...covering Australian comics

Thorpe & Porter

by James Zee

Classics Illustrated (1955?: #1–158)
Classics Illustrated (1955?: #1–158)

Australian variants

To paint a broad picture of Australian comics history, AusReprints includes many comics published in the UK for Australians. One company in particular printed some separate editons with Australian pricing and advertising on the covers: the publishers of Classics Illustrated (distributed by Ayers & James) in 1950s and 1960s, and Tarzan and Korak comics in the 1970s.

The company is generally known as Thorpe & Porter or Top Sellers (common names on the comics), but it includes a cluster of publishers that ultimately became part of Time-Warner, the modern owner of DC Comics.

Trade names in this group include Arnold Book Co.; BrownWatson; General Book Distributors; Hermitage Publications; Jenson Book Co.; Portman Distribution; Strato Publications Ltd.; Thorpe & Porter (Sales) Ltd.; Thorpe & Porter, Ltd.; Top Sellers Ltd.; and Williams Publishing and Distributing Co. Ltd. Some started as separate companies, while others are imprints established to differentiate product lines. Portman Distribution is reported to have been sold to Gold Star.

Thorpe & Porter and its Strato imprint are the names on Classics Illustrated reprints. From the 1950s, when US comic imports were banned, Thorpe & Porter produced mainly black and white reprints. When imports were permitted around 1960, Thorpe & Porter distributed US comics in the UK, including DC, Charlton, Archie and Marvel.

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