Skip to content


… Transformed by Nolan’s genius, equipped by filmmakers and novelists with one girlfriend or another, and reconfigured as a republican visionary, Kelly still rides both menacingly and enchantingly in the mists of the Australian imagination… The Kelly story has developed elements of mythic grandeur. His missing head resonates across time from the story of Brân the Blessed onwards, and though Ned’s execution appears to block a return fable, there have been recurrent stories that Dan and Steve escaped from Glenrowan and long survived, in one version even fighting in the Boer War… Whatever he may become in time, perhaps an environmental hero or an Asia-integrationist, he will remain powerfully affiliated with family and friends, and, surely the key connection back to Ireland and forward to Australia, always insisting on having his say and on making his case in the face of what his experience, and that of his many admirers, defines as the antagonistic nature of social authority.

Steven Knight The Politics of Myth

Listed below are the particular references relating to the research component of the Folk2Super web site and the PhD exegesis From Folk to Super Hero: Ned Kelly’s Remarkable Mythology. While the lack of acknowledgement of Australian pop culture in traditional and online publishing should come as no surprise – considering the over abundance of American pop culture references – I have managed to cite a number of primary sources relevant to the field of study.

Above Top Secret, 2005, Are there any Aussie superheroes?, viewed 14 May 2015.

Adcock, J 2010, James Skipp Borlase (1839-1902), viewed 27 March 2018.

Adcock, J 2016, Romancing the Bushrangers, viewed 8 May 2017.

Allen, N 2012, Ellen: a woman of spirit, Network Creative Services, Montmorency.

Aussie Ninja, 2020, Pixel Art Tutorial – Ned Kelly, viewed 2 June 2020.

Ayaka, C and Hague, I [ed.] 2014, Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, Taylor & Francis Ltd, Abington, United Kingdom.

Multiculturalism, and its representation, has long presented challenges for the medium of comics. This book presents a wide ranging survey of the ways in which comics have dealt with the diversity of creators and characters and the (lack of) visibility for characters who don’t conform to particular cultural stereotypes. Contributors engage with ethnicity and other cultural forms from Israel, Romania, North America, South Africa, Germany, Spain, U.S. Latino and Canada and consider the ways in which comics are able to represent multiculturalism through a focus on the formal elements of the medium. Discussion themes include education, countercultures, monstrosity, the quotidian, the notion of the ‘other,” anthropomorphism, and colonialism. Taking a truly international perspective, the book brings into dialogue a broad range of comics traditions.

Baron, A.N. 2004, Blood In The Dust: inside the minds of Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne, Network Creative Services, Greensborough.

Basu, L 2012, Ned Kelly as Memory Dispositif : Media, Time, Power, and the Development of Australian Identities, De Gruyter, Berlin, Germany.

Nineteenth-century outlaw Ned Kelly is perhaps Australia’s most famous historical figure. Ever since he went on the run in 1878 his story has been repeated time and again, in every conceivable medium. Although the value of his memory has been hotly contested – and arguably because of this – he remains perhaps the main national icon of Australia. Kelly’s flamboyant crimes turned him into a popular hero for many Australians during his lifetime and far beyond: a symbol of freedom, anti authoritarianism, anti imperialism; a Robin Hood, a Jesse James, a Che Guevara. Others have portrayed him as a villain, a gangster, a terrorist. His latest incarnation has been as WikiLeaks founder and fellow Australian “cyber outlaw” Julian Assange. Despite the huge number of representations of Kelly – from rampant newspaper reporting of the events, to the iconic Sidney Nolan paintings, to a movie starring Mick Jagger, to contemporary urban street art – this is the first work to take this corpus of material itself as a subject of analysis. The fascinating case of this young outlaw provides an important opportunity to further our understanding of the dynamics of cultural memory. The book explains the processes by which the cultural memory of Ned Kelly was made and has developed over time, and how it has related to formations and negotiations of national identity. It breaks new ground in memory studies in the first place by showing that cultural memories are formed and develop through tangles of relations, what Basu terms memory dispositifs. In introducing the concept of the memory dispositif, this volume brings together and develops the work of Foucault, Deleuze, and Agamben on the dispositif, along with relevant concepts from the field of memory studies such as allochronism, colonial aphasia, and multidirectionality, the memory site – especially as developed by Ann Rigney – and Jan Assmann’s figure of memory. Secondly, this work makes important headway in our understanding of the relationships between cultural memory and national identity, at a time when matters of identity appear to be more urgent and fraught than ever. In doing so, it shows that national identities are never purely national but are always sub- and transnational. The Ned Kelly memory dispositif has made complex and conflicting contributions to constructions of national identity. Ever since his outlawry, the identities invested in Kelly and those invested in the Australian nation have, in a two-way dynamic, fused into and strengthened each other, so that Kelly is in many ways a symbol for the national identity. Kelly has come to stand for an anti-establishment, working class, subaltern, Irish-inflected national identity. At the same time he has come to represent and enforce the whiteness, hyper-heterosexual masculinity and violence of “Australianness”. Basu shows that Kelly has therefore always functioned in both radical and conservative ways, often both at once: a turbulent, Janus-faced figure.

Bendigo Art Gallery, Imagining Ned, viewed 6 April 2017.

Bird, D 1992, Dingo makes us human. Life and land in an Aboriginal Australian culture, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne. 

Bocetta, S 2018, The History of Body Armor, from the Medieval World to Today, viewed 11 January 2019.

Borlase, J 1881, Ned Kelly the Ironclad Australian Bushranger, Isaacs and Sons, London. 

Boucher, L and Pinto, S.W. 2006, ‘Fighting for Legitimacy: Masculinity, Political Voice and Ned Kelly’ in Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies [Volume 10, Number 1], viewed 14 August 2022.

Buckmaster, L 2021, From Captain Invincible to Cleverman: the weird and wild history of Australian superheroes, viewed 30 August 2021

They’re big business … in Hollywood. But did you know Australia also has a small but rich seam of compelling and bizarre superhero movies?

Burke, L 2016, Why the world needs superheroes, viewed 17 January 2017.

Burke, L 2018, Aussies holding out for a hero on page, stage and screen, viewed 5 December 2018.

Burke, L and, Gordon, I and, Ndalianis, A (ed.) 2019, The Superhero Symbol, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick.

Bradford, C 2012, ‘Instilling postcolonial nostalgias: Ned Kelly narratives for children’ in Journal of Australian Studies #2 [Volume 36], pp. 191-206.

This essay examines books for children focusing on Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang, published from 2000 to 2011. Drawing upon theories of narrative, memory and nostalgia it analyses the narrative strategies and visual images through which these texts position readers, and their investment in formulations of the Australian nation. The essay argues that these books function as exercises in restorative nostalgia, producing palatable versions of Kelly as an Australian hero, and articulating connections between the Kelly legend and Australian national identity. By foregrounding Kelly’s Irishness and by representing him as a ‘good badman’, these Ned Kelly narratives for children, which range across fiction, non-fiction, picture book and play script, reinscribe versions of national identity which occlude more complicated narratives. In particular, their emphasis on struggles between Irish and English settlers, and between selectors and squatters, displaces Indigenous histories, colonial violence, and systemic discrimination against those deemed outsiders to the nation.

British Comics, 2015, Action, viewed 30 July 2018.

Brown, M 2005, Australian Son: the story of Ned Kelly, Network Creative Services, Greensborough.

Burrows, Y and Stone, G 1994, Comics in Australia and New Zealand: The Collections, the Collectors, the Creators, Psychology Press, Sydney.

The only book of its kind in print, Comics in Australia and New Zealand covers the major aspects of the comics industry. Contributors discuss the history of Australian comics, the work of private collectors and major public collections, sales and marketing, publishers and artists, and comics in New Zealand. The book also examines comic book themes, such as heroes v villains or the Australian outback, and how comic books and strips provide interesting evidence of changing social attitudes and of Australian efforts to discover a national identity. Comics in Australia and New Zealand is a lively and readable educational guide for both the casual comic reader and the professional collector.

Byrnes, P 2020, A cross-dressing Ned Kelly? What does it mean? Search me, viewed 29 December 2021.

Cabero, E and Morlesín, J 2021, How to Study Comics & Graphic Novels. A Graphic Introduction to Comics Studies, viewed 17 January 2023.

Carrington, T 2003, Ned Kelly. The Last Stand. Written and illustrated by an eye witness, Lothian Books, South Melbourne.

Carroll, D 1996, Australian Comics: A History, viewed 14 June 2016.

Castles, S 2007, The panel beaters, viewed 17 June 2017.

Chiat, K 2021, Being a superhero is amazing, everyone should try it: Relationality and masculinity in superhero narratives, Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia.

Chiat, K 2014, ‘The Secret Identity of the Graphic Novel’ in The Art Of The Graphic Novel, The University of Western Australia, Perth, pp.8-9.

Chuzz, M and Macari, N and Batista, C and Rauch, J 2017, Ned Kelly. Ironclad Alien Killer #1, Convict Comics, Melbourne.

Cliffe, G 2019, From ‘Sunbeams’ to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Australian Comic Book [1924 to 1965], Comicoz, Margate.

