Australia's Super Comics

Category: Fun with Covers
Last article published: 26 August 2019
This is the 56th post under this label

So I'm rummaging through the Grand Comics Database, and I look up K. G. Murray, a publishing empire that, under one imprint (and one owner) or another, reprinted many American comics from the 30s into the early 80s. Mostly DC Comics, but also the likes of Charlton and Warren, and of every genre. It's fun to look at different countries' repackaging of comics, which would have been predicated on both what was available, and one imagines, what the companies thought would sell. For example, KGM put out a lot of one-shots pulled from team-up books (which means Superman or Batman always co-star in, say, "Firestorm" and "Nemesis"), or collecting strips that never otherwise had their own series (the early 80s were very keen on western stars like Pow-Wow Smith, Matt Savage and Scalphunter.) They also stripped down Teen Titans Spotlight to give each hero their own one-shot.

One of the most baffling publishing moves, however, is how they published certain Superboy and Supergirl stories. Now, KGM obviously had the rights to Superman Family comics, and reprinted from Adventure, Action, World's Finest, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Superboy and Supergirl. But did they lose the rights to certain logos in the early 80s? That's when THIS came out, for example:
The Adventures of Kal-El features the Superman logo, but not Superboy's. Did they just not have The Adventures of Superboy logo and couldn't put the old one on there? From the same era, The Orphan from Krypton!
The Krypton brand seems to prove useful for Supergirl too:
Having to create a cover for an interior story in Superman Family might have been at fault... just what are the rules?! KGM has plenty of pasted up covers with the actual logos (Aquaman and Captain Comet, for example, that most natural of combos), but then they create a whole different Green Lantern logo for Hal Jordan. It's weird. But sticking to the Superboy family, if I may, here's how they sold the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Yes, simply, "Super-Heroes". How specific!

I am not Australian, but French-Canada certainly had some reprinting schemes that might look strange from the outside. I kind of wish someone would write a book about this. And if somehow already has, please let me know!


Saxon_Brenton said...

I remember these fondly. I first discovered comics from these comparatively cheap black and white reprint anthologies in the mid-1970s when I was in my late pre-teens. The earliest ones that I can remember were very eclectic in what they combined together, but by the early 1980s they were occasionally experimenting with having an entire reprint magazine containing nothing but a sequence of stories one particular title (I recall Flash, Teen Titans, and the John Byrne run of Fantastic Four as examples).

In retrospect I wonder what sort publishing/distribution agreement they had, because in the country town I grew up in, you couldn't get the original American monthly comics in the newsagencies for big name DC characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash or the Legion of Superheroes. Their stories only turned up, often in scattershot form, in these reprints. But you could get the original comics (with a 3 month delay because of surface shipping across the Pacific) for the likes of Fury of Firestorm, Weird Wars, Captain Carrot, and strangely, Green Lantern.

Siskoid said...

We also had big random collections in black and white, but because that was in French, there was no ban on American comics with the same properties. I know the UK also had different schemes likes this. It changes the game when your reprints are also in English.


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