After (almost) becoming used to not working on any comic or book publishing projects, and enjoying the quiet solitude of my recently-tidied comic-music room, I am soon going to venture back into the world of publishing. Here are two (of four) projects I am soon going to undertake. Oh, it's a tough life: but better than any alternative. Stay safe, dear reader.
When Australian comic artist Phil Belbin (1925-1993) was unsuccessful in seeking to have his proposed adventure strip The Earlybirds accepted into the Australian newspapers in 1969, what did he do? He kindly offered the artwork to his good mate, John Dixon (1929-2015), and allowed him to incorporate into a 1973-4 Air Hawk adventure, Early Birds. Just how different the story was, I'm not sure. (I'll see if Phil's son Graeme has any proofs from the era, and let you know.) From the indication here, there doesn't seem to be much variation in the script or even the artwork....
Later in life after John had given up Air Hawk (in 1986), it was Phil Belbin -- then a well-recognised and established artist -- who encouraged John to try colour illustrations. He once said to me (in relation to Phil), "I'm still not sure if I should thank him or beat him over the head. It's a tough medium."
Today, I am officially announcing that I intend to run for the position of President of the Australian Cartoonists' Association when the nominations are called later this year. I'll enclose a copy of an email (and letter) that I sent to as many people whom I thought are current members, in order to share my credentials (see below). I acknowledge there will be a resistance to some in the membership to having a non-cartoonist in the role (as was proven last time, when Jules Faber won the ballot). I'm not going to contest any other position on the Committee (as I did last time, which in retrospect probably diluted my vote) -- it's make or break time!
I’m not a Cartoonist. I never have been. I won’t pretend to be one. But I am passionate about the cartooning medium in all its forms!
So much so, that in the past ten years, I have self-funded and self-published nine books on cartoonists: two on John Dixon’s works, two on Monty Wedd’s, one on Neil Matterson’s, one on Rob Feldman’s, one on Thomas Campi’s, an anthology of Australian comic stories, and a historical book detailing Australia’s comic book history from 1924 to 1965. I’ve also self-published nine issues of an Australian comic anthology series called Oi Oi Oi! that appeared on the national newsstands between 2014 and 2016.
I am telling you this, not to brag but to present to you my credentials. Because, like you, I am also a member of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association. You may have seen my name pop up once or twice in our Journal, Inkspot. I edited Issues #72 to #86. I was able to bring it back from the hit-and-miss venture it was when I took over the reins to a four-issues-a-year magazine worth reading. (Or, at least, that’s what I’d like to think!) I’m so pleased to see that current editor Steve Panozzo is maintaining this frequency.
In my working life, I am a Mental Health Clinician, working in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. I have worked there for the past ten years. I am usually the shift coordinator, and sometimes the Nurse Unit Manager (when my boss goes on holiday). I know how to lead a good – and safe – team. Today, I am coming to you to seek your support to lead our ACA Team: I am going to nominate later this year for the ACA’s Presidency.
I understand that the Australian Cartoonists Association has always had a Cartoonist as a President, and there will be a reluctance to vote for someone who is not a Cartoonist in the position. Hang on! Jim Bridges runs the Australian Cartoon Museum – he’s not a Cartoonist! Margaret Cameron manages the National Cartoon Gallery – she’s not a Cartoonist! There are precedents out there!
What do I hope to achieve as President?
...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.