The year may be young, and I may be somewhat presumptuous to state, but the Australian Comic Arts Festival held in Canberra earlier in the year, was just one of the nicest festivals (music, comic, otherwise) that I have ever been too. There was such a sense of comradery, of sharing, a genuine warmth that I will so look forward to going again next year!* It had been many years (since 1981, in fact) that I last was in town... Back in those days, I was formulating plans on producing my first comic anthology, and had met some of the local creatives: Peter Markmann, Mike Priess and Peter Bollinger are names that I can still recall today (although I have no idea of where they presently are)...
So, in some ways, it was an exercise in nostalgia. I was treated like royalty, being picked up at the Airport and trying to recall the places and faces from all those years ago. Yet it was so much more: Canberra has changed. They even have a comic book shop right in the middle of town! Mal Briggs is the owner and runs Impact Comics, and is also the wonderful host who put me up for the Festival. Have a look at his web-site (click here), and just tell me that that does not entice new comic readers....
Cath Brinkley and Bruce Mutard organised the Festival, and deserve our thanks. It was professionally put together, and there were so many workshop alternatives to choose from that it was difficult to work out which one to attend. For me, personally, I enjoyed the session put together by the Librarians, because I got so much out of it. I have not had time to implement the teachings yet, but I will get there -- I hope! I'm not going to detail who was there in Canberra and who I chatted to (this is supposed to be a short Blog entry, after all); but I can say, if you were NOT there: WHY NOT?? Make sure you can make it next year*!!
Click here if you want to read of the ABC's coverage of the Event. There was also an ABC camera crew recording the Event for posterity. I wasn't able to load it here, although you can read it on my Nat Karmichael Facebook page dated February 26th....
* Now that I have encouraged everyone to attend, I have to tell you that Mrs K has informed me that we have a 80th Birthday party (Auntie Margaret) in Tasmania that we are supposed to be attending ....around the same time next year. This is awful news. But there may yet be ways around it. I don't know what they are yet, but we shall see...
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