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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Australian comics underwent a radical transformation in the 1970s and 1980s. As the country’s remaining commercial comics publishers ceased operation, a new generation began producing idiosyncratic and sometimes controversial works that pushed the medium’s aesthetic boundaries. These artists embraced the DIY publishing ethos of the international small-press movement, largely driven by economic necessity and underscoring the tenuous commercial foundations of this second phase in Australian comics history. They experimented with graphic narratives and challenged the perception that comics was a juvenile medium. This chapter traces the evolution of Australian comics during this vibrant, tumultuous period. It will be argued that their “radical” aspect had more to do with their capacity to demonstrate the medium’s creative potential than any broadly shared commitment to radical politics or progressive social movements. With only minimal exposure, Australia’s “second-phase” comics represented a bold and exciting period and were the forerunners of contemporary Australian graphic novels.

Keywords: Australia, censorship, comics, comics fandom, comics studies, fanzines, graphic novels, small press, underground comix

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