Check out the whole Conference line-up here: www.cartoonists.org.au/stanleys/conference/2018
Or, to book, go here (it's open to the public!): www.cartoonists.org.au/stanleys/register/public
Brisbane comic strip fans and Members of the Australian Cartoonists Association had a chance to get to meet American cartoonist Jeff (The Family Circus) Keane at an informal function at the newly-opened Proud Mary Restaurant earlier this month. Here are some of the attendees!
Jeff will be appearing at the 2018 Stanley Awards being held in Old Parliament House, Canberra, next weekend. I hope to post photos after I return home myself...
Check out the whole Conference line-up here: www.cartoonists.org.au/stanleys/conference/2018
Or, to book, go here (it's open to the public!): www.cartoonists.org.au/stanleys/register/public
It's an absolute honour to be able to speak at this year's Stanley Conference (open to the public) with Justin Wedd, as we tell the world - well, those who are interested, at least! - about his Dad's works and the Bold Ben Hall book we have just published!
If YOU are interested in attending either the Stanley Awards and/or the conference, here are the details about where you can book:
Click here: www.cartoonists.org.au/stanleys/register/public
I'm also getting pretty excited about Jeff Keane arriving in Brisbane soon...!
If anyone gets a chance to go to this, please let me know. I was asked to shout out about it, which is what I am doing. Even though it is too far away for me to be able to attend...
Comic Book Sale of Awesomeness returns to the glee of collectors and fans alike
Penney’s House of Awesomeness is hosting a one-day super sale with vintage comic books and graphic novels up for grabs.
CANBERRA, 15 October 2018 – Canberra comic book and pop culture store, Penney’s House of Awesomeness at Gungahlin Village is throwing their second annual Comic Book Sale of Awesomeness this Saturday, 21st October.
With an impressive and eclectic range of comic books and graphic novels from the 1960’s to now, fans can get their hands on these unique pieces of history. There are around 30,000 comics for sale, with 30-50% off almost all of them.
Owner and collector, James Penney, says, “The highlight of last year was setting up for our first sale, and seeing buyers drive all the way from Sydney and Newcastle. We’ve got lots going on throughout the day, with displays of extremely rare first appearances and giveaways for the kids,”
Enthusiasts will be blown away by the opportunity to see (but not purchase) rare Mega Key comics including first editions of Avengers, Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Ironman, X-Men and Hero for Hire in the flesh. There’s also first editions of Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four (the first appearance for these characters) and Incredible Hulk #181 – the first full appearance of Wolverine.
Mr Penney has been collecting for over 30 years before deciding to sell vintage comics 18 months ago. He said, “We have investment grade books with tonnes of first appearances so you can see where the real pop culture started.
You’ll be able to see some amazing books.”
Shoppers can also snap up bargains with 20% off board games, 20% off POP! Vinyls (with the exception of Gold dot POP!, which will be 10% off) and a massive 50% off Pokémon boxes and tins.
The nostalgia doesn’t end with the impressive array of vintage collectables, as an old-fashioned jellybean jar guessing competition will see one punter go home with a $100 store voucher (and, of course, an impressive amount of jellybeans).
Customers are invited to dress up for the event, with an exclusive POP! Vinyl from Toys R Us up for grabs for the shopper deemed best dressed.
For more information, head to:
I have discovered in the past month or so that you published two Air Hawk reprint books in the past few years and I have gotten copies of both. I look forward to reading and enjoying. (The copy of the first one has an inscription and autograph from you, which is a nice bonus).
Like most comic strip fans in the USA, I discovered Air Hawk through the Menomonee Falls Gazette (I have a complete somewhat dog-eared set) and enjoyed it there; it became one of my favorites, which is saying a lot given the line-up over the years. I don't think any of the stories in your two books were reprinted in MFG; if so, they will still feel new to me now.
I even bought a daily original art many years ago from story 35 "Kamikaze" and still have it, framed.
Are there any current plans or availability of a third book? Comments both in the back of book two and on the Facebook page imply so, but those comments are two years old. Or sources to access other reprints?
Thanks for the effort put into these and into Australian comics history and preservation.
Thanks for your email.
A couple of things have prevented my moving forward towards a third volume in 2019:
1) My book distributor went belly-up just over a month ago, and,
2) My agreement with the late John Dixon has expired (although I am hopeful his son and daughter - who presently own the copyright - would likely allow me to proceed).
Given time, I will publish a third volume, although I cannot say when just yet.
