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The Crimson Comet Comic (Action Comics, 1952 series) #54, 1953?


1/05/2013: AusReprints is ten! The first static web pages went live late April 2003, before the site was converted to a database in December 2003.

28/04/2013: H. John Edwards/Action Comics publications have now been grouped, with a brief historical introduction.

20/07/2011: Some secrets of Ayers & James uncovered. What does it have to do with Magazine Management and other publishers?

9/04/2011: Atlas Publications promoted to the main menu, with the majority of its comics output now listed.

14/10/2010: Larry Cleland, Australia's Fawcett partner, now has its own menu item.

what's new! next

Gallery of Australian Comics

Australian access to international comics was relatively limited until the 1980s, resulting in a strong local comic industry, including reprint comics.

While original Australian comics have been extensively documented by John Ryan's seminal Panel by Panel and more recent books such as Bonzer: Australian comics 1900s–1990s (edited by Annette Shiell), thousands of Australian reprint comics remain largely undocumented. This website redresses the balance by documenting those reprints, with a special focus on the extensive DC reprint program undertaken by the KG Murray and Federal publishing companies.

Up until the mid-1930s, British material dominated the Australian market, with home-grown versions increasingly favoured. The US "Golden Age" (1938 to 1945) was virtually unknown, although some US comics were available for 6d in the 1930s. This ceased by the end of the decade and the characters were generally known only through later reprints.

US comics were kept out not just by a cultural bias, but also through entrenched territorial agreements between British and American publishers. From June 1940, the import of US comics was banned to control the spending of US dollars during the Second World War.

The dominant comic distributor in Australia, Gordon & Gotch, may have also strategically limited access to US comics. The company had monopolistic control over British comic imports and benefited from the bias against the US market.

Many of the earliest Australian comics were based on reprints of newspaper strips, reflecting international trends and later also circumventing import restrictions. The mid-1930s saw significant expansion of syndicated newspaper material in Australia, particularly with formation of the Yaffa Syndicate to distribute material from King Features Syndicate.

From the Second World War, publication of reprint comics exploded, with a multitude of companies in the market, such as Horwitz, Atlas, Ayers & James, Calvert, Larry Cleland, Frew, Invincible, Jubilee, Rosnock, Southdown and Youngs Merchandising.

Exact publication dates for many of these comics may never be known as few Australian comics were dated and there were few established fans keeping records.

How's the project going?

The AusReprints database includes entries for 4,683 Australian comic titles, with 36,034 individual issues. This includes the majority of comics produced by the Murray and Federal publishing groups, but only a fraction of the output of other companies.

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