Today I have formally announced to the President and Secretary of the Australian Cartoonists Association that I will not be seeking another term on the Committee when the elections are held next month. Over the past few months - mostly due to work schedules - I have found it difficult to attend committee meetings. For similar reasons earlier this year I chose to withdraw from the honorary position of Lead Judge of the Ledger of Honour Awards. Neither of these decisions were made rashly or impulsively, and they were not made because I had any difference of opinion with the general direction each group was heading in...
Again, due mostly to my shifts at work, I was not able to make the journey to Perth to attend the Comic Arts Awards of Australia's annual ceremony. Held on the 6th of August, it was the first one in three years not to have been held virtually, as society worries less about COVID. I would have been honoured to have accepted the Ledger of Honour (or, if you will, Hall of Fame Award) for creatives passed on behalf of Monty Wedd's family. It would have been a bitter-sweet time for the family, as Monty's widow Dorothy sadly passed away on 29th June, a short time before the ceremony.
For the purpose of posterity, here are the winners of the CAAA Awards, 2022:
Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed (Twelve Panels Press)
Stone Fruit by Lee Lai (Fantagraphics Books)
Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance by Sarah Searle (Iron Circus Comics)
As You Drive by Nina Dakin (in Myth #6, a comic anthology from Curtin Illustration Club)
Turtlenecks by Steven Christie (AdHouse Books)
Underground by Mirranda Burton (Allen & Unwin)
Platinum Award (given to "an individual or organisation presently active in the Australian comics publishing scene, who best represents the ideals of the Awards"): Papercuts Comics Festival. Well-deserved, in my opinion, as 'George Rex' (Georgina Chadderton) and Owen Heitmann have worked hard to produce the best comic festival in Australia. Not that I went in 2022, although what I saw in ... 2019? ... greatly impressed me for its professionalism.
Ledger of Honour, or Hall of Fame (that I oversaw for the last time):
Monty Wedd* (for a creative no longer living)
Norman Clifford (to a creative still alive)
*I abstained from voting when deciding the final result here, to prevent any perceived conflict of interest, given I have published some of Monty's works.
I have written a review of one of the Gold Award recipients, Still Alive, for the Australian Cartoonists Association's journal Inkspot. (Let me know if you'd like a copy when it is published, and I'll see if I can obtain one for you. I'll place the full review here on this site when it is published, but in the meantime, here's an excerpt of my thoughts:
Interspersed with Safdar’s tale, he allows some of the refugees to tell their stories, most particularly Haider*. (*Not his real name.) Both narratives intermingled with each other, and both used first person pronouns, with the same lettering font and illustrating style, making the first-time reading of these different chapters initially confusing.
Safdar’s illustrations are pleasing to the eye, although he seems to lack a certain sequential storytelling that would allow the work to flow more consistently throughout the book. Part of that is no doubt due to the mountain of factual information that he seeks to impart to the reader about the detention system and its clear failings to those detained. Periodically, he allows some of those who have joined his art workshops a space on the pages to demonstrate their experiences through their drawings. I would have liked to have seen some of those highlighted a little more: perhaps a page to each of their works would have been better, rather than squeezing two illustrations to a page.
The decision to quit the Ledger of Honour Awards was one that filled me with more guilt than the position on the ACA Committee. Since informing the coordinator of the group that I needed to resign my post, I've been told that the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (Ledger)'s 2021 Annual may have to be placed on the backburner and that the very future of the Awards are now looking problematic. This is no-one's fault: it's an extremely time-consuming venture (for no financial reward), and Gary Chaloner, Tim McEwen, and Dr Bruce Mutard need to be congratulated for continuing it for the past nine consecutive years. Perhaps because the Awards have been running for so long, and because I can recognise that the Awards will be a future historical record of the local comic medium, I really hope that they can continue. If not for my present commitment to my workplace, or rather the need to earn a living, I would have volunteered to take up the challenge!
In the meantime, some will be asking, what became of the Comicoz-Wedd Mentored Australian Graphic Storytelling Project? I had planned to announce the winner at Perth's CAAA ceremony. I have now decided to announce it on the 5th January 2023, when I make my annual announcement of my thoughts on the year's best Australian comics.
Work has overwhelmed my life over the past few months. Since COVID, I have worked full-time again. And there have been extra double shifts and overtime shifts. Especially over the past three months or more. From a comic-publishing perspective, I have been fortunate in not having had too many comic projects to work on. I've been able to work on our garden, read some comics, and 'tidy-up' my music-come-comic room (with Carlene's 'supervision') in some of my spare time....when spare time has been available.
So without any pressing comic projects, and with work so hectic, the spare time that I have had, I have begun to enjoy life away from work. Given my age -- I'm 65 in 2022 -- I have started contemplating my life without any of the pressures of employment and a regular salary. For a while there, I thought it might be endless days of reading comics, visiting grandchildren, gardening, walking (my main passions), but just lately that fire in my belly for the comics medium has returned, as people have again approached me about publishing works that interest me. Resorting to Kickstarter for each individual project seems so time-consuming. I'm contemplating commencing a Patreon page. You heard it here first. I'll explore more and share with you later ...
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