Since returning from Cairns, I've been getting into the swing of a lot of comic-related activities -- so many, to be honest, that I have not had time to record them here or elsewhere. Time to rectify that here!
This year on my Comicoz Facebook page (click here for a link) I had been trying to record on a daily basis all of my comic-related plans and activities. One thing that I found a little difficult in that recording, was trying to keep some items that hadn't quite been announced private. And, thus, they were not recorded. For example, some years ago on these pages, I announced that I had planned on publishing a book on the history of the cartoonists who had worked on the Australian comic strip, Ginger Meggs, written by former editor of The Bulletin, Lindsay Foyle. With the red-headed prankster due to celebrate his centenary in November, it seemed as good time as any to begin working on the book. So, to that end, I paid a well-known Australian artist to work on the roughs for the cover artwork without telling Lindsay (as a bit of a surprise) ...
Sadly, the surprise was all on me! Seeking his opinion on which image would work best for the cover, Lindsay had to share some hard truths with me. Thinking I had "forgotten about the project", he had signed a contract with another publisher. Ah, well, such is the publishing game.
There is so much uncertainty in our society at the moment, especially in relation to COVID-19. Lockdowns are becoming the new norm, with different states imposing different restrictions at differing times. And even within different states. Carlene and I had planned on welcoming some of our granddaughters from regional Queensland to our home during the school holidays, only to see the virus raise its ugly head locally. So we called the visit off. Which turned out to be the right call -- our local community went into lockdown, and if the girls had arrived, they would have been bored silly at our home with no Playstation, and missing all the comforts of their home.
Also having to be called off last weekend was the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly known as the Ledger Awards) in Perth. I understand from organiser Dr Bruce Mutard that the book detailing all the recipients from the past two years has been published (see below), and while I may be privy to knowing who has been awarded the Ledger of Honour for 2021, I won't know who has been honoured with the year's Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards until I can get my hands on a copy of the book.
As a Committee member of the Australian Cartoonists Association in 2020, I had proposed that the organisation publish a magazine of comic stories and features (highlighting COVID-19). Sadly, the idea was supported by some, but rejected by the majority (even though some of the membership were willing to supply material for the magazine). At the time, I assumed then-President Jules Faber would be running for the position again and I had thrown my hat into the ring. For the purpose of historical record (and for a bit of fun), I thought I'd share the proposed illustration for the magazine's cover -- tentatively called "Funny Lines" -- here (drawn by Danny Zemp).
And, as history shall recall, Jules didn't run for President, and I didn't win the majority of the votes either. Cathy Wilcox is the new leader of the Australian Cartoonists Association. Still, I was honoured to be selected as a member of the new Committee. Unfortunately, presenting the same proposal resulted in the same outcome, so perhaps it's something to take further on my own bat a little later on...
In recent years I've chosen to support the National Cartoon Gallery with a small regular donation, and beginning this month I've done the same thing by pledging a small amount to a few creatives' Patreon pages. (For more information about this site for creatives, please check out this link.) By becoming a supporter, you can learn some wonderful "behind the scenes" processes from some of your favourite artists and cartoonists. Here's an example of one I have chosen to support ...
After publishing a few books over the past few years, I'm keen on getting into comic publishing again. To that end, over the past few months I've been speaking to a few cartoonists whose work I see as world-class. I'd like to be able to present their work to the world, and to that end I have asked a couple to each supply me with a 20 to 24-page story. Given that Diamond Distributors accepted 10% of the print-run of Graeme Cliffe's book, would they be interested in some local Australian comics? It's a risk I think should be taken! So that's where my attention is focused in going forward from this space on ...
Not to forget some of the other artists, whose works (in books) I have already expressed an interest in working on and that I have already been talking about on my Facebook pages: Iron Outlaw by Fysh Rutherford & Greg Mac Alpine, Emile Mercier, a John Dixon retrospective, Gary Chaloner's Flash Damingo and the Jackeroo (although that one's on hold for now), Bridgette by Gerald Carr (no, I haven't forgotten Gerald!), and I still hold out hope for Verity Aloha by Michal Dutkiewicz. Then, there's those artists and families in the very early stages of discussions: Syd Miller, Ian Eddy, and more from Monty Wedd (hopefully).
Geez: where am I going to find the time~??!
...acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to elders past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Australian peoples.
Over the past decade (2011 - 2020) Nat has self-published ten comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of Oi Oi Oi! - the last nationally-distributed comic book of original comics stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He edited Inkspot, the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association for 14 issues from late 2015 to 2019 and is a current member of the ACA's Committee. In his spare time, he is a husband, a father (to six) and grandfather (to fourteen), and works in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital.
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.