Toowoomba! It has been so long since we have been there! And what a beautiful city it is! The streets are tidy, with very little rubbish. There are old buildings (like the Cinema, above) that were obviously modern and iconic in its day, and that continue to exude a present-day charm. Buildings have artwork plastered all over them (have a look at that beauty, above, where we parked the car).
Although the day started with a lot of fog, we were able to delay our start, and still arrived before lunch. And it wasn't too cool (as we expected): a warm winter's day. Just perfect to check out the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and the Copier Jam! Exhibition curated by Jeremy Staples.
Of course, I didn't just visit the Copier Jam! Exhibition to simply look at all the Oi Oi Oi! works on display. There were many other artworks on display that were well worth viewing too. From a page of Doug Holgate's original pencils that traversed all the way to his completed page, showing the details of his process to get from one to the other. And there were many surprises -- Ben Constantine's original artwork was a lot more detailed than I imagined, and Philip Dearest's was a lot larger than I expected. The Squishface Studios team from Melbourne were well represented; and being a local, it wasn't surprising to see Jeremy Staples' collected Bizoo among the zines on display.
Even Carlene became engaged with the exhibition, and offered her opinions. She found that much of the work -- to her eyes -- was bleak and depressing. This lead us to a discussion as to why this is so. In my opinion, many of the younger zine- makers use the medium as a form of self-expression, and this reflects the type of situation they find themselves in. Many experience unemployment, and cover topics like modern music and drugs. (We were surprised by how little sex was covered as a topic.) But overall, there was a lot of creative energy involved in many of the productions and this was inspiring. It was really worth the drive up from Margate for the day....
If you are local (and if we can drive from Margate, if you live in Brisbane that make you a local!), why not take a trip up for the day? The Exhibition runs Tuesday to Sundays (to 4 p.m.) and is on show until 7th August. Entry is FREE. If you cannot make it before then, just relax: the Exhibition continues to travel around Australia, and is scheduled to appear at The Artspace, Mackay a little later in the year.
While we were there in Toowoomba, I popped into the only comic book store in town, Kaboom Comics in Ruthven Street. Of course, my prime goal was to see if the proprietor would be willing to stock Oi Oi Oi! and some of my other books.
I had seen on Facebook recently that a new Killeroo comic was soon to be released and the store has ordered a special 50 copy print-run, with a cover exclusive to all Kaboom customers. So, I was hopeful.
Without seeking to be disrespectful, the owner was not interested, as my magazine will not fit into their especially designed shelves....designed to fit comics that are American comic book size. On viewing the stock on sale, with little exception, those were the only types of comics on display....
On the other side of the coin, there were a few Op Shops in town (something that Carlene and I will always patronise), and there were some bargains to be found. Here are a couple of hardcover books that I found and already own, that perhaps a student of Australian comics and media might be interested in. Make any reasonable offer; for these are up for sale (as a set). I can post them anywhere within Australia for $14.00 (overseas, please enquire). Once they are sold, I shall state so at the bottom of this posting....
The books are: Remember Smith's Weekly by George Blaikie and The Awful Australian: The Pick of Australian Cartoon Humour compiled by Garrie Hutchinson.
The Awful book has 214 pages of back to back cartoons from Mark Lynch, Ron Tanberg, Gerald Carr, Patrick Cook, Bruce Petty... and many, many more. It was published in 1984 and is in reasonably good condition, although there are two tears on page 203.
The Remember book is the third edition, published in 1967, and runs to 258 pages, mostly text although there are some (small) cartoons throughout. It is a history of that iconic Australian newspaper, Smith's Weekly (1919 to 1950). There are some pencil writings on the inside first page, and some white out on the same page. The dust jacket has some scuffing, and the upper left corner of the dust jacket's cover has a rather large tear. Here are some photos....
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