Articles

1 July 2012

KG Murray archives by James Zee

KG Murray archives

KG Murray's re-use of stories from Five-Score Comic Monthly #10, February 1959 suggests an extraordinary archive must have once existed at the company's headquarters.

The story 'Catastrophe County.' (note the full stop) is a reprint of 'Catastrophe County, U.S.A.' from Strange Adventures #63, December 1955. Such localisation was common at the time: 'Million Pound Ticket', a Mr. District Attorney story in the same issue, was originally 'Million Dollar Ticket'.

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30 June 2012

No publisher printed by James Zee

No publisher printed

It's rare for an Australian comic to have no publisher listed. An unnumbered, undated issue of Li'l Genius is one of the few I've seen.

The comic probably dates from 1958/1959 or into the early 1960s. Its cover is from Charlton's Li'l Genius #9 (1955)—and probably the contents also, but I can't find information to be sure.

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3 October 2011

Disney by James Zee

Disney

Between 1946 and 1978, Australian Disney comics were continuously produced by W.G. Publications (renamed Wogan Publications in 1974)—although other companies published some Disney comics for Australia before, during and after that time.

John Sands published a few Disney comics in the 1930s, with a handful more by Ayers & James in the 1940s. The Australian Woman's Weekly also published at least one in the 1940s, with free promotional comics from Nabisco (Wheaties) in the 1950s and Mobil in 1964.

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12 July 2011

Ayers & James by James Zee

Ayers & James

The Australian run of Classics Illustrated, commencing in 1947, is Ayers & James most enduring and famous comics legacy, although the company is associated with thousands of comics from the 1940s until the 1970s.

Most of this publishing output is disguised behind diverse trading names or successors—such as Red Circle Press, Illustrated Publications, Approved Publications and others—all associated with the later Magazine Management company.

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1 May 2011

AusReprints needs your comics by James Zee

AusReprints needs your comics

This website is a collaborative effort! Since AusReprints.com went online in 2003, I've made surprising progress documenting Australian reprint comics. But I need your help with issues I don't have.

The easiest way to help is to email me a high quality scan of missing or poor quality covers. If you have the time, I also welcome story details and full content information. All contributions can be emailed to me at the link at the bottom of this page.

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8 April 2011

Atlas by James Zee

Atlas

Capitalising on the success of KG Murray's Superman reprints, Atlas Publications entered the comics field in January 1948 with Captain Atom, a full colour comic by Australians Arthur Mather and Jack Bellew (as John Welles). Wartime bans on imported periodicals were still in place at the time, creating strong demand for new local periodicals.

While early Atlas comics mimicked the look of Murray's contemporary comics, the company quickly created a strong identity by being one of the few Australian comics' publishers to consistently brand its publications on the cover. Until 1951, most of its comics were also printed in a distinctive landscape format that was better suited to its dominant newspaper reprints.

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11 October 2010

Larry Cleland by James Zee

Larry Cleland

In 1946, during the post-war boom in Australian comics, the Vee Publishing Co. entered the market with an extensive programme of US Fawcett reprints. This company became Larry Cleland Pty. Ltd around 1949/50, although Stanley Larry Cleland had been associated with the company since its foundation.

Cleland has no publishing record prior to Vee Publishing, and it is unknown how he secured the rights to Fawcett's material. However, the company quickly expanded its range of black and white reprint editions to include a dozen or more humour, super hero and western comics.

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26 August 2010

Frew by James Zee

Frew

While The Phantom is Frew Publications' most famous and only remaining comic, from the late 1940s the company also published a wide range of other reprints and original Australian comics.

In 1948, Ron Forsyth, Jim Richardson, Jack Eisen and Peter Watson put in £500 each to found Frew, using an acronym of their four surnames to name the new company—although Eisen and Watson withdrew before the first comic was produced. For the next 40 years, Forsyth and Richardson shaped the company into an Australian icon.

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5 August 2010

Newton by James Zee

Newton

Newton Comics was a short-lived range of Marvel reprints produced in 1975 and 1976 as part of an excentric publishing empire based around Maxwell Newton's six year run on the trashy tabloid, the Melbourne Sunday Observer.

When publisher Gordon Barton abandoned his Observer in 1971, Newton quickly put out a replacement through Regal Press. The comics were part of a range of magazines and external jobs that kept the presses running throughout the week, not just the two days needed for the Sunday Observer. Other projects included teen mags such as Scream and Sweet, entertainment publications National Tattler and TV Guide, and the pornographic Pleazure, Eros and Kings Cross Whisper.

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4 July 2010

International sources by James Zee

International sources

Until the 1980s, Australian access to international comics was limited due to a range of factors, including distribution monopolies, exclusive licences, geograpical isolation, cultural bias toward British publications and war-time import restrictions.

During and following the second world war, a thriving local comics industry developed, including the publication of thousands of reprint comics. At the start of the 20th century, British material had dominated the Australian market. The earliest comics were modeled on British weekly newspaper-style comics, until the US format and US sources began to dominate in the 1940s.

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