernacular - so I think comics are historical artefacts of our past."
He hopes those cultural treasures don't get lost. Among his stable. he has also published two collected works of Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor, by John Dixon. which ran in The Courier-Mail from 1959 until the 1980s.
"Because they've all been in newspapers, I'm concerned that some of those things get forgotten. The reason for starting my business was to try to preserve some of those comic strips so that future generations can look back on the past."
And he hopes to tell the stories of the future. "There are so many talented artists and cartoonists who want to see their work out there because there are so many different stories that they want to tell, Australian stories, local stories, stories that deal with our culture right now."
Ned Kelly by Monty Wedd. limited edition, is published by Comicoz and distributed through Dennis Jones and associates. Details: comicoz.com
If you are going to Supanova on Saturday morning, please say "Hullo!" to Rob Feldman at the Australian Cartoonists Association stand...
Many thanks to journalist Kerstin Kehren for the article on Monty Wedd's Ned Kelly book in today's Redcliffe & Bayside Herald. Great photograph too: and for that, let's give thanks to Chris Higgins!
Ned Kelly art back from dead
NEW BOOK REVIVES COMICS
THE work of comic artist Monty Wedd has been revived in a newly released book published by Margate resident Nat Karmichael.
Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd features the late artist's illustrated history of the legendary bushranger.
The comic strip was commissioned to coincide with the release of Mick Jagger's 1970 film Ned Kelly.
But what started as a limited 36-week run in the Sunday papers soon took on a life of its own.
"The more (Monty) investigated, the more he realised there was a bigger story there that (the) movie just wasn't touching and he felt `let's do a historically accurate depiction of his life'," Mr Karmichael said.
Wedd meticulously researched the comic strip's subject matter, visiting court houses where Kelly had been and using photos to inform his illustrations.
Mr Karmichael said the publication of Wedd's work through the new book had been driven by a desire to preserve his legacy.
"And it was a chance for people that were passionate about not only Ned Kelly, but also Monty's craft - his comic strip art - to be able to see the glorious detail he had in his artwork," he added.
The book was compiled with the support of Wedd's son, Justin.
Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd retails for $60 and is available from the Margate Post Office, at selected book-stores and online at comicoz.com/store.
It's now Official!
The comics anthology Oi Oi Oi! published by Comicoz, is to be Nationally Distributed by Integrated Publication Solutions.
An Agreement was signed yesterday!
The First Issue goes on sale nationally from July 1st and will assume a quarterly publishing schedule.
Those who signed up for advance copies of the magazine should receive theirs in the mail about the same time the magazine hits the Australian News-stands.
Already, the plans for the Second Issue are under way, with the content to consist wholly of Australian Women Artists and Cartoonists!
Any Australian Artist or Cartoonist interested in seeing their work in print in future editions, please send beaming Editor Nat Karmichael a quick email email@example.com !
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