My holidays were so long ago now, that my memory is beginning to fog. Did I have them in June or July? It doesn't really matter now. I simply wish to make an entry here before these memories fade further.
My Grand-daughter, Miss Lollie, then aged 4 years (she is now five), was watching me working at my desk and noticed a pin board above my computer desk where I keep reminder messages to myself (like airline booking times for next November, an OPG scan referral from last December that I have yet to make, and two old raffle tickets that I didn't check to see that I didn't win). She promptly informed me that she thought the pin board was boring. I asked her what should we do about it, before thinking no more of it. She told me that she didn't know either, and so the matter ended. Or so I thought. I returned to my computer a couple of days later, only to discover these unannounced little gems added to the pin board...
So, my pin board is no longer boring. And here is the person responsible (left). I point out the resemblance to the illustration on the top left, just in case you run into someone in the street with hair exactly like that because it could be Lollie.
One thing Lollie enjoys doing is heading into the city with Da (that's me). She is from the country, so the city is an exciting adventure. And it really is. Mum and Nannie never know what we get up to until the stories are regaled on arrival home. I always thought what goes on in a trip to the city should remain at the city, but it seems not: we must tell in full detail all the activities that take place.
On this particular occasion, Da (that's me, remember?) made some planning, also known as an itinerary. It was school holidays and so there were some activities on at the Brisbane Powerhouse for under 8s. It was a rainy day, but we were not deterred and head off anyway. But we didn't want to join in watching the hour long singing and dancing shows that were on, we were taken by the More Important Activity available to us...colouring-in! By the time interest in this activity had waned (and because it was a most enjoyable activity, it was not until over an hour later) we decided to catch the River Cat into the city and leave our car at the Powerhouse.
The rain was only light, so we were fortunate we didn't get really wet. Not that we minded getting really wet. Every puddle was its own individual adventure and the goal was to see how big a splash we could make. (And Da didn't have a problem with this, as Gum Boots had been worn,) The idea was to jump with both feet landing in the middle of the puddle, and you have to be outside the puddle to begin with. It's the Rules. Mind you, I could have made this a most Instructive Blog entry by telling Adults with Children in Tow how many puddles there were between the Powerhouse and the Ferry Terminal, but I lost count (and perhaps a little interest) after 34 puddles and we had both started to get a little sodden.
During the River Cat Ride - recommended for all ACT (Adults with Children in Tow, please pay attention!) - I was asked a Question. Was there a Toyworld Store in the city? I knew where this was leading, but I have always believed in being up-front and honest, rather than breaking the future trust of any young person. So somehow we wavered from the Planned Itinerary and ended up in the City Toyworld Store. From there, the skills of a negotiator were required to limit excessive impulsive spending, and this was done by firmly indicating that we only had seven dollars to spend.
Two hours later, I had left Lollie in the Toyworld Store. I ended up walking down the Queen Street Mall with Dora the Explorer in search of sustenance. Luckily for us we discovered a "Nugget Shop" in town. I thought Dora was all against multinational food restaurants, but obviously not. I was quite relieved to enjoy a soft serve myself after wearing myself out walking up and down all those Toyworld isles (and back again). (And forth again. And so forth.)
After eating at McNuggets, Dora again became a mask and I somehow ended up sitting next to Lollie again. We agreed to go with the planned programme for a change, which meant HOO-RAY! we ended up at a bookstore. After looking through some picture books (there are so many good ones these days), I tried to spend some time at the Graphic Novels section. While there, I came across a book called BAD TEETH COMICS.
Bad Teeth Comics was the name of a comic strip that used to appear on an erratic (although usually fortnightly) basis in the now-defunct (since 2012) Brisbane weekly street press music newspaper, Rave Magazine. It appeared along with a personal favourite, Mel Stringer's Girlie Pains and another strip by Ben Constantine. This book, BAD TEETH COMICS, is a 200 page volume collecting some of those Glenn Manders' RAVE work and a whole lot more: unpublished comic pages, illustrations, and photographs. There is even a page worked into the back cover that includes four colour stickers!
