Last Monday week (April 16th) I had an interview at Coffs Harbour Hospital for a Mental Health position, and I think it went reasonably well for me to feel that I may have secured the position. However, on my return to Brisbane that evening, Carlene had been getting cold feet about the idea (of moving to Coffs) for reasons I need not elaborate here. The end result is that I have now withdrawn my Application, and my thoughts, dreams and plans of greater involvement with the Bunker Cartoon Gallery have disappeared. (Most reluctantly, I must add...)
Last weekend, the Gold Coast hosted its first Supanova pop culture expo. Late last year, I was invited to attend all of the six Supanova Events for 2012 and I had thought it a good opportunity to publicise Comicoz' book John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor. However, on reflection, I decided that I would attend Expos of this nature when I had numerous volumes on offer...
As you are aware, only one book has so far been published to date. It's a tough game. Australian cartoonist Pat Grant has placed an interesting Blog ('Ninth Post') about the financial realities of local comic/book publishing that makes sober reading. Yet, there are more and more comics related product being published in Australia lately. (Which I unfortunately have said little about and of which I intend to say more about in the weeks and months ahead.) Despite these publishing perils, I still have more plans to publish more books ... and not just volumes on AIR HAWK either!
I have been (and remain) somewhat disappointed about the Coffs Harbour outcome, and I am presently a little distracted with events in my personal life (Miss Lovely Little Lollie, now 3, is arriving after our Longreach trip and her Mum is marrying in November); but plans to publish further comic-related books still remain in my mind. I have taken some steps to securing some Rights to Other Material, but in order to keep confidence of those involved I shall say little here until the signatures are signed ...
One of the sticking points with Mrs Karmichael in my desire to publish more books has been the need to outlay large tracts of money with little guarantee of return. (John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor, for example, remains in the red.) So I have had to explore other options. I still have not signed the printing/distribution deal on offer that I mentioned earlier (although I may yet do so). On another front, I have for some time been aware of some interesting web-sites that offer allow the general public to fund projects. Kickstarter is the big one (although they do not allow non-USA citizens to raise funds), and another more universal one is indiegogo (with a Canberra comics collective being successful in raising funds for the publication of Beginnings: A Comics Anthology and which was financially supported by Comicoz). I am presently weighing my options about my seeking to raise funds through one of these sites/methods for the next Comicoz project ...
And I shall talk about it in due course, here ....
The Travelling AIR HAWK Promotion!
I'm happy to announce that Carlene and I are off to Longreach (that's in Western Queensland) at the beginning of next month! The Royal Flying Doctor Service is having a Gallery Opening at The Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame on May 5th. Copies of our book John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor will be available for sale, with yours truly signing and talking about the volume to anyone who wil listen! We are also in the process of negotiating the inclusion of another of John Dixon's original Air Hawk artworks to be included in the Exhibition. Here's the one we have selected...
Also on the agenda that weekend is the 22nd Anniversary of the annual Drover's Reunion at The Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, with "highlights of the weekend [including] Billy Tea and Damper". Other items on the agenda will be "yarn telling, bush poetry, singing" and an Outback Skills Sessions for kids "along with many more exciting activities for all". For more information on the Event, here's a link explaining a little more about the festivities. If you have the opportunity to be there, please make yourself known to us and say 'G'Day!' - we'll be only too happy to chat to you!
Something Old, Something New
I am forever amazed at what is out there in this wonderful world pertaining to this medium we know as comics! We all know the Web is a good source of information. With eBay there are many items and bargains to be found...although I find that I have too little time to trawl through it as often as some do. Nevertheless, it has recently brought some pleasing results my way, when I picked up a bargained-priced supposedly early 1970s Spanish version of John Dixon's Air Hawk. As you can see, it is somewhat battered and frayed...
...But look how wonderful the strip looks in colour (I have enclosed an edited version of one of the pages to the left)! The layout is edited a little differently than the usual daily newspaper version, in-so-far-as there are six panels (or two days of the strips) to a page. So it reads more like a comic. The comic itself is 24 pages in length with no advertising (20 pages of which are devoted to Air Hawk). Another anomoly is the page numbering: what one would consider to be Page 3 is actually numbered Page 21. The cover carries a number 2, so I am assuming this is Issue Two, and the page numbering carries over into the subsequent issue....
A clue as to the reasoning for this is an advertisement on the back page of the comic (an edited version appears at right). It would seem that either there were hardback cover versions of Air Hawk made available to the Spanish public (and I have not yet had the time to investigate this via eBay) or binders were made available and each issues purshcased could be compiled into volume. It would help if I could read Spanish (so if anyone can help me, please get in touch)! The cover price of the comic was 30 ptas, which one can only assume was a bargain price to read such fabulous adventures set in the Australian Outback! I am sure to most Spanish readers it must have seemed quite exotic!
And on to another discovery that I found recently in a Northern Brisbane suburbs Op-Shop for another bargain price! This is not actually a graphic novel as the title suggests (see below), but rather an anthology of seven different comic stories by seven new comic talents. The indicia tells us that it was published in 2010 by 'the School of Design Communication and I.T.' at the University of Newcastle...
The book, entitled SCRIBBLE: Graphic Novel Collective, is just a little smaller than regular comic book size, with 96 black and white interior pages and a colour cover. The printing is of the highest quality, and the stories and artwork are all of sufficient high quality to maintain my interest throughout. To be honest, I have never heard of any of the comics talent published by the venture before, and I hope they don't limit their craft to this singular volume in the future. I have enclosed a couple of panels from the story 'Ravenskull' by Roger Quinn (see left), which to my mind was a particularly inventive and fun story. There is an Essay-come-Introduction by one of Australia's most prolific comics scribes, Kevin Patrick ('The Invisible Medium: Comics Studies in Australia') that was both well-written and informative. I am unsure how much the price of the original SCRIBBLE sold for, or indeed if more copies are still available; but if you can, I seriously suggest you add this volume to your Australian Comic Collection. Another question (which I hope I can answer another day) is whether there was a Second Volume published in 2011 - it would be good to know that at least one Australian Tertiary Institution was taking comics seriously enough to both nurture local talent and publish their output. This Volume, at least, had me pining for more to follow suit...
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