Graeme Cliffe showed stills from the following film clip to fellow Australian comic historian John Clements a little while ago. I also shared it with Jan (see previous post). No-one seems to be able to identify all the Australian cartoonists in the film, so I shall post this here again, in the hope that one day someone may see it and recognise a loved one or relative or friend and thus identify the unknow bloke towards the end of the film. Those we do know: Jim Russell, John Dixon and Bob Clark. Jan confirmed that Keith Chatto was the cameraman. The artwork in the earlier sequence of the film was by Stanley Pitt, whose work John Ryan famously championed...
It would be remiss of me not to mention John Ryan this month. It was forty years ago that John, the Grandfather of Australian Comics, passed away shortly after his seminal book Panel by Panel was published.
On or about the date, I got in touch with his wife of the time, Jan, and arranged a meeting with her and Australian comic writer-researcher Graeme Cliffe. Graeme thought they had never met; but Jan knew otherwise! Way back, earlier this decade, they both attended the launch of my first book, John Dixon, Air Hawk and the Flying Doctor....
John was pivotal in both our comic lives, so it was nice to remind Jan of the great influence he had on us personally, and of course the whole medium both locally and internationally. Jan, in turn, was able to regale us with tales of long ago, when she and John entertained the giants of the Golden Age of Australian comic books in their Sydney home before their move to Brisbane in 1970. John Dixon, Stan and Reg Pitt, Paul Wheelahan, Keith Chatto, Phil Belbin, Monty Wedd: they may appear simple entries in both John and Graeme's books, but Jan was able to talk of all these people in a wonderful personal way, because they were all friends in the day-to-day life of the Ryan household....
The visit was capped off by being able to present Jan with a copy of Graeme's book From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 to 1965) (available now by clicking here).
I have long-harboured a dream that there should be a permanent place for a comic museum, perhaps not unlike the National Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour (link here) and the Australian Cartoon Museum in Melbourne (opening up again in Docklands soon). The earlier incarnation of the Australian Cartoonists' Association once held a building in Sydney (many, many years ago). But there has never been a comic-specific one. I have mentioned this on Facebook previously, so apologies to anyone who has heard this all before and feels I am repeating myself!
I imagine such a gallery not only housing and displaying original comic pages (hopefully with an Australian emphasis), but also containing a comic book retail outlet (to raise funds for the on-going upkeep and publicity of such a structure), an extensive library (to allow for comic researchers to study comics of the past), and an opportunity to have some practitioners of the craft to be able to live-in for a period of time (like an artistic residency).
Some of these are already being carried out overseas these day, such as the Canadian Comics Open Library (see link here) and creators of graphic novels in France (link here, if you can read French). There's also an increasing acceptance (at last!) of comics as an artistic medium in some circles of literature, with even countries like Britain and the US now starting to record and reproduce some of their comics from years gone by. Here are just two examples, in links here and here.
Carlene came across a piece of Real Estate recently that seems to be an ideal place to consider bringing this dream to a reality. Suffice to say, I am making some preliminary enquiries. Or is it all simply a fruitless dream....?
It's one of my old mates' birthday today. (I started this blog on the 13th of October.) He's sixty years old. We went to school together. It's my birthday in a couple of months. December. I'm going to be sixty-two. Time. I am so conscious of time, the more it ticks on, but mostly of late. I'm realising (perhaps due to my Mother, my sister and my wife's sister and aunt all passing in the past two years) that I too am mortal. These days, I have more years behind me than in front of me. Which leaves me a dilemma. What further am I going to leave behind?
With the last book I published, From Sunbeams to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 to 1965), written by Graeme Cliffe, a mate I have known since I returned to Brisbane in 1982, I feel satisfied that of all the books I have published, this book is the one to stand the test of time. That it will be a seminal work in its field. I offered a special bargain price in October on Facebook about it. (IF you've come from Facebook, seeking a copy of the book, please click here. Somehow, though, I feel I have reached my publishing pinnacle. How can I surpass this?
I enjoy the comic shows that I am able to attend (when work allows), and I no longer worry about the sales I make (or don't make). It's now about the camaraderie with the other artists and cartoonists who are seeking to share their comic stories with the public (and with me, as I will always buy something that looks good or reads well). It's about meeting the punters, some who may know my works and the many that do not, some who arrive and are pleasantly surprised, and flick through my books and either buy or do not buy. The Bendi-Con was fun, not only because I caught up with daughter Lora and her children, and Will's children too, but because it was my first time at that show. (Thanks Peter. Thanks Pedro.)
The Papercuts Comic Festival was a great experience too. Not only did I immerse myself in the nostalgia of returning to beautiful Adelaide for the first time in about forty years, but I found attending the Talking Pictures seminar to be most inspiring. There were many comic friends I met for the first time, many I caught up with again, and yet many that I did not have time to get to know. Adelaide made me realise that there is such an undercurrent of creative comic talent within this country that most of us (even those of us in the comic community) do not realise. I left inspired... yet still wondering: where to from here?
To all my Brisbane readers! Join me for International Animation Day - a global animation event that is celebrated in more than 50 countries! I'll be there with some of my older comics (and some books) and spreading the word about the Australian Cartoonists' Association too.
Launched by ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d'Animation) in 2002, International Animation Day commemorates the first public performance of projected moving images with Emile Reynaud’s Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris, on the 28 October 1892.
ASIFA chapters all over the world, including Australia, acknowledge International Animation Day by shining the spotlight on the art of animation with various activities that can include workshops, conferences, exhibitions and screenings, culminating into a worldwide celebration of animation.
Animation Alliance Australia Inc | ASIFA Australia invites you to an animated weekend at Bakery Lane in Fortitude Valley to usher in International Animation Day 2019. I'll be at one of the tables, where you can meet me and other local animators and illustrators on Saturday 26 October 10am – 3pm and Sunday 27 October 1pm – 6pm. Stay for the Sunday screening starting at 6:30pm for a collection of the best animated short films from around the world exclusively for International Animation Day.
Now I have recovered from the 'Man-Flu' and have had a few days back at work, I thought I should share my next appearance date with you. If you've caught up with my Facebook post, you will already know: I am off to Adelaide tomorrow morning (very early) in preparation for the Sunday Market Day at the Papercuts Comic Festival. I am really looking forward to it! Here's a visual look at the programme.
The Market Day will be held from 11 a.m. (to 5.30 p.m.) at the North Adelaide Community Centre at 176 Tynte Street in North Adelaide. Come early and come and say "Hullo!" Anyway, I won't say any more, as I have to get all my things packed....
Since Fathers' Day, I've been hit with the dreaded "Man-Flu" - thanks to son Will! - and today, as is the case in such things, it's the day before I am due back at work that the illness appears to be lifting.... which will be a good thing. (I don't like being sick. I don't mind my work.)
I've spent a bit of time recently reflecting on the past and contemplating where to go from here. For each quarter, over the past five years, I have edited a magazine of some sort. Let me show you.....
On June 23rd, having edited all the files for Issue #86, I penned the following Editorial to announce my 'retirement' (then sent a copy to the ACA Board/Committee). There was not one thing that precipitated the decision. Sure, my sister Flo's passing made me want to spend less time in front of a computer. But Steve Panozzo lost his brother around the same time too. In some ways that drew us closer together as mates, but that wasn't the reason I decided to give it away. I was working on Graeme's book too, and that was taking a lot of my time. It wasn't the realisation that I'm now in my 60s. It was just time, I suppose. I needed the freedom to be able to not have to think about a magazine in three month's time.
"Back in Issue #73 – which, as Lindsay Foyle correctly pointed out, was really issue #72 – [ACA President] Jules [Faber] wrote in his Parlay that a couple of Queenslanders planned to “build Inkspot back to its former glory”. Here we are now, a further fourteen issues since that date. The best and most satisfying part of working on Inkspot during that time has been the fact that we have brought it back from a once-a-year sort-of, maybe-magazine to a quarterly publication that I know many members are proud of.
"Sadly, this will be my last as Editor for the time being. It's just that since I first put out my nationally released comic magazine Oi Oi Oi! #1 in about March 2014, I have edited a magazine each quarter for the past five years. I'm in need of a break and (maybe) a sleep.
"That’s not to say I won’t contribute articles for whomever wants to take it on. And that not to say I won't want to do it again. I might even be ready again after the Stanley Awards!*
"I’d like to thank those Layout Artists/Designers who have worked with me and shared my vision over that period: Phil Judd, Chris Barr, Dave Emerson, Judy Nadin, Cam Winks and Steve Panozzo. And my thanks mostly to Carlene, who has allowed me this indulgence for this long."
I thought I would post this for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, because some cartooning people have been asking me "What's happened to INKSPOT?" And while I had some editorial input into the next issue (which was to be and will be my last ...for quite a while), I don't want to be held responsible for the delay. I'm hopeful the magazine can return to the quarterly schedule that I put in place during my tenure, although I understand those who work on it (for no fee) do have busy lives, and (unlike me) need to have some sleep....
I'm also posting this, because - looking at both magazines from some distance now (even if it's a matter of only a few months!) - the time and effort expended into the magazines have produced an end result that I can honestly say I am extremely proud of.
Since finishing my Editorial duties, I've worked on a couple of non-comic-related projects (see above) for the good women of Zonta Ipswich, and Zonta International who have wanted to share their history with their members. Their Centennial Conference is on this weekend, the same weekend of the Rotary Cartoon Awards in Coffs Harbour. Have a guess: Which one will I be attending?
Answer: Neither! Due to a mix-up at work, I put in a request for the wrong days off. I am bitterly disappointed, but willing to cop it on the chin.
Working on Graeme's book about the History of Australian Comics has left me in a state of wondering … Where do I go from here? How can I top this? Surely, this is the pinnacle of my Australian comic publishing? Certainly, I have to help market the book; something that I plan to do in the not-too-distant future. But creatively, and in a publishing sense, where can I go to top this? It's a question that has had me perplexed for some time … and I have come up with an answer that I will share with you in the times ahead … after I get over this 'Man-Flu'!
One of the great pleasures and absolute honours of being involved in the cartoon medium took place just a week ago, when Michael McFarlane, from the National Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour invited me to part-take in the judging of the 2019 Rotary Cartoon Awards. On a beautiful sunny morning -- after night duty! -- I arrived at the ABC Studios in South Brisbane. Joining me in the 'task': ABC Radio Announcer Steve Austin and Associate Professor of Modern European History at the University of New England, Richard Scully. What a great morning!
Small snippets of our conversations were broadcast on the radio later that afternoon (and are enclosed on this posting). Sadly, I was far too tired by that stage and totally missed the final transmission. (I still had a further three nights to go at that time!) As for whom we selected as our Winners? ... Well, you'll really have to head off to Coffs Harbour to find out! Why not attend the Award Ceremony being held at the Gallery on 7th September? Here's a link to buy tickets to see the Exhibition (which is running from the 7th September to 28th October 2019). (Sadly, I stupidly messsed up my roster requests at work, and will now be working on the Award Ceremony's night....)