This is, I have to state, just a First Draft of the Back Cover to the NED KELLY hardback. Just to give you an indication of how far ideas go from the beginning, until the end result is reached when publishing... The final result will look nothing like this.... To be continued....
Published by Silver Fox Comics, Sydney.
Here I am sitting in front of my computer on my last day of my holiday from work, reminiscing about the three weeks that seems to have flown by... I must say I have achieved quite a lot during this break.... Thanks to the generosity of Pozible Pledgers the NED KELLY book is now ready for the printer (bar the Back Cover and some details I want to include on the Dedication Page), I have spent time with three of my daughters and three granddaughters (and my wife and dogs), and - in between the large amount of unusual rain we have had this year - I have even managed to get some gardening in these three weeks. As you may have read, I also came down with the so-called "Man-Flu"!
I successfully passed this on to one of my daughters (sadly, the one who is pregnant) and - briefly - my wife. Although, for reasons I cannot fathom (and probably never will), it is not called "Man-Flu" if a female catches it...! I shall not dwell on this, but simply move on...
One of the benefits of getting "infected", is that one has to "rest and take it easy" for a day. During this time I was able to read a few books and comics (in between sleeping) which tended to make me feel far less miserable. One of the Comics I read was Zombie Cities: Violence Vs Compassion (that's the cover on the right)....
A sample of the detailed artwork on offer in ZOMBIE CITIES
The book was "created, directed and written" by Sydney-based Sorab Del Rio, who has been mentioned on this Web-Blog previously (Zorro review, April 2011). Sorab has given me permission to review his comic and use some of the illustrations, under the proviso that I have positive things to say about the book...
And there are many good things to say. It is professionally presented, with 104 pages in full colour on wonderfully high quality paper stock. (Sorab's website says the interior is 150gsm gloss stock and the cover "300gsm gloss card with cello glaze", and I have no reason to doubt that.) It looks lovely! It is regulation comic book size
The artwork is by a whole bunch of artists, I must confess, I know nothing about: Abstruse, Martin Szabo, Netho Diaz, Mano Araujo, Rene Micheletti, Assis Leite, and Chuch Obach. They have all done a wonderful job in bringing Sorab's vision to life and should be congratulated! Are all of these artists sitting around in Sydney with their comic works unpublished? I hope we can see a lot more comics artwork from them: perhaps even illustrating their own comic stories and visions in the future. Australian letterer Don Ticchio rounds out the creative team, and he does his usual wonderful professional job: the lettering is clean and legible, and ensures the story flows fluently.
On the negative side.... Oh, now here I must be a Man of My Word...! Sorab has said I was able to review Zombie Cities: Violence Vs Compassion if I liked it, but "if [you] don't like the book please don't review...." and I agreed to this. What do I do, however, if there are certain aspects of the comic that I need to (constructively) criticise or don't particularly like? In order to be a Man of My Word, therefore, I have decided to speak simply about what I do like.
And because I feel mostly positive about this volume, I am going to suggest that you do head to Silver Fox Comics now (here's the link: Click Here) and hand over your $30 for your own personal copy (price includes postage within Australia). The earlier volume by Sorab, Zombie Cities, is also available at the web-site (also $30), as well as a whole range of prints. If you are not sure (and I trust this review has not added doubt about if you should purchase or not), there is also an opportunity on the Silver Fox Comics web-site to download a free 20 page preview of the books. I think this is a neat innovation and will allow you, dear Reader, to make up your own mind....without me being negative in any way in this Review....
You sought feedback about your 'new-look comics and puzzle pages' in today's newspaper and I must initially declare that I have no interest in the puzzle section and shall refrain from comment. However, the comics are a different matter....
The Comic Strip remains the medium that transcends all demographics: it is enjoyed by both sexes, young and old, rich and poor, and has a world-wide history now over 100 years old. How wonderful it remains a daily staple of our Courier-Mail reading habit!
How sad, then, that the total number of comic strips have decreased from ten to eight. On the positive, I must applaud the increase in the number of Australian strips (from two to three), although I personally feel both "Ginger Meggs" and "Snake" are tired and dated (with no disrespect to their creators). I am disappointed too, that two of the strips axed ("Beyond the Black Stump" and "Swamp") were both created here in Queensland. Surely this goes against the grain of your recent promotional push that the "Courier-Mail is All for Queensland"??
Just thought I would use the COMICOZ Logo and insert it on the Blog. Let me know your thoughts! It was designed in the early 1990s and has only been used on The Wally Lewis Story (1993) - but please correct me if I am wrong, Mind you, the only person who could tell me if that fact is incorrect is the designer....fellow Queenslander Jason Paulos! I shall resist any temptation to talk of any football match this evening, although it is foremost in my mind. (Yes, I have a Life outside of my Family, Work and Comics, you know...!!)
Yesterday, with the help and artistic direction of both daughter Natalie Mahal and wife Carlene, I was finalising the Letter of Thanks that are part of the Rewards for all Pledges to our (still on-going, but presently static) Pozible Campaign. Just remember, if you have not put in a Pledge (see by clicking here!) you can still do so! Extra Money will be used on making Ned Kelly even greater! (As I said before by looking into the possibility of making an electronic version available in the future....) The Letters will go out later in the week (as there are still some addresses to be obtained).
One should never be subjected to illness while one is on annual leave from one's profession. But that is the situation I have found myself in. In recent days, I have felt like doing Nothing (not even working on NED KELLY). I am told this is the "Man-Flu" (and more of that in another later Blog!). This is a supposedly-derogatory term coined up by those who are of the opposite sex to prove any given male's weakness or inability to suffer. (Or is there a far more sinister purpose as to its currency that I am unaware of??!)
