I am forever amazed at what is out there in this wonderful world pertaining to this medium we know as comics! We all know the Web is a good source of information. With eBay there are many items and bargains to be found...although I find that I have too little time to trawl through it as often as some do. Nevertheless, it has recently brought some pleasing results my way, when I picked up a bargained-priced supposedly early 1970s Spanish version of John Dixon's Air Hawk. As you can see, it is somewhat battered and frayed...
...But look how wonderful the strip looks in colour (I have enclosed an edited version of one of the pages to the left)! The layout is edited a little differently than the usual daily newspaper version, in-so-far-as there are six panels (or two days of the strips) to a page. So it reads more like a comic. The comic itself is 24 pages in length with no advertising (20 pages of which are devoted to Air Hawk). Another anomoly is the page numbering: what one would consider to be Page 3 is actually numbered Page 21. The cover carries a number 2, so I am assuming this is Issue Two, and the page numbering carries over into the subsequent issue....
A clue as to the reasoning for this is an advertisement on the back page of the comic (an edited version appears at right). It would seem that either there were hardback cover versions of Air Hawk made available to the Spanish public (and I have not yet had the time to investigate this via eBay) or binders were made available and each issues purshcased could be compiled into volume. It would help if I could read Spanish (so if anyone can help me, please get in touch)! The cover price of the comic was 30 ptas, which one can only assume was a bargain price to read such fabulous adventures set in the Australian Outback! I am sure to most Spanish readers it must have seemed quite exotic!
And on to another discovery that I found recently in a Northern Brisbane suburbs Op-Shop for another bargain price! This is not actually a graphic novel as the title suggests (see below), but rather an anthology of seven different comic stories by seven new comic talents. The indicia tells us that it was published in 2010 by 'the School of Design Communication and I.T.' at the University of Newcastle...
The book, entitled SCRIBBLE: Graphic Novel Collective, is just a little smaller than regular comic book size, with 96 black and white interior pages and a colour cover. The printing is of the highest quality, and the stories and artwork are all of sufficient high quality to maintain my interest throughout. To be honest, I have never heard of any of the comics talent published by the venture before, and I hope they don't limit their craft to this singular volume in the future. I have enclosed a couple of panels from the story 'Ravenskull' by Roger Quinn (see left), which to my mind was a particularly inventive and fun story. There is an Essay-come-Introduction by one of Australia's most prolific comics scribes, Kevin Patrick ('The Invisible Medium: Comics Studies in Australia') that was both well-written and informative. I am unsure how much the price of the original SCRIBBLE sold for, or indeed if more copies are still available; but if you can, I seriously suggest you add this volume to your Australian Comic Collection. Another question (which I hope I can answer another day) is whether there was a Second Volume published in 2011 - it would be good to know that at least one Australian Tertiary Institution was taking comics seriously enough to both nurture local talent and publish their output. This Volume, at least, had me pining for more to follow suit...
...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.