Out of total curiosity, I'd love to know which original of "A Dove Named Kamikaze" you obtained - John very rarely sold his originals, so your reply will be interesting.
You now have, I am sure you will agree, some of the finest examples of comic strip artistry in your possession!
I thank you for your interest, and do encourage you to follow my web-blog, because I am most likely to make the announcements here first.
I have always wanted my Comicoz web-blog (this page, here) to be a representative recording of the modern-day Australian comic scene. With the advent and immediacy of Facebook, and some of the events happening in my personal life of late, the blog has become more reflective than a record of what's been going on. The past month, in particular.
Certainly, Dennis Jones and Associates going under really took the wind out of my sails... and my sales! It was so unexpected and totally soul-destroying for a while. And, at time of writing, I have still not found an alternative book distributor.
A great part of the reasoning for that is that my wife Carlene returned from her almost-annual southern sojourn unwell. Last year, she ended up in (Bendigo) Hospital just before her 1st November return, and this year on her arrival (in late August) I drove her straight to the Redcliffe Hospital where she had to be admitted. Earlier in the year, we had purchased a motorhome, and had made plans to take our first trip together in attending the Rotary Cartoon Awards....
As it was, I chose to drive down in my car (with much residual anxiety, knowing Carlene was not 100% well, and realising she would have to fend for herself). I felt some obligation to do so, given the Wedd Family would be present for the Friday launch of Monty Wedd's Bold Ben Hall. Even though the event wouldn't have set any world records for attendances, it was pleasing to launch it at the Bunker, now the National Cartoon Gallery.
The work this organisation does in promoting the cartoon arts is amazing. That they do it mostly with a band of volunteers is even more astounding and something that my beloved Australian Cartoonists Association somehow needs to emulate. I shared a room with life-long cartoon-fan Ian McCall and stayed for the Rotary Cartoon Awards, held on the Saturday night. It was pleasing to see so many members of our Association there, and being able to share the evening with some of the winners was an experience I won't quickly forget.
I'll deliberately choose not to list all the winners here. That's a role the next Inkspot can fill. Let me say, however, that it was lovely to be able to witness first hand, Phil Judd's reaction to his wins! The cartoon of the year was topical, well rendered ...and very funny: a deserving winner! As I was mindful of Carlene being unwell, I chose not to remain in Coffs Harbour for the Sunday, even though it might have been useful to recoup some of my weekend costs at the inaugural Coffs Coast Cartoon Festival selling some of my books.
I'm pleased to report that Carlene has improved in health over the course of the month. My activities in the world of cartooning and comics has, however, been unhealthily absent. In my paying job, my Boss has suffered an accident (outside of work) and has been out of commission. As a senior staff member -- and I am not referring to my age here! -- I have had to share the leadership role with two of my other colleagues. As Carlene has improved, my work role has assumed a Monday to Friday schedule. Ideal, one would think, for being able to enjoy the fruits of the end of season football finals: but it has also meant long working hours throughout the week (from leaving for work at five in the morning to some days arriving home just as Home and Away begins at 7 p.m. in the evening).
The controversy surrounding Mark Knight's cartoon on Facebook and Twitter has been intense to say the least, and posting the cartoon on my Facebook page (and commenting on how I felt people's opinions were better vented on things that I thought more deserving of vitriol) brought many quick responses of condemnation that took me by surprise. Some people's threats to Mark and his family were totally unwarranted, and I remained (and remain) disappointed that the Committee of the Australian Cartoonists Association (of which I am a member) did not quickly rally to support a fellow cartoonist (as was done, even somewhat hesitatingly, for the late Bill Leak).
Indeed, my stance in our debates in the Committee of late have become more of the minority, and I don't know if that is because I am out of touch with modern thinking and I am no longer genuinely representing the rank and file of members' viewpoints. I did want us to canvas views of the membership about the nature of the Annual Stanley Awards Night, but my motion was vetoed and I am beginning to feel increasingly isolated in my opinions. Even Inkspot is being subjected to decisions that I am having difficulty accepting. But maybe if I can't stand the heat, I ought to get out of the kitchen? Well, that's one saying. There's also another that I subscribe to: "I pray for the strength to change what I can, the inability to accept what I cannot, and the incapacity to tell the difference!" Perhaps it's about time I started working on the next issue...if I can find the time.
