2011 has been a year of Lows and Lows for the Australian Book Publishing Industry as a whole, with retail outlets Borders and then Angus and Robertson ceasing to operate. As such, it seemed an odd time to even consider launching Comicoz' first book, John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor.
However, from a Comicoz perspective, the year has been one of Highs and Lows. With a commitment to deliver copies of the book to John Dixon personally, I had no choice except to publish - irrespective of what the market was doing. Meeting John was certainly one of the major Highs of the year; being able to launch the book at The Avid Reader in front of Family, Friends and Air Hawk Fans was another. Cracking the Top 10 Sales of Independent Booksellers (even if for one week!) was an unexpected surprise.
The Lows remain. No Australian Distributor has expressed any interest in carrying the book, a situation that remains at year's end. I have chosen not to follow up Diamond's offer to carry the book, as I want to see it in Australian Bookstores before it is in overseas comic stores. I am certain to revise this thinking with the Second Volume, whenever it comes out. I have been waiting for some external contributors to add to the page count of the next Volume; although the longer I wait the less likely I shall choose use them - the Second Volume is increasingly likely to simply carry Air Hawk stories.
Overall sales have remained slow and steady, although more than half of the print run remains unsold. This ordinarily would ensure I give up on any future Air Hawk project (a course of action favoured by Mrs Karmichael), but I remained bouyed by continuing interest shown by both Air Hawk Fans and Independent Booksellers around the country. I am also interested in a particular Print on Demand Printer/Distributor that I learnt about through the Queensland Writer's Centre. Interested to the point of planning to soon sign a contract no less!
With conventional Booksellers going under, it is up to Publishers like Comicoz to seek out newer innovations in getting Publications 'out there' where the Readers are. Whether this means different means of marketing, or seeking opportunities in a changing publishing environment, or looking for a different product to give the modern reader (or even a combination of all these options) - Comicoz remains positive and committed to its future. I trust you will join us for the ride!
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