In 1954, Australia’s population stood at less than nine million. In the same year, Australian entrepreneurs published more than seventy million comic books; equating to more than seven comics for every man, woman and child in the country. Not only had Australia built up and established a thriving comic book industry, Australians read and loved their comic books. While comic strips were mainly being read for entertainment, they had also been used to promote commercial products, to sway a Federal election campaign, to influence voters on a referendum, and as regular inclusions in many of the country’s magazines and newspapers. In 1954, the comics reached a pinnacle of success in Australia that has never been exceeded.Although the comics were extraordinarily popular, most of the comic books published in Australia in 1954 were devoted to reprinting comic strips which had previously been published in the United States of America. Licensing arrangements which had been made with the comics’ U.S. copyright owners allowed locally produced reprints to be sourced at a fraction of the cost of generating a similar product in Australia. Accordingly, a holistic approach to the era’s local comic books would result in a history firmly grounded on American comic books and American syndicated newspaper strips. Such is not the intent of From “Sunbeams” to Sunset. The intent of this history is to chronicle the locally created elements in Australia’s first comic book industry. The first such comic book was published in 1924 as The “Sunbeams” Book. The Book was subtitled “Adventures of Ginger Meggs”, and it reprinted humorous comic strips which had previously appeared in a Sydney newspaper. Sunbeams went on to be an enduring success, and it was followed by further book compilations sourced from local newspapers. World War II saw a fledgling industry flowering, taking advantage of the lack of overseas competition. The arrival of television in Australia created a serious dent in comic book sales. By 1965 locally created comic books were practically non-existent, with the few surviving titles often reduced to reprinting previously published work. Australia’s comic book publishers created a viable industry over a span of more than forty years. Ultimately, the locally created product faded and died in the face of a range of other entertainment alternatives. Although the era has long passed, the flowering of the locally created comic industry and its subsequent withering does not deserve to be forgotten.

Cohn, N 2021, Who Understands Comics? Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension, Bloomsbury, London.

Comic Book Plus, 2006, Australian and New Zealand Comics, viewed 24 February 2019.

Comic Book Religion, 2017, Australian Aboriginal religion super-heroes, villains, and other characters, viewed 20 September 2017.

Convict Comics, 2016, Ned Kelly like you’ve never seen him before, viewed 14 October 2016.

Couzens, A 2019, A Cultural History of The Bushranger Legend in Theatres and Cinemas 1828-2017, Anthem Press, London.

The bushranger legend is an important component of Australia’s cultural history, with names like Ned Kelly and Ben Hall still provoking strong, if ambivalent, responses. Storytellers mobilize this legend in unique and exciting ways that reflect upon both the cultural and actual history of bushrangers, as well as speaking to contemporary concerns and driving debate on the national character. This is a multidisciplinary investigation into the history of cultural representations of the bushranger legend on the stage and screen, charting that history from its origins in colonial theatre works performed while bushrangers still roamed Australia’s bush to contemporary Australian cinema. It considers the influences of industrial, political and social disruptions on these representations as well as their contributions to those disruptions.The cultural history recounted provides not only an into the role of popular narrative representations of bushrangers in the development and reflection of Australian character, but also a detailed case study of the specific mechanisms at work in the symbiosis between a nation’s values and its creative production. Bushrangers have had a heightened though unstable significance in Australia due to the nation’s diverse population and historical insecurities and conflicts over colonial identity, land rights and settlement. Community often defined the bushrangers in their stage and screen appearances, and the challenges that these marginalized communities faced were absorbed into the political and social mainstream.

Crichton, A.D. 2008, Far Beyond the Falls, Network Creative Services, Greensborough.

Crozier-De Rosa, S 2011, ‘Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia’. Safeguarding against ‘a shallower and a poorer play’ in the Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society (23 January 2011), viewed 7 June, 2022.

DC Database, 2008, Swagman [New Earth], viewed 12 February 2017.

Delahaye, M 2012, Irish or Australian, hero or villain, the Ned Kelly legend lives on, viewed 3 November 2021.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin is hosting an exhibition of paintings by the celebrated Australian artist Sidney Nolan. It opened yesterday and runs for three months. It will feature Nolan’s Ned Kelly series painted in 1946/47.

Douthie, J 2007, I Was At The Kelly Gang Round-Up, Network Creative Services, Greensborough.

Dunstan, K 1980, Saint Ned: The Story of the Near Sanctification of an Australian Outlaw, Methuen, Sydney.

Eisenberg, D 2011, ‘Shooting cinematic outlaws: Ned Kelly and Jesse James as viewed through film’ in Studies in Australasian Cinema #2 [Volume 5], Taylor and Francis Ltd., United Kingdom.

The frontier outlaws of Australia and America have a long and storied relationship with cinema. Two of the most recent cinematic adaptations of these legends, Ned Kelly and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, act as excellent entry points into an exploration of this subject. By comparing the narrative structures of the two films in relation to the concept of ‘the Outlaw Legend’ and by highlighting the two films’ respective positionings of the spectator — as filtered by concepts of national identity — an insight into the interwoven elements of man, myth and movie becomes apparent.

Ellis, S 2020, Ned Kelly immortalised on Australian screens, viewed 29 January 2020.

Fitzgerald, L 2012, Super hero or super villain?, viewed 4 September 2023.

To Slim Dusty, he was a gentleman, Johnny Cash painted him as a victim who took the blame, but Johnny Romeo wants you to think about Ned Kelly as a supervillain. Australia’s most infamous bushranger is the subject of the latest exhibition by Sydney-based pop artist Johnny Romeo.

FitzSimons, P 2013, Iron man: the story of Ned Kelly’s last stand, viewed 30 October 2023.

Foster, J 1999, ‘The Slow Death of a Monochromatic World: The Social History of Australia as Seen through Its Children’s Comic Books’ in Journal of Popular Culture #1 [Volume 33], Wiley-Blackwell, Milton, pp. 139-152.

Franks, R 2017, ‘Ned Kelly: the multiple truths of Australia’s most famous bushranger’ in The Asian Conference on Literature 2017, The International Academic Forum, Aichi, pp. 93-109, viewed 7 January 2023.

In a line-up of all the Australian criminals, who sparked fear in the community and generated business for the law and justice systems in the colonial era, no individual stands taller than Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly of Victoria. Of all the bushrangers, it is Kelly who maintains a prominent place within Australian history as a cultural and popular icon. This situates Kelly, and his Gang, alongside many other bushrangers – men who robbed, raped and murdered their way across the Australian outback in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – men who are now often seen as heroes of folklore. Men who have been celebrated in a wide variety of histories: in illustrations and paintings, in articles and books, in newspaper reportage as well as in traditional songs. The practice of celebrating Kelly across a range of creative outputs including art, crime fiction, true crime, film and song is not, however, undertaken without some criticism. There are certainly some who consider Kelly to be a hero, a young man rebelling against unwarranted police persecution and profiling. Yet many others, position Kelly as a villain, one who did not hesitate to engage in, and to lead others in, a diverse range of criminal activities from the stealing of livestock to the murdering of policemen. This research looks briefly at Edward Kelly’s story, not as a neat narrative but as a colloquium of voices, a suite of multiple truths that now surround Australia’s most famous bushranger.

Gaunson, S 2009, ‘B for Bad, B for Bogus and B for Bold: Rupert Kathner, The Glenrowan Affair and Ned Kelly’ in Colloquy #18, Monash University, Clayton.

Gaunson, S 2009, ‘The Mere Fancy Sketches of Ned Kelly‘ in The La Trobe Journal #84, State Library of Victoria Foundation, Melbourne.

Gaunson, S 2013, The Ned Kelly Films: A Cultural History of Kelly History, Intellect Books, Great Britain.

Irish Australian outlaw Ned Kelly led one of the most spectacular outbreaks the tradition has ever experienced, culminating in a siege at Glenrowan on June 28, 1880. Donned in homemade metal armour and a helmet, he was captured and sentenced to hang at the Melbourne Gaol in November. Immortalized in a series of onscreen productions, he has since become one of the most resilient screen presences in the history of Australian cinema. The Ned Kelly Films recounts the history of this presence, covering the nine feature films, three miniseries, and two TV movies that have been made about this controversial character. Providing a comprehensive overview of these productions and their reception, Stephen Gaunson illuminates a central irony: From dime novels to comics to the branding of the site where he was captured, most cultural representations of Kelly are decidedly lowbrow. But only the films have been condemned for not offering a more serious interpretation of this figure and his historical context. Parsing the assumption that films about Kelly should do more than broadcast the sentiments of his fans, Gaunson explores why historical films have a reputation as a form of culture. Asking what value we can place on such historical cinema, he offers new insights about the textual characteristics of cinematic material and the conditions of film distribution, circulation, and reception.

Geczy, A and, Karaminas, V 2018, Fashion and Masculinities in Popular Culture, Routledge, Abingdon.

Geek Society, 2018, Creator Spotlight: 5 Questions with I Am Ned’s Max Myint, viewed 30 April 2018.

Gelder, K 2014, The case for Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter, viewed 29 October 2023.

Gelder, K and, Weaver, R 2017, Colonial Australian Fiction: Character Types, Social Formations and the Colonial Economy, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 58-60.

Grant, B and, Henderson S [ed.] 2019, Comics and Pop Culture: Adaptation from Panel to Frame, University of Texas Press, Texas.

