I'm looking forward to posting copies of the magazine to John's children and to someone who will get extra kick out of seeing his work -- his sister, Shelia.
I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today. Glenn Ford has sent me some copies of the latest Frew publication: the Giant-Size Phantom, which -- to my delight -- covers little about the Phantom and much about dear friend John Dixon. Touted as a 'John Dixon Special' there are plenty of reprint examples within to keep readers, and John Dixon fans like myself, thrilled. From the second issue of Captain Strato, to the first issue of The Phantom Commando (which has nothing to do with the purple-clad one), a Catman (and Kit) reprint (number 7), and a later issue of Sir Falcon (number 37). Of course these are all properties that Frew owns (or have been given the permission to use), so there are none of John's later works. I'll have to get myself into gear to get that one going! Dr Kevin Patrick has written a nice summary of John's career for those who have come in late, which wraps the issue up nicely. Check out your nearest newsagent to pick up your copy: only $10 for over one hundred pages is great value. And made all the more special with the fabulous Glenn Lumsden cover. Search it out today!
I'm looking forward to posting copies of the magazine to John's children and to someone who will get extra kick out of seeing his work -- his sister, Shelia.
On a totally different subject, I didn't get an opportunity to view the National Cartoonists Society's show that I promoted on this website last week - not due to the hour, but merely because it was a reasonably busy night at work, with no down time available to see it. I do believe the event has been preserved on YouTube, so I shall see if I can put the link here in the near future.
Dear NCS Member,
We’re excited to be counting down to NCSFest — a FREE virtual festival — which takes place this Saturday, September 12 from 10am EDT.
This year, we’re bringing the Festival to you, in a reimagined virtual format. For the first time, you have the opportunity to join us—wherever in the world you may be—for a day of conversations, short films, and fantastic panels, featuring some of the most talented and influential cartoonists of our time.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: Do I need any special software or a link to access NCSFest?
A: No. The Festival is free and open to the public. All you need to do is visit NCSFest.com on the day, from 10AM EDT to watch the live stream. We will be streaming on multiple platforms, but primarily on Youtube live, so you don’t have to download any software to view it.
Q: Can I watch it on my phone or tablet?
A: Absolutely. In fact the stream will be optimized for whatever device you are viewing it on, be it your Desktop PC, Mac, Laptop or any other internet-connected device that has a screen.
Q: Can I tune in for just one panel or do I have to watch the whole thing?
A: You’re welcome to drop in for however many sessions you like. The full schedule with times is available at NCSFest.com/schedule. The timing may be slightly off from time to time depending on internet connection speeds, the individual streaming platforms or other factors, but these are the times for a guideline for which sessions will appearing and when.
Q: Will you be announcing the awards?
A: We sure will! All divisional nominees are up online here, and the Reuben nominees are up online here, and we will be announcing the winners in blocks of four awards throughout the day. We considered that this was a better way to announce the awards than having you sit through a 4-5 hour live streaming ceremony over Zoom. We hope you'll agree!
We hope that you’ll join us for this, our first online NCSFest presentation. We were devastated to have had to cancel our Kansas City Reubens this year, and we're making the best of a bad situation, so please be patient with us if there are any technical hiccups on the day. We’re hoping it will all run smoothly as planned.
Remember to visit NCSFest.com/schedule for the full rundown of the day.
*Lastly, PLEASE share this with all of your fans and friends who would love to tune in. This event is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC to show everyone who the NCS is, and what we do.* Make sure you’re subscribed to the official NCSFest mailing list to get regular updates on the festival, the guests and special announcements.
Thank you to all of our participants, sponsors and supporters.
We look forward to seeing you all at NCSFest 2020!
National Cartoonists Society
After (almost) becoming used to not working on any comic or book publishing projects, and enjoying the quiet solitude of my recently-tidied comic-music room, I am soon going to venture back into the world of publishing. Here are two (of four) projects I am soon going to undertake. Oh, it's a tough life: but better than any alternative. Stay safe, dear reader.
When Australian comic artist Phil Belbin (1925-1993) was unsuccessful in seeking to have his proposed adventure strip The Earlybirds accepted into the Australian newspapers in 1969, what did he do? He kindly offered the artwork to his good mate, John Dixon (1929-2015), and allowed him to incorporate into a 1973-4 Air Hawk adventure, Early Birds. Just how different the story was, I'm not sure. (I'll see if Phil's son Graeme has any proofs from the era, and let you know.) From the indication here, there doesn't seem to be much variation in the script or even the artwork....
Later in life after John had given up Air Hawk (in 1986), it was Phil Belbin -- then a well-recognised and established artist -- who encouraged John to try colour illustrations. He once said to me (in relation to Phil), "I'm still not sure if I should thank him or beat him over the head. It's a tough medium."
