It's been just a little over a year ago now that Air Hawk creator John Dixon passed away. And, even now, there are still some lovely messages coming in about him. Here's one:
My dad Trevor Hensman talked about Mr Dixon frequently. He talked about the day that Dixon got his pilot license and they flew over Sydney. My dad is a Kiwi and met John in Sydney staying at Presbyterian Hostel or maybe it was Baptist, in the late 40's or early 50's. I am very sorry that he has passed on. I will tell my dad in the morning.
God be with you all.
Sincerely James Hensman
I am presently in the (very) early stages of preparing another Air Hawk volume. The adventures have already been announced (on the Air Hawk Facebook page). Here are all the details you may have missed:
Story 33: "A Bag Full of Wallabies" (May 1972 - a 16 week story)
Story 49: "Yowie" (May 1977 - 20 weeks)
Story 56: "Finders Keepers" (July 1979 - 12 weeks)
Story 69: "Purelko" (March 1983 - 17 weeks)
Story 70: "The Nest Egg" (July 1983)
The process of deciding what to include and what to leave out was a difficult one. I am aware that I have selected nothing from the 1960s (although some came close to being selected). I wanted to include stories that were 100% by John, so I had to omit stories that Keith Chatto (in particular) and Phil Belbin had a hand in. I also feel that John's work (especially as an artist) reached his zenith in the 70s. Some of the 60s stories (like "Man from the Exosphere' are well written, but the line work on the printer's bromides are too fine for good reproduction. And that is another matter. Some of the artwork and printers bromides are simply NOT available (which goes for ALL of the Sunday strips). Sadly. And inexplicably.
I am also aware that I have already published "Yowie" before (in the "Air Hawk Special" that was distributed in the US by Diamond - and others - in the early late 1980s/early 1990s), but the story is filled with such good Aussie humour that it was hard to leave out.
Humour was another reason for selecting "The Nest Egg", as well as the wonderful illustrations of planes (of course). And planes are front and centre in "Finders Keepers" too. The inclusion of Aussie animals made "A Bag Full of Wallabies" a natural selection; and I also wanted one that carried a depiction of Indigenous culture, so I settled on "Purelko". The latter story's original artwork is held by the Australian National Library in Canberra, which perhaps might allow some future potential marketing opportunities by the Library....
I have someone in mind to write an introduction to the book and will soon approach them, And fundraising for the book (and more details of some of the internal pages apart from the "Air Hawk" strips) will be announced in due course.
I've been meaning to post these two videos for some time now. They are both by Sarah Stephenson. I first met Sarah when she took part in a zine-comic workshop that Jeremy Staples and I presented at The Edge (almost a year ago now). The two video were taken on two different occasions earlier this year (the first on February 11th at 4 p.m. and the second on March 8th at about 12 midday-ish, when I was a little late finding the venue). Sarah arranged to meet me at the two separate locations to video interview me, and she had a set of pre-arranged questions that she asked her subject (so it wasn't an interactive interview as such). I gave Sarah the leads to the Brisbane comic book/strip artists for the second video and suggested she do a further interview with female artists/cartoonists in our local (Brisbane) Community. (I know she has met with Alisha Jade for that one, although I am not sure who else she has spoken to. I'm assuming that that video is presently unfinished. If I hear that it completed, I'll include it later in this Blog.)
Although some may wonder about the value of these two pieces, I see them as of being of greater future importance. They capture information not often aired by creatives and are also a visual record of the zine and comic book scene in Brisbane at this time. Thus, they may be of some value to future comic (or zine) historians interested in examining perhaps the early scene here in Brisbane. Brisbane's comic scene is certainly not as vibrant as (say) Melbourne's (or even Sydney's) community, and it is not presently even recognisable as a community (although I can see ZICS as beginning to formulate that role here).
Recently, I was reviewing my Blogs from about five years ago, and I noticed I made an entry on the local comics that were present on the scene then. So, really there has always been an undercurrent of comic publishing in Brisbane. (When I use the term comics I also mean, by extension, zines too.) Thinking back to younger days, I can still recall The Cane Toad Times, a most marvellous local publication; and going back to an even more personal level, there was the "rivalry" between Ian Gould and myself to see who could create the best comics under the banner of 'The Australian Comics Group'....
