Monty Wedd’s Ned Kelly has been the most monumental book Comicoz has ever undertaken. The goal was to make this the best-looking Australian comic-related reprint book ever produced in this country. Yes, yes, I know most comic Fans will view that statement with some cynicism, given that our comic industry incessantly sprouts hyperbole. In order to make that the reality, though, everyone working on the project was dedicated in bringing nothing but the highest quality to the end result. No expense was spared in ensuring that that was to be the outcome.
Why the delays? There were many reasons: some of them creative, some personal. There was no one person to blame, as all team-members were united in working towards the common goal. For posterity, let’s list the delays (those that I can now recall): After settling on the initial page content discussed in the first quotation, the printer then allowed for some extra pages to be added in the production. Rather than leave the pages blank, it seemed an ideal opportunity to allow extra pages of text to be written! Not only was there an Introduction, but there was now a reason to add a Foreword, as well as an opportunity for Monty’s son to write a tribute to his father. The Printer and the Cover Artist/Designer were in dispute at one stage over one quarter of an inch in the cover’s layout…that’s the depth of the detail taken to get this project right!
At one stage, I delayed things by heading down south to meet my just-born grandson for the first time. After the uncorrected proof copy arrived, small spelling, grammatical and factual errors in the text were noticed (both within the internal pages and the dust jacket) – so both then had to be re-done! The printer then asked for a further four extra pages to be added to (what was thought to be) the final layouts, to allow for the internal pages to be attached more aesthetically to the cover. The clarity of the printing was questioned, with the printer asking for samples of the colour that was sought. (I didn’t realise there were different “shades” of black!) What might be put under the dust-jacket on the book’s cover? Should it be the same as the illustration/text of the jacket? (The passion this part of the project brought out in everyone seeking to make a decision: wait and see what was settled on!)
Anyway, in the right now, there are no delays. Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd, is being printed as this is written. Five advance copies of the book are scheduled for a January 27th release, a little over two weeks away, with the remaining print run ready soon after this date.
Rob Feldman has been under an enormous amount of pressure throughout 2013, attempting to complete an original book of over 80 pages. Ned Kelly and Air Hawk are, after all, books that have been based on previously published material. While there was never any pressure on Rob to complete his book of brand-new cartoons and comics by the Christmas deadline, this had always been his goal. Sadly sometimes Life just gets in the way: Rob had to attend to a personal family matter late in 2013. Rob has told me that he is now back on track and that he is planning on submitting Cartoons, Cars and Cows in Cars to Comicoz’ printer on January 27th. All being well, Comicoz may now be in a position to be able to release both books simultaneously….