Today, I am officially announcing that I intend to run for the position of President of the Australian Cartoonists' Association when the nominations are called later this year. I'll enclose a copy of an email (and letter) that I sent to as many people whom I thought are current members, in order to share my credentials (see below). I acknowledge there will be a resistance to some in the membership to having a non-cartoonist in the role (as was proven last time, when Jules Faber won the ballot). I'm not going to contest any other position on the Committee (as I did last time, which in retrospect probably diluted my vote) -- it's make or break time!
I’m not a Cartoonist. I never have been. I won’t pretend to be one. But I am passionate about the cartooning medium in all its forms!
So much so, that in the past ten years, I have self-funded and self-published nine books on cartoonists: two on John Dixon’s works, two on Monty Wedd’s, one on Neil Matterson’s, one on Rob Feldman’s, one on Thomas Campi’s, an anthology of Australian comic stories, and a historical book detailing Australia’s comic book history from 1924 to 1965. I’ve also self-published nine issues of an Australian comic anthology series called Oi Oi Oi! that appeared on the national newsstands between 2014 and 2016.
I am telling you this, not to brag but to present to you my credentials. Because, like you, I am also a member of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association. You may have seen my name pop up once or twice in our Journal, Inkspot. I edited Issues #72 to #86. I was able to bring it back from the hit-and-miss venture it was when I took over the reins to a four-issues-a-year magazine worth reading. (Or, at least, that’s what I’d like to think!) I’m so pleased to see that current editor Steve Panozzo is maintaining this frequency.
In my working life, I am a Mental Health Clinician, working in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. I have worked there for the past ten years. I am usually the shift coordinator, and sometimes the Nurse Unit Manager (when my boss goes on holiday). I know how to lead a good – and safe – team. Today, I am coming to you to seek your support to lead our ACA Team: I am going to nominate later this year for the ACA’s Presidency.
I understand that the Australian Cartoonists Association has always had a Cartoonist as a President, and there will be a reluctance to vote for someone who is not a Cartoonist in the position. Hang on! Jim Bridges runs the Australian Cartoon Museum – he’s not a Cartoonist! Margaret Cameron manages the National Cartoon Gallery – she’s not a Cartoonist! There are precedents out there!
What do I hope to achieve as President?
Without giving away too much, I have applied for a new position at work, and I am seriously contemplating a new position in my after-hours space. Details soon...
If you ask my wife, she'll tell you that this comic strip, The Potts by the late Jim Russell, totally reflects our home. Or, more specifically, the room that I keep my music and comic collection in. There has been a degree of embarrassment (both for her and I) about the state of disarray of my room, and a source of arguing over the years. I've always felt that I'd "one day get around to tidying it up". Last November, I think it was, I said on my Facebook page that I would make a concerted effort to work on the space "in the next twelve months". So, without the responsibilities of working on a new book or on Inkspot and with the spectre of COVID-19 hanging over us all, I have really given it a crack over the past two months. And this week the task was completed! So, without too much ado... have a look at my 'new' room:
Okay, so some of the shelves have yet to sorted into themes: Australian comics, Comic history, graphic novels -- you get the idea -- but that is something I plan to work on .... another day! The fact the room is tidy, that I can walk around it, and that I know where everything is, is the real plus. I must say that I have discovered I have doubles (and, in some instances, triples) of some items, means that I shall probably have a really big sale on... one day in the future. (Stay tuned for that one!) In the meantime, I am really enjoying working in my room. Can you hear? "It's only taken twenty-five years of nagging," mutters Mrs. Karmichael in the background....!
Before I go away, I just want to acknowledge and praise new Inkspot Editor Steve Panozzo, who has done a really bang-up job on the latest issue of the Australian Cartoonists Association's journal. This is the first issue for a long time where I have had absolutely no input into an issue, and I also want to say that I really feel it is the best one yet. The magazine is ONLY available to members of the Association, and this one contains an article on the fascinating history of Stan Cross and Jim Russell's comic strip The Potts (also known as You and Me in its early days). Of course, there is a lot more inside too. If you are a cartoon fan, I really urge you become an Associate Member of the ACA. Four issues of this magazine each year. Who could ask for more? Here's a link to the Membership page. Or, if you'd rather, get in touch with me, and I'll send you an Application Form.
It's pretty rare for me to post two days in a row these days, but I am all fired up today! (Maybe after yesterday's post, this is the kick-start I needed??)
Today I received an urgent SMS from The World's Number One Ginger Meggs Fan, James Wakeling, to let me know that Sydney's Sun-Herald has dropped the long-running newspaper comic strip, Ginger Meggs. The current cartoonist who works on the strip, Jason Chatfield, confirmed this news to me today. I am outraged! This historical Australian feature is only a year shy of celebrating its one hundredth birthday.
While I do not decry Bushy Tales, written and drawn by Queenslander Ian Jones taking its place, I do feel that the newspaper editor/s could have selected and dropped an overseas comic strip instead. I'm nothing, if I'm not parochial! If you are as incensed as I am, please drop an angry email demanding the newspaper reinstate Ginger Meggs ...as soon as possible. Especially as it's so close to its century.
