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Bold Ben Hall: The most ambitious Graphic Novel ever to be published in Australia! 
Researched, written and illustrated by Monty Wedd.
Bold Ben Hall: The most ambitious Graphic Novel ever to be published in Australia! 
Researched, written and illustrated by Monty Wedd.
Bold Ben Hall: The most ambitious Graphic Novel ever to be published in Australia! Researched, written and illustrated by Monty Wedd.
68 backers pledged AU$ 10,511 to help bring this project to life.

About

Australian Bushranger Ben Hall - a pictorial biography project video thumbnail
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Australian Bushranger Ben Hall - a pictorial biography

AU$ 10,511

68

Hullo!

My name is Nat Karmichael. As the video indicates, I am passionate about Australian comics - comic books and comic strips! When I first considered how to present myself for this crowd-funding campaign for your perusal (when the video was made in early 2016), I was unsure whether I should talk about it formally (and risk appearing stuffy and remote) ... or should I be laid back (and have you think I don't care if you support this venture or not)?? In the end, I decided just to be myself: PASSIONATE!! 

Nat by Danny Zemp
Nat by Danny Zemp

Meeting Monty Wedd

I first met Australian writer, historian and artist Monty Wedd (and his wonderful wife Dorothy) back in 1988 at the annual Stanley Awards for the (then) Australian Black & White Artists' Club. Monty and I got talking about many things, including one day having some of his works collected in book form. Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case, Life got in the way and the plans were left for another day. Sadly, soon after our discussions reconvened, Monty passed away in 2012.  

Monty accepting the 2004 Jim Russel Award for his "Significant Contribution to Australian Cartooning"
Monty accepting the 2004 Jim Russel Award for his "Significant Contribution to Australian Cartooning"

Moving on with the plans...

With the full blessing of Monty's Family, I was given permission to continue working on the plans. In early 2014, the first volume of Monty's work was published. Ned Kelly was released and distributed to many Australian booksellers. The following year it was awarded the Bronze Ledger 'for excellence in Australian comics'. (See http://ledgerawards.org for full details.)

Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd; Cover Illustration by Monty Wedd, Designed by Michal Dutkiewicz
Ned Kelly, Narrated and Illustrated by Monty Wedd; Cover Illustration by Monty Wedd, Designed by Michal Dutkiewicz

Bold Ben Hall

Bold Ben Hall is planned to be the second volume of Monty’s collected works. A draft of the dust-jacket's cover is presented here on this Kickstarter page. This volume will be a companion piece to Ned Kelly, measuring exactly the same dimensions – a massive 36 cm in width and 25 cm in depth. (That’s a really large volume!) This Kickstarter campaign is designed to raise the funds for the first hardback printing of this work, with a print run limited to only 1000 copies world-wide

Early version of the cover to "Bold Ben Hall"; Illustration by Monty Wedd, Designed by Ryan McDonald-Smith
Early version of the cover to "Bold Ben Hall"; Illustration by Monty Wedd, Designed by Ryan McDonald-Smith

 

Some of the artwork from BOLD BEN HALL (greatly reduced)
Some of the artwork from BOLD BEN HALL (greatly reduced)

What sets it apart…

Bold Ben Hall collects each and every episode of this Australian Sunday newspaper feature for the very first time. The strip first appeared forty yeas ago in 1977 – and then ran for over seven and a half years. This is not a made up tale. Monty personally visited the Australian towns featured in his historical re-telling and researched every aspect of this Australian bushranger's life. The story is retold in a visual (comic) format about the history behind the events, and Monty told it in astonishing detail.  In page count alone, Bold Ben Hall is over three times larger than the first Ned Kelly volume! What makes this book unique, solely from a production viewpoint, is the fact that most of the four hundred pages have been reproduced directly from Monty's original artwork! 

One of the actual reproduced sheets of Monty's artwork being offered as a Reward.
One of the actual reproduced sheets of Monty's artwork being offered as a Reward.