National Cartoon Gallery
PO Box 1483
COFFS HARBOUR NSW 2450
RE: Proposed Extensions to The National Cartoon Gallery
I recently attended the Rotary Cartoon Awards’ 30th Anniversary in the (newly named) National Cartoon Gallery, where I learnt of your plans to expand the Gallery. As an Australian comic historian and comic publisher, I'd like to add my voice in the need to do so.
Cartoons (and comics) in this country still tend to suffer the age-old stigma of being childish and disposable, yet Australian proponents of the mediums are continually being recognised around the world as being the best in the field. That your band of volunteers have been able to overlook this discrimination and carefully house and catalogue over 23,000 cartoons, shows that there is a depth to this unique art form that escapes many.
This Coffs Harbour collection is growing annually. While there will be a need to preserve these cartoons acquired over the past thirty years, internationally there is also a growing historical and culture importance attached to the cartooning arts as I am sure you are aware. The Cartoon Museum in London opened only recently (in 2006) and has considerably less items in its inventory. The world’s largest, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in the United States is now administered by Ohio State University.
Belgian’s Comic Strip Centre, in Brussels, is perhaps the best-known, with a recorded 200,000 visitors annually. Opening in 1989, this Museum features a restaurant, a comics’ store, rooms with original comic (and animation) artwork, and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of the local medium – in short, not too dissimilar to your plans!
Margaret, I’d like to publicly add my voice to the chorus of those seeking support for your proposed extensions. This is an opportunity to preserve a little-appreciated medium for future generations who will thank you for your persistence and foresight. Although I am enamoured with the medium, as you know, I’m excited to feel I am a part of this.
Inkspot Editor and Deputy President,
Australian Cartoonists Association.
Australian comic commentator and
Principal of Comicoz,
An Australian comic publisher.
Could this just end up being the worst news possible? On Friday I received an email from my book distributor, Dennis Jones & Associates, to inform me that they are going into voluntary liquidation. I admit being stunned. They had only just agreed to carry Bold Ben Hall, Trundle, The Men Behind Superman and the work-still-in-progress, From Sunbeams. And had let me know that any book I publish, they would be interested in getting into bookstores around Australia.
Of course, the first thing I had to do was to let all the creative personnel involved know. The second thing was to work out where to go from here!
Following that, the most important thing is to share those future plans with my loyal readers and supporters (you!). Which is why I am writing today. Although tentative plans for publishing future books might be temporarily placed in limbo, I plan to go ahead with the plans to publish From SUNBEAMS by Graeme Cliffe. The book is just too important to be let go.
As a sign of that commitment, Designer Ryan McDonald-Smith and I have been in conversation this very morning, and we are - yet again! - working on the author's corrections to the text draft this weekend. The book will be printed. The book needs to be published. Seeking out another Distributor will be one option, keeping you informed is another: Stay Tuned!
I'd like to invite everyone reading this to The Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour on Friday 31st August where we plan to launch Monty Wedd's Bold Ben Hall. That will start the whole weekend of activities in that northern New South Wales town! On the Saturday night, there will be the 30th Anniversary of the Rotary Cartoon Awards, and Sunday will feature Australia's first Cartoon Festival. So, if you want to be a part of history, you know where you ought to be that weekend!
Some of the history of the Bunker Cartoon Gallery, and of the Rotaries have been covered in the latest issue of Inkspot that I have edited. I don't do it solo, though, so thanks need to go to Steve Panozzo (layouts, proofreading and sub-editing), Phil Judd (who runs some of the regular features in the magazine) and Jules and Mary Faber (who get the copies out to the members of the Australian Cartoonists Association). It's a great magazine -- even if I say so myself -- and the first five people to comment that they have read this far can have one for free!
Inside the magazine there's great coverage of the Ledger Awards. There was a special surprise (that I talked about last post). Graeme Cliffe and I were able to talk about Graeme's upcoming book "From SUNBEAMS To Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 - 1965)" on stage, and it would be remiss of me to not thank Ledger Director Gary Chaloner for allowing us that honour. While we were on stage, I pre-arranged with MC Bernard Caleo to bound on and interrupt us, to present Graeme with a proof copy of his book! He was really surprised! I'd like to thank everyone to date who has pre-ordered a copy of the book, and I'd especially like to acknowledge the people interested in the special limited editions of the book. The discount rate ends today, but the preparation of the book doesn't. We've had a set back in so far as our Designer, Ryan McDonald-Smith, is having to take some time out for some personal matters, but we know he'll be on track soon. Which gives Graeme and I time to continue re-working on how we would like to see the internal pages....