In order to prove my wife (the delightful Mrs Carlene Comical) and daughter Natalie Mahal wrong, I rose from my sick bed in order to spend some quality time with them. ("You are always on that damned computer" I am told with alarming frequency. Some wives do not understand the sacrifices they must make in order to have Comics Published and Released to the World to make it a Better Place.) Anyway the point I am making - and I know I am being long-winded, but Mrs Comical is having a Sunday Sleep-In - and possibly coming down with the Flu I have benevolently shared with her - and I have an opportunity to get on this damned computer without (I hope) distraction....
Now, what was that point I was making?? I was distracted! I rose from my sick bed and accompanied (and helped navigate) Mrs K and Natalie to the Markets in Davies Park (West End, a river-side suburb in inner Brisbane). I even did it without complaining. And even found the whole day rewarding....
Natalie Mahal found me a copy of The Dreamer by Will Eisner (a second printing from Kitchen Sink Press in 1986). For $5 how could I say No??! It was bliss going home and reading it... And there are parts in Will's Foreword that I wish to share with you today....
"At best, society tends to regard its dreamers with tolerance.
"Dreamers journey through life to a cadence all their own. They make decisions or enter undertakings that often seem naïve and confounding to the pragmatists, who, in the end, thrive on opportunities set in motion by fantasy and imaginings."
Will Eisner then went on to talk about the essence and genesis of this Graphic Novel, before concluding:
"[The Graphic Novel The Dreamer] comes out of the cluttered closets where I store ghosts of the past, and from the yellowing memories of my experience."
And dear Dear Reader, I just wanted to share that with you. For no reason, except that it resonated with me while I lay on my sick bed and dreamed dreams of old and new Australian comic stories being available for all future Australians to share and savour....
Just a quick word to the wise (in case you were not aware): Comicoz reached its $6000 goal towards the printing costs of Monty Wedd's NED KELLY book in less than half of the 60 days allocated. (Check it out here.) You can still make a Pledge if you have not already done so, and they will be honoured. To all who have made a Pledge already, my sincere Thanks. The first Rewards are going out by email very soon!
I was first introduced to Rob Feldman's cartooning style at the 2011 Australian Cartoonists' Association's annual workshop when he (a little reluctantly or maybe nervously) produced a sample of his work: a photocopied A4 piece of pager folded in half to produce a four-page comic sample. I was immediately struck by his free-wheeling style that appeared fully-realised, as well as his odd-ball sense of humour and play with words. This, I thought, is a cartoonist that needs to be encouraged, nurtured and published!
The publishing of Rob Feldman's work is a new direction for Comicoz: it is the first time allowing a cartoonist complete artistic freedom in his creative pursuits. Absolutely no editorial direction nor influence (even to the point of dictating the eventual page count) has been put in place. As I have recorded elsewhere, I have not even read what Rob has produced so far! But he has decided on a title and designed the cover (see left). To whet my appetite, he has shared a couple of pages from the book, and it would be remiss of me if I did not share them with you here (see below).
If you like this humour based on what you have read here, I strongly urge you to be Rewarded with a copy of his book (and maybe a couple of others!) by assisting our Pozible Campaign (click here) with a $35 or $95 Pledge..... I doubt you will be disappointed.
Art Copyright Josh Santospirito
Although I am still spending most of my time working on Comicoz' NED KELLY Pozible Project (see here), I am also reading some Aussie comics that I come across (still mostly through the web).
One that I want to Recommend you read, is "The Long Weekend in Alice Springs" (cover pictured left). The pages are unnumbered, but (from a quick count just now) runs for a total of 150 pages all in black on a soft yellow paper stock. It is a paperback, size of a small journal (about 15 cm x 21 cm) and illustrated throughout by Joshua Santospirito.
The book is based on an essay of rambling (?)thoughts over a long weekend in Alice Springs by psychologist Craig San Roque. Roque analysed his own culture and mused on its impact on other cultures, especially the local indigenous population he came in touch with when working there at The Alice (and while writing the essay in 2000).
Joshua and I share the same profession - we are both Mental Health Nurses. Whilst I have not worked in Central Australia, one summer I spent three months working in the Torres Strait, and I found myself spending time seeking to make some sense of my own personal cultural dislocation. Santospirito said he came across Roque's essay, and found "it very useful for reframing all the seeming chaos around him" while working in Alice Springs with Central Australian indigenous communities. (He now lives in Hobart, Tasmania.)
As a form of "cathartic meditation on the world" Joshua began adapting the essay in comic book format in 2007. The result has now been published, with the first print run already selling out! Fortunately for you, Dear Reader, a Second Print-Run has ensured the book is available to order by clicking here.
This will not be a book for those readers whose taste runs exclusively along the lines of superhero types. But for those of us who seek to have the local graphic 'comic' medium aspire to greater heights, with Australian messages and stories to share to the world, this is a brave and ground-breaking tale that deserves your support. At $35 (plus postage and packaging), I found it a worthy read and a wonderful distraction from my present-day Ned Kelly pursuits. Longer term, I believe "The Long Weekend in Alice Springs" will be considered an Australian Graphic Novel Classic, tackling topics few have seriously attempted to date. Order it now, so you can read it next weekend - wherever you live!
...acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to elders past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Australian peoples.
Over the past decade (2011 - 2020) Nat has self-published ten comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of Oi Oi Oi! - the last nationally-distributed comic book of original comics stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He edited Inkspot, the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association for 14 issues from late 2015 to 2019 and is a current member of the ACA's Committee. In his spare time, he is a husband, a father (to six) and grandfather (to fourteen), and works in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital.
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.