Third Alarm for Batman
March 6, 2008
DC Comics were only officially imported into the UK from 1960 onwards. However throughout the 1950s it was possible to follow the adventures of Batman, Superman and others in the UK thanks to reprints published by K.G. Murray of Australia !!
Comics printed on the other side of the planet were officially imported into the UK. Soon variant covers were being printed in Australia specifically for the UK editions. This was perhaps because in the mid 1950s these comics cost 9d in Australia but only 6d in the UK. There may have been UK-specific advertising on the back cover. The main titles were Superman, Superboy, Batman and Superadventure which usually contained stories originally printed in World’s Finest Comics. Later K.G. Murray would produce numerous other titles such as My Greatest Adventure etc but they don’t seem to have reached the UK in any great numbers.
Here is the UK cover variant of the Australian Batman 74 from the summer of 1956. It reprints the USA Batman 96 which was cover dated December 1955 so they weren’t too far behind.
Note how the title of the main story has been moved on the reprint. I suppose it was in the way of the usual spot on the cover where they put the 6d (sixpence) price. They didn’t bother with the comic code stamp either.
My own copy of K.G. Murray’s Batman 74 is very odd. At first I thought it had been left out in the sun and faded. But the colours yellow and blue seem ok. There just doesn’t ever seem to have been any red on the cover at all! And the number six in the 6d price seems to be in a slightly different position to the first scan.
Surely they wouldn’t have sold mis-prints ?? Perhaps in the austere post-war mid 1950s they did.
One final point. The interior art of Batman 74 was black and white. Batman 75 onwards had colour interiors. However after a year or two K.G. Murray reverted to black and white interiors. These comics faded away from the UK market in the early 1960s once the US editions had established themselves. K.G. Murray continued producing reprints of DC, ACG, Charlton and others into the 1980s. It was only then that US comics officially began being imported directly into Australia and New Zealand.