I have just heard the news on the Australian comic grapevine that Melbourne-based comic artist-cartoonist-publisher Ian Eddy has passed away. He was a pioneer of the early comic self-publishing movement in the early 1980s (when it wasn't as cheap to do so as it is today). His influence on the local (Australian) scene and his enthusiasm for the medium cannot be overstated. He experimented with his artistic style, with his story-telling.
Back in those days, you had to write to each other (no such thing as emails!) and we were reasonably prolific correspondents. I once came down to Melbourne especially to meet him while he was still living at home with his parents. A meeting of comic minds. He was so enthusiastic, full of ideas. We had a long conversation (the exact contents I can no longer recall) that went on for far longer than I imagined. I know he chided me for some of my earlier publishing conditions ("no profanity"), something that inspired him to write his "No Man is an Island" piece, when he contributed to my very first comics anthology in 1982. He was later fully supportive of my efforts to publish a Felix the Cat comic (and wanted to illustrate it). He left me two comic stories in the early 1980s that remained unpublished for many years.
Years later, when I was seeking to reprint one of those stories, I found it difficult to contact Ian. He didn't have an email address I knew of and he wouldn't reply to letters I sent. I'm still not sure why. Somehow, I was able to obtain his phone number, and tried to call him, but as soon as Ian knew it was me, he terminated the call. I eventually contacted his brother Daryl (who co-wrote one of the stories), seeking permission to publish one of the stories. Permission was obtained. So the last published Ian Eddy story ran in the Special Nostalgia Edition of Oi Oi Oi! It was always my favourite piece, so I am pleased it - eventually - saw print.
Ian Eddy's page in the history of Australian comics can now be written. Not only have we lost a great Australian comic artist-writer-publisher, there are those who are grieving for the loss of a fine human being. My condolences to all who knew and loved Ian Eddy. He won't ever be forgotten in these quarters.
It was Vane Lindesay's one hundredth birthday yesterday. I tried to talk to him, but couldn't get through. Too many congratulatory calls, I'm sure! One hundred years! Pretty amazing! For any not familiar with Vane's works, here (above) is a short video produced by the Australian Cartoon Museum a few years back. It's not the best summary of his works or history, but it will suffice.
Vane drew a cartoon in the Australasian Post (1946-2002) every week for an amazing forty years. But more than being a simple cartoonist, Vane was also a book designer and has had (and still has) an interest in the history of the cartooning medium. He contributed to articles to Inkspot when I was editor recently, and continues to do so. He is best known for his book The Inked-in Image, A Survey of Australian Comic Art (first published by William Heinemann in 1970). My favourite book of Vane's is The Way We Were, detailing some of this country's popular magazines between 1856 and 1969. I have a long way to go to catch up with the man: he has had published about 18 books on cartooning. (Or so I am told.)
My fondest memory of Vane is at my first Australian Cartoonists' Association Award Night (then the Bulletin Black and White Artists' Club Awards) in 1988. Have I told this story before? I was sitting in the back of the room (perhaps because the organisers had no idea where to place this new member). I was in seventh heaven! I was in the company of Dan Russell whose comic work I knew (and that he was chuffed to know I cared), and others that I came to know that night: Tony Rafty and Vane Lindesay, and many more. (It was the same night I met Monty and Dorothy Wedd in person, although they were not at our table.) How our table erupted with cheers and congratulations when Vane won the Silver Stanley (now the Jim Russell Award) for his 'significant contribution to Australian Black and White Art'. It was a fabulous night, where many friendships were forged. Here's my record of the night (below). I went around like a fan-boy and obtained the autographs of all who won Awards that evening...
Happy Birthday - 100 years - to Vane Lindesay!
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