Sad to say, the Stretch Goal of $6000.00 for the Kickstarter project for Graeme Cliffe's book From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 to 1965) wasn't met. I can't really complain though, as the target goal of $3000.00 was met. I'd like to thank all sixty-one people who made pledges, and to all the people who pre-ordered the book from this website, for their enthusiasm for this project. I am really proud to be publishing this volume for its historical importance.
Given this is my very first attempt at selling an Australian book* about Australian comics to the Americans who pioneered the medium, I am really chuffed to say that Diamond Comic Distributors have also ordered 110 copies. Anyway, being chuffed won't do it! I have a lot of work cut out for me, getting the books out to everyone and given the attached terms and conditions Diamond are asking in getting copies of the book to their warehouse in a safe and speedy manner. So, if you don't see many (or any) postings here (or on Facebook), you now know the reason why!
I'm honestly a little overwhelmed by all of this. The bottom line is that Graeme's book is NOT going to be making any money in getting these books overseas. It might end up costing much more money than I am ever going to make from the print run! So why sell it overseas in the first place? I really believe that there is a need to be able to share his research with as many people who have a passion for the comic medium as possible. This book needs to be in libraries, in schools, in as many hands as possible!
Although I fear the financial loss in the project, I am grateful for the people behind the scenes who have helped and who are helping in getting the book out to the world. Besides those who have purchased and supported the Kickstarter campaign, I need to thank Graeme Cliffe for entrusting me to publish the book, and to his friend and Australian comic historian Neville C Bain (who designed the cover and who is working on the Limited Edition copies of the book for the Kickstarter campaign). My long-time collaborator Ryan McDonald-Smith, who has spent countless hours -- at times without pay -- working on the internal design and prepared the book for the printer, King Wang, who did his usual marvellous job. I'm grateful that Rowena and Georgina and the whole team at my new distributor, Novella Distribution, share my enthusiasm and will be working towards those aims of getting copies of the book in schools and libraries. I need to thank my Customs Agent Ian Hosking for his timely advice and assistance in getting the book to Australia and now back to America! And, even though she won't be reading these words, someone I need to thank over and above everyone else: Carlene, my wife who allows me to work on all these comic projects, even though she is jealous of the time I spend on them all.
The Kickstarter campaign had the duel purpose of publicising the book and raising funds to cover some of the costs associated with the project. In promoting the campaign, we used part of a movie clip from the 1960s. I have always said I would share that on my website, and today seems to be the appropriate time to do so. It is of significant historical value. It was shot in Sydney by cameraman (and comic book illustrator in his own right) Keith Chatto. It featured Jan and John Ryan, as well as their children Fiona and Sean, and Jan kindly gave permission for me to use the material. This is the first time the vision has been seen publicly and in full. We were not able, during the course of the Kickstarter campaign, to identify all the artists in the clip, so if anyone can help in this matter, we'd appreciate the information. The artists we did identify were Jim Russell, John Dixon and R. B. (Bob) Clarke. We were able to rule out Phil Belbin, and I suspect it could be Stanley Pitt (given there is some of his artwork featured), but I am not 100% sure...
Graeme's book was designed to be almost the same size as John Ryan's book Panel By Panel. When Graeme and I were at the early discussion and visualisation phase of the project, we both agreed that rather than supersede John's book, we wanted it to compliment it. It was deliberately designed to be about the same size, with similar fonts, and a similarly-designed index. We wanted people (who may have a copy of John's book) to be able to place both volumes side by side in their library.
I have a lot of work cut out for me now, so this will be possibly my last word on Graeme's book for a while. I have packages to prepare, books to ship out. Let me know (when it arrives) your thoughts on the book. Happy, as ever, to take constructive criticism which I am more than happy to pass on to Graeme. He's hoping the edition sells out, so he can oversee a Second Edition. Could it be he found some errors in the text? Surely not....
*Some people with long memories will remember I once sold one of my "Air Hawk" comics to the Americans in 1990. ("Air Hawk Super Special #1" also known as "John Dixon's Air Hawk Magazine" Issue 5.) The venture wasn't an total success. Some of the product ended up 'lost' and the Distributors didn't pay. Copies of the magazine were, until most recently, still available from Lone Star Comics in Texas for the cover price of $2.00!
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