Classic Comics: The Australian Spirit


Snared this little wonder just this week. I've not seen a Spirit comic as early as this. There's three stories within, all from the original newspaper strip (indeed each story and the cover boldly sports the title, "The Spirit Section") and none of the USA original comics, from the Quality in the '40s through to Harvey in the '60s sport this particular cover, which leads me to believe that it's an Australian original, cover wise. The only information I can gather on this one is that was published by Transport Publishing and I have no idea as to the date but I am thinking it might be around 1955-1956 due to the price, size and paper stock. Someone out there, like the ever knowledgeable Kevin Patrick, would probably know more about this than I ever will, so hopefully someone will share what they do know. Either way I'm damn happy to have it and will be looking for more examples of this run.

Classic Will Eisner indeed.

As an aside, if you're near Camberwell this coming weekend then pop in and say hello - we'll be there, as usual, only this might be our only trip to Melbourne for a show for the entire year, indeed this might be our only show for the entire year due to other commitments. It's always nice to catch up with people and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love a decent chat.


Kevin Patrick said…
Danny - Ahem, did someone mention my name? (Man, I'm getting a rep as 'Mr Aussie Comics Trivia'! Wish it was a category on Sale of the Century)

Insofar as dating this beauty (which I missed getting a few months back on eBay!), the ninepence cover price suggests anywhere between 1954-56.

Transport Publishing was, at the time, publishing a lot of crime pulp novels, and would eventually be renamed as Horwitz Publications by the late 1950s/early 1960s.

The typographic treatment of the issue number & cover price ("Ninepence" as opposed to "9d") is typical of Transport/Horwitz novels of the time, as they aimed for a slicker/sophisticated look. The fact that they used a similar treatment on The Spirit comic book (and not on any other of their US reprint comics) suggests they might have been aiming for that older/adult pulp audience - not surprising, given the comparatively 'adult' tone of Eisner's work on The Spirit.

Insofar as the cover art goes, the Spirit portrait looks as if it could be Eisner's (or a copy thereof, made by an in-house artist at Transport Publishing) - but the main image could well be the work of an Australian artist. Sadly, I can't pick who that might have been! (Does the cover depict an actual scene featured in one of the interior stories?)

But that's all I got for you, for now, folks!

- Kevin

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