It is hard to discuss the current film industry without acknowledging the impact of comic book adaptations, especially considering the blockbuster success of recent superhero movies. Yet transmedial adaptations are part of an evolution that can be traced to the turn of the last century, when comic strips such as “Little Nemo in Slumberland” and “Felix the Cat” were animated for the silver screen. Representing diverse academic fields, including technoculture, film studies, theatre, feminist studies, popular culture, and queer studies, Comics and Pop Culture presents more than a dozen perspectives on this rich history and the effects of such adaptations. Examining current debates and the questions raised by comics adaptations, including those around authorship, style, and textual fidelity, the contributors consider the topic from an array of approaches that take into account representations of sexuality, gender, and race as well as concepts of world-building and cultural appropriation in comics from Modesty Blaise to Black Panther. The result is a fascinating re-imagination of the texts that continue to push the boundaries of panel, frame, and popular culture.

Groth, G 2011, Jack Kirby Interview, viewed 7 June 2018.

It’s accurate enough to refer to Jack Kirby as an American original, but it’s hard to know where to place the emphasis — on American or original. He’s certainly both, in spades. Renowned as one of the handful of true artistic giants in the history of comic books, it’s difficult to come up with encomiums that have not become commonplace. Although I had known Jack for some time and spoken to him not infrequently prior to conducting this “formal” interview, it was not until I read over the transcript that I understood just how thoroughly Jack is a child of his time and place. Growing up on the Lower East Side shaped his life and his work which, combined with a robust imagination and seemingly inexhaustible energy, substantially shaped the trajectory of the American commercial comic book. A dubious contribution to the American comic book, you may think, until you realized that it wasn’t Kirby’s fault that hacks and no talents, aided and abetted by opportunistic publishers, have been ripping off his work and plagiarizing him wholesale for decades. Though the refined eyes of the aesthete may consider Kirby’s work crude, ornery, and anti-intellectual, the fact remains that he combined the virtues and limitations of his class with a stubborn genius to produce a body of comics work that has remained consistently true to its source and is unparalleled both in quantity and quality. This interview was conducted in three different sessions over the summer of 1989 at the Kirby’s comfortable home in Thousand Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles. Jack’s wife, Roz, sat in on the interviews and helped recall with precision key points in Jack’s career. My thanks to them both, specifically for helping assemble artwork illustrating this interview, and more generally for their friendship over the last half dozen years.

Groves, D 2017, How many Ned Kelly movies are too many?, viewed 17 December 2017.

Gruber, F 2015, Imagining Ned: exploring the truth and myth behind Australia’s Che Guevara, viewed 29 October 2018.

The image of the steel-helmeted bushranger revolutionary has inspired generations of artists and film-makers. Now, a major new exhibition brings some of the most important works together to ask why Ned Kelly’s story still endures.

Hall, G.W [ed.] 1879, The Book of Keli, Mansfield Guardian, Mansfield.

Hanson, G 2019, Inked: Australian Cartoons, National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Cartoons can give us a pictorial history of Australia in a series of cartoon ‘time capsules’; they often hold a mirror up to Australian society.  ‘Inked: Australian Cartoons’ presents a selection of thought-provoking cartoons from the National Library of Australia’s extensive archive, covering topics from the First Fleet to the present day. The book shows readers the breadth of Australia’s cartooning history, from historic subjects such as convict life, the goldfields, early royal visits and Ashes crickets tests, through the cartoon greats such as Will Dyson, Bruce Petty, Michael Leunig, to contemporary cartoons by significant artists such as David Pope, Jon Kudelka, Judy Horacek, Cathy Wilcox and David Rowe. ‘Inked’ shows how the role of cartoonists has shifted from illustrator to commentator. Whether it be post-war politics and the demise of the Labor government, capital punishment, the Vietnam War, Indigenous affairs or changing relationships with Britain and Asia, nothing has escaped our skilled cartoonists’ satirical pens.

Hartadi, Y 2009, ‘Reading the historical phenomenon of Australian bushrangers’ in Jurnal Lingua Cultura #1 [Volume 3], Universitas Bina Nusantara, Jakarta, pp. 20-33.

Outlaws in their various images have been important parts of history. In Australia, the longest lasting image of outlaws is the bushranger. Despite its popularity, there is a range of depictions of bushrangers and these are not necessarily similar. Interpretation of the bushrangers in colonial time differs from contemporary imagining. This papers aims at unfolding the various interpretations of the bushrangers in different periods in many types of artifact. Information was collected and interpreted by library research. The artifact analysis will be seen through a postmodernism theory by Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. Since the phenomenon of bushranger stemmed from the colonial period, this study will commence from the period up to contemporary period. It can be concluded that a study of the different periods finds out that knowledge of the bushrangers does not make up a linear history, but rather a discontinuity in the historical narratives.

Heinz, S 2020, ‘Unsettling Australia: Disturbing White Settler Homemaking in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang’ in Humanities [9, 115], viewed 13 May 2023.

Proceeding from Australia’s specific situation as a settler colony, this article discusses how the ambivalences and fissures of settler subjectivity shape processes of homemaking. Settler homemaking depends on the disturbance of Indigenous Australians’ homelands via dispossession, exclusion, and genocide, but it equally depends upon the creation of a white settler subject as innocent, entitled, and belonging to what has been called ‘white indigeneity’. The article traces this double disturbance in Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang (2000). Carey’s rewriting of the iconic Kelly legend uncovers the dangers of a possessive, male, white indigeneity based on effacement and exclusion. The novel’s critical staging of Ned Kelly’s construction of Australia as a home for a new class of ‘natives’ challenges an essentialist white Australianness and its narratives of embattled settlement, independence, mateship, and the Bush. The novel shows that the creation of this national character is based on the denial of Aboriginal ownership and agency. Ned’s narrative of Irish victimhood and his formation of a new sense of Australianness is therefore doomed to repeat the violence, discrimination, and exclusion of colonialism that he seems to decry.

Höppner, S 2023, A Short History of Western Comics (parts 1 to 7), Lecture Series, Sophia University, Tokyo.

Part 1 of a 7-lecture series on the history of Western Comics presented at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan from 11 April, 2023. In this first lecture, Hoppner talks about the general nature of Comics and tries to define the medium and its basic elements, such as panels, speech balloons, and movement lines. He also discusses the special relationship between words and images and what comics have in common with other pictorial media. Note: For copyright reasons, images are not embedded in the text. Instead, links to external sources are provided.

Horn, M (ed.) 1976, The World Encyclopedia of Comics, New English Library, London.

Hudson, A 2016, The (Real) History Behind Battlefield 1, viewed 2 December 2016.

Huggan, G 2002, ‘Cultural memory in postcolonial fiction: the uses and abuses of Ned Kelly’ in Australian Literary Studies #3 [Volume 20], University of Queensland Press, pp. 132-141.

The story of the Irish Australian bushranger Ned Kelly has become paradigmatic for the selective retelling of history as folk legend, and for the ideological processes by which social memory may be reworked into the fabric of a nation’s founding cultural myths. As John Ryan – among others – has pointed out, the 1880s, a period of radical nationalism in Australia, allowed Ned Kelly to be brought into conjunction with a number of more or less compatible legends. Among these were the twin legends of the `noble bushranger’ and the `noble convict’: victims both of a palpably unjust penal code, these figures could be grafted – with the help of a little historical sleight of hand – onto a long line of morally ambivalent `good badmen’ whose romanticised outlawry embodied libertarian ideals within an oppressive colonial system. To these might be added a number of legends surrounding Irish nationalist insurgency, not forgetting the now-stereotypical `bush legend’ itself with its virtues of endurance and self-reliance, and its celebration of mateship as a marker of loyal adherence to the bushman’s code. These legends, needless to say, have been endlessly reinterpreted and challenged, with revisionist accounts variously puncturing the Kelly myth by stressing the vicious criminality of the gang, stripping them of their (self-) glorified guise as frontier-society `Robin Hoodlums’ (Greenway); by using the camp theatrics of some gang members to upset the standard narrative of ragged male adventure-heroism; and by emphasising the racism underlying Kelly’s mythicised status as a `moral European’ (Rose), a racism now generally acknowledged as being built into the structure of the so-called `Australian legend’ itself. As with other mythic narratives surrounding oppositional figures like the outlaw, the Kelly legend continues to depend on a manipulation of collective memory more notable for its strategic omissions than for its `keeping alive [of] pasts that history [has] obliterated’, and for its highly selective reading of a number of often far from reliable historical sources. At the same time, the sheer quantity of Kelly material currently available on the market testifies not just to the durability of the legend, but also to its continuing profitability as a commodity circulating within an increasingly globalised memory industry. These products indicate the powerful role played by popular culture and its representations in shaping social memory. Among them we might include several Kelly films and television programs, ranging in quality from the abysmal ‘Ned Kelly’ (starring Mick Jagger as Ned), to the widely acclaimed 1980 TV mini-series ‘The Last Outlaw’; a wide array of popular songs, from contemporary ballads such as Midnight Oil’s `If Ned Kelly Were King’ and Redgum’s `Poor Ned’, to the recently revived ‘Ned Kelly, the Musical’; and an even larger number of books and other printed works, many of them designed for mass-market distribution, including Thomas Keneally’s children’s tale ‘Ned Kelly and the City of Bees’ (1995), and Monty Wedd’s hugely successful comic-strip ‘Ned Kelly’, which ran uninterrupted for over two years in the mid 70s. Meanwhile, as one might expect, the Internet has become a fertile source for Kelly memorabilia, spawning a variety of electronically connected Kelly fan clubs and helping to produce that latter-day variant on the figure of the Victorian collectomane, the starstruck nerd. A feature of the Kelly industry has been its ability to mobilise popular sentiment for ostensibly high-brow representations, such as – probably most notably – Sidney Nolan’s vivid paintings or, more recently, the New York-based novelist Peter Carey’s fictionalised account ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ (2000), winner of many literary awards, among them the 2000 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the 2001 Booker Prize, and his most commercially successful work to date.

