I was planning on updating this blog shortly after my last entry. Life, however, has a way of keeping me so busy that I barely have time to do so. Well, it's easy to blame Life.
While attending the (informal) 2021 Stanley Award Dinner (in Coffs Harbour), the rain began to pelt down. My room mate, cartoonist Rev Ian (Busy Tales) Jones, and I decided to stay the night in Coffs before driving home. The rain was torrential and pretty-much non-stop all the way. Some of the water was lapping at the highway at some parts, and there were road signs indicating that Lismore was likely to flood and suggesting drivers seek alternative routes. Of course, it wasn't until Ian dropped me off at Brunswick Street Station in Brisbane that the full extent of the flooding became apparent....
Just as I arrived, the trains went off-line. I wasn't able to get home! Accommodation became a premium, and at some point I really thought I might either end up staying on the streets, or having to bunk down at my workplace (just up the road). Fortunately, there was a cancellation at the hotel I booked on line, but it was only due to my turning up there that I was able to secure it. Even the manager wasn't able to get in and his worker couldn't get home, so she was managing the numerous phone booking requests alone...!
February-March were strange months. Carlene wasn't well. Ross River Fever. So, attending comic functions and working on promoting Dillon's book (and just working on comics in general) somehow ended up taking a back seat. As it should. Work got in the way too. Many people distressed, co-workers getting COVID (including some of our girls), with general community depression and anxiety being wide-spread. Although I didn't get rostered too many night duty shifts (always a plus), I ended up working many long stretches, including numerous double shifts. The war in the Ukraine put things in perspective, I suppose. There were people doing it harder than we were here in Australia. That was my spin on it, at any rate. I may talk of this more in the future.
Of course, there were some comic activities. For some time, Graeme Cliffe and I had been booked to speak at a Chapel Hill Probus lunchtime meeting on March the 15th.
Within the world of comics that I work, there are always disappointments and challenges. The Emile Mercier book has been one. There was a bit of a delay in the design-stage of the book once the first proofs arrived. The text pages of the book were too close to the margins, and both designers who worked on the book were (understandably) taking a Christmas break. By the time the design 'faults' were rectified, the printer was having his annual break!
And just recently, after being told the books were printed and ready to ship (there they are, on the left), I received word from Ian, my Customs Agent saying:
The local Shenzhen government has decreed a full lockdown in the area due to a COVID outbreak. All commercial buildings and warehouse have been closed. This means your shipment is delayed as the container had not been packed at the warehouse before the lockdown was imposed.
Sad, but that's how the publishing game goes some times. I had to let all the Kickstarter backers know late in March (yesterday as I type this). Another disappointment has been the lack of response to my Comicoz-Wedd mentored Australian Graphic Storytelling Project (see link here): not one response to date. Perhaps it is just an idea that will fall by the wayside. Similarly, the idea of retailing books and comics from other publishers to raise funds for my own publishing projects, seems to have failed, although that was more my fault. To be fair, I've really not had the time to promote either idea. Something that I have come to learn to live with in the world of comics over the years... You move on. No time to be too disappointed. There are other challenges ahead, and some I could (or should) mention, but which I might leave the sharing of to a future blog.
Rounding off the month, caricaturist and Sydney-sider Steve Panozzo invited me to the first Brisbane Comic Con to be held for a while. I wasn't able to attend both days (Carlene still remained unwell), but I put in some hours on the last Sunday of the month, and caught up with some fellow-creatives, including Dr Paul Mason and Christopher Sequeira. And sold some copies of Dillon Naylor's books.
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