I had a brief discussion with a Brisbane-based creative at the Gold Coast Supanova (just before we set up on the second day) talking about Brisbane having a need to have the local equivalent of Melbourne's Squishface Studios in our community. I had a similar desire to see this happen locally following the Australian Cartoonists' Association's visit through Squishface late last year, but I know that I am always too busy (due to the need to maintain a good relationship with my wife and family, my work, and my comic publishing) to be the one to set it up. Although that's a feeble excuse, isn't it? My feeling is that there is a need to have it apart from the local comic shops, but also in a place of high pedestrian traffic (to ensure it is a visible presence in the community); and whether it is personal bias or a need to look objectively at the options, I thought Fortitude Valley would be the most suitable location...
Comics are important, not only nationally, but locally too. They allow for creative expression within a society (whether they reflect or challenge the status quo or are simply produced to entertain). As many have heard me say, they are as important as a community's music and motion picture industries, and while they may not be as visible within local communities, their presence needs to be nurtured and allowed to flourish. Comics' presence within a society remains a vibrant and healthy sign of a modern-day creative, artistic community as a whole....
For those who may be curious, I should mention that the normally bubbly and bright Dr Paul Mason was suffering from a cold when Sarah interviewed him!
I am posting this because I am excited about it. Even though it has NOTHING to do with Australian comics...
THE LOST WORK OF WILL EISNER
Artist & Author
Edited by Andrew Carl, Josh O’Neill, and Chris Stevens
Printing plates and scans supplied by Joseph M. Getsinger
Cover design by
James Comey, Peter & Maria Hoey
Book design by
Peter & Maria Hoey
Associate Publishers: Corrie Allegro, Japhet Berlin, Kim Kui Chung, Len Ciccotello, Joseph Kaisler, Nat Karmichael, Sean Kleefeld, Taroh Kogure, Jay Magnum, Justin Park, Rukesh Patel, Richard Pini, Mark Rodgers, Darin Ross Stater, and Joseph Wrzos
Published by Locust Moon Press
Andrew Carl, Editor-in-Chief
Chris Stevens, Creative Director
Josh O’Neill, Publisher
4700 Kingsessing Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Locust Moon would like to extend their deepest thanks to Will Eisner Studios and the Eisner estate
for their support of this project and their stewardship of the legacy of Will Eisner.
First edition, July 2016. Printed in China. ISBN: 978-0-9973729-0-8
I didn't make it to the Ledger Awards this year, although their timing is always impeccable -- held on the Friday evening before Melbourne's Supanova weekend. The main reason I didn't go: I decided to save my pennies to join Melbourne's Homecooked Festival -- held a couple of weeks after the Ledgers. From a financial point of view, I felt I could afford go to one and not the other. (That is, Supanova or Homecooked.) As I had never been to Homecooked, I decided to give it a try this year. Although Melbourne's Supanova had been good to me last year, I thought it important to enter under my own name for a change, rather than riding on the coat-tails of my beloved Australian Cartoonists' Association.
(Not that Comicoz was absent from Supanova. Frantz Kantor was at the Australian Cartoonists' Association stand on my behalf, spreading the good word about Oi Oi Oi! and his Magpie feature....)
I think what swayed me, in choosing between the two events, was Homecooked being a comics Festival. So, if you are in Melbourne next Sunday (May 1st), please come along to Northcote Town Hall (that's at 189 High Street, Northcote). All the activities begin at 12 and the gates close at 5 o'clock (5 p.m.). Entry is free! The whole Town Hall is filled with Comics. What other reason do you possibly need?
This year I was honoured to be invited to be a part of the Committee behind what became (mid-tenure) the Ledger of Honour. I was joined by comic luminaries Daniel Best, Matt Emery, Mick Stone, Dr Kevin Patrick and chaired by Tim McEwen. I believe that to maintain the integrity of the judging process, and thus the Awards of this category (divided into two sections: those that are retired from the medium and those who are now deceased), I might be best by refraining from major comment. Let me say, though, that while I had some strong viewpoints, I thought the selection process in these awards were fair and balanced and the Awards clearly reflected the Committee's wishes. I went into the Committee with an open mind and, with the research required to formulate a winner, I did find myself changing my mind from who I thought would win to who I thought should win (which just happened to be who eventually did win). If that makes sense.
And so, the Recipients of the 2016 Ledger Awards were:
Ledger of Honour (Retired): Peter Chapman.
