From my birthday (December 21st) to the end of any given year, I usually spend those ten days reflecting on the year past...which, this year, has been a particularly good one for my publishing imprint Comicoz. Two books (Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd and Rob Feldman's Cartoons, Comics and Cows in Cars); and two comics (Issues One and Two of Oi Oi Oi!) were published and released on the Australian newsstands. Added to this, my involvement in the 'discovery' of the 'lost' 1933 cartoon ("For gorsake, stop laughing: this is serious") by Stan Cross, which will most likely be THE highlight, THE pinnacle of my life's involvement in the Australian comic medium....
But today, it doesn't seem to matter. Even though Christmas can be a happy time for most of us, there are some that are experiencing extreme sadness, and I thought it would be worth reflecting on that just for a moment. I have just been given the news in a Christmas email (from Sue Dixon), that Australian comic book/strip artist John Dixon (Tim Valour, The Crimson Comet, Air Hawk creator) is now in palliative care in his California home.
Anyone wishing to send their wishes (Get Well cards, Christmas cards, New Year cards or even early Birthday cards -- John's birthday is in February) can send them to me care of:
P.O. Box 187
MARGATE BEACH, 4019
(Australia) and I will forward each and every one of them on to Sue and John Dixon.
Even thought John Dixon and I had corresponded for many years (since 1980) by mail, by fax, and by phone... and later by email; it wasn't until late June 2011 that I first met John Dixon in person. Here's one of only a few pictures taken on that day, when I proudly presented him with my first volume "John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor".
It has always been my belief that Artists and Cartoonists should always be paid their worth. Many local Australian Artists and Cartoonists have been wonderfully generous in their willingness to allow me to publish their work in my on-going newsstand-released quarterly Anthology Oi Oi Oi! If you have read my Submission Guidelines, you will know that I allow the contributors an option of either being paid up front or having a deferred payment, based on a profit share of sales of the issue they appear in. As testament to their incredible generosity, most contributors who appeared in the First Issue chose to defer their payment.
Since yesterday, all contributors appearing in that First Issue have either been paid or are in the process of receiving payments for their contributions. All who deferred payment will be receiving a 10% bonus on what they would have received had they chosen to be paid up-front prior to publication. It is my way of saying a sincere "Thanks" to them for their faith in my fledgling publication.
If I could, I'd also like to say "Thanks" to all Readers who purchased a copy, or who wrote about the magazine (whether they liked some, all or none of the contents). Lessons have been learned and - I believe - improvements have been made on subsequent Issues. (The Second, on sale nationally in Australian newsstands right now, contains many pages in colour.) The experience has not diminished my resolve to try to establish a nationally-released Aussie comic magazine, so that it can be available to all types of readers: from those in the country or in remote locations just as much as it can be accessed by readers in the cities. At this present time, I am working on the Fourth Issue of Oi Oi Oi!...
The total sales of the First Issue came to 552 copies (of a 5000 print run). You don't need me to do the Maths for you. That's 11% sold. Totally disappointing. But one I resolved to share with you. If you care, please share a copy of the Second Issue of Oi Oi Oi! with a friend this Christmas. It's on the newsstands now. Inside you will find some fine stories by many great Australian Artists and Cartoonists....
I know many of this Blog's readers are looking forward to reading the story about this, what has been described as "the world's funniest cartoon"...
And the story WILL BE first written about here, on this Blog. But not today. At the moment, I am working on developing more cartoons and comic-related books for 2015....as well as Oi Oi Oi! Number Four. So, while you are patiently waiting, why not buy someone a copy of our latest issue (Number Two) for someone this Christmas? Philip Bentley has said some wonderfully nice things about it on Matt Emery's Pikitia Press site, and you can read all about it if you click here...
The Nominations for the 2015 Ledger Awards are now open!
From the Comicoz stable, I have nominated every comic related book published in 2014 for these Awards. I do urge every comic creator to do likewise! You can view the "Long List" (everyone who nominates) by clicking here. No doubt this will be quite a substantial list when entries eventually close!
From Comicoz, I have nominated:
Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd,
Oi Oi Oi!, and.
Rob Feldman's Cartoons, Comics and Cows in Cars
(My favourite book of 2014...although you know I am biased!)
Comicoz Principal Nat Karmichael (this is weird talking about myself in the third person!) has nominated Montague Thomas Archibald ("Monty") Wedd for the 2015 Platinum Ledger that "acknowledges individuals from the past and present and their contributions to the [comic] art form". Naturally, Monty would be in the "inactive" category ('a person deceased or retired from the rich past of Australian comics who helped shape the art form in some meaningful way'). Last year, I was honoured to accept the Award on behalf of John Dixon.
This is what I wrote about Monty Wedd in my nomination of him for the 2015 Award:
Monty Wedd (1921 - 2012) was passionate about Australia and Australian History. In his later years, he attempted to share this passion with his historical weekly newspaper features: Ned Kelly (1974), Bold Ben Hall (1977) and The Making Of A Nation (1988).
Earlier in his career, after a stint in the armed service during World War II (both in the Australian Army AND the Royal Australian Air Force!), Monty was active during the Golden Age of Australian Comics (1942 - 1960). He created many comics, with his most memorable characters being The Scorpion and Captain Justice.
Monty was so passionate about Australian History that he established the Monarch Museum in 1960 (and still running in Williamtown, near Newcastle). He also helped usher in history, with his daily comic strip Dollar Bill (1965-1966) educating the Australian public about the conversion of our currency from pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents.
Monty was also a pioneer in the Australian animation industry, working as a layout artist in the early 1970s on Marco Polo Junior verses The Red Dragon, The Lone Ranger, Rocket Robin Hood and Super Friends (and more). The book that he illustrated, Australian Military Uniforms 1800 - 1992, remains a seminal reference work in its field.
Monty contributed a monthly comic strip to Stamp News, and for many years illustrated stories in The Australian Children's Weekly.
Monty Wedd shaped the art form with his passionate belief that not only could comics entertain, they could also educate Australians about our own history.
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