One might imagine that I might be torn between attending either Brisbane's Supanova or the Australian Cartoonists' Association's Stanley Awards, being held in Sydney. Both events are on today. The simple fact of the matter is that I have decided to stay at home! Carlene has returned from Bendigo, Victoria, with a viral infection (that required her being hospitalised when down south). Despite numerous blood tests, we are none the wiser to understanding what it is that has caused this disability. The good news is that she is improving. (For a while there she was finding it difficult to walk; and I was saddened to see her coming off the aeroplane shuffling along like an old woman, barely able to lift her feet, when I picked her up from the airport earlier this month.)
Carlene initially went down to Bendigo to give daughter Lora a chance to earn some extra Christmas money, while her children were looked after by Carlene. "I'd like [husband] Adam to slow down, someone to look after my kids, a chance to have some time alone in a motel, perhaps with a spa...." Lora told Carlene before she set off. Sometimes you can have your wishes filled, in the most unexpected of ways.... Sadly, Adam was involved in an accident at the farm where he works, with a quad bike landing on top of him. (He sustained near life-threatening injuries: all of his ribs were fractured, he had two punctured lungs and a broken clavicle.) Thanks to some quick work by Adam himself (who rang his Boss before collapsing), his Boss getting Adam to the Ambulance that had been notified and then the Paramedics stabilising him before being flown by chopper to a Melbourne Hospital, he was able to be saved. But it was touch and go for a while. So, Lora's wishes came true: she spent some anxious nights in a nearby motel while Adam lay in Hospital, her children were well looked after by Carlene, and Adam has now been forced to slow down...after spending some time in the Intensive Care Unit, he has now been given the okay to return home and faces months to recuperate....
One little secret that I have have kept from readers of this Blog, and from people in general, is that in late August, I headed down to Melbourne to meet up with Andrez Bergen and Frantz Kantor. We were planning on discussing the viability of getting Andrez and Frantz' character Magpie published into a stand-alone comic to market via Diamond Distributors. Given Diamond were unwilling to support an anthology title like Oi Oi Oi! ("They just don't sell.") we thought about marketing Magpie, given that superhero comics do sell. From Oi Oi Oi! to the world! Pretty much like Lora, in Life, you cannot make plans....
Out of respect for Andrez' family, I said nothing about the events of (or before) the weekend, It was a most distressing time. Now that Andrez has just recently shared the events publicly (on Facebook), I thought it reasonable to now share here. And I shall allow Andrez to share it in his words....
"As you can perhaps surmise from these photos by Brian Huber, I've sufficiently settled into hospital to attempt cunning camouflage exercises. Why am I here? Well [in later August], I returned to Australia on vacation and somehow contracted a Golden Staph infection en route.
"So...the day after I went to Mum's I collapsed.
"She called an ambulance' which took me to Frankston Hospital. I was then transferred to Alfred Hospital suffering from a cardiac arrest induced by the infection, which then led to a stroke and an operation on my head. I call this my lobotomy scar.
"So I'm not dead (not yet) and I owe my life to the fabulous medical staff here. Not to mention regular visits by Brian, Dad, Mum and others. I'm now at Caulfield Hospital for rehabilitation to rebellious atrophied muscles over the next two months. Exercise? Good Lord! https://www.alfredhealth.org.au/caulfield "
I'd like to publicly wish Andrez (Andrew) a speedy recovery, and wish him all the best in getting back on track ...and back in front of his typewriter/computer where I am sure he feels he belongs....
For me personally, although I was unhurt, it was such a distressing time, that I immediately put my magazine's publishing on hold. I suppose it would be fair to say that I have had a fair amount of time to reflect on what is important in Life over these past few months. I feel less inclined to go mad, bull at a gate to ensure that Oi Oi Oi! comes out strictly every three months (which is what I have done over the past two years). I still plan on putting out a mega issue of Oi Oi Oi! and I am still (slowly) working on Bold Ben Hall and I am also busily working on other areas relating to comics, but I am also conscious of others that I love around me who may need more of my time. So, while this has been a distressing time, I am learning to (better?) prioritise my time between them and my beloved comics...
Here's a picture (left) of me from a year ago, proudly holding Gary Clark's 2015 Stanley (Comic Strip) Award and standing in front of the magnificent Stan Cross cartoon brought down for the Award Night by the National Library of Australia. It seems hard to believe that is twelve months ago...so much has happened in that time. There is a great part of me that would love to be down in Sydney for this year's Awards, but I shall have to be content to simply attend the one in 2017 (where it will be held in Canberra).
The 2016 Cartoonist of The Year will be announced at the 32nd Stanley Awards at a gala dinner at the Novotel in Parramatta tonight. The nominees are:
The prestigious Australian Cartooning Hall Of Fame and the Jim Russell Award for significant contribution to Australian cartooning will also be awarded and announced...
CONGRATULATIONS to all the Nominees! I'll announce all the winners here, when I know and am able to do so....
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