Well, I've taken the plunge! I've signed up to Patreon! You can be one of the first to have a look by clicking on here!
That's not to say I won't be posting here, dear Reader: this web-page will still have the shared public information that's available on Patreon. It's just another means of getting the Australian comic book message out there. Like Facebook and Twitter. However, I'll probably share more information in more detail to those people who pay for the highest tier of my Patreon site. At present I feel this site and the other social media outlets limit what I can say, for example, when I am negotiating for a property, or I have plans for a proposed book that is not yet become fully formed. With my highest Patreon tier, I'll feel I am speaking to confidants that I can share more things with. Well, let's see how it goes!
The main reasons I joined, though, is to firstly, limit my reliance on running campaigns on Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites. Even though the results are good (when successful), they do take a lot of time to work on. And less commercial or less known ventures that might need to see the light of day are perhaps not as likely to succeed. Secondly, with my recent decision to soon end my working life as a Clinical Nurse with all the inherent shift work (and, erk! night duty), I might be able to fund my own retirement "hobby" of publishing comics. Of course, this is all dependent on enough people believing in my publishing ventures to put down the cold, hard cash every month. And to that end, I've made the tiers as low as I can make them for people to feel they are all making a wonderful contribution. As they would be. It's really a team effort between both parties.
Because, at the end of the day, the reason for the Patreon site, is to ensure the world gets to read more Australian comics, whether reprinting old classics or publishing new ones! And that, to my mind, seems the most important reason for having taken the plunge!
Today I have formally announced to the President and Secretary of the Australian Cartoonists Association that I will not be seeking another term on the Committee when the elections are held next month. Over the past few months - mostly due to work schedules - I have found it difficult to attend committee meetings. For similar reasons earlier this year I chose to withdraw from the honorary position of Lead Judge of the Ledger of Honour Awards. Neither of these decisions were made rashly or impulsively, and they were not made because I had any difference of opinion with the general direction each group was heading in...
Again, due mostly to my shifts at work, I was not able to make the journey to Perth to attend the Comic Arts Awards of Australia's annual ceremony. Held on the 6th of August, it was the first one in three years not to have been held virtually, as society worries less about COVID. I would have been honoured to have accepted the Ledger of Honour (or, if you will, Hall of Fame Award) for creatives passed on behalf of Monty Wedd's family. It would have been a bitter-sweet time for the family, as Monty's widow Dorothy sadly passed away on 29th June, a short time before the ceremony.
For the purpose of posterity, here are the winners of the CAAA Awards, 2022:
Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed (Twelve Panels Press)
Stone Fruit by Lee Lai (Fantagraphics Books)
Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance by Sarah Searle (Iron Circus Comics)
As You Drive by Nina Dakin (in Myth #6, a comic anthology from Curtin Illustration Club)
Turtlenecks by Steven Christie (AdHouse Books)
Underground by Mirranda Burton (Allen & Unwin)
Platinum Award (given to "an individual or organisation presently active in the Australian comics publishing scene, who best represents the ideals of the Awards"): Papercuts Comics Festival. Well-deserved, in my opinion, as 'George Rex' (Georgina Chadderton) and Owen Heitmann have worked hard to produce the best comic festival in Australia. Not that I went in 2022, although what I saw in ... 2019? ... greatly impressed me for its professionalism.
Ledger of Honour, or Hall of Fame (that I oversaw for the last time):
Monty Wedd* (for a creative no longer living)
Norman Clifford (to a creative still alive)
*I abstained from voting when deciding the final result here, to prevent any perceived conflict of interest, given I have published some of Monty's works.
I have written a review of one of the Gold Award recipients, Still Alive, for the Australian Cartoonists Association's journal Inkspot. (Let me know if you'd like a copy when it is published, and I'll see if I can obtain one for you. I'll place the full review here on this site when it is published, but in the meantime, here's an excerpt of my thoughts:
Interspersed with Safdar’s tale, he allows some of the refugees to tell their stories, most particularly Haider*. (*Not his real name.) Both narratives intermingled with each other, and both used first person pronouns, with the same lettering font and illustrating style, making the first-time reading of these different chapters initially confusing.
Safdar’s illustrations are pleasing to the eye, although he seems to lack a certain sequential storytelling that would allow the work to flow more consistently throughout the book. Part of that is no doubt due to the mountain of factual information that he seeks to impart to the reader about the detention system and its clear failings to those detained. Periodically, he allows some of those who have joined his art workshops a space on the pages to demonstrate their experiences through their drawings. I would have liked to have seen some of those highlighted a little more: perhaps a page to each of their works would have been better, rather than squeezing two illustrations to a page.