Humphrey, A 2014, ‘Beyond Graphic Novels: Illustrated Scholarly Discourse and the History of Educational Comics’ in Media International Australia #151, Australian & New Zealand Communication Association, Thirroul, pp. 73-80.

Jones, I 2002, NED: the exhibition, Network Creative Services, Pimlico.

Juddery, M 2012, Artist blended love of history with comics, viewed 14 December 2016.

Juddery, M 2014, Aussie superheros, viewed 27 July 2018.

Comics seem like an ideal medium for the story of Ned Kelly. Then again, so does everything else. Kelly is such a folk legend, it’s a bonus that he actually existed. His story inspired the world’s first feature film in 1906 (a mere 26 years after his death), kickstarting the Australian film industry, in which bushrangers were as cool as the gunslingers of Hollywood westerns. He has also been the star of folk songs, television, musical comedy and, my personal favourite, an alternate-world novel (by a Sydney-based science fiction master, the late A. Bertram Chandler) in which Ned survives, starts a revolution against his British rulers, and becomes the first President of Australia.

Karmichael, N [ed.] 2017, AUSTRALIA! An Australian comic anthology, ComicOZ, Margate.

Kelly, J 2013, Such is life: Ned Kelly and Sidney Nolan in Dublin, viewed 21 August 2017.

Kenneally, J.J 1929, The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang and Their Pursuers, J. Roy Stevens Printer, Melbourne.

King, J 1976, The Other Side of the Coin: A Cartoon History of Australia, Cassell Australia, Stanmore.

Knight, T 2020, Necrobarista – Review | The Dead Drink Coffee, viewed 2 October 2020.

Knight, S 2015, The Myth of Ned Kelly in the 21st Century, viewed 12 August 2019.

Knight, S 2015, The Politics of Myth, Melbourne University Press. Melbourne.

Koori History, 2016, Cleverman – The First Aboriginal Superhero?, viewed 19 August 2016.

Kovacs, G and, Marshall, C.W. [ed.] 2011, Classics and Comics, Oxford University Press, New York.

Lee, S and David, P 2015, Amazing Fantastic Incredible Stan Lee: A Marvelous Memoir, Touchstone, New York.

Lee, S and Kirby, J 1964, Kid Colt Outlaw #110, Marvel Comics, New York.

Lindesay, V 1970, The inked-in image: a social and historical survey of Australian comic art, Heinemann, Melbourne.

In this book the author relates the humour drawn by Australia’s cartoonists from the earliest colonial times up to the printing of the book, along with how comics reflected the changes to Australian society over the years.

Lloyd, R 2003, ‘Figuring Ned: Nolan’s Kelly, Carey’s Kelly and the masking of identity’ in Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry #4 [Volume 19], pp. 271-280.

Some time during the Australian summer of 1970–71 a series of small paintings featuring a bushranger [an outlaw living in the bush and subsisting by crime] was removed from one of the main student cafés on the Adelaide University campus and hung instead in the university’s staff club. The return of the students at the beginning of the academic year in March brought immediate, angry, and eventually successful protest against his appropriation — not to say theft — of an icon of revolt. The paintings, part of Sidney Nolan’s prolific Ned Kelly series, were returned. Those who fought for their reinstatement may not have known much about Nolan, but we did know about Kelly, and in those years of unrest a rebellion against the notorious tag ‘All the way with LBJ’ that had taken Australia into the Vietnam war, he was a potent symbol of defiance. Indeed, Ned Kelly’s iron mask, worn only once, at the fatal Glenrowan confrontation between the bushrangers and the police, but now inextricably associated with the image of an outlaw perceived as hero, is one of Australia’s most provocative and most multivalent icons, and Kelly’s story one of the most often retold, in song, plays, novels, paintings, and movies, even road signs. Only ignorance or naivety can explain Anthony Quinn’s reference, in his article for the ‘New York Times Book Review’, to Kelly’s blood-stained and thickly quilted tale as a ‘sepia legend,’ and only a wicked sense of provocation can justify Carey’s choice of that quotation — if he indeed had a hand in selecting it — to appear on the dust-jacket of his novel, ‘True history of the Kelly Gang’, for the Knopf edition of 2000.

Lopez, D 2021, Outlaw Ned Kelly Left Behind a Manifesto for the Ages, viewed 1 December 2022.

Ned Kelly is Australia’s most famous and beloved outlaw. He didn’t only defy the colonial police, he also left behind a revolutionary manifesto decrying oppression and poverty that demands to be read.

Macgregor, J 2020, ‘Necrobarista’ in PC Gamer, Future Publishing, United Kingdom.

Magedera, I 2014, Outsider Biographies : Savage, de Sade, Wainewright, Ned Kelly, Billy the Kid, Rimbaud and Genet: Base Crime and High Art in Biography and Bio-Fiction, 1744-2000, Brill, Leiden, Netherlands.

Marsh, J 2002, ‘Ned Kelly by any other name’ in Journal of Visual Culture #1 [Volume 1], Sage Publications, London, pp. 57-65.

Master of the Obscure, Iron Mask, viewed 14 April 2016.

Martin, S 2004, ‘Dead White Male Heroes: Ned Kelly and Ludwig Leichhardt in Australian Fictions.’ in Imagining Australia: Literature and Culture in the New World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (pp.23-52).

Martin, S 2005, ‘Dead White Male Heroes: True History of the Kelly Gang, and Ned Kelly in Australian Fictions’ in Fabulating History: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey, Rodopi, Amsterdam (pp. 301–317).

Mason, P 2014, Some thoughts on the whole Australian comics thing…, viewed 17 June 2017.

McCloud, S 1993, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Tundra Publishing, Northampton.

McDonald, B 2004, What they said about Ned! Looking at the Legend of Ned Kelly through Books, Australian History Promotions, Bondi.

Comprising a comprehensive list of books, magazines, articles and journals on Ned Kelly for the use of librarians, researchers and collectors.

McDonald, B 2003, Kellyana, viewed 22 January 2017.

McDonald, W and Davies, K 2015, ‘Creating history: Literary journalism and Ned Kelly’s last stand‘ in Australian Journalism Review #2 [Volume 37], pp. 33-49.

Ned Kelly is iconic in Australian settler culture. The story of the Irish bushranger has inspired numerous books, movies, television series, comics and artwork. A notorious figure, he is most often remembered as the archetypal folk hero battling for survival under the harsh conditions imposed by the British establishment. But where did his story begin? In 1880, four Melbourne journalists travelled on the police train to Glenrowan to cover the intended capture of the Kelly gang that would later lead to Kelly’s hanging. J. D. Melvin [Argus], Thomas Carrington [The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil], John McWhirter [The Age] and George Allen [Melbourne Daily Telegraph] went beyond the role of reporters and became participants in the action. The resulting articles recounted the famous siege in detail, relaying atmosphere, conversations and character in ways that would underpin the cultural myths of Kelly and his gang over the next 135 years. This paper analyses the narrative journalism from the siege at Glenrowan while investigating its role – particularly the evocative imagery of Carrington’s literary journalism – in the construction of the cultural mythology surrounding Ned Kelly’s ‘last stand’.

McDonald, W and Davies, K 2020, How a ‘gonzo’ press gang forged the Ned Kelly legend, viewed 28 June 2020.

McQuilton, J 1987, The Kelly Outbreak: 1878 – 1880, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.

Meares, J 2020, What was it like to watch the world’s first feature-length film? Critics paint a picture, viewed 22 November 2020.

It’s estimated that between 75 and 90 percent of films made before 1929 are either lost or only exist in incomplete form. As part of our RT Archives project, we are collecting contemporaneous reviews for those films – see a full list here and read what critics said about them at the time – and shining a spotlight on the stories and people behind them. Learn more about the RT Archives project here.

Meisfjord, T 2019, What Marvel wants you to forget about the Avengers, viewed 4 May 2019.

Milner, J 2022, Ned Kelly on Film: From the Silent Era to the 21st Century, viewed 1 December 2022.

From our first feature film to Justin Kurzel’s blockbuster adaptation, we explore Australian cinema’s enduring fascination with our most infamous bushranger.

Morgan, W 1995, Ned Kelly Reconstructed, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.

Though he has been dead for 100 years, Ned Kelly is probably the best-known of all Australians. Through the use of text and original source documents, Ned Kelly Reconstructed shows how different versions of his story arose, reflecting the views of their creators rather than reality. Using Ned Kelly as an illustration, the book demonstrates how readers and viewers make their own, different meanings for the same text. It questions our acceptance of ‘truth’ and awakens readers to the power of text, whether it be in the form of stories, newspaper reports, poems, or whatever. Ned Kelly Reconstructed will be a welcome addition to both the English and the History classroom.

Morrision, R 2016, 20th Century Australian Comic Books, InHouse Publishing, Sydney.

Motes, J 2013, Behold The Greatest Fan Film Ever: ‘Star Wars Downunder’!, viewed 11 January 2017.

Muriel, D and Crawford, G 2018, Video Games as Culture: Considering the Role and Importance of Video Games in Contemporary Society, Routledge, London.

