Federal by James Zee
Introducing the Federal Publishing Company
Between 1983 and 1986, the Federal Publishing Company (FPC) reprinted contemporary DC and Marvel comics, occasionally dipping into a backlist of stories acquired from the K. G. Murray Publishing Company.
FPC was a new publishing division of Hannanprint, formed through the acquisition of leisure and special interest publications from ACP Publishing, the company that acquired Murray from its founding family in 1972. Hannanprint's Eastern Suburbs Newspapers (subsequently ESN The Litho Centre) also became the printers for the comics at that time.
Federal initially maintained continuity with Murray's line of DC reprints, continuing the numbering of some titles and briefly using "Murray the Cat" branding11For example, Superman, Supergirl, Batman, Wonder Woman, Savage Tales and Super Heroes/Legion of Super-Heroes.... —although this quickly converted to a distinctive "Federal Comics" logo. In mid-1984, Federal's branding was supplanted by "Australian Edition DC" and, finally, the standard DC Comics logo in mid-1985 .
During this early period, Federal also produced some Charlton reprints, particularly romance stories and Hanna-Barbera titles. As Murray's comics also frequently used material from this US publisher, Federal probably obtained rights for these stories from its ACP acquision.
At about this time, Federal took over the Marvel licence from the Yaffa Publishing Group, initially branding its reprints as "Marvel Australian Edition" before converting to the standard Marvel logo in 1985.
The format for Federal's reprints was initially black and white comics with 84 pages. To fit the page count, stories were routinely edited or padded with an interior cover reprint. Except for some idiosyncratic anthology titles, the issues typically included sequential stories from multiple issues of the original US series.
In late 1984, many Federal series converted to 32 colour pages. Competition from imported US comics would have been a factor, but technological advances probably also drove the change. Hannan's Courier Newspapers pioneered colour on gloss paper for suburban newspapers in 1985.
During the final year, some reprints reverted to 68 page, black and white comics.
In April 1986, the Federal Publishing Company exited the comics field, although it remains one of Australia's major publishers of websites, magazines and community newspapers. The company has been owned by News Limited since 2006.