The book, is divided into sections. Bad Teeth #8 2010 - 2012 leads the front of the book and while interesting, didn't do much for me until the comic section called 'Mental Lentil' began. Artwork contained in the second section of the book (Selected Artwork 2005 - 2009) was of a higher quality than the first. However, I was wondering which artwork was from 2005 and which from a later era. It would have been helpful to have know the artist had improved his style over the period. (In fact, nowhere in the book is there any indication of which art was done in what year. This doesn't matter really, but for people like me who seek records of these things it can be a big deal.) The third section I assume takes selected personal highlights from magazines Glen has self-published over the years, but the pages were few. The personal high point of the book was Selected Comic Strips 2005-2012, and these are likely to be selected reprints of the Rave Magazine comic strips. Some of them were funny, some were clever (Late Night Comics Don't Always Work Out), and there were enough pages - about 65 when I counted - to keep me most satisfied. If you want to see samples of the comics, click here, as Glenn has some on his own web site.
BAD TEETH COMICS, the comic volume, retails for $25 and is available from a different website if you click here. I understand the book was published in August 2012, is 200 pages in length and square bound in size. The book does not have a copyright or a contact page, but I respect an artists' right to own their material, so I have emailed Glenn to seek permission to use the cover artwork to accompany this Blog Entry. IF you don't see an illustration here, you know he has said 'No'!
I bought a copy as a souvenir of not only the wonderful work of Glenn Manders, but also of my wonderful Trip into Town with Lollie last Holiday. I baulked at claiming the Dora the Explorer Mask.
"Our prepress department found the size of the Jacket is only 14Inch in the file (please refer to the attached picture) but it should be 14.25Inch according to our quote for the size of the cover. We could add 0.25Inch by ourselves but there may a slight change in the image and word position. Can you provide a new file of size 14.25Inch to us or should we just add this by ourselves? We also found that the text is 4C but we can change this to 1C by ourselves.
Please confirm if that is ok."
You know, I am such a lucky guy! I have an artist (Michal Dutkiewicz) and a designer (Ryan McDonald-Smith) who both know what all this means, and who both have worked tirelessly on this Ned Kelly project to details to one quarter of an inch (yes, we are old school, here!) to bring this project to perfection just for you, you lucky future Ned Kelly reader!
At 1023 a.m. this morning, the Ned Kelly files arrived at the printer! Does this mean I can slacken off? No. I have an Air Hawk volume to begin working on! Here are a couple of pictures of my office, and evidence of my progress on Air Hawk. Why is it so messy and untidy? One, I can work best with everything all spread out, and two, Mrs Karmichael (who would not approve of Point One) is presently down south (helping out before the arrival of another grandchild). Is that why I have been able to make more entries on this Web-Blog lately? Yes.
As I worked last Father's Day, yesterday I had an opportunity to visit one of my daughters (and her husband and daughters) and belatedly 'celebrated' the day. They live about a couple of hours north of my home in Margate, and it is always a pleasure to catch up with them. The trip home always evokes a lot of memories of days gone by (for more reason than I need to go into here). Some thoughts that filter through my mind include recollections of no less than three Australian cartoonists that live or lived and left a mark in their local communities.
Doug Tainsh moved to Noosaville in about 1970. Although born in Sydney on 13 June 1921 to a poet father and photographer mother - is it any wonder he would follow a creative muse? - Doug actually grew up in Melbourne. He joined the AIF and served in Borneo during World War II. He returned to Melbourne to study at the National Gallery of Victoria. It was here he met his wife Alice. Besides his well-known weekly cartoon about an Australian Swaggie Cedric (a sample is shown above), which appeared in the Australasian Post for many years, Doug was also a well-regarded television writer. He was credited with many episodes of police dramas, including Homicide and Division 4. I met Doug only on a couple of occasions (when attending the local Queensland chapter of the Australian Black and White Artists' Club) and found him to be most gregarious. It was only after he passed away (in March 2004) that I learnt that he also wrote comedy gags for greats such as Maurie Fields and Spike Milligan.