Video games are becoming culturally dominant. But what does their popularity say about our contemporary society? This book explores video game culture, but in doing so, utilizes video games as a lens through which to understand contemporary social life. Video games are becoming an increasingly central part of our cultural lives, impacting on various aspects of everyday life such as our consumption, communities, and identity formation. Drawing on new and original empirical data – including interviews with gamers, as well as key representatives from the video game industry, media, education, and cultural sector – Video Games as Culture not only considers contemporary video game culture, but also explores how video games provide important insights into the modern nature of digital and participatory culture, patterns of consumption and identity formation, late modernity, and contemporary political rationalities. This book will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers, interested in fields such Video Games, Sociology, and Media and Cultural Studies. It will also be useful for those interested in the wider role of culture, technology, and consumption in the transformation of society, identities, and communities.

Myint, M and Smith-Cameron, Z 2017, I Am Ned #1, House of M, Brisbane.

Myint, M and Smith-Cameron, Z 2019, I Am Ned #2, House of M, Brisbane.

Nairn, L 2016, ‘What’s a Bad Boy like You Doing in a Nice Place like This? Ned Kelly Faces Off against American College Freshmen‘ in Antipodes #2 [Volume 30] [December 2016], Wayne State University Press, Detroit, pp. 406-410.

Niall, B 1984, Australia Through the Looking Glass: Children’s Fiction 1830-1980, Melbourne University Press, Carlton.

Nolan, S and Bail, M and Sayers, A 2002, Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly : the Ned Kelly paintings in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Sidney Nolan built a compelling narrative around the figure of Ned Kelly, the colourful and wronged anti-hero in his homemade armour, and the comic-opera police who pursue him through the vast and featureless Australian bush landscape. The mythologising of Ned Kelly did not start with Nolan’s paintings, but his images remain the most enduring and instantly recognisable versions. With the stark black silhouette or Ned Kelly, Nolan found his powerful symbol and poetic metaphor for Australian’s relationsip with their land. Nolan returned to the subject of Ned Kelly throughout his painting life but the later works never matched the freshness, immediacy and intensity of the first series. Nolan’s unforgettable depictions of the Australian bush and the country’s history and folklore have earned him a place in the Australian imagination unrivalled by any other painter.

Norden, P 2014, Ned Kelly: Hero or hell raiser?, viewed 16 March 2018.

Oberman, J 2015, ‘How Hollywood Sold Its Soul to the Comic Book Fanboy’ in Inroads: A Journal of Opinion #37, Inroads Inc., New Hamburg.

In recent years, I have come to an appreciation of film as the greatest embodiment of the human spirit in an art form. No other medium has shown itself to be so available to people everywhere in so many walks of life. Throughout history, art was typically produced by an elite for the aristocracy and bourgeoisie. While theatre has often sought an audience beyond the privileged few, there are only so many places in any theatre and each production is essentially unique. Film was different: from the outset it attracted a mass viewership many times larger than that of the stage. It soon grew into a universal language of expression with an impact on humanity that cannot be overstated. At its birth late in the 19th century, film was a novelty, a social as well as visual experience for the population, like nothing ever seen before. Soon, with the advent of film editing and the continuous narrative, film rivalled theatre as a medium for telling stories. The first feature-length, multi-reel film was a 1906 Australian production called ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’. It traced the life of the legendary, infamous outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly [1855-1880] and ran for more than an hour with a reel length of approximately 1,200 metres. It was first shown at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Hall during Australia’s gold rush in December 1906 and opened in Britain in January 1908. In the years that followed, artists of vision and creative force migrated to this new and compelling medium and the history of film as a true art form began.

O’Brien, G 2018, The Religious World of Ned Kelly, viewed 11 December 2023.

This paper considers the religious aspects of the life of Ned Kelly, in dialogue with Russel Ward’s Australian Legend, in order to explore the relatively unexamined religious dimensions of the Australian national myth. Religious leaders could be surprisingly sympathetic toward Kelly, with the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, James Moorhouse, urging congregants to pray for the outlaws as they cowered in the bush on the run from the law. Kelly was an Irish Catholic, of course, but there are also interesting Methodist connections. His widowed mother Ellen married the Californian miner George King in the home of a Primitive Methodist minister, a perhaps surprising thing for an Irish Catholic to do in a sectarian age that frowned on such ‘mixed marriages’. The Wesleyan Methodist preacher John Cowley Coles visited Kelly in the Melbourne Gaol in September and October 1880 while Kelly awaited execution. Kelly the penitent Catholic Christian knelt beside Coles the forthright Wesleyan preacher, together calling upon God to grant mercy to a fallen sinner. An examination of the response of religious leaders to the Kelly Outbreak as well as Kelly’s own religious sentiments can inform and enlarge our understanding of one of Australia’s most enduring cultural icons.

O’Reilly, N 2007, ‘The Influence of Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang: Repositioning the Ned Kelly Narrative in Australian Popular Culture’ in The Journal of Popular Culture #40, pp. 488–502.

O’Reilly, N 2015, ‘Mythology, History and Truth: Teaching Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang’ in Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature [29.1] pp. 71-81, viewed 21 November 2023.

Out of the Quicksand, 2011, Western Weirdness, viewed 23 December 2016.

…Dr. Doom was in the old west? That’s what it looks like, but apparently the story itself doesn’t have any outlandish elements according to various websites. That said, don’t be too disappointed about Kid Colt not encountering any armored adversaries in this issue, he more than made up for it later… Yes, Kid-Colt actually had a recurring nemesis who dressed like that. Obviously based on Ned Kelly, Iron Mask was really just a blacksmith with bulletproof armor, nothing too implausible by steampunk standards, but still, to a casual observer, you’d think he was a robot. Biggest irony of all is that Ned Kelly was later played by Heath Ledger, who also played some other super-villain you may have heard of, some clown guy. Note the gaps between appearences of this villain, Marvel was wise not to use him too much and kill the novelty. Then again, Kid-Colt had the most frequent encounters with such weirdies…

Payne, N 2016, Now is the time for Assassin’s Creed: Australia, viewed 19 December 2019.

And the time period fits perfectly with the logical progression of the series – convict bushrangers were first recorded in the Australian colonies from 1790, and the infamous Ned Kelly was executed in 1880. Hell, Ned Kelly could even be one of the main characters…

Patrick, K 2006, Heroes and villains in the Library, viewed 24 April 2017.

Patrick, K 2006, Heroes & villains: Australian comics and their creators, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. 

Patrick, K 2009, Comic Books Australian Society and Cultural Anxiety: 1956 – 1986, Monash University, Clayton.

Patrick, K 2010, The Invisible Medium: Comics Studies in Australia, viewed 1 November 2018.

Patrick, K 2011, ‘The Contested Frontier: Comic Book “Westerns” and Cultural Identity in Post-War Australia’ in International Journal Of Comic Art [Vol.13 No.2], John Lent, Pennsylvania.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the American ‘western’ proved to be a remarkably adaptable genre, successfully migrating from one mass medium to another, and continually reaffirming its public appeal in mass-market fiction, cinema, radio and television. Comic books, too, were highly receptive to the ‘western’, which briefly displaced the costumed superhero as the medium’s most popular fixture in the years immediately after World War II. The popularity of ‘cowboy comics’ was by no means confined to the United States; western titles were amongst the most popular published in Australia from the mid-1940s onwards, appearing as they did at the peak of the domestic comic industry’s post-war ‘boom’. Comic book westerns, however, found themseles at the centre of hotly contested debates about Australia’s sense of national identity. For some, the archetypal cowboy embodied the Cold War-era politics of the United States, while others saw in western comics further evidence of the corrupting influence that American culture exerted over Australian society. The public debate over comic books reflected the ongoing tensions in a triangulation of influence exterted by both British and American culture on Australia’s post-war sense of national identity. More importantly, such arguments tended to highlight class-driven distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture and the generational biases of their participants. Intriguingly, Australian publishers, writers and illustrators successfully appropriated the image of the American cowboy to their commercial advantage. They innovatively adapted the genre to meet Australian audiences’ tastes in ways that they were unable to achieve with the historically familiar, but morally problematic, figure of the Australian bushranger.

Patrick, K 2011, ‘In search of the great Australian [graphic] novel’ in Australasian Journal of Popular Culture #1, Intellect, Bristol.

The critical acclaim enjoyed by such recent Australian graphic novels as Shaun Tan’s ‘The Arrival’ [2006] and Nicki Greenberg’s adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’ [2007] suggested that Australia had finally ‘caught up’ with the United States and Britain, by embracing the graphic novel as a legitimate creative medium, on a par with literature and cinema. The media interest generated by a succession of Australian graphic novels during recent years often implied that their very existence was a relatively new phenomenon. Accepting this premise without question, however, overlooks the evolution of the graphic novel in Australia, early examples of which – such as Syd Nicholls’ ‘Middy Malone: A Book Pirates’ [1941] – date back to the 1940s. Documenting how historical changes in the production and dissemination of graphic novels in Australia have influenced their critical and popular reception therefore creates new opportunities to explore a largely overlooked facet of Australian print culture. Furthermore, the study of the graphic novel in an exclusively Australian context provides a new perspective for re-examining the origins, definitions and, indeed, the limitations of the term ‘graphic novel’, and extends the parameters of the academic literature devoted to the medium beyond the traditionally dominant Anglo-American focus.

Patrick, K 2012, ‘The Cultural Economy of the Australian Comic Book Industry’ in Johnson-Woods, T and Sarwal, A [ed.], Sold by the Millions: Australia’s Bestsellers, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 162-182.

