My work on the Monty Wedd book Bold Ben Hall and the publishing frequency of Oi Oi Oi! has taken a bit of a hit, partially due to my work on Inkspot, but also due to some of the financial issues surrounding the magazine (Oi Oi Oi! has been running at a loss), as well as the state of my distress at some of the people that I care about being struck ill since August. From Andrew Bergen (Magpie writer), my son-in-law, to my wife. And now being added to this list is my Mother, who only learnt about a week before Christmas that she has bowel cancer and had to undergo major bowel surgery last Tueday (yes, just a couple of days after Christmas). This latest turn of events has subdued my seasonal celebrations somewhat. (Having to work on Christmas day, and having just completed night duty hasn't helped too much either!)
Anyway, I DO plan on releasing more issues of Oi Oi Oi! although planning may not take place until about March into the new year....
So, let me share just some of them here! I am more committed than ever in getting Bold Ben Hall in print. Sadly, the movie based on this Australian bushranger seems to have sunk without even much of a ripple (it was in so few cinemas locally, I didn't even have time or opportunity to see it myself). I am sure the book by Monty Wedd will do well. The only thing that might cause some to baulk may be the cover price. While the Ned Kelly story was 145 pages long, and the book retailed for about $50 (or $40 from our web-site), Bold Ben Hall is going to be over 400 pages in length!
Other books that are in various stages of preparation include a third volume of Air Hawk, and collection of Gary Chaloner's past Flash Damingo and the Jackaroo works. I am most excited about a book called From Sunbeams to Sunset that Graeme Cliffe has spent the past eight years (plus) researching. We have (just about) managed to secure copyright clearances for this one, that recounts the history of the Australian comic book. You thought John Ryan's Panel by Panel was extensive? Wait until you see what Graeme has detailled! I am also waiting to hear back from Sydney-based artist Thomas Campi to see how advanced his illustrations for Joe Shuster are progressing. I believe this book shows enough promise to break Thomas in the American market.
I am also trying to begin work on retrospective volumes of both Alex Gurney and Phil Belbin's works as well as the collected comic works of Emile Mercier. But maybe one year is too ambitious, and I may have to delay planning of those little beauties until a little later.... Ahh, the New Year is around the corner. It shows promise of better days! May your New Year be a Happy one, whatever YOU have planned, and I shall look forward to talking to you more about Australian comics when next you venture onto this Blog - Web-site!