Although I believe that (ahem!) Comicoz has published two of the better comic books in 2014, both Monty Wedd and Rob Feldman have to be excluded from my judgement of this Award. And as I alone make the decision, this Award would be held into question should I choose either Rob or Monty, as it would give the appearance of being biased towards my own books. So, to prevent what might seem a conflict of interest, I shall exclude any Comicoz book from 'entering' this Award, now and in the future. I have again decided to announce this Honorary Award on the birth-date of one of Australia's greatest comic book artists (Monty Wedd, born on January 5th.... 94 years ago today).
As in previous years, the Comicoz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book still does not bring its recipient any monetary rewards or worldly acclaim, and the Award bestowed remains a totally an honorary one. However, as I said last year (and as I say again this year) Awards are fun things and they generate discussion, which is healthy for our medium.
I am not bribed into choosing the recipient. The Award is simply my summation of who I think is deserving of it, based on the Australian comic books I have read during the past twelve months. As a Reader, you are welcome to disagree and make your thoughts known, but I shall not change my mind, and the Award will still stand…
The winner of the Comicoz Award for Best Australian Original Comic Book for 2014 is....(drumroll, drumroll).....
...The ANZAC Legend: A Graphic History by Dave Dye.
Mildura-based, Dave Dye works in an environment away from any comic scene, and has slaved 'for over 5000 hours' (that's three years full-time!) to produce the detailed history of the ANZAC story. His book covers the period from about June 1914 to May 5th the following year all over 200 wonderfully detailed pages. As I said last April, when reviewing the book on this Blog: There is no way that the Reader can approach a read of this book as "a light read", given the amount of detail presented. "The story is presented in a manner which makes it easier for the layman to understand why, who, where and what took place", says Dave. And this is exactly what one gets.
I have noticed in booksellers in recent days (when shopping for Christmas presents) other books that seek to depict the ANZAC story in Graphic format. Sadly, I did not find Dave's book among those offered for sale, because Dave's book stands head and shoulders above all others that seek to depict this essential part of our Australian history. Initially, when I read some of Dave's blog (before I had seen a copy of the book) I was a little concerned about Dave's art style: it reminded me of an older style that were prevalent with earlier British boy's comics I recalled from my youth. However, seeing the finished product in its entirety and completed form, I new feel it is eminently suited to Dave's story. The story has been painstakingly put together. Dave's two visits to Gallipoli and 28 years in the Australian Regular Army (where he obtained his Diploma of Visual Art) have been put to great use.
The book is available directly from Dave's website (Click here to be taken there) for only $35 (and $5 for postage and packing, $10 if you are in New Zealand). A PDF version is also available. This is an essential book that should be on all Australian (and New Zealand) book-shelves; the fact it is written in comic book format should matter little.
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