Ken Maynard was another Australian cartoonist who submitted his cartoon (initially called Ned and his Neddy) to the weekly Australasian Post. Ken was born in the country town of Albury, New South Wales in 1928. Ken spent many years working as a Victorian police officer, and first submitted his cartoons to the magazine in the 1950s. The cartoon - eventually named the 'Ettamogah Pub' - was very popular, and related gags with an Australian humour that centred around drinking. It was an integral part of the Post until the magazine folded. I only met Ken once: he was a quietly spoken man. It was said that he was not a financially astute man: he allowed his creation to be used to create a chain of pubs based on his cartoon. I am not sure if he was financially compensated for this. Ken retired from the police force and moved to the Gold Coast, where he died in September 1998. The Ettamogah Pub is now a well-known landmark on the main highway to the Sunshine Coast, and some of Ken's original cartoons can be viewed inside the building.
Ken Dove is another cartoonist from this region of Australia and yet another who has had his cartoons published in the Australasian Post! I do not know when or where Ken was born. I do know he started late in the cartooning game! He worked for The Gympie Times, submitting a weekly cartoon to the newspaper for about 15 years (1982 to 1997). Ken also worked at Aussie World (funnily enough, literally just up the road from the Ettamogah Pub!). From 1989 to 2007 Ken reportedly drew 64,000 caricatures!
I have known Ken personally for almost 30 years; he is one of the kindest and most compassionate of men - and so remarkably talented. Many years ago he offered me some sage advice (that I chose to ignore). Ah, hindsight: it is a wonderful thing! But it is advice that I follow to this day: "Never take yourself too seriously".
In 1982 I published a comic anthology ('The Australian Comics Group') and was planning a second edition. (One day I shall have to talk about why it never came out.) Ken illustrated a super hero story that I had written ('Hero Australia'). I was going to enclose a page here, but I seem to have temporarily misplaced it. Instead, I shall enclose a copy of a caricature he did of me in 1993. I still love this illustration! With the upcoming Ned Kelly book, I was going to include a photo of myself within the book. However, when it came to choosing one I found there was not one that (I thought) carried my essence as much as Ken's illustration!
Ken now lives in retirement, with his wife Joy in Buderim. If you would like to learn more about Ken, please Click
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Launch Party of Brisbane's first ZICS (Zine and Indie Comic Symposium) on Friday August 31st, and unlucky that I had to work on the weekend that featured all of the Panels, Workshops and Retail displays. Held at The Edge, within the precinct of the State Library of Queensland, the event had to compete with some hard core football matches on the same weekend!
The Launch was attended by about 300 (mostly young) people and who were treated to an evening that had enough variety to hold the interest of anyone who may not have any interest in this medium. As it was, most of the attendees were devoted Fans (or seemed to be) of small press magazines, and let their enthusiasm be known with some of the activities at the Launch.
There was a "Scribble Slam" whereby two artists were given a topic to draw and had a limited time to come up with an illustration depicting that topic. The 'winner' was declared by 'vote' of public acclaim (yelling, clapping, wolf-whistles, you get the picture). I thought some of the work under such public scrutiny and time pressure was of a reasonably high standard. Not only were there two competing artists in the Scribble Slam, there were also competitions between teams of artists. A much harder feat, one would think, but one that brought out even better results. I have posted a couple of photos I took on the night. One of the team can be seen working on their artwork (based on the word "Mystery") that was judged not to have won, although I gave them my 'vote'.
The Golden Stapler Awards, "Australia's National Awards for Zine Excellence", were presented during the evening, and with the theme of the Launch, I felt it was a good idea to include it in the evening's activities. As an outsider (as I consider myself), I feel that one way of improving the presentation for next time could be by having some visuals in the background featuring an example of each nomination as they are announced. Somewhat similar to the Logies or Oscars, if you like. Not only would it be an introduction to the artists' works for dummies like me, but it makes the whole presentation look more polished and professional.
