An Australian comic?

November 1, 2015

Superman 58 UK cover

Superman 58 UK

 

Well, I always called these thin sixpenny black-and white comics “Australian comics”. To be more accurate Superman number 58 was a British reprint issued around 1955/1956 of the Australian Superman number 85 which contained reprints from the original American Action Comics 176 and Superman 84 both published in 1953.

 

Superman 85 Australian

 

The Australian K.G. Murray comics cost 8d, and would continue to rise in price to 9d and eventually 1/- by 1959 whilst ours remained at 6d.

Action 176

 

It’s interesting to see how K.G. Murray juggled with the text on the covers and always made sure that any $$$$$$s were converted to ££££££s. And here’s the small print from the inside back cover of Superman 58 showing that the comic was printed by Gale and Polden of Aldershot England.

 

indicia

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Hank Garvin, Man of Steel

October 13, 2011

The “Golden Age” UK/Australian Atlas/K.G.Murray Superman No 29 published in August 1952 reprinted the cover story from Superman 73 dated Nov/Dec 1951. No sideways comics this time.

I like this exchange between Lois and Superman from the backup story “The Anti-Superman Club” (originally found in Superman 71).

 

Sideways comics

September 29, 2011

The “Golden Age” UK/Australian Atlas/K.G.Murray Superman No 24 published in March 1952 reprinted the cover story from Action Comics 155 from a year earlier. The rest of the comic was made up of DC material from other places such as the Johnny Quick story that was originally found in Adventure 150.

Apart from the missing gun on the cover the oddest thing about this comic, (and presumably other comics issued by Kenneth G.Murray at the time) was that half of the comic consisted of two DC pages reduced and printed sideways. Not something you see every day.

Superman 24

Who is this strange man and what has he done with the real Superman ?

I mention UK Annuals more often than the comics they are based on for the simple reason that the durable books have survived in greater numbers than the weeklies …at least in this household. Atlas UK Superman Annuals are often advertised for sale (although at increasingly silly prices). Atlas UK Batman Annuals from the early 1960s seem to be the rarest as he then had yet to become a household name. The flimsy sixpenny Superman/Superboy/Batman/SuperAdventure Australian weekly black and white reprint comics are getting quite rare in the UK now. I’ve saved perhaps two dozen for the simple fact that when I was a teenaged comic trader I never sold them because I couldn’t find anyone who collected them. Although I have 30 or 40 Dandy Annuals, some going back to the early 1950s when it was called The Dandy Monster Comic, I know for a fact that I only own precisely 6 Dandy Comics as I’ve just kept one representitive issue from each of the last six decades !!

Magic Powers ??

February 28, 2010

The following nonsense appeared in The Times newspaper’s page 2  Leading Articles/Editorial on Saturday 27th February 2010. I quote:-

MAGIC POWERS

There is a market failure in superheroes

“If all the superheroes had a fight, who would win? In the market place the answer is Batman. An edition of a comic in which Superman made his debut in 1938 sold last week for $1 million. That was then trumped by Batman’s debut comic from 1939 that raised $1.07 million, the highest price ever for a comic book.
     But, really, can we just accept the verdict of the market like this? Batman is an interesting character with a tragic back story. The death of his parents gives him the motivation to spend his life righting wrongs in Gotham City.
     But there is a problem. Batman is no more a bat than you are. He can’t fly. He doesn’t navigate by echo location. He can’t hang upside down. He just puts a bat costume on. He’s not even really a superhero at all because he has no magic powers. he’s a sort of cross between a CID officer and a Swiss Army penknife.
     Superman does have the powers. He can fly, he has X-ray, heat-emitting, telescopic, infra-red and microscopic vision and he can blow out air at freezing temperatures and cause high-speed winds. He also has a cause. Superman is a social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing rundown tenements. But it’s hard to know why he bothers. He has the Y-fronts but not the why.
     Spider-Man is the only one with both magic powers and a story to tell. He can shoot adhesive spider web, has toxic stingers and can stick people to his back. His enemies, Electro, Mysterio and the Sandman, all have magic powers themselves. And he’s doing it all in memory of his beloved Uncle Ben whose murder he witnessed and might have prevented. Now that is a superhero.”

Super Adventure Comics

April 13, 2009

Throughout the 1950s these comics (along with Superman, Batman and Superboy comics) were printed in Australia and imported into the UK. The covers, though printed in Australia, were unique to the UK solely by virtue of a different price. In 1950 these comics cost 6d in both the UK and Australia. By 1957 the Australian price had increased to One Shilling (via 8d and 9d) whilst the UK issues continued at 6d, hence the requirement of different covers. The back cover also carried local adverts too.

super-adventure-comic-82

For much of the ten year run these DC reprints had black and white interiors. For 1956 and 1957 colour interiors were tried. The colouring was evidently carried out in Australia, often with hilarious results. I haven’t checked but I can’t ever recall Clark Kent wearing a bright yellow suit. Surely it was always blue !!
These comics often had covers uniquely drawn by Australian artists which adds some interest to them.

sa82

Incidentally, for many years after the monthly comic had disappeared from the UK’s newsagents an annual hardback Xmas Annual entitled “Super Adventure” was still published annually. Did I mention that there was only one each year ??

Action 303 was one of the first DC comics I ever owned. It was cover dated August 1963 but due to its slow boat trip across the Atlantic ocean I wouldn’t have seen it until perhaps 1964. Along with a fun Red Kryptonite story it contained this advert for the 80 page giant celebrating Superman’s first 25 years. I spent months visiting all the shops within cycling distance until I had tracked down a copy. Now Superman is celebrating his 70th birthday (along with The Beano). Little did I realise I’d still be buying Action Comics today. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun !!