Everyone who reads this is invited to the 30th Anniversary of the Rotary Cartoon Awards, to be held at The Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour on the first weekend in September. PLUS there's more! On the Friday night (on 31 August), Comicoz will officially launch the Bold Ben Hall book to the world at The Bunker!
But wait! There's even more! In just about two weeks' time, at the Ledger Awards in Sydney (6 July) at the Bryan Brown Theatre and Function Centre - that's at 80 Rickard Road, Bankstown, Graeme Cliffe will be talking for the very first time about his book From SUNBEAMS.... It's a FREE event: so you ought to come on down for this evening of Australian comic history!
And the excitement doesn't stop there! Comicoz' other book, The Men Behind Superman, is due to arrive from the printer on 23 May..... less than a week away! Who says this isn't the age of Australian comic excitement ….??!
This is the first viewing of the official cover to the book Comicoz is publishing, From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 to 1965) by Graeme Cliffe. Pre-orders will be taken really soon, and there will be a special signed Limited Edition available, featuring the autographs of some of the artists featured in the book.... more information soon!
Want a chance to obtain an absolutely FREE copy of one of Comicoz' books? To celebrate three brand-spanking new books from Comicoz being released in the upcoming months, we're going to allow you to grab all the bargains!
Since my last posting, Monty Wedd's Bold Ben Hall has returned from the printer! Copies are now being sent to those who kindly supported our Kickstarter campaign from November-December. Numbered, signed copies (by Justin Wedd, a representative of Monty's family, our designer Ryan McDonald-Smith, and yours truly) are now available from this website...but only for a limited time! Jump in quick!
The historical graphic novel Truth, Justice and the American Dream: The Men Behind Superman (by Thomas Campi and Julian Voloj) is also soon due from the printer, and a special numbered edition of only one hundred copies is now available for ordering - and only from this web-site. Pre-order now to ensure you obtain your copy!
Finally, there have been some delays with our most anticipated book to date. From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1923 to 1965) researched by Graeme Cliffe has had some design issues that are being fixed as we speak. We had hoped to have this released at the 2018 Ledger Awards, to be held in Sydney in early July, but that opportunity (sadly) seems to have passed. Keep reading this web-site for further updates!
I admit I have had a few work and family things going on that have been distracting of late (working night duty just destroys any opportunity to lead a normal life, as all I do is work and sleep), so I have not been able to keep this site as current as I would like. And there are also the plans of trying to get this site re-designed to make it more visually appealing. Facebook seems to be such an immediate medium, and it is so tempting to post something there, as opposed to writing here that I tend to go for an easy option all too often. (Although a lot of the time, things going on - especially in my private family life - will never get an airing in either place!)
One of the things I do want to share here, is that all three books above and Neil Matterson's Trundle have all been accepted for national distribution by Dennis Jones & Associates. This was - and still is - such a great thrill, to know that all four books are going to be available in all great Australian booksellers! So, to celebrate, I thought it might be an opportunity to offer Australia! to all my loyal readers of this website! Check out the Store page for more details...
I've had some time off work for the past three weeks (with one week to go). We were planning on going on a trip in our new campervan, but unfortunately it is not quite ready (and, besides, we were given a surprise when son Will came to visit us). Still, the time has been a productive one...
Early in the holiday, I was able to finish editing another issue of INKSPOT (my tenth) and, with the help of caricaturist Steve Panozzo, we were able to work on it and still hope to have it out for next weekend's Supanova in Melbourne. *I'll share the cover once it arrives from the printer, because the person on the cover has no idea they are ON the cover!
I've also had a bit of time to begin cleaning up what is called "the music room" in our home. In its former lifetime, it was a garage. These days there is not too much music being played in there; it also doubles as my 'publishing empire'. I must confess, the place has been a bit of an embarrassment, due to the state of untidiness of the area. So, I have spent a considerable amount of time in there tidying it up....to the point where music now can be played there! And it now looks half decent!
And I am really pleased I did tidy it, for in the meantime, see what is soon coming from the printer....
Also about to soon go to the printer soon will be From SUNBEAMS to Sunset, and the book about Superman's creators. This book was to be called "Truth, Justice and the American Way: The Joe Shuster Story" until it was discovered that "Truth, Justice and the American Way" has been copyrighted by DC Comics. The American publishers are planning on still calling it "The Joe Shuster Story" and are already seeking orders from Diamond (the comic book distribution company).
I admit I feel I am a bit behind the eight-ball in getting the local version out; but then the local version is going to be much improved on the American version. For starters, the Comicoz version will be larger. At 210 x 290 cm it will be a reasonable size, but the Americans - for some reason - are going smaller, and cruelly harming artist Thomas Campi's work, as far as I am concerned. There are also going to be more 'extra' pages in the book, with Thomas describing his artistic process, and writer Julian Voloj providing some additional text pieces that will beef the book up.