The decision to quit the Ledger of Honour Awards was one that filled me with more guilt than the position on the ACA Committee. Since informing the coordinator of the group that I needed to resign my post, I've been told that the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (Ledger)'s 2021 Annual may have to be placed on the backburner and that the very future of the Awards are now looking problematic. This is no-one's fault: it's an extremely time-consuming venture (for no financial reward), and Gary Chaloner, Tim McEwen, and Dr Bruce Mutard need to be congratulated for continuing it for the past nine consecutive years. Perhaps because the Awards have been running for so long, and because I can recognise that the Awards will be a future historical record of the local comic medium, I really hope that they can continue. If not for my present commitment to my workplace, or rather the need to earn a living, I would have volunteered to take up the challenge!
In the meantime, some will be asking, what became of the Comicoz-Wedd Mentored Australian Graphic Storytelling Project? I had planned to announce the winner at Perth's CAAA ceremony. I have now decided to announce it on the 5th January 2023, when I make my annual announcement of my thoughts on the year's best Australian comics.
Work has overwhelmed my life over the past few months. Since COVID, I have worked full-time again. And there have been extra double shifts and overtime shifts. Especially over the past three months or more. From a comic-publishing perspective, I have been fortunate in not having had too many comic projects to work on. I've been able to work on our garden, read some comics, and 'tidy-up' my music-come-comic room (with Carlene's 'supervision') in some of my spare time....when spare time has been available.
So without any pressing comic projects, and with work so hectic, the spare time that I have had, I have begun to enjoy life away from work. Given my age -- I'm 65 in 2022 -- I have started contemplating my life without any of the pressures of employment and a regular salary. For a while there, I thought it might be endless days of reading comics, visiting grandchildren, gardening, walking (my main passions), but just lately that fire in my belly for the comics medium has returned, as people have again approached me about publishing works that interest me. Resorting to Kickstarter for each individual project seems so time-consuming. I'm contemplating commencing a Patreon page. You heard it here first. I'll explore more and share with you later ...
Today, I'm going to give a plug for a book I have not published! "Neverlanders" was created by two talented Australians: writer Tom Taylor and illustrated by Jon Sommariva. I've met these guys over the years at various comic conventions, and they are always up for a chat with fans: really down to earth! This book just looks lovely and is well-worth supporting. Available in all good bookstores ... now!
Why not surprise someone you love with a copy of Dillon Naylor's Batrisha and the Creepy Caretaker this Halloween? Special discounted price from now until the end of October! Click here for details.
As Australians today wake up to learn that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, there will be many filled with grief and sadness. Many more will be feeling an increasing anxiousness about the future. She has, after all, been a part of the lives of most of us – the Australian Head of State since 1952. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that a foreigner ought to be in that role is a question for another day.
“Always look on the bright side of death – just before you draw your terminal breath!” is a well-known couplet from a Monty Python film. And while it’s not a time to be flippant, one of the proven means of reducing stress, increasing our energy levels, and promoting a sense of well-being is by laughing. Australians have had a long history of being able to laugh at themselves.
One of “the funniest cartoons in the world” was how the 1933 Stan Cross cartoon “For Gorsake, Stop Laughing – This is Serious” was once described. The era was known for the early construction of city skyscrapers and rising unemployment, and these buildings were seen as a sign of optimism for the future. The cartoon features one of the workers losing his grip, saved only from certain death by grabbing the pants of one of his mates.
And with the death and destruction of World War II all around them, Bluey and Curley were two comic strip diggers who shared laughs with Australians during their darkest days of the War. It’s a humorous heritage that has spanned decades, sustaining us over the trials and tribulations of the past. Simply, comic strips have been around since the turn of last century, and we have been a happier nation for their presence.
From Ginger Meggs, now running in newspapers for over one hundred years, to more recent features like Swamp and Insanity Strip, comic strips have done more than entertain us. Over the years, they have released endorphins, a natural chemical in the body promoting a sense of well-being in Australians. These daily features are well-loved, and for so many years and for so many people, are the bedrock of the reading experience of a newspaper.
So, who would decide to remove them? Some unsmiling bean counter from the Murdoch Press, apparently. From the 11th September, a decision has been made to remove all daily comic strips from all Murdoch newspapers. It’s unclear why. Economics, perhaps. Just as staff artists, photographers, and journalists have been cut over the years, someone has decided that the daily comic strip feature must go. It’s a short-sighted decision, to my thinking.
When life is difficult, or when we’re in a disagreement with someone, having an ability to laugh or having a sense of humour can help. Isn’t that how we got through COVID? Without laughter, we are lesser people. Cancelling the daily comic strip in Australia is a serious decision. It indicates to the world we have stopped laughing.