Patrick, K 2015, ‘[FAN] Scholars and Superheroes: The Role and Status of Comics Fandom Research in Australian Media History’ in Media International Australia #155, Australian & New Zealand Communication Association, Thirroul, pp. 28-37.

Comic books, eagerly consumed by Australian readers and reviled with equal intensity by their detractors, became embroiled in post-war era debates about youth culture, censorship and Australian national identity. Yet there are few references to this remarkable publishing phenomenon in most histories of Australian print media, or in studies of Australian popular culture. This article demonstrates how the history of comic books in Australia has largely been recorded by fans and collectors who have undertaken the process of discovery, documentation and research – a task that, in any other field of print culture inquiry, would have been the preserve of academics. While acknowledging some of the problematic aspects of fan literature, the article argues that future research into the evolution of the comic-book medium within Australia must recognise, and engage with, this largely untapped body of ‘fan scholarship’ if we are to enrich our understanding of this neglected Australian media industry.

Perrie, S 2019, Publisher Creates Comic Book About Australians With Superpowers, viewed 13 September 2019.

Pinto, S.W. 2007, Emotional histories: contemporary Australian historical fictions, PhD thesis, Department of History, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

Pobjie, B 2019, Why is Australia so obsessed with Ned Kelly?, viewed 19 September 2019.

Poore, B [ed.] 2017, Neo-Victorian Villains: Adaptations and Transformations in Popular Culture, Koninklijke Brill NV, Netherlands.

Neo-Victorian Villains is the first edited collection to examine the afterlives of such Victorian villains as Dracula, Svengali, Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde, exploring their representation in neo-Victorian drama and fiction. In addition, Neo-Victorian Villains examines a number of supposedly villainous types, from the spirit medium and the femme fatale to the imperial ‘native’ and the ventriloquist, and traces their development from Victorian times today. Chapters analyse recent theatre, films and television – from Ripper Street to Marvel superhero movies – as well as classic Hollywood depictions of Victorian villains. In a wide-ranging opening chapter, Benjamin Poore assesses the legacy of nineteenth-century ideas of villains and villainy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Priestman, C 2016, See through Ned Kelly’s eyes in this video game, viewed 3 December 2016.

Ray Murray, P 2012, Comic (Book History): towards a new methodology, viewed 17 January 2023.

Rizzo, T 2014, Body Armor Saves Gunfighter’s Life, viewed 6 February 2017.

[James Brown] Miller may of gotten the idea from Ned Kelly, a infamous 1880 Australian outlaw who’s gang used fully armored suits looking like the Tinman in Oz.

Robb, B 2014, A Brief History of Superheroes: From Superman to the Avengers, the evolution of comic book legends, Constable and Robinson, London.

Rowston, M 2015, 6 Degrees of Ned Kelly, viewed 17 June 2017.

Rutherford, G 2016, Iron Outlaw comic strip 1970, viewed 24 March 2017.

Ryan, J 1979, Panel By Panel: An illustrated history of Australian Comics, Cassell Australia, Melbourne.

Sarkar, D 2017, ‘Modern Picaresque and Peter Carey’s True History of Kelly Gang’ in The Criterion: An International Journal In English [Vol.8 No.5], Research Center for English Language and Literature, Kolhapur.

The picaresque novel, as it developed during the sixteenth century Spain, influenced also modern and post-modern novels, although it may not contain all the elements of the traditional picaresque genre. This study analyzes the use of picaresque form in True History of Kelly Gang(2000) by Peter Carey in an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the form in a modern novel, at the same time tries to understand the reason of emerging this literary genre from the third world, Australia in particular. The characteristics of True History of Kelly Gang exhibited many of the qualities of the traditional picaresque. Ned Kelly, the protagonist, is a rogue who moves through a series of adventures, which satirize the society he lives in. However, the difference between this modern picaresque and its prototype lies in the purpose of the novel. Ned, unlike the traditional picaro, is searching for a fate which will include both full self-realization and self-development. Further, the analysis of the novel supported the assumption that picaresque form is a flexible and resourceful vehicle which provides certain advantages to the contemporary author in his portrayal of complicated modern life.

Scheidt, D 2013, ‘Irony and the status of the Australian Hero in “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey’ in Estudos Anglo Americanos (Journal of Anglo-American Studies), University of Minho, Portugal, Number 39, pp. 120-141.

True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey, winner of the Booker Prize in 2001, is a novel based on the trajectory of one of Australia’s most cherished historical figures, the bushranger Ned Kelly (1854-1880). Departing from Northrop Frye’s theories on the gradual incursion of irony in Western literature, we examine the manifestation of that literary device in Carey’s novel, paying special attention to the crucial role irony plays in the construction of the novel’s hero. Irony, according to Linda Hutcheon, is a social practice that necessarily involves text, context and interpreter and the formation of what she calls “discursive communities”. Within those communities irony can present itself in different guises. “Verbal irony” is defined by Pierre Schoentjes as the type of irony that occurs within the scope of rhetorical discourse and is a distinctive characteristic of Kelly’s style as a narrator. “Situational irony”, on the other hand, is not materialized in the narrator’s words themselves, but in the manner by which facts are arranged. Our analysis concludes that irony is an expedient that permeates the whole novel, from the title to the main themes and events narrated, influencing even the organization of the narrative focus.

Schultze, R 2009, Ned Kelly in Fiction, GRIN Publishing, Norderstedt, Germany.

Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies at the University of Leipzig. Course: The Australian Dream, language: English, abstract: Edward “Ned” Kelly, the head of the Kelly Gang, is a very diversely discussed person. Even nowadays, opinions differ here. Was he a cruel murderer or just a victim of society? Kelly is often compared to Robin Hood who presumably lived in the 13th century in England, Great Britain. It seems as if every culture has its very own antithetically valuated hero. The Australian bushranger Ned Kelly stands in one line with characters like Jesse James (1847-1882, born in Missouri, USA) and Ernesto “Che” Guevera (1928-1967, born in Rosario, Argentina). This paper will deal with Ned Kelly’s biography and today’s perception of him, especially regarding current fiction. In this context, I’ll have a look at Peter Carey’s book (published in 2000) and two of the many film versions about Kelly starring Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger in order to compare different perspectives of the bushranger.

Scott’s Classic Comics Corner, 2010, Ned Kelly’s Impact on Western Comics, viewed 8 September 2017.

Seal, G 1980, Ned Kelly in Popular Tradition, Hyland House Publishing, Flemington, Victoria.

Seal, G 2001, ‘Edward Kelly’ in Encyclopedia of Folk Heroes, ABC-CLIO Inc., Santa Barbara, pp. 138-141.

Seal, G 2002, Tell ’em I Died Game: The Legend of Ned Kelly, Hyland House Publishing, Flemington, Victoria.

Seal, G 2009, ‘The Robin Hood Principle: History, Myth and the Social Bandit’ in Journal of Folklore Research [volume 46], Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp. 67-89.

The debate over the social bandit’s existence has raged ever since the original publication of Eric Hobsawm’s Social Bandits in 1969. Hobsbawm’s argument that a few individuals in the history of crime and politics transcend the status of the criminal to become truly representative of an oppressed group’s struggle has been reinforced or attacked by historians, anthropologists, and political scientists. Given folklorists’ interest in the origins, roles, and meanings of heroes, it is odd that folklorists have only marginally participated in these debates. This study of outlaws offers a mediation between the conflicting poles of the debate. By investigating both the history and folklore surrounding outlaw heroes, the mythologies that produce and sustain them can be understood as a series of identifiable cultural processes. These processes can be expressed in a general principle—the Robin Hood principle—and modeled as an iterated cycle of cause and effect that is profoundly implicated in folklore. As well as providing a broad understanding of the production and perpetuation of outlaw hero figures, the model also has a predictive dimension.

Seal, G 2011, Outlaw Heroes in Myth and History, Anthem Press. London. 

Selinger-Morris, S 2010, Graphic novel brings convict history to life, viewed 29 December 2016.

Shiell, A [ed.] 1998, Bonzer: Australian Comics 1900s-1990s, Elgua Media, Redhill South.

From Ginger Meggs to Zero Assassin – just as Australian society has changed over the years, so have our comics. The essays collected here chronicle these changes and show what a valuable cultural resource this underrated art form really is. Bonzer features a comprehensive list of Australian comics, biographical details of the artists themselves and over 350 examples of their work with much of this material having never been published together before.

Simmons, D 2014, ‘Our Ned: The Makeup of Myth’ in Antipodes #2 [volume 28], Wayne State University Press, Detroit, pp. 416-425.

Simmons, S 2009, Too Much Rope….an interview with Stephen McCarthy, author of ‘Ned Kelly, A Widows Son, viewed 4 August 2022.

At the recent Townsville SSIQ Northern group conference, the guest speaker – Mr Stephen McCarthy discussed his book “Ned Kelly, A Widows Son ” and the research undertaken to locate Ned Kelly’s ‘second’ hut. The research included the use of archival documents, historical maps, survey plans, the use of GNSS and other survey methods. The maps, drawings, images and narrative were used to try and resolve confusion and solve any mystery regarding Ned Kelly’s second hut at Bullock Creek, Victoria. The book recreates a fascinating saga of colonial Australian history including evidence surrounding the events of an Australian folk hero and legend.

Simon, J 2003, The Comic Book Makers, Vanguard Productions, New Jersey.

Filled with real-life anecdotes and insights, this is a history of the talented creators who brought us Superman, Captain America, Archie, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, and dozens of other comic book favourites, as well as the stories of the other people who helped shape comic book history. Meet the crime comics editor who would himself be accused of a gruesome murder; the horror artist who was periodically released from a mental hospital in order to meet his publishing deadlines; the famous Senator Estes Kefauver, whose subcommittee investigated comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency; and dozens of other fascinating personalities. The volume also tells stories of the birth of the American comic book industry – deals brokered in publishing offices, epic collaborations and terrible feuds among the creators, and the working conditions and industry practices that left the creators of these legendary characters destitute while the publishers made fortunes. Illustrated with hundreds of examples of these artists’ dynamic works, it provides documentation of a time looked upon with nostalgia and not to be forgotten.

Singsen, D 2017, Teaching Comics and Graphic Novels as Art History, viewed 16 January 2023.

Because of the nature of the comics medium, teaching comics and graphic novels in an art history class requires making a number of adjustments to the normal teaching methods of the field. One of the most important skills art historians need to acquire is an understanding of panel flow and page layout, which are essential to analyzing the formal language of comics. Comics’ and graphic novels’ use of extended narratives presents another set of challenges because they cannot be fully displayed in a single slide. There are also historical difficulties that have to be dealt with in relating comics to the canonical history of modern and contemporary art and placing comics in the context of a larger mass visual culture that is normally excluded from art historical narratives.

Sjoerdsma, A 2017, Marvel Story Book Annual (UK) 1967, viewed 12 September 2020.

Slay Monstrobot of the Deep!, 2018, The Hombre In The Iron Mask!, viewed 3 October 2018.

Smith, G 2011, ‘Surveying the World of Contemporary Comics Scholarship: A Conversation’ in Cinema Journal: The Journal of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies #3 [Volume 50, Spring 2011], University of Texas Press, Austin, pp. 135-147.

Instead of a traditional book-review section focusing on particular academic works on comics, Cinema Journal asked Greg M. Smith to moderate a more informal conversation among scholars about the current state of comics scholarship, its successes, its challenges, and promising directions for future work. Smith invited Thomas Andrae, Scott Bukatman, and Thomas LaMarre to participate and started the conversation with general questions: What works of comics scholarship do you find useful? Why these works? Andrae responded with an annotated list of his favorites, which provided a springboard for the rest of the discussion. 

Smith, M and Duncan, R [ed.] 2012, Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. Routledge, London.

Critical Approaches to Comics offers students a deeper understanding of the artistic and cultural significance of comic books and graphic novels by introducing key theories and critical methods for analyzing comics. Each chapter explains and then demonstrates a critical method or approach, which students can then apply to interrogate and critique the meanings and forms of comic books, graphic novels, and other sequential art. The authors introduce a wide range of critical perspectives on comics, including fandom, genre, intertextuality, adaptation, gender, narrative, formalism, visual culture, and much more. As the first comprehensive introduction to critical methods for studying comics, Critical Approaches to Comics is the ideal textbook for a variety of courses in comics studies. Contributors include Henry Jenkins,  David Berona, Joseph Witek, Randy Duncan, Marc Singer, Pascal Lefevre,  Andrei Molotiu, Jeff McLaughlin, Amy Kiste Nyberg, Christopher Murray, Mark Rogers, Ian Gordon, Stanford Carpenter, Matthew J. Smith, Brad J. Ricca, Peter Coogan, Leonard Rifas, Jennifer K. Stuller, Ana Merino, Mel Gibson, Jeffrey A. Brown, and Brian Swafford.

Smyth, H 2009, Mollies Down Under: Crossdressing and Australian Masculinity in Peter Carey’s ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, viewed 17 March 2024.

Snodgrass, M.E. 2004, Peter Carey: A Literary Companion, McFarland & Company Inc., North Carolina.

Spurlock, M 2011, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope: an all-access look at the world’s largest pop-culture event, Bradygames, New York.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime, insider look at the unique experience that is Comic-Con. This BradyGames companion Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope provides a broad take on the experience of Comic-Con and how it became the quintessential centre of American pop culture. It offers an insider’s look at the panels, exhibitions, workshops, awards ceremonies and parties; and the unique experience of attending one of the most important events in the entertainment industry. Featuring photos and exclusive interviews from the San Diego Comic-Con 2010, the book highlights the Comic-Con experience for celebrities such as Seth Green, Kenneth Branagh, Seth Rogen and Matt Groening. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a must-have for anyone who is interested in the unique Comic-Con experience, or in pop culture as a whole.

Starr, M 2016, Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, the original Iron Man, viewed 18 August 2017.

State Library Victoria, 2016, The art of the comic book, or the comic book as art?, viewed 27 June 2016.

Something of a high-end publishing boom has been happening over the last few years in the once-upon-a-time humble world of the comic book. This most popular branch of the visual and storytelling arts has never been stronger, and these oversize facsimile artist’s edition from publisher IDW feed an instatiable appetite for material that complements the everyday experience.

Sullivan, J 2008, Not just beating around the bush, viewed 20 November 2023.

Tank, A 2019, Robin Hood and Edward Ned Kelly: Changes of National Heroes due to Adaptation to Societies’ Needs over Time, GRIN Verlag, Munich.

Heroes had always been there, but changed over time. They adapted to the needs of populations, societies and cultures, becoming sometimes national heroes. The best example of a changing and self-adapting hero would be Robin Hood. He is globally famous and his, probably, two best known attributes are: taking from the rich and giving to the poor, as well as being an outlaw. Not everyone might know that his real life existence is highly controversial. His legend, hence, varied from the location and the famous characters – Lady Marian and Friar Tuck – had to develop over time. Due to the change of the Hood myth in medieval times he could adapt from the society of the poor, working his way up, to the acceptance of high society. Always by adapting and changing the myth to the needs of the societies through the centuries, Hood could become the legend today’s people know.

The Age, 2003, Cinema’s anti-hero rides again, viewed 30 January 2017.

The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, 2016, Iron Mask, viewed 2 January 2017.

A question/ponderance from Omar Karindu, ‘Any chance Stan Lee knew about Ned Kelly, the real-life Aussie outlaw of the late 1800s who wore bulletproof armor and a mask in his famed last stand?’

The Irish Times, 2001, Caught between two cultures, viewed 9 October 2016.

Toohill, T 2015, The Reporting of Ned Kelly and The Kelly Gang, Boolarong Press, Brisbane.

At the time, Ned Kelly’s bushranging exploits were the biggest news story in the country. From 1869 through to 1910 numerous newspaper articles were published on him. The Reporting of Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang is a compilation of these articles which retell this historic story as it was read by the nation over a century ago. Each article gives a remarkable insight into the world of Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang. They also offer the reader a greater appreciation for what it was like for the men who had the arduous and often dangerous job of tracking them in the harsh and unforgiving Australian bush. These brave men were known as ‘The Kelly Hunters’. These articles also contain transcripts and interviews from numerous hostages who were held captive by Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang. These personal accounts offer a greater understanding into what these victims endured. Today, Australia’s bushranging history is often ‘romanticised’ and Ned Kelly is considered one of Australia’s greatest folk heroes. However at the time, the media painted him in a very different light. The Reporting of Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang is a fascinating read that provides a remarkable insight into the feelings of a nation caught in the middle of these tragic events.

Tranter, B and, Donoghue, J 2006, Bushrangers in the Sydney Morning Herald: Ned Kelly and Australian Identity, viewed 2 March 2017.

Ned Kelly is a key symbol of Australian identity although ‘bushrangers’ per se are of marginal importance. Our examination of Sydney Morning Herald articles (1987 to 2004) shows that Kelly appears in print more often than all other bushrangers combined, with the mythology surrounding Kelly sustained through this process. Kelly is less likely than other bushrangers to appear in articles of an historical genre and is rarely the central focus of stories. On the contrary, Kelly is associated with films, art, literature and theatre productions, while Kelly the ‘outlaw’ is juxtaposed with ‘rapacious’ banks, inefficient government departments and ‘rogue’ politicians. Continual media exposure of Ned Kelly enshrines his place in Australian mythology 125 years after his death and contributes to his continuing relevance as a symbol of Australian identity.

Tranter, B and, Donoghue, J 2008, ‘Bushrangers: Ned Kelly and Australian identity’ in Journal of Sociology #4 [Volume 44], Sage Publications, California, pp. 373-390.

Be they highwaymen, bandits or bushrangers, outlaws are mythical figures celebrated across a variety of cultures. Australians’ knowledge of colonial outlaws is examined by asking a national sample of adults if they could name four `bushrangers’. A large majority identified Ned Kelly and a substantial proportion Ben Hall, although less than a quarter could name four bushrangers and one in five were unable to name any bushrangers at all. Australian-born, middle-class, middle-aged, politically informed people who live in Queensland or NSW were the most knowledgeable, with the educational achievement findings suggesting that bushrangers occupy the realm of `middle-brow’ taste. Ned Kelly is confirmed as Australia’s best-known colonial figure and folk hero. Immortalised in Sidney Nolan’s paintings and mythologized in various cultural milieux, Kelly has transcended bushranging to symbolise a romantic and rebellious aspect of Australian identity.

Tranter, B and, Donoghue, J 2010, ‘Ned Kelly: Armoured Icon’ in Journal of Sociology [June 2010], Sage Publications, California, pp. 187-205.