 

Authorised limited edition copies of Monty's artwork reproduced to exact size of the originals will be offered as Rewards in this campaign
Authorised limited edition copies of Monty's artwork reproduced to exact size of the originals will be offered as Rewards in this campaign

 Where the project is now

As you might imagine, this has been a massive undertaking! I have spent the past two years working on this project. Right now, all the original artwork's pages have been photographed and are ready for the printer. The miscellaneous pages, like the introductory page and the acknowledgement pages -- just about everything! -- have all been prepared and are set to go!  Some minor adjustments are going to be made to the dust-jacket's artwork and the names of every Kickstarter who pledges funds will need to be added to pages within the book, and then it will be ready to go to press. The plan is to have the project all ready to be presented to the printer directly after the end of the campaign period.

Monty was passionate about Australian history. Here's an example. This is Ben Hall's ORIGINAL gun holster; owned by Monty and now in the Wedd family's possession.
Monty was passionate about Australian history. Here's an example. This is Ben Hall's ORIGINAL gun holster; owned by Monty and now in the Wedd family's possession.

 What is needed from you

This is an unprecedented campaign, both in target required and in scope of what is being sought to be reproduced for what many consider an Australian comic book or graphic novel. (And within a really short campaign time frame!) Many booksellers baulked at carrying Ned Kelly, due to its unorthodox size. There is every possibility that a larger book like this proposed Bold Ben Hall volume may not be accepted by any Australian book distributor. The best thing you can do is to support this project to ensure you obtain your copy, because that will help the project reach its goal. You can also share it with your friends and family (and your Facebook friends and family!), because the more people who know about the project the greater the chance of the project attaining its goal....

Let's do it for Monty!
Let's do it for Monty!

 Why this will succeed...

I am a doggedly determined (my wife says obstinate) individual who has worked on many Australian comics, and comic-related projects previously. I have been making Australian comics since...well, my first comic was published in the 1970s. In my lifetime, I have published 18 comics (nine since 2014) and this will be my seventh comic-related book (all since 2011), and have edited eight copies of the Australian Cartoonists' Association's quarterly journal Inkspot over the past two years. (The video was produced when I had finished editing only my second issue!) I'm not saying this to big-note myself, but merely to let you know that I have a determination to see projects through to their conclusion. Here are photos of some of the comics I have published in recent years....and some I am working on. More details of my past ten years in comics can be read on my blog at www.comicoz.com

Some of my 1980s comic output...
Some of my 1980s comic output...

 

Selling my self-published wares at Supanova....
Selling my self-published wares at Supanova....

Thanks so much for reading this far!    

Kind Regards,  

Nat.

Coming soon...
Coming soon...

 

Risks and challenges

The main risk and challenge for a project of this scope is, naturally enough, not reaching the target goal. It is nearing the holiday season, after all!

However, there are enough Rewards on offer to ensure that there is a great chance of attaining that figure, with many of the Rewards available that might make future gifts... I have already placed a lot of my own money into the project already; that's how confident I am of reaching the goal. But you'd expect that, wouldn't you? As I have already said, I am passionate about Australian comics!

The work is so close to going to print. The adjustments to the cover art will be addressed while the Campaign is underway. I'll share during the Campaign the final artwork and dust-jacket. Once the Campaign is closed, there should be only minimal delays in sending the final product to the printer. (All that has to be added once the campaign is closed, is adding the list of names of all the great people who have put their hard earned money to this project.)

I DO pride myself on my great communication skills, so if you have ANY questions about ANY aspect of the project, please communicate them to me. I will be only too happy to answer any queries....

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 9 or more About $6

    1. Bottom Rung

    EVERYONE who pays $9 will see their name in print within the pages of "Bold Ben Hall". There's also another surprise for EVERYONE, even at this tier level. (But I'm not going to tell you what it is, or it wouldn't be a surprise, would it?)

