National Cartoon Gallery
PO Box 1483
COFFS HARBOUR NSW 2450
RE: Proposed Extensions to The National Cartoon Gallery
I recently attended the Rotary Cartoon Awards’ 30th Anniversary in the (newly named) National Cartoon Gallery, where I learnt of your plans to expand the Gallery. As an Australian comic historian and comic publisher, I'd like to add my voice in the need to do so.
Cartoons (and comics) in this country still tend to suffer the age-old stigma of being childish and disposable, yet Australian proponents of the mediums are continually being recognised around the world as being the best in the field. That your band of volunteers have been able to overlook this discrimination and carefully house and catalogue over 23,000 cartoons, shows that there is a depth to this unique art form that escapes many.
This Coffs Harbour collection is growing annually. While there will be a need to preserve these cartoons acquired over the past thirty years, internationally there is also a growing historical and culture importance attached to the cartooning arts as I am sure you are aware. The Cartoon Museum in London opened only recently (in 2006) and has considerably less items in its inventory. The world’s largest, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in the United States is now administered by Ohio State University.
Belgian’s Comic Strip Centre, in Brussels, is perhaps the best-known, with a recorded 200,000 visitors annually. Opening in 1989, this Museum features a restaurant, a comics’ store, rooms with original comic (and animation) artwork, and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of the local medium – in short, not too dissimilar to your plans!
Margaret, I’d like to publicly add my voice to the chorus of those seeking support for your proposed extensions. This is an opportunity to preserve a little-appreciated medium for future generations who will thank you for your persistence and foresight. Although I am enamoured with the medium, as you know, I’m excited to feel I am a part of this.
Inkspot Editor and Deputy President,
Australian Cartoonists Association.
Australian comic commentator and
Principal of Comicoz,
An Australian comic publisher.
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