Making comics

RECENT COMICS:  I have had a piece published online here by The Melbourne City of Literature organisation as part of their ‘Reading Victoria’ project:

It’s about Eric Juckert, the potter who lived on Grossard Point in Ventnor on Phillip Island, a place I love.


I have been making comics since 1990 when my friend Tolley and I collaborated on a comedy adventure comic series set in Melbourne called Yell Ole!  Since then I have made numerous comic books, online and in print, solo and in collaboration.

from The False Impressionists #2 by Tolley and Caleo
From Flaneur #1 by Bernard Caleo, a fantasy on the films of Tacita Dean exhibited as part of a Melbourne Festival


from Cafe Ghetto #3 by John Murphy and Bernard Caleo


From 1997 to 2009 I edited and published the giant romance comics anthology Tango. In 2009 the Australian book publisher Allen and Unwin published The Tango Collection, selecting work from the first eight issues. Until October 2018, Tango is the subject of a display within the State Library of Victoria’s exhibition about the history of the book, ‘The Mirror of the World’.


In 2013-2014, historian Alex McDermott and I were awarded a Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria to begin research on a graphic novel history project called The Devil Collects. This story is an account of the decline and fall of Marvellous Melbourne, 1887 – 1893. Currently (2018) Alex and I have been awarded funding from Creative Victoria and The Copyright Agency to continue work on this project.

below: the statue of Burke and Wills, in its old spot on Spring Street, commenting on the fortunes of the great and the good of Marvellous Melbourne, who are inside the Princess Theatre on the night of 3 March 1888 watching a production of Gounod’s opera Faust.

In 2015  ‘Graphic Shakespeare’, a 20-page collaboration with La Trobe University Shakespeare specialist Rob Conkie was published as a chapter in Rob’s book Writing Performative Shakespeares (Cambridge University Press).

below: Enobarbus, a character from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, on the mean streets of Adelaide

Also in 2015, with Erica Wagner and Elizabeth MacFarlane, I launched Twelve Panels Press, a graphic novel publishing enterprise. Our first publication was a translation into English from German of Jan Bauer’s graphic novel The Salty River, an account of his long walk along the Larapinta Trail (and beyond) in the Northern Territory.

In 2017 I was invited to be part of the ‘Writing this Place’ project by Elizabeth Welch at the City of Darebin, in which 10 writers were each assigned a location within the area to weave a story around. I drew the Darebin Parklands, and had the incredible fortune to meet Peter Wiltshire, who has been the Ranger at the Parklands for 30 years. After spending a remarkable day in Peter’s company,  I came up with a 12-page comic:

and it can be read here, in the anthology of the ten pieces of writing, published online and for free by the good folks at Darebin Arts.