Monday, December 29, 2014


Thoroughly enjoyed, and highly recommend, Daniel Best's new book on the history of Australia’s Newton Comics. Melbourne based, Newton Comics burned brightly but briefly in the Australia of the mid-70s, introducing many Aussie kids of that era to the Marvel roster of superheroes for the first time. Certainly it was the first time kids like me got to read some of those classic early origin stories and art by the likes of Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, even if it was only in black ...& white. Newton Comics also offered cool extras like pull-out posters, iron-on transfers, prizes and swap cards (to be placed in an album that seemingly no one who sent in their hard earned dollar for ever received).

Newton Comics - The Rise & Fall tells the early history of Marvel Comics in Australia, as well as the story of Maxwell Newton, the enigmatic publisher who ripped-off Marvel and managed to put over 180 different comic books on the newsstands within a year before it all crumbled around him (could you imagine someone today daring to thumb their nose at the mighty Marvel legal machine?).

Best’s book also contains a complete illustrated bibliography of Newton titles (including stories contained in each issue, details of posters and swap cards attached, etc.), as well as promotional items (would love those Planet of the Apes giveaway samples) and lots of documents that reveal Newton’s legal troubles. There’s even a reprint of an original Apes script submitted to Newton, when the company briefly considered writing and illustrating their own stories (something that would have come out of necessity, since Marvel were highly unlikely to keep providing original art when the payments to them were not forthcoming).

A great nostalgia piece as well as an excellent reference work, my only gripe with Newton Comics - The Rise & Fall is that I wish it were a hard copy book that I could keep on my shelf. But hey, for a measly $5.00 you can’t complain.

Now excuse me while I go scan eBay to search for all those Newtons I had as a kid and never held onto (though they certