Newton by James Zee

Introducing Newton Comics

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.11See for example Robert Thomas' The Rise & Fall of Newton Comics from Word Balloons 6, October 2007....   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.

The comics range started well in 1975, with a massive marketing campaign and a regular range of core Marvel titles, including Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Avengers, Incredible Hulk and an edition of Planet of the Apes, then a popular TV series. By the end of the year, Newton's poor business practices led to a chaotic schedule and its eventual demise.

The Newton range sought to reproduce the distinctive Marvel style. Teen-ager John Corneille was recruited as a comic fan to edit the line, including hosting the Marvel Mailbag letters pages.

Corneille reports that, while early issues appeared to sell well, Newton didn't realise how long it took for returns to come back and massively over-printed for months. Reports on the volume of returns range from the tens of thousands to half a million copies.22See the 35th Anniversary Issue and the 37th Melbourne Observer Anniversary Souvenir, 13 September 2006....   Corneille also states that Newton purchased its reprint licence with six months worth of material, but failed to pay for and receive further artwork.33See   By 1976, Newton was using whatever it had at hand to produce the final issues.

Newton is reported to have dealt with Marvel, but based on the indicia in most issues, the agreement was via Transworld Feature Syndicate, which lincenced work from US publishers globally.44Transworld has clearly provided material to Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Italy. See also   Transworld provided material to Frew in the 1950s55See also   and possibly other Australian publishers such as Horwitz, Yaffa/Page and Gredown.

By the end of 1976, Newton Comics was defunct and the parent company dying. The liquidators sold off the Observer masthead in 1977, with subsequent owner Peter Isaacson continued the paper until 1989. Media identity Ita Buttrose, who also served on the board of the Murray Publishing Company, produced a column in Newton's Observer.