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.
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 has been 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