Today’s headlines are filled with grief and sadness. We can’t bring back Queen Elizabeth II. Someone somewhere can choose to ensure the daily comic strip continues in the daily newspapers. We need laughter to bring some light to an already grim world.
Here's the link: nationalcartoongallery.com.au/rotary-cartoon-awards/
I've just completed a review of the Emile Mercier Exhibition-Book Launch at the National Cartoon Gallery, Coffs Harbour for the Australian Cartoonists Association's next issue of their Inkspot journal. There are also some pretty pictures that I sent with the words.
In the early evening of Friday 27th July, a casually dressed man of slight build, was wandering alone in the National Cartoon Gallery. His warm brown eyes were examining the many framed Emile Mercier cartoons on the wall and was clearly a little emotional.
Michael Mercier, son of the famed cartoonist, was reflecting on some of the times he was able to recall his late father drawing some of the cartoons on display. “I can remember him clear as anything, sitting at the table at home illustrating this one”, he told me as I approached, pointing to an original. “And nearby, a small glass of whiskey!”
Michael and his wife Donna had flown up from Melbourne to attend the opening of the Exhibition of these cartoons (and on display at the NCG until 3rd October). Michael was so overwhelmed with memories of life with his father, Emile Mercier (1901-1981). He shared with all who were willing to listen of his many recollections of his dad’s work and the type of person he was, from the time he took to draw an individual cartoon (about three hours) to the antics of a passionate North Sydney rugby league fan!
A few years ago, Michael donated almost two thousand of his father’s cartoon originals to the National Cartoon Gallery, with the hope that they would be shared with the Australian public. Although there was not enough room for them all to be displayed in this exhibition, the selection at least gave an idea of the breadth of Emile Mercier’s cartooning skills. From 1949 to 1968 when he worked for the Sydney newspaper The Sun, Mercier was able to depict a way of life that no other cartoonist has since: from the inner-city Sydney wives sharing life over a fence, to the Australian preoccupation with sport, and so much more. His New Caledonian heritage clearly gave him that unique perspective.
Choosing the cartoons for a book to commemorate this exhibition was no easy task. ACA members Gary Clark, Ian Jones, Phil Judd, and Dr Richard Scully (and others) were able to pick and comment on a selection, and these cartoons were all displayed on the night. The book Emile Mercier: A Selection of Cartoons was published by Nat Karmichael’s Comicoz imprint (www.comicoz.com) with the express purpose of raising funds for the National Cartoon Gallery. The book was launched on the opening night of the exhibition.
Lindsay Foyle, who also wrote an introduction to the book, formally opened the exhibition, and launched the book. Nat Karmichael and Margaret Cameron gave speeches, both acknowledging Michael Mercier’s generosity and Emile Mercier’s wonderful talents. As the evening wore on, Michael’s earlier emotions were overtaken by an immense sense of family pride. And rightly so.
After a couple of problems with my web-page for a couple of months (even up to yesterday), I'm pleased to report that ... as far as I know ... things are now back to normal and working well on this site. In just over a week's time, I'm heading off to Coffs Harbour to attend the National Cartoon Gallery's launch of their book (my boook?), Emile Mercier: A Selection of Cartoons. It's going to be held on the evening of Friday, July 22nd. Yes, of course, you are invited! If you are able and would like to come, click here to obtain your tickets! Only $10 for adults (and less for seniors and children over the age of five).
Okay! I just have to crow! Dillon Naylor's book, Batrisha and the Creepy Caretaker, has been nominated for not one, but two awards with the Children's Book Council of Australia. Nominated for Best Picture Book and Best Book for Younger Readers.
To celebrate, Comicoz is going to offer a rare opportunity to buy this book, with a couple of others (as pictured) that we've recently published for a super-special price (*for a limited time only). Click here for details!
It's been a busy month at Comicoz HQ -- despite my comments last month -- as I have sought to post all the Kickstarter rewards to all who kindly pledged in the two campaigns that ran late last year. The last of the Emile Mercier books went in yesterday's mail. Here (below) are just some of them!
For those of you too late (or dubious) about joining the Kickstarter campaigns, I'll be placing the books on this webpage's Store in the coming days (or weeks if work continues to get in the way). The books will (or should) now be available at all good bookstores around the country. As well as at the National Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour, where the launch for the Emile Mercier book will take place later next month.
I've been slow to update this page this month (mostly due to continued work demands). I have also been enjoying some time away from the computer and taking time out to listen to a little music (Jimmy Buffett, as always of course, as well as 'discovering' The Tiger Lillies of late) and reading some comics for a change (completing, and enjoying, Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire). Wordle has also kept me amused for the past 100 days, although I am going to retire that obsession while my score remains an impressive 99%.
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