This is a post I failed to post last year (who knows why now), but it is one I feel I should, given the recordings at the bottom of the Blog that ought to be preserved for posterity. (My website is captured and preserved by Pandora from the National Library of Australia.) So, please note, when this says "this year", I am actually referring to 2016. Interesting too, to hear of the big plans that Andrez Bergen, Frantz Kantor and I had for Oi Oi Oi!'s Magpie and how Life/God (whatever you want to call her) seems to take us on other paths that we don't even expect
Following my decision this year not to hang onto the coat-tails of the Australian Cartoonists' Association, I have attempted to broadened my market by attending many non-Supanova comic-related events throughout the year, and in as many different cities as possible. In early July, it was Sydney's turn!
(I should point out here that I have nothing against Supanova Pop Culture Expo. Indeed I plan on attending the Brisbane leg later this year -- even though it coincides with the Australian Cartoonists' Association's annual workshop/Award night. There has been some Facebook suggestions about artists boycotting the event -- I am not certain of all the facts or know why this was/is proposed -- and I am not actively choosing to do this by attending these other festivals throughout the year. I simply wasn't able to co-ordinate my work shifts for Sydney's Supanova in June, much as I would have liked to have been there.)
Every year, the Public Libraries in the inner-west of Sydney combine to bring the attention of comics to the community, and this is -- and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong -- the third year of Comic Con-Versation. The events took place from July 3rd for a whole week, culminating in a Comics Lounge (where local comic publishers can share their wares with the public) at the Ashfield Library.
My work commitments did not allow me to attend for the whole week. (Curse this work! If I would only win Lotto, I could be at all these comic-related events all year long, publishing comics until the end of my days! IF I were to only buy a Lotto ticket!) Anyway, I was able to have the weekend of July 9th and 10th off duty from work....so there was nothing to get in my way to allow me to attend the Comic Lounge. Not even Carlene! And flying to Sydney is always fun, as it gives me an opportunity to catch up with my great friend Rob Feldman and family!
Rob did not hold true to his word and make me lay in blue-hued bed sheets (as he had promised), but by then the New South Wales Rugby League team had well and truly lost the State of Origin. Rob, in fact, had done a better job than I would have had Queensland lost, in getting over the loss. [2017: How little has changed in twelve months in other respects!] Thank you, Rob and Vicki, for allowing me to stay in your home. I digress...
There were many comics and books available at the Comic Lounge at the Ashfield Library on that Sunday afternoon. It was good to see so many other artists and cartoonists, happily engaging with the members of the public that were interested in sharing the mutual love of the comic medium. Here are some of the works that stood out (from my viewpoint)....
Rob Feldman has now just released a new book, Owed to the Taxman that was written by his aunt Lindsay Dalyell. Lindsay was a single mum, who used to write a poem each year to the Tax Department when she submitted her returns: 'a perfect way to vent her spleen and let off steam', and which she did for over forty years! At her 90th birthday party, Rob became aware of these poems and discovered that she had meticulously kept them all in a notebook. And so, with his aunt's permission, Rob lovingly has illustrated these tax-inspired grow-up nursery rhymes! Rob's last book, Fast Freddy's Big Race, was short-listed in the 2016 Ledger Awards and I am sure this one will be another that will keep his Fans happy. I consider myself one! You can obtain copies here: http://www.robfeldman.com.au/humour/
Karen Beilhartz produced the wonderful Kinds Of Blue anthology that Comicoz announced as the best Australian Original Comic Book of 2012. And this year, she has produced another that ranks right up there! Monsters ("An anthology of short comics for children") is wonderfully written by Karen, and illustrated by a variety of illustrators that makes this as one of the fun reads of the the year. [Since writing this, Karen has also produced a colouring book as a companion volume to go with the book, which was short-listed for a Ledger Award in 2017. Both books are available as a package from her website for $27, and you can also find a sample from the book there too: http://hivemindedness.com/monsters/ ]
Thomas Campi remains one of the artists whose colour artwork I have long admired, even though I cannot understand anything about the comics he illustrates! Based in Sydney, Thomas illustrates graphic novels for the European market, and has won many awards for his works. I have secured the Australian rights to his first English-language graphic novel. The title is Joe Shuster, about the life and times of the co-creator of Superman, although the work is not yet complete. I remain convinced that I believe the work will put him in a position where some of the American publishers will be seeking him out for further work, and that he will be better known. [2017: The position, in regards the completion of the work, still remains the same, although it is nearer to completion. So Thomas tells me!]
After purchasing one of his books, Thomas was kind enough to present to me an original (black and white) illustration that he was working on at the time I approached his table. How can I not share it with you here?
This above is an audio of a Panel discussion that I took part in during the day.
And here are the other audio Panel discussions that I didn't take part in during the day (above and below)!
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