Don Richardson—Comic Book Maker by Kevin Patrick

Partial printers plate
Partial printers plate

You won't find his name in any comic

If the name Don Richardson sounds unfamiliar to you, don't worry—you won't find his name appearing on any of the comic books in your collection.

I'd never heard of Don either, until I received an email from him, quite out of the blue, on 11 January 2004.

I can only guess as to whether Don had read one of my Comics Down Under columns in Collectormania magazine and felt compelled to write to me.

I had previously written about KG Murray's comic book imprint for the February and March 2003 editions of Collectormania, nearly a year before Don contacted me, so I can only guess if his email was in belated response to these articles.

"I produced comics from the 1950s to the 1980s" was the opening line of his first email to me. For a split second, I thought Don might have been some overlooked Australian comic book writer or artist, who wanted to share his story for posterity's sake.

Don was, in fact, a comic book maker—literally. As a graphic artist and printer/engraver, he was responsible for physically producing those glorious vivid covers which adorned locally published reprints of American comics sold in Australia.

Of particular interest to collectors of Australian editions of DC Comics is Don's association with KG Murray, the company responsible for local reprints of DC Comics' titles from the late 1940s to the early 1980s.

While Don only worked sporadically on KG Murray's comic book line throughout his decades-long career, his experiences nonetheless provide a rare insight into KG Murray's publishing practices and reveals the technical complexity of comics printing in the pre-digital era.