I was asked at little notice – a couple of days prior – if I was interested in announcing the recipient of the Australian Cartoonists Association’s Stanley Award’s Comic Strip category. Of course, how could I say "no"?! However, I was bamboozled. What could I say? Inspiration arrived at 3 a.m. on the day of the ceremony!
Here’s what I said (for posterity):
“I’d like to relate to you all tonight a true story. You may think it’s funny, but it is a true story.
“There’s a cartoonist I knew who lived in Gympie. It was a time in my life where I was going through a little trouble in my relationship. He wanted to offer me some advice.
“This cartoonist is now in his third marriage." (Knowing that would get their attention, this caused some murmurs in the audience.)
“His name is Ken Dove. Look, he doesn’t get into the news in Inkspot often. And he doesn’t attend these annual dinners or award nights. But Ken is a member of the Australian Cartoonists Association. And he remains a member because he likes getting his copy of Inkspot.
“Ken Dove drew the political cartoon for The Gympie Times for many, many years. And Ken recently got married. Married a lovely girl called Barbie.”
(Some laughs from the audience.) “Yes, this is a true story.
“Ken’s an example how sometimes little people can give big advice. Ken’s advice to me: ‘Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Go on a holiday’.”
“I’d like to think that comic strips in our newspapers are on holiday. Because a newspaper without comic strips is a newspaper that doesn’t take itself too seriously."
“And a country without comic strips is a country that takes itself too seriously."
“Australians need to laugh more. You people (our cartoonists) try to make us do just that. You’re the little people doing a big job. Thank you.” [End of Speech.]
The nominees for the Comic Strip category are:
And the recipient is … Gary Clark.
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