The title will now be: "Truth, Justice and the American Dream: The Men Behind Superman"....sounds better, right?
I've also decided to give this website a bit of a spruce-up. At the present, although it is easy for me to work on, there are a lot of factors that seem to mitigate against it. A google search of (say) "Australian comics" does not list Comicoz within the top ten, as many Indian web-designers have been emailing me to tell me. Sales need to improve to justify the space I am taking up in our home, after all!
Now that the 'music room' is tidy (or tidier?), I have found many doubles of books and comics. I plan to sell many of my books and comics from my collection (the ones I did not publish). Besides offering some of my books at cheaper prices, I also plan on listing my publications at Ownaindi. Have you heard of it? It's a web-site that specialises in the sale of Australian-owned comics and books. Click here for the link.
And what else? There is one other bit of news. But I may leave that until next posting. After all, this is a holiday from work, and it should be time spent away from comics and certainly time to spend with my lovely wife. So, perhaps I ought to wind up here and take her to the movies, as I promised her I would...
Here I am, a month later, writing an entry in my Blog...
What do you reckon that means? That I have been doing NOTHING?!
First of all, I have managed to send the Bold Ben Hall book to the printer! Want proof? Here are actual photos of the Bold Ben Hall printing process presently taking place...
Just a shout out to say thanks to Glenn Ford, co-publisher of Frew, who is going to give a free full page advertisement in the upcoming Giant Size Phantom for Graeme Cliffe's book, From SUNBEAMS to Sunset, The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924-1965) soon to be published by Comicoz. The layouts are about half way through completion, and Diamond Distributors (the world's largest comic book distributor) are going to be asked to see if they are willing to carry the book.
I have had many queries about the book, so perhaps I ought to say a little here. "Is it an updated edition of Panel by Panel" is a regular question. And a fair enough question too, given that at one stage I was planning on reprinting that volume, with some editorial corrections and amendments. But the short answer is "No".
From 'SUNBEAMS' to Sunset has been a project of Graeme's for over twenty years. Over those years, he has visited many of the old Australian artists and cartoonists (and their families) and spoken to them about their craft. He has searched them out from old telephone books, Government records available to the public, newspaper clippings, anything and everything. Graeme has visited libraries, comic collectors. You name it, Graeme has researched it!
I would wager my home: if there is something to be known about Australian comic history to 1965, Graeme will know it! To the Nth degree! He will be able to tell you how many Australian comics Hal English illustrated. You don't know Hal English? Graeme will be able to tell you! And all those years of research are now covered in this one volume.
Although Panel by Panel will remain the first book on the topic, this volume will be THE definitive authority on Australian comic history. I have known of the existence of Graeme's research since my first book on an Australian comic artist (John Dixon's Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor) came out in 2011. However, I had no idea of the scope of his work until he more recently shared the manuscript with me, asking me if I would be interested in assisting him in having it published.
The book is written. The cover artwork has been designed. The dust-jacket is ready. The first eight chapters have been prepared for the printer. I'll seek out Graeme, and see how much he will allow me to share before the book is sent to the printer... So, stay tuned!
Here is the latest copy of Inkspot, the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association that I edit. This cover of David Rowe is by the very talented Judy Nadin. The magazine is available to Libraries around the country. If your Library does not stock it, please tell the chief Librarian to get in touch with me, and I will ensure a copy is posted on.
This is the ninth issue I have edited now, matching the nine issues of Oi Oi Oi! I edited. I know it may not seem like much, but an awfully large amount of hours goes into the making of a magazine, especially when one tries to ensure it comes out regularly (in this case, quarterly). The magazine contains a couple of articles I wrote. (I was really pleased with the article of Tony Thorne's animation work/Award. Tony's work appeared in the first and fourth issue of Oi Oi Oi! and it was great to see he continues to be as creative as ever...)
This edition of Inkspot also contains a eight page comic by Gary Chaloner that was going to appear in the next issue of Oi Oi Oi! The magazine also covers a lot of the fun of the ACA's annual Award night held in Old Parliament House, in Canberra last November....
One of the fun events within the Stanley Awards, is the Silent Auction, where one can bit on some wonderful cartoons, past and present. This (below) is one of a few cartoons that I bid on (and won) that - to me - seems to perfectly sum up the year politically, and a cartoon that will be a reflection of not only the night but of the times. So, it was one I really wanted to win! The cartoon is by Mark Knight, with my original kindly personalised by Mark (that I shall edit out of here).
Next year's Stanley Conference and Award was going to be in Brisbane. I put in a lot of hard yards to get it there, sourcing cartoonists to appear and venues to hold it. But, in the end, it was decided that it should return to Canberra in 2018...and 2019. Ah, well....!