Another highlight (for me, at least) was the section entitled: "Show Us Your Zits!". This was the opportunity at various stages during the evening that allowed creators to come to the stage and talk about their Zines or Comics. Perhaps it is in the nature of their work (it is, after all, done in isolation) or maybe due to the stigma they feel about their craft (let's face it, the Brisbane Courier-Mail did not run a story on the Symposium), but I just found these talks too short. It came across as if everyone was embarrassed to get up on stage and shout to the world about their achievements, which (if it is so) is pretty sad. Comics have worn this stigma for years, and it is time to be proud of the medium. I particularly found the history and current state of New Zealand Zines interesting (presented by two Kiwis whose names - shame! - I can no longer remember): it seems there is an even larger undercurrent of activity in this area than I realised. Although I am familiar with Ashcan, I found Zac Smith-Cameron's talk - although short like the others - informative and entertaining.
In summary, I came to the event not knowing what to expect. I didn't discover any artist that immediately needed signing up to Comicoz (a la Rob Feldman). I left - before the Bedroom Philosopher warmed to his set - fairly confident that the event was worthwhile (despite some of my critical thoughts on some aspects of it) and worthy of support in the future. I look forward to next year's Symposium, and just hope I can get the whole weekend off duty, so I can catch some of the Workshops and Panels, and maybe even man a table to sell some good Aussie Comics...
An aside (or Postscript, if you will): Earlier this month, I posted a frustrated 'Grumble' about the ZICS organisation. While I do not take back my comments, I have sought to reach a compromise mutually agreeable with the ZICS Collective. I have also invited all ZICS Supporters an opportunity to a special pre-order of Comicoz' books and an invitation to attend the Ned Kelly Launch (at a date yet to be confirmed). Here's some of my comments to the ZICS Team:
" I'm just as much an Independent Publisher, and I know the difficulty in getting the word out there; so ZICS was important for the local (and national) scene, and I was (and am) happy to support it. All in all, given a bit of space from the event (and my initial disappointment in not getting my ticket to attend the BWF), when I look at it objectively we are both working towards the same goal.
Phantom Copyright King Features
Some time ago, I wrote a entry in this Blog expressing my concern about the future of Sydney publisher Frew's The Phantom following the sudden and sad death of Jim Shepherd. It seems I needn't have worried! I see in my local newsagency that Issue #1700 is on now sale. That is certainly no mean feat! So, Congratulations Judith Shepherd, on just a remarkable local publishing milestone! At $3.50, 36 black and white newsprint pages, The Phantom is still a remarkably cheap investment. Sadly, there are so few comics on sale on our Australian newsagency stands: the only other I saw was the British weekly 2000AD. If there WERE other local (Australian) comics on sale and available at a reasonable price, would the Australian public support it? I would like to think so, but to test it out it would mean someone with a willingness to put up some serious money, a product that was modern and appealed to an everyday Aussie, as well as being superior to any other overseas product. Is anyone willing to give it a go?
Dear ZICS Gang!
I am not sure if you will read this in time, as you are having a (no doubt deserved) "week's break".
However, I made a pledge that was supposed to be delivered in AUGUST, and I think that an explanation is in order.
I put in some of my hard-earned $$ into your Pozible project for MORE THAN ONE REWARD, and I am sure I will be Rewarded with MOST of them. ONE of my Pledges (and, as you know, I made a few) was to the tune of $250, and I have been keen on seeing it in the mail...only to be disappointed on a daily basis. I am talking about my Pass to the Queensland Writer's Festival, specifically the 'Well Drawn' series. Where has my ticket gone? Why has it not arrived in time? As it is, the Writer's Festival is almost over....
I believe that if you are going to seek funds towards a project, that is fine; but don't forget it is the ordinary folk who pledge their money that allows you to reach your goal, and that they should be rewarded for this. That is what Pozible is all about. I pledged my money because I believed in your project. Even though I was unable to attend the ZICS Saturday or Sunday events, I was present during the inaugural ZICS Launch Party. And enjoyed some of the activities.
I have no doubt you will deliver on other Rewards in exchange for my money that entered your coffers. I'm bitterly disappointed I was not contacted about my Reward to the Writer's Festival. I am pleased my money was useful in allowing you to reach your goal, because I believe ZICS should be an on-going event in the Brisbane (and national) culture. It's just that I feel less likely to want to financially support such an event again for fear that I will not be adequately compensated.
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