As far as the Ledger Awards themselves go, I've illustrated some of the winners (above). The number (of winners) were less than in previous years (not that that mattered), and the event was an even greater success (even if some found the venue difficult to locate). In case you weren't there, haven't been told, or yet read Inkspot, the winners were:
Reported Missing by Eleri May. This is a cracking good read (especially because it is true). I was alerted to this story when I was working out who I was considering for my own 'Comicoz Award' earlier this year, when I invited nominations on Facebook. The story is not available physically, only on line, and fortunately it remains in cyberspace. Here's a link:
Giant, Trolls, Witches, Beasts by Craig Phillips. Craig is a friendly guy and was really interesting to talk to at the Gold Coast Supanova, where I picked up a copy of his book. It has a professional feel about it and, in my opinion, a well-deserved winner. You can obtain your own physical copy from the publisher (Allen and Unwin) by clicking here:
Craig has another book out called Jack Scratch that is at the moment, I think, between publishers. One to pick up if you can for the little ones (Craig made it for his daughter)...
Black Magick (issues #6 to #10) by Nicola Scott, Greg Rucka and Chiara Arena came out via DC Comics. To be honest, I read the first series but have yet to read this, so I can't really comment. Similarly, Tom Taylor's Injustice 2 (also by DC Comics) is another I have not read. Which I now must do... Both are, most likely, available at your local comic shop. It's great to see Chiara Arena doing well in the comic field. Where do we know her? Ahh, as the cover artist on Oi Oi Oi! Issue number 5, no less!
Home Time by Campbell Whyte was published by Top Shelf Productions, and was another book recommended to me by me Facebook Friends earlier this year. And I have it ready in my bookshelf... waiting for the time I can give it some time! Here's where you can read some of the loveliness: http://www.campbellwhyte.com/comics/
My Struggle with Crohn's Disease by Safdar Ahmed has already been mentioned on my Blog, and it was rewarding to know that perhaps my tastes are not so eclectic after all! This remains a most powerful story, rivalling Safdar's Walkley Award-winning look at life inside the Villawood Detention Centre from 2015. Both are available for viewing on his personal website by clicking here: https://safdarahmed.com/my-comics-and-zines/
Finally, another winner already nominated on my Blog earlier in the year, was Chris Gooch's Bottled. Published by Top Shelf Productions. Well worth the read. Available by clicking onto this website: http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog/bottled/973
Of course, there are other celebrations at the Ledger Awards, including one I proudly take part in. The Ledger of Honour, whereby we honour those artists who have either retired or have since passed. This year, the winners were announced earlier in the year, at the Australian Comic Arts Festival in Canberra. My role, as Lead Judge, is to simply get all my fellow Judges involved in discussions before making our selection. I must say it was a much smoother process this year, with the decision made reasonably early and painlessly. How wonderful to see the families of Yaroslav Horak and Moira and Kathleen Bertram there to see these Australian comic pioneers so rightly honoured!
Finally, the night came to a close, with the Platinum Ledger being awarded to an astonished and deserving Tim McEwen...
So, where to next? I am working with Graeme to get his book ready for the printer. (It is taking much longer than I think we all anticipated.) Carlene is soon returning from an extended 'holiday' down south looking after some of the grandchildren, before we head off to the Rotary Cartoon Awards. Margaret, the Manager of the Bunker, and I are going to be in some in-depth discussions about a well-loved Australian cartoonist (see clue below). Then, before long, the Stanley Awards will be upon us (it's in Canberra again), and I am looking forward to hosting American cartoonist Jeff Keane as he explores some areas of this part of the country that were familiar to both of his parents. There are some exciting new projects (plural) that need working on (one of whom I have left a clue, below), and I really need to do some more promoting of the books I already have out there. Getting this website updated hasn't happened, and I tend to get behind in updating my news (apologies, dear reader). My wife will want to see some of the comic items in the garage sold, so the office looks a little tidier. All things said, it looks like it is going to be a busy tail-end of the year...
I am going to place this here. Some people read my web-page, although most do not. Some people wait until I announce something on Facebook to discover my books. So, this is for the True Believers. For a very limited time, you can pre-order Graeme Cliffe's book, From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book for only $50. Check out the Store page on my site. It's the only place you will find it for this price, and only for a short while. Tomorrow, I am flying off to Sydney for the Ledger Awards, where more surprises shall unfold. I'll tell you about it later, if you cannot make it....
Oh, and an extra 10% off to all members of my beloved Australian Cartoonists Association....