Since that time, there has been a creative explosion in the local Australian comic publishing area. Cheaper printing costs, a perception that comic creators can make some serious dollars from the medium (especially movie licensing rights), a greater awareness of the medium by people with a creative bent and a desire for people to tell their own stories have (in my opinion) all been reasons for this expansion in the medium. Whether this is translating into a greater public acceptance of comics and an increased propensity of the public in purchasing the local product, is something yet to be established. (From my experience at the Gold Coast and Melbourne Supanova events, my feeling now is that it is not -- although for OiOiOi! 's sake I hope I am wrong. But more of these thoughts on another posting....)
In 2014, with sponsors Supanova Pop Culture Expo (Platinum), State Library of Victoria (Gold), Jeffries Printing Services (Silver), Comic Books on Demand (Silver), All Star Comics (Bronze) and Impact Comics (Bronze) all on board, the Awards were able to be made public. With the influx of this sponsorship money, this allowed some actual physical awards to be crafted as well. This was in the form of a rectangular bracket (in the shape of a comic panel) attached to a square piece of timber large enough to carry an inscription of an Award Winner. (If you scroll down to my April 16th Blog entry, the last photograph in the set illustrates this.)
Given Tim's involvement in Supanova (he is listed as a co-founder) and Gary's past involvement in the earlier Ledger Awards (either as an Award Recipient or part of the Judging Panel), I think it was a reasonable decision to present Awards in these 'Gap Years' to give it this sense of 'history' and, as I said, some legitimacy.
And to prevent any perception of bias, they entrusted a Judging Panel to adjudicate on the merits of various works over the past twelve months (for the 2014 Awards). This panel came from 'a mix of creators, retailers, publishers, scholars and commentators on Australian comics'. The panellists were: Philip Bentley, Mal Briggs, Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane, Tim McBurnie, Joe Morris and Mark Sexton.
I'm unclear how much say these Judges had in the Awards to those winners in the 'Gap Years', but overall I feel the Winners in these intervening years were both deserving and a fair reflection on the state of the Australian comics medium during this time. (My only quibble would have to have included 2009's "Scarygirl" by Nathan Jurevicius from Allen & Unwin.)
So, for the purpose of the record (and for those who read these words and were not able to be present on the evening), here were the 'honorary Gold Awards' for the years the Ledger Awards were absent. Again, if possible, I have tried to provide an external web-link to each of the creative works. This may be useful for those seeking to explore these works in more detail or in trying to purchase copies of the physical product to keep their collection of modern Australian comics up to date.
"The Great Gatsby" by Nicki Greenberg (Allen & Unwin)
"Vowels" by Skye Ogden (Gestalt Publishing)
"The Sacrifice" by Bruce Mutard (Allen & Unwin)
"In For The Krill #1" by Jill Brett and Greg Holfeld (Panic Productions)
"Hollow Fields Omnibus Collection" Madeleine Rosca (Seven Seas)
"Alec: The Years Have Pants" Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf Productions)
"Digested.02" by Bobby.N. (Gestalt Publishing)
"Flinch" by Shaun Tan, Justin Randall, Bobby.N., Colin Wilson, Tom Taylor, and others (Gestalt Publishing)
"Changing Ways. Book 1: Mutation" by Justin Randall (Gestalt Publishing)
"The Playwright" by Daren White and Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf Productions)
"Blue" by Pat Grant (Top Shelf Productions/Giramondo)
"Hidden" by Mirranda Burton (Black Pepper)
"Mad Bonez 4 Lyfe" by Andrew Fulton (Self-published)
"It Shakes and Shines and Laughs" by Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)