Myths associated with outlaws or ‘social bandits’ are important elements of national identity in many countries. Long after his death the outlaw Ned Kelly lives on in Australian culture through various media, ensuring his enduring symbolic importance for national identity. National survey data indicates Kelly’s salience for a majority of Australians, although attitudes regarding his status as hero or villain vary considerably. Younger, left-leaning, working-class Australians and consumers of popular culture view Kelly as important, while tertiary-educated, political conservatives tend to downplay his significance. Perceptions of Kelly’s character also influence attitudes regarding his national significance. The lack of foundation heroes in a nation built not only by free settlers but also by English convicts and Irish rebels goes some way to explaining why a 19th-century outlaw is one of the few historical figures recognised by a majority of Australians.

Trimble, M 2017, Did Old West Gunmen Wear Armor?, viewed 3 March 2018.

Tucker, R 2017, Slugfest. Inside the epic 50-year battle between Marvel and DC, Sphere, London.

Twining, S.J. 2020, ROM The Spaceknight: Still Marvel’s Most Misunderstood Hero, viewed 24 October 2020.

Wallace, D and, Teitelbaum, M and, Beatty, S and, Jimenez, P and, Greenburger, R 2011, The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe, Dorling Kindersley, London.

Walton, B 1950, Dead Eye Western #11, Hillman Periodicals. New York.

Webb, B 2012, Ned Kelly: A Pictorial History, Network Creative Series, Montmorency.

Washed deep with the convict stain, Ned Kelly’s destiny was cast in a defiant mold. The story of his short life was one that saw Ned, his brother Dan and their two mates, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart, take on corrupt police, greedy land barons and an ill-informed government in a crusade to change their world for the better. Wrongly accused, they survived a deadly shoot out with police in 1878 that saw the Gang outlawed with the largest reward ever offered in the British Empire – dead or alive. Over the next eighteen months the Kelly Gang held up two country towns and robbed their banks – without firing a single shot; wrote numerous essays explaining their actions; and became folk heroes to a generation. Their grand plan to derail a special police train, seize the hostages and declare a Republic of North East Victoria came to a fiery end at Glenrowan where they donned their famous but cumbersome armour against an overwhelming police force. ‘Ned Kelly: A Pictorial History’ explores the legend of Ned Kelly in never-before-seen interactive detail. Readers can now view photographs and documents in high definition and track the pictorial history of Ned in a clear and concise manner. As a bonus this edition also includes the entire collection of Ned Kelly related correspondence from his 1870 letter to Sergeant Babington at age fifteen to his last correspondence to the Marquis of Normanby the day before his execution.

Webb, B 2017, Ned Kelly: The Iron Outlaw, New Holland Publishing, Sydney.

Most Australians know something about Ned Kelly– his gang’s final shoot out with police at Glenrowan, Ned in his iron armour then down by troopers shooting at his exposed legs, his subsequent trial and hanging in Melbourne – it’s a story often told. But did you know that Ned was planning a republic of North-east Victoria? That many of the settlers in the area were ready to take on the establishment and form their own independent state? That Ned’s ‘life of crime’ can be linked to the gross corruption of the colonial Victorian police force. Historian Brad Webb has written the essential guide to the Kelly legacy, with rarely seen images. This book is a must for any library. and has plenty to offer to those who think they know the full story of the Kelly Gang.

Webb, B 2018, ‘Finding an Australian voice among a chorus of American superheroes’ in ReadFin Literary Journal #1 [Winter 2018], Yarra Bend Press, Fairfield, pp. 53-56.

Wedd, M 2013, Ned Kelly, ComicOZ, Margate.

Wee, D 2021, Bat-Man unmasks fears of moral corruption, viewed 31 August 2021.

In the early hours of Monday the 26th of May 1952, a conspicuous-looking sedan is found patrolling Melbourne’s Bourke Street. To the front and rear of the car, two long aerials are poised ready to intercept any incoming police chatter. The radiator holds a makeshift flag bearer and a pennant displaying the names “Bat-Man and Robin”. Our caped avenger leans across the passenger seat and adjusts the portable radio to police radio control number, D24. Dressed in a black cloak and dark blue cowl, he looks in the rear-view mirror and smiles to himself. In the back seat of the sedan lies identification papers and sets of fingerprints for both Bat-Man and Robin. A single piece of paper instructs its reader that, “All communications for Bat-Man and Robin should be addressed to the Chief of Police Headquarters, Russell st., Melbourne”.

Weiss, M.A. 2019, Are Marvel’s Arguments Iron Clad?, viewed 5 May 2019.

Weston, G 2013, ‘Superheroes and Comic-Book Vigilantes versus Real-Life Vigilantes: An Anthropological Answer to the Kick-Ass Paradox’ in Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 4 #2, Taylor & Francis, England.

This article explores comic-book superheroes and vigilantes through an anthropological lens to tackle the paradox offered by Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass: why have comic books not inspired more real-life vigilantism? Applying social science literature on vigilantism, social banditry and death squads to fictional characters and contexts, this article explores the gaps between vigilante fact and vigilante fiction. It takes as its starting point Ray Abrahams’ observation that three factors lend themselves to the emergence of vigilantism: dissatisfaction with justice, awareness of other vigilantes and a pre-existing social or cultural template. Given the prevalence of comic-book superheroes and vigilantes as cultural template, this paper reappraises the limits of Abrahams’ model and reflects on the ambiguities of vigilante fact and fiction.

Williams, H 2019, The Games Saying G’day To A New Australianness, viewed 24 November 2019.

Williams, P 2015, The Wild & Woolley Comix Book: Australian Underground Comix, viewed 21 December 2019.

Williamson, C and, Holland A 2003, Kelly Culture: Reconstructing Ned Kelly, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria.

Woolley, P and, Mccausland, I [ed.] 1977, The Wild & Woolley comix book: Australian underground comix. Wild & Woolley, Sydney.

Yunkaporta, T 2017, Beyond Batman: how Indigenous superheroes are turning comics inside out, viewed 16 December 2017.

Mainstream superheroes are generally ordinary citizens who strap on an alter ego to transform into superheroes as required. For Indigenous people, our domesticated identities are our alter egos; colonial masks donned for survival, inhibiting rather than enabling our potential. Marramb-ik strips back our assimilated identities to reveal the ancestral hero beneath the mask, leaving all visitors to ponder a troubling question: are we more than what we have become?

Zee, J 2003, AusReprints: Covering Australian Comics 1940s – 1980s, viewed 5 December 2015.

Australian access to international comics was relatively limited until the 1980s, resulting in a strong local comic industry, including reprint comics. While original Australian comics have been extensively documented by John Ryan’s seminal Panel by Panel and more recent books such as Bonzer: Australian comics 1900s–1990s (edited by Annette Shiell), thousands of Australian reprint comics remain largely undocumented. This website redresses the balance by documenting those reprints, with a special focus on the extensive DC reprint program undertaken by the KG Murray and Federal publishing companies. Up until the mid-1930s, British material dominated the Australian market, with home-grown versions increasingly favoured. The US ‘Golden Age’ (1938 to 1945) was virtually unknown, although some US comics were available for 6d in the 1930s. This ceased by the end of the decade and the characters were generally known only through later reprints. US comics were kept out not just by a cultural bias, but also through entrenched territorial agreements between British and American publishers. From June 1940, the import of US comics was banned to control the spending of US dollars during the Second World War. The dominant comic distributor in Australia, Gordon & Gotch, may have also strategically limited access to US comics. The company had monopolistic control over British comic imports and benefited from the bias against the US market. Many of the earliest Australian comics were based on reprints of newspaper strips, reflecting international trends and later also circumventing import restrictions. The mid-1930s saw significant expansion of syndicated newspaper material in Australia, particularly with formation of the Yaffa Syndicate to distribute material from King Features Syndicate. From the Second World War, publication of reprint comics exploded, with a multitude of companies in the market, such as Horwitz, Atlas, Ayers & James, Calvert, Larry Cleland, Frew, Invincible, Jubilee, Rosnock, Southdown and Youngs Merchandising. Exact publication dates for many of these comics may never be known as few Australian comics were dated and there were few established fans keeping records.

Zimmermann, S 2015, ‘I suppose it has come to this… How a Western Shaped Australian Identity’ in Crossing Frontiers: Intercultural Perspectives on the Western, Klein, T and, Ritzer, I and, Schulze, P [ed.], Schuren, Marburg, Germany. pp. 134-148.

The volume examines the genre in detail for the first time in its complex and multi-layered intercultural divisions that can be found in nationally specific Western variations. It opens up interesting perspectives on this area that has hardly been explored in terms of film and cultural history. One focus is the different national western variants in Eastern Europe. Contributions by specialists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia unearth previously unknown similarities and differences in the use of the genre in the then communist countries. It becomes clear, among other things, that the genre, regarded ideologically as disreputable but very popular with the public, especially in Russia and Poland, was used through government intervention to stage both criticism of capitalism and exaggeration of one’s own national culture. In addition, the volume also includes texts with new perspectives on German westerns and western variations in French, British, Australian, Indian and African cinema. The diverse connections between Western and Eastern are also among others illuminated by means of international co-productions. The volume emphasizes the diversity and complexity of the intercultural transformations of the Western, which can be demonstrated from Europe to Latin America and Africa to Australia and Asia. It is worked out how Western elements come into play in very different ways in order to negotiate national-specific cultural patterns and communication contexts.

Note: Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holder[s] of the images reproduced in this website. Please contact the researcher Brad Webb if you have any further information regarding copyright ownership of the accompanying images.