Here's the email address: email@example.com Do it now and do it for Ginger.
Someone on Facebook made a comment to me about Oi Oi Oi! recently. It got me thinking. I have many comic projects that I would like to work on. And during COVID-19 I have been doing absolutely none. Sure, I have been 'tidying' up my room (and have catalogued almost 6000 comics), but my enthusiasm for publishing of late has been sorely lacking. Personally, I'm a little jaded with the Committee of the Australian Cartoonists' Association: I've made (what I believe to be) perfectly sensible suggestions for advancing the collective, but I feel I am working with group members who don't share my enthusiasm, which in turn dampens my joy. Sure, I have given up the Editorship of the Inkspot magazine; something I don't really regret. I'd been churning out a magazine quarterly for quite some years in a row (whether that magazine or Oi Oi Oi!) and needed the break. I've come to feel that perhaps I work best alone, without having to answer to a Committee. Or perhaps it's just me at this moment.
I was given a lovely package of Peter Foster's work just before Christmas last year (from Peter), and I have not had the decency to ring him to thank him. I've been meaning to call Fysh Rutherford, one of the co-creators of the Iron Outlaw comic (pictured) for months. I've wanted to tell him of the find of most of the original artwork of his comic, published in the Nation Review and Sunday Observer about fifty years ago. And yet I haven't. There are projects I ordinarily would be working on (I won't list them here) or at the very least would be starting. But I am feeling flat and down in the dumps with it all. So I thought in the meantime, while I wait for my mojo to return, I'd share some of the original pages to Iron Outlaw for you to enjoy.
Anyway, without boring you, I just wanted to say that someone's comments on Facebook have got me thinking. In a good way. What about, I may tell you in the next posting....
A Big shout-out to all Mothers out there! It's Mothers' Day in Australia, and perhaps one of the strangest ones we're most likely to encounter in our lifetime. Some states in Australia (wrongly, in my opinion) have decided to relax some of the restrictions that have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (I suppose History will judge, as there is no exact science or precedent in how we move from here.)
One of my wife's "bones of contention" in the Karmichael household has been my "music-come-media room" (our converted garage) and the state of it. Carlene finds and refers to it as my "junk room", mainly to the state of its disarray (untidiness to some); and I must admit to some embarrassment at times when visitors come and view it, especially when its state is used to mock... Anyway, last November, I think it was, I made a comment on Facebook that I was going to make a concerted effort to tidy the room up within a year.
Although work in the Hospital has been busier than ever, the social distancing and isolation has been good for us. I've left the Editing role of Inkspot (the Australian Cartoonists' Association's journal) to caricaturist Steve Panozzo, who's doing a pretty good job. My Ledger of Honour team sorted out this year's recipients reasonably early. And, even though I had some publishing plans that I was hoping to move on, the Australian Dollar and the pandemic has left me somewhat less enthused. So, essentially, I am left with no comic-related projects to work on (apart from my monthly commitment as a Committee Member of the ACA, and working on ideas for the upcoming ACA Centenary in 2024). Home life has involved gardening, reading more comics and graphic novels than I usually do ...and working on getting my room tidy…!
I have to say that Carlene has been reasonably patient in allowing me to work on the project, and that I have come to realise I have far too many comics than I perhaps need. To date, I have catalogued 3,257 comics (and counting), and so a future culling might be likely. Graphic novels and my Australian collection have not been counted just yet. I spend one full day a week here (and some time before work shifts), and I am reasonably happy with both the solitude and the progress I am making. For those interested in knowing, there is a phone application that I am using to catalogue the collection and you can see it by clicking here. I obtain my supplies (bags and backing boards) from BrisVegas Comics (link here) -- feel free to tell owner Mark you learnt of his store through this posting, and I am sure he'll do you a great deal.
One of the joys of meeting and making friendships with cartoonists, has been learning that they have an unparalleled generosity of spirit. I want to make special mention today of American cartoonist Jeff Keane, who visited Australia for the first time almost eighteen months ago now. Last Christmas he sent a 2020 Family Circus Calendar and I thought today was an ideal opportunity to share his Mothers' Day cartoon for May with you here, dear reader .... Although we are all socially isolating, I trust you are finding things to do to keep yourself occupied that (maybe) you have been promising yourself that you will 'get around to doing when you have a spare moment'. Here's the time to seize that moment ...!
...acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to elders past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Australian peoples.
Over the past decade (2011 - 2020) Nat has self-published ten comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of Oi Oi Oi! - the last nationally-distributed comic book of original comics stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He edited Inkspot, the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association for 14 issues from late 2015 to 2019 and is a current member of the ACA's Committee. In his spare time, he is a husband, a father (to six) and grandfather (to fourteen), and works in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital.
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.