History of Comics in Australia

Aussies love comics. Much like our fellow fans from the United States, we love it as much, if not more. Have you ever wondered why is that?
We have one of the richest comic book histories in the world. The history of comics in Australia is so deep in us that we’ve got a lot of local history to tell. Not everything is unique to us, but it shows a lot of our culture here down under.
Here’s what happened.
Early Days Of Aussie Comics
The history of comics in Australia started in 1908, with newspaper sources referring to Vumps. Vumps published with the subtitle “pure Australian fun.” The publication, however, only lasted for a single issue.
By the 1910s and 1920s, there are a few small but regular publications of newspaper comics. These include The Golden Age of Australian Comics in 1916 and You & Me by Stan Cross in 1920. At this point, Australia’s longest running comic strip, Ginger Meggs, came into fruition under the pen of Jimmy Bancks in 1921.
The Growing Local Comics Scene In Australia
The real start of Australia’s love for comic books started in 1931. The first Aussie comic book, the Kookaburra, featured full-fledged characters. After a few years, Syd Nicholls’ Fatty Finn came into publication too.
At around this decade, the Aussie market flooded with reprints of US comic strips. These include Felix The Cat, The Phantom, and Buck Rogers. There were also many Sunday pages in newspapers, including Tarzan and Dick Tracy.
As World War II came in, the Australian Government banned comic book imports from the US. This gave the local comic book industry a boom, having cornered the market. This Golden Age of Australian comics gave way to the current love for everything comic books.
During this age of Post-War Australia, Ginger Meggs became a national publication. It represented everything that Australia Comics was.
Creations like Captain Atom, Yarmak, The Lone Wolf, and The Phantom comic book by Frew Publications became staples in the market. This continued as the on to the 1950s as the import ban still held up. The comic censorship started to crop up, and American comic imports began to come back in 1969.
Australian Comics Now
By the time the 70s came, the local comic book creators in Australia coexisted with reprints of major publications from Marvel and DC. Many were unable to compete in the local market. The comic loving Aussies had to put their attention to the two comic book giants.
Gerald Carr became active in the comic book scene again. His stories like Brainmaster and Vixen became smash hits. Local companies resorted to an underground scene to publish their comics.
By the early 80s, the Aussie market is now doing direct imports of the comics we know and love. Even today, we still have a burgeoning local comics industry. We still love our Marvel and DC lines, patronizing comic books for their fantastic stories.
Looking At The History Of Comics In Australia
So, why do Aussies love comics? With our rich history of comics in Australia, it’s hard to deny that we have a special relationship with them. We Aussies loved our stories even from the early days of our formation.
Our unique connection with comic books harkens back to a time where it was all we had. Whether it was the good old days or the trying times, we had a comic book to make us happy. Even now, a comic book is a secret buddy to all of us – one that brings us to astounding worlds we’ve never seen before.

1 thought on “History of Comics in Australia”

  1. In the 1970s a lot of Australian comic creators also gained some experience and got past censorship via the Underground. Although the content could get pretty racy at times, there are some great examples of fighting for social progress and equal rights in those works.

    Reply

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