One of the processes in preparing a book like From 'Sunbeams' to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book (1924 to 1965), is the fact there are so many things to check out and change. Graeme Cliffe and I are working on publishing what we believe will be the definitive book on Australian comics. Graeme has spent almost the best part of twenty years working on this research project that has taken him all around the country. A little earlier I posted what was the first draft of the cover, and today I am going to share with you the changes that have taken place since then. We have two designs before us. Both have good qualities; neither can be said are going to be the final version to be chosen. Even though we have not decided on what the final cover will look like, you will be at least able to see some sort of progression since the last posting....
And then you have things like this happen.... Australian comic book writer and illustrator, Arthur "Captain Atom" Mather suddenly passes away. Just as Graeme and I (with Ryan McDonald-Smith) are about to begin working on the interior design of the book's pages, we learn of the sad news of Arthur's passing and realise that there is no way we can ignore this. The entry in the book just has to be amended to give it currency....
Arthur's private funeral is being held this afternoon, and yet another link to Australia's colourful past in the world of comics has passed. Condolences to Arthur's family in their time of sorrow.
Just to give you a small taste (or tease?) of Graeme's book, here's his (quickly) updated history of Arthur Mather:
Arthur Mather was born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1926. His began his working career as a printer's apprentice, in the meantime studying art briefly at Melbourne Technical College. Mather worked his way to the position of sporting cartoonist for the Melbourne Truth. In 1947, he was recruited by Atlas Publications to draw Captain Atom at a starting salary of ten pounds per week. Between 1950 and 1951 his adventure strips Sky Pirates and Danger in the Dead Heart were published as weeklies in the Age. Mather went on to also write and draw a long sequence of the Flynn of the FBI comic book for Atlas Publications. Eventually he took over drawing Atlas’ Sergeant Pat of the Radio Patrol.
Following the demise of the local comic book industry Arthur worked in television and publishing. He went on to make a substantial career in advertising, eventually holding a senior position with the George Patterson Advertising Agency. Arthur’s first novel, “The Pawn”, was published in 1975, and he went on to publish a further seven books. Summing-up Arthur Mather’s appearances in locally created comic books, his strips appeared in more than one hundred and thirty comics. Arthur Mather died in 2017.
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 has been 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