11 July 2019

'Irreverent Comments' Revisited by James Zee

'Irreverent Comments' Revisited
In January 1941, E.J. Francis satirised Australia's ban on US publications in The Home magazine. The comments provide an interesting insight into some American comics and pulp publications that were probably available in Australian newsagents at the time. Read more

15 March 2018

Topix announced by James Zee

Topix announced

A brand-new wholesome comic book hit the stands in early 1954, according to Sydney's Catholic Weekly on 11 February 1954 and Melbourne's Catholic Advocate on 25 February 1954. This is a product of its time, battling against the threat of comic books during the moral panic and censorship of the 1950s.

Topix was, the papers insist, a decent answer to the other rubbish on the bookshelves, with artwork of the highest quality and absorbing interest. "It's purpose is fivefold":

Read more

1 October 2017

Who is Terry Powis? by James Zee

Who is Terry Powis?

Terry Powis is credited with nearly half of the comics published by the NSW Bookstall Company when it established its ground-breaking line of Australian comics. Yet there is virtually no information about him.

John Ryan in Panel by Panel acknowledges Powis and Will Donald as 'real pioneers of Australian comic books', before largely dismissing Powis' work:

Read more

16 September 2017

NSW Bookstall by James Zee

NSW Bookstall

For a few years from 1940, the long-running NSW Bookstall Company engaged local artists to establish the first distinctive line of Australian comics, including some creators who would continue to produce comics and cartoons for many decades—especially Noel Cook and Brodie Mack.

It was probably in 1879 that Henry Lloyd (1847-1897) gained the rights to run bookstalls at train and ferry stations in NSW, established the N.S.W. Railway Bookstall Company, and modernised an operation previously focused on ticket sales.

Read more

3 September 2017

1949 political propaganda by James Zee

1949 political propaganda

Thanks to a generous contributor, AusReprints has a full scan of The Road Back—political propaganda in comic form. The comic is undated, but released ahead of the 10 December 1949 Australian federal election when Labor lost power to a new Liberal Menzies government. It's clearly original work, but it isn't in the common lists of Australian comics and there are no credits in the issue.

John Ryan in Panel by Panel (p. 141) provides some information, but the way he describes the comics' origins is probably misleading. He reports:

Read more

17 June 2017

Listing NSW publishers by James Zee

Listing NSW publishers

Censorship laws created a list of comic publishers in NSW between 1955 (when the Government substantially amended the Obscene and Indecent Publications Act) and the start of the 1970s (when the law was again reshaped).

The early 1950s saw restrictions on popular literature, driven by a mix of moral panic, international trends, cultural protectionism and vested corporate interests. At the opening of NSW Parliament in August 1954, the Governor told the legislators that “present legislation relating to the control of obscene and indecent publications is considered…inadequate and a measure to enable publications of this nature to be dealt with more effectively will be submitted to you.”

Read more

7 May 2016

Thorpe & Porter by James Zee

Thorpe & Porter

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 editions 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.

Read more

20 August 2015

Nothing New by James Zee

Nothing New

While there are many local creations on the front of US reprints in Australia, the cover design of Magazine Management’s Triple Western and Triple Adventure stood out to me as unique.

As the name suggests, Triple Western (The Red Circle Press, 1955-1957, 21 issues) and Triple Adventure (Approved Publications, 1957-1958, 5 issues) included (most of the time) three stories.

Read more

16 August 2015

Does it exist? Pt 2 by James Zee

Does it exist? Pt 2

Some Australian publishers started series at random numbers, but the first issue of a Magazine Management title was typically #1. Despite that, a few of its series mysteriously lack low numbered issues and probably don’t start at #1.

Two titles stand out: Angel and Daffy.

Read more

13 December 2014

Aus via Italy by James Zee

Aus via Italy

In August I purchased , mainly because I can't resist a mystery. I hadn't come across the series and didn't recognise the featured characters.

It turns out the comic has one Diet Slurp story, with the rest composed of reprints from US Quality's >Feature Comics (Perky) and Modern Comics (Will Bragg) that were a decade old even when this issue was published. But the source of the lead feature remained unidentified.

Read more