Ledger of Honour (Deceased): 'Syd' Nicholls (1896 - 1977).
It was also my great honour to be able to work behind the Ledger scenes, in contacting Syd's two daughters before the ceremony, so they were able to attend on the night. It would be remiss of me, if I didn't say that the contact was carried out with some great help from both Justin Wedd and Dorothy Wedd. I also volunteered to write a 2000 word appreciation of Syd Nicholls, with the text having to be written in a (very!) short period of time. Final last-minute editing assistance by both Lindsay Foyle and Graeme Cliffe should also be acknowledged!
Platinum Ledger (acknowledging those that best represent the ideals of the Ledger Awards): a well-deserved nod to Bernard Caleo.
I contemplated making an Editorial comment here about not so much the winners of the Major Awards, but of a possible public perception of the Major Ledger Awards in general. However, it may open me to criticism of sour grapes in not having any of my works being nominated (and, I confess, I was among many of a few creatives who were disappointed in not making the initial Short List), so I might best refrain from making any comments here altogether. Rather, I intend to eventually raise my thoughts with the organisers; as my thoughts are intended to be positive and constructive, and because I believe that the Ledgers are of integral importance to the local comic 'industry' and they need to continue. So, without further ado:
Neomad the Complete Collection by Sufu, Love Punks and Satellite Susters.
Oglaf by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne.
Fly the Colour Fantastica Anthology by Various Artists. (Everyone will know how I feel about these winners, given the way I championed this book during the year, and at my beginning of the year Comicoz Award announcement.)
The Diemenois by Jamie Clennett
Black Magick by Nicola Scott and Greg Rucka. (I'm unclear if Greg, the writer of this American-published comic shares the Award with Nicola, given that he is not Australian. And, my further question: does Sydney-based colourist Chiara Arena -- who drew the cover to Oi Oi Oi! Issue #5 -- get an award too?)
Maralinga by Jen Breach and Doug Holgate.
Evermore by Isabelle Carmody and Daniel Reed.
Cartoonist by Neale Blanden.
Art is a Lie by Susan Butcher and Carol Wood.
One further comment. The year's Annual give-away, recording all of the winners, is most impressive. Over the past two years ceremonies there has been a comic floppy to preserve the winners for posterity, and they have been worth hanging on to for that purpose. This year's was absolute step-up in quality; it really was first-class. I was most impressed and commend Bruce Mutard and his Fabliaux Team for such an excellent job. With thanks to punter Ian McCall, who was there for the occasion of the Ledger Awards while I was not, Comicoz has five copies of this Annual to give away for free to the first five people who were not able to attend and who leave messages below this blog entry. Go for it!
Newsagent sales for Oi Oi Oi! Issue #6 just in: 390 copies.
In all of Australia.
New South Wales: 154 copies.
Queensland: 98 copies.
Victoria: 70 copies.
Western Australia: 37 copies.
South Australia: 19 copies.
Tasmania: 10 copies.
Northern Territory: 2 copies.
Thanks to all who have supported this venture to date....
The Rotary Cartoon Awards are now in their 28th year and run by the Bunker Cartoon Gallery in beautiful Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. I really urge my Cartooning Friends to consider taking part in the competition, but not only because of the rich financial prizes on offer but because of the Awards' aims. The goal is to promote cartooning, cartoon artists and the Bunker Cartoon Gallery, and isn't that a worthy reason to enter??
A few years ago there were some issue in relation to Copyright ownership of the entries, and I am happy to report all of these have now been sorted. Entrants now continue to retain copyright ownership, and agree to allow the Bunker Cartoon Gallery and the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour City to use their work for promotional purposes in furthering the aims of the Gallery. Given that the Gallery is now run by a Board (rather than the City Council), the Gallery is seeking to be as independent and financially autonomous as possible, with events like this being useful in helping achieve these goals...
Of course, the reason you are probably reading this, is to find out the Categories and the Prize monies on offer. (They are open to EVERYONE that is an Australian Resident and over the age of 18 years of age. That's just about ALL OF US!) SO, without further ado, here are the Categories:
BEST COMIC STRIP ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...$1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
BEST CARTOON WITH A POLITICAL THEME...$1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
BEST CARTOON WITH A SPORTS THEME ... ... $1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
BEST CARTOON (OPEN THEME) ... ... ... ... ... .$1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
BEST CARICATURE OF A FAMOUS PERSON ... $1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
BEST CATOON on the theme of SOCIAL MEDIA...$1000 Prize; $500 Merit Prize
From the winners of each Category, one entry will be Judged as the Rotary Cartoon of the Year, with an additional prize of a further $2000 (that is, a total of $3000 in Prize Money).
