You're going to hear it here first. It looks like Iron Outlaw might yet be a goer ...!
Below is an early draft of the text for the back cover for such a book.
The story lines of Iron Outlaw were sensational for their time. The year was 1970: Australia was going to Vietnam and China was emerging as a world power. The Australian identity was under threat from American TV and Japanese products. This resulted in a sudden surge in Australian Nationalism.
Iron Outlaw set out to lampoon all that was going on – cutting into the political attitude of Victorian Premier Henry Bolte and the Chief Secretary Arthur Rylah, and all the other attitudes of the time. The artwork and story text were produced by Greg and Grae, two young men just out of Swinburne and looking for things to do.
The strip appeared in the Sunday Observer and Nation Review. It lasted for a single year, and had three editors – Michael Cannon, David Robie and Kevin Childs – over its brief life span. Political correctness was not the force that it is today, so it needs to be taken in with the same sense of humour it was created in.
The establishment hated Iron Outlaw but the restless prols loved it! Today’s Melbourne would love to have Iron Outlaw tackle Chairman Dan and the associated Lockdown Lunacy. We need more of this biting satire, and a complete reprint of this Australian comic strip is worth celebrating: Long live Iron Outlaw and his mate Steel Sheila!
"Iron Outlaw is a minefield of commentary waiting to be misconstrued.
"We may not be sued but there would be definite attempts to shut it down and a name and shame campaign for those involved.
"We have a 1970 curiosity of a couple of young blokes attempting social engineering that has no place in today's world.
"I realise Nat that you ... would like to bring it to life and give it a new sense of place and value.
"I must say that the cost to our lives and reputations could far outlay [sic] the benefits.
"For these reasons I cannot have anything to do with a reprint of Iron Outlaw."
Sad and disappointed. That pretty-well sums up how I feel. For the third time this year, I've been denied permission to reproduce a property that I felt would have added to our collective comic history. The history of Ginger Meggs' cartoonists over the past one hundred years ("A Little Bit of Ginger" by Lindsay Foyle), the collected "Us Girls" by Syd Miller, and now "Iron Outlaw" by Graeme Rutherford and Greg Mac Alpine.
Still, I am always one to respect all creator's wishes (or the copyright holder, if it's the family of the creators). "No" means "No". Without permission I just have to let it go. Sad and disappointed I may be, I'll simply have to move on to other projects ...
Can the Kickstarter campaign be far away now?
I wanted to share this with you, my Blog Readers first, before Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. So, thanks for reading!
Cover designed by my great Designing Mate, Ryan McDonald-Smith. You want him to design your next project? Here's a link: youniquecreation.com/
Since returning from Cairns, I've been getting into the swing of a lot of comic-related activities -- so many, to be honest, that I have not had time to record them here or elsewhere. Time to rectify that here!
This year on my Comicoz Facebook page (click here for a link) I had been trying to record on a daily basis all of my comic-related plans and activities. One thing that I found a little difficult in that recording, was trying to keep some items that hadn't quite been announced private. And, thus, they were not recorded. For example, some years ago on these pages, I announced that I had planned on publishing a book on the history of the cartoonists who had worked on the Australian comic strip, Ginger Meggs, written by former editor of The Bulletin, Lindsay Foyle. With the red-headed prankster due to celebrate his centenary in November, it seemed as good time as any to begin working on the book. So, to that end, I paid a well-known Australian artist to work on the roughs for the cover artwork without telling Lindsay (as a bit of a surprise) ...
Sadly, the surprise was all on me! Seeking his opinion on which image would work best for the cover, Lindsay had to share some hard truths with me. Thinking I had "forgotten about the project", he had signed a contract with another publisher. Ah, well, such is the publishing game.
There is so much uncertainty in our society at the moment, especially in relation to COVID-19. Lockdowns are becoming the new norm, with different states imposing different restrictions at differing times. And even within different states. Carlene and I had planned on welcoming some of our granddaughters from regional Queensland to our home during the school holidays, only to see the virus raise its ugly head locally. So we called the visit off. Which turned out to be the right call -- our local community went into lockdown, and if the girls had arrived, they would have been bored silly at our home with no Playstation, and missing all the comforts of their home.
Also having to be called off last weekend was the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly known as the Ledger Awards) in Perth. I understand from organiser Dr Bruce Mutard that the book detailing all the recipients from the past two years has been published (see below), and while I may be privy to knowing who has been awarded the Ledger of Honour for 2021, I won't know who has been honoured with the year's Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards until I can get my hands on a copy of the book.
As a Committee member of the Australian Cartoonists Association in 2020, I had proposed that the organisation publish a magazine of comic stories and features (highlighting COVID-19). Sadly, the idea was supported by some, but rejected by the majority (even though some of the membership were willing to supply material for the magazine). At the time, I assumed then-President Jules Faber would be running for the position again and I had thrown my hat into the ring. For the purpose of historical record (and for a bit of fun), I thought I'd share the proposed illustration for the magazine's cover -- tentatively called "Funny Lines" -- here (drawn by Danny Zemp).
And, as history shall recall, Jules didn't run for President, and I didn't win the majority of the votes either. Cathy Wilcox is the new leader of the Australian Cartoonists Association. Still, I was honoured to be selected as a member of the new Committee. Unfortunately, presenting the same proposal resulted in the same outcome, so perhaps it's something to take further on my own bat a little later on...
In recent years I've chosen to support the National Cartoon Gallery with a small regular donation, and beginning this month I've done the same thing by pledging a small amount to a few creatives' Patreon pages. (For more information about this site for creatives, please check out this link.) By becoming a supporter, you can learn some wonderful "behind the scenes" processes from some of your favourite artists and cartoonists. Here's an example of one I have chosen to support ...
After publishing a few books over the past few years, I'm keen on getting into comic publishing again. To that end, over the past few months I've been speaking to a few cartoonists whose work I see as world-class. I'd like to be able to present their work to the world, and to that end I have asked a couple to each supply me with a 20 to 24-page story. Given that Diamond Distributors accepted 10% of the print-run of Graeme Cliffe's book, would they be interested in some local Australian comics? It's a risk I think should be taken! So that's where my attention is focused in going forward from this space on ...
Not to forget some of the other artists, whose works (in books) I have already expressed an interest in working on and that I have already been talking about on my Facebook pages: Iron Outlaw by Fysh Rutherford & Greg Mac Alpine, Emile Mercier, a John Dixon retrospective, Gary Chaloner's Flash Damingo and the Jackeroo (although that one's on hold for now), Bridgette by Gerald Carr (no, I haven't forgotten Gerald!), and I still hold out hope for Verity Aloha by Michal Dutkiewicz. Then, there's those artists and families in the very early stages of discussions: Syd Miller, Ian Eddy, and more from Monty Wedd (hopefully).
Geez: where am I going to find the time~??!
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