I've had the most chilled out end-of-year in memory, even though the weather has been quite hot. Since the Stanley Awards I've been able to catch up with all but one of our children, and all of our fourteen grandchildren! (Yes, fourteen! The latest was born on 17th December! And the only child I have not 'caught up with' flies in from overseas on the last day of the year....) For a nice change, I've even been rostered off duty on Christmas Day -- the first time in four years! So, I'm in a pretty relaxed sort of head space....
Of course, what most (comic) people are asking me of late, is WHEN is the From 'Sunbeams' book going to be released? I can report that author Graeme Cliffe is presently working with Designer Ryan McDonald-Smith on the Index. The last thing in the book to be finished! Given the date, changes are going to be made to Copyright dates (from 2018 to 2019) to ensure the book doesn't appear dated when it is (finally, eventually) released in 2019. I was going to say 'early 2019' but I don't want to jinx it!
I've been in negotiations with Diamond Distributors, the world's largest distributors of comic and comic-related products, and I plan on soon signing their contract to have them potentially distribute the book to all the comic specialty stores around the world! This is really big and exciting news; it will be the first time I have published what can soon be considered an internationally-released book.
News from my beloved Australian Cartoonists' Association: In November, I was nominated for the role of President, but was unsuccessful in my bid against incumbent Jules Faber. This year, the positions on the Committee were more hotly contested than ever before. (Certainly a sign people want to get involved, but was it also a sign the members were dissatisfied with the current direction of the Committee, of which I was a member? Having also lost my Deputy President role, I had to be content to continue my role as a Committee Member - thanks to Lindsay Foyle - and am committed to keep working to make the association more relevant to the people working in the field today.)
I remain Editor of the ACA's quarterly journal Inkspot, although the Board/Committee has decided to limit the print run to Members only. This means, future copies will not be able to be shared with Libraries or comic book creators (and others) at events like Supanova and the Ledger Awards. It's a decision that I did not agree to, but as a member of a committee I have to go along with a majority vote. So, if you have been given a copy in the past, the ONLY way you are going to be able to obtain future copies is by becoming a Full or Associate Member (and I am always too happy to supply the Membership Form if you want to join).
One of the articles in the next issue (featuring David Rowe on the cover, illustrated by Paul Harvey) is my search for the family of Australian cartoonist Syd Miller, co-creator of Chesty Bond (among many other achievements). At the Stanley Awards, Alan Moir, George Sprod and Syd were inducted into the ACA's Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Syd's family were not able to be located in order to accept the Award for him. Sid was born on Christmas Eve 1901 and passed away on the last day of 1983. I'm not going to publicise the outcome of my search until after the next issue of Inkspot is released (hopefully, in January).
The 2019 Ledger of Honour Award - the selection panel, of which I chair - has also been decided. I am not at liberty to inform you of the winner, although I can tell you The Ledger Awards ceremony is to be held in Sydney on the ANZAC long weekend. So, if you are an Australian comic-lover, keep that weekend free in your diary! I have two books (Bold Ben Hall and The Men Behind Superman) entered in the Long List (click here for details), with the Short Listed nominations due to be announced in early 2019 sometime/somewhere. The Men Behind Superman has also been entered in the Children's Book Council of Australia's 2019 Book of the Year Awards, with entries soon closing. (Bold Ben Hall did not qualify.) My motto: You've got to be in it to win it!
I've not been to as many Comic Conventions or events as I usually do in 2018 (mainly because I have been so busy working on Inkspot and the other books just named), so I feel a little out of the loop in having to select a 'winner' for my Comicoz comic book award for 2019's Best Original Australian Comic. But I have set a trend, and plan to continue it! Although there is one that stands out in my mind already, I am happy to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions before the year is out.....
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 was 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