Interested? I KNOW you are! Next step is to read all the Rules and Entry Conditions and obtain the ever so important Entry Form. Get cracking! Entries close on Sunday June 12th.
The Entry Form (and Rules and Entry Conditions) are all available by Clicking Here!
The year may be young, and I may be somewhat presumptuous to state, but the Australian Comic Arts Festival held in Canberra earlier in the year, was just one of the nicest festivals (music, comic, otherwise) that I have ever been too. There was such a sense of comradery, of sharing, a genuine warmth that I will so look forward to going again next year!* It had been many years (since 1981, in fact) that I last was in town... Back in those days, I was formulating plans on producing my first comic anthology, and had met some of the local creatives: Peter Markmann, Mike Priess and Peter Bollinger are names that I can still recall today (although I have no idea of where they presently are)...
So, in some ways, it was an exercise in nostalgia. I was treated like royalty, being picked up at the Airport and trying to recall the places and faces from all those years ago. Yet it was so much more: Canberra has changed. They even have a comic book shop right in the middle of town! Mal Briggs is the owner and runs Impact Comics, and is also the wonderful host who put me up for the Festival. Have a look at his web-site (click here), and just tell me that that does not entice new comic readers....
Cath Brinkley and Bruce Mutard organised the Festival, and deserve our thanks. It was professionally put together, and there were so many workshop alternatives to choose from that it was difficult to work out which one to attend. For me, personally, I enjoyed the session put together by the Librarians, because I got so much out of it. I have not had time to implement the teachings yet, but I will get there -- I hope! I'm not going to detail who was there in Canberra and who I chatted to (this is supposed to be a short Blog entry, after all); but I can say, if you were NOT there: WHY NOT?? Make sure you can make it next year*!!
Click here if you want to read of the ABC's coverage of the Event. There was also an ABC camera crew recording the Event for posterity. I wasn't able to load it here, although you can read it on my Nat Karmichael Facebook page dated February 26th....
* Now that I have encouraged everyone to attend, I have to tell you that Mrs K has informed me that we have a 80th Birthday party (Auntie Margaret) in Tasmania that we are supposed to be attending ....around the same time next year. This is awful news. But there may yet be ways around it. I don't know what they are yet, but we shall see...
Fourteen months ago today, my youngest daughter suffered a trauma that she has still not recovered from. Even with my Mental Health background I have found it difficult to come to terms with. I thought I should acknowledge today that although I may not have recognised it at the time, I have been affected (as have all who love my daughter). But for all those difficulties, they pale into insignificance compared to the adjustments that my lovely daughter has had to endure in trying to find and make sense of her place in her new world. However, rather than talking about my girl or the events that lead her there, I just wanted to spend a few moments thanking those who have been supportive of Rosanna, of my family and of myself in these past fourteen months...
During that time (just before the release of Issue #4), there was a small part of me that thought about altogether abandoning the publication of Oi Oi Oi! But it didn't happen -- instead, I threw myself full-pelt into working on the magazine (as well as a couple of books), and as a result the magazine has gone -- I feel -- from strength to strength. Right now, Issue Eight is soon about to be prepared for a printer. (I just have the small matter of an Editorial to write!) Its release will be a little late, and I do apologise for that. You see, a few things have happened behind the scenes recently that I ought to share with you...
King Wang, our printer's representative who has been with us since Issue One, has decided to move on and I am now contemplating changing printers. Between the Australian Comic Art Festival in early February and last weekend's Gold Coast's Supanova Pop Culture Expo (and more of that later), I have had an opportunity to take personal stock of my life...as well as make other future plans for Oi Oi Oi!
Yes, although there are some things in Life that we cannot change, there are many things we can do that make a difference in other people's lives. I am bursting with pride to announce that an Agreement has been made today between the charity CanTeen and Comicoz. Issue #9 of Oi Oi Oi! will be raising funds for this most worthy of causes. I'll share more details about this historic arrangement soon....