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    Pledge AU$ 39 or more About $28

    2. Up a Notch

    This book was reproduced from Monty Wedd's ORIGINAL artwork. Read my annotations to EACH page in the book. That's over 40,000 words! EVERYONE who makes a pledge to this level will read these annotations in PDF format (and all the Rewards listed in #1, including that other 'special surprise').

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    Pledge AU$ 69 or more About $50

    3. Early-Bird Offer

    Be one of the first! One copy of the first 100 Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher. Get in early! Own one of the first hundred numbered copies. This will be sent to you (virtually) POST FREE. Due to the RIDICULOUSLY cheap offer, this can only be made available to Australian residents...

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 79 or more About $57

    4. Moving on up

    A physical copy of the "Bold Ben Hall" book before it sells (at a much higher price) in the Australian bookstores. Over 400 pages of great Australian history! Includes ALL the Rewards listed in #2. (Yes, even that 'special surprise' I mentioned earlier.)

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    Pledge AU$ 99 or more About $71

    5. Middle of the Road Rewards

    EVERYONE who pledges to this level will get to see their name in print, as well as a personally signed PHYSICAL copy of my annotations to each page in the book (that's over 60 pages and 40,000 plus words), AND a physical copy of the book...AND a special surprise.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 119 or more About $86

    6. Half way up the Rewards Ladder

    ALL of the Rewards mentioned at Reward #4 above AND a Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family. This was a really popular Reward in the Ned Kelly fundraiser, with copies selling out early. This offer cannot be repeated, and will ensure you have a piece of Australian graphic novel history that you can pass down to future generations!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 149 or more About $107

    7. For those coming in late

    ALL of the Rewards mentioned at Reward #4 above AND a Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher AND a copy of the companion volume "Ned Kelly" signed by the Publisher.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 149 or more About $107

    7. One to pass on to Future Generations

    ALL of the Rewards mentioned at Reward #4 above AND a Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher PLUS an EXACT replica of some of Monty Wedd's artwork reproduced on good quality 100 gsm card. This will be Certified and Numbered (and limited to 100 copies) and is different to the artwork offered that came with the first printings of the "Ned Kelly" volume.

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    Pledge AU$ 169 or more About $122

    9. Nearing the top of the ladder

    ALL of the Rewards mentioned at Reward #4 above AND a Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher PLUS an amazing FOUR sheets of EXACT replicas of some of Monty Wedd's artwork reproduced on good quality 100 gsm card. These will be Certified and Numbered (and limited to 100 copies) and are different to the artwork offered that came with the first printings of the "Ned Kelly" volume. They will include the Artwork included in Reward #7 above.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $361

    10. Host the Launch of the Book

    TEN copies of the Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher PLUS an opportunity to launch the book in your store or home, with Publisher Nat Karmichael attending (at his expense) and offering to talk at the function (at no extra cost). Option may be to have one of Monty Wedd's family in attendance (if possible, subject to arrangements). It may be possible to have some of the original "Bold Ben Hall" artwork on display (subject to arrangements).

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    Pledge AU$ 999 or more About $721

    11. Nearing the top

    One copy of the Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher PLUS all the Rewards described in #4 PLUS an original piece of Australian comic strip art (over 70 years old) PLUS the original - and only - printers proof of the "Ned Kelly" book.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,999 or more About $1,442

    12. Top of the ladder, the pinnacle

    One copy of the Special Numbered Limited Edition (to 350 copies) of the Bold Ben Hall book, signed by a member of the late Monty Wedd's Family, the book Designer and the Publisher PLUS all the Rewards described in #4 PLUS an original piece of Australian comic strip art (over 70 years old) PLUS a one and only original printer's block of one of the pages to "Bold Ben Hall" (by special arrangement with Monty Wedd's family). IMAGINE THIS! Owning not one but TWO pieces of Australian comic history!

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Funding period

- (54 days)