On Australia Day last month, celebrating my daughter's 30th birthday, a group of the 'oldies' in the party of family and friends began to reminisce about what we were doing when we individually reached that milestone. When it was my turn to share my reflections, I confessed that I was unable to recall. (It was a long time ago, I protested!) However, since Natalie's Celebrations, I have engaged in more research - and discovered what I must have been doing around that time. Here is the evidence: a month after my 30th, I have dated the first Introduction to the First Issue of John Dixon's Air Hawk Magazine....
Let's engage in a bit of maths now. At that time (in late 1987 - early 1988), John Dixon would have almost been 54 years of age - about the same age (give or take a year or two) that I am today! And the newspaper version of Air Hawk had ceased running new adventures only one or two years beforehand... Let's run this a little further: what was John Dixon doing when he turned 30? It was 1959...and in the year ahead, there were troubled times in the Australian comic book publishing industry - the restrictions on imported overseas (American) comics was about to be lifted, television had taken a foothold in popular culture, and the Sunday version of Air Hawk was going to be appear in the newspapers for the very first time...
It is now over thirty years since new Air Hawk adventures appeared in the daily newspapers, and in May 2013 it will be the fifty year anniversary of the daily version's first appearance. This Passing of Time has made me realise that there is now a generation of Australian comic book Fans who know nothing of this Classic Australian Newspaper Strip. I think I have been focused for too long on a bottom line that the Air Hawk book needs to run at a profit in order that it continue publication. The point is, Comicoz now has a publishing-printing arrangement with Lightning Source and print runs can be limited to whatever is needed in the marketplace. Look, if 100 people want to see further Volumes of the book, then Comicoz should be printing 100 copies of the book... The need to have the collected adventures out there, even in limited quantities, should override the economics of the venture.
On John Dixon's 84th birthday, Comicoz is happy to announce that the next volume of Air Hawk shall soon re-commence. And if that means only 100 people jump for joy, at least that is 100 happier people in the world. Count me as one of them: my batteries are re-charged! I am sure John Dixon is another!
Happy Birthday, John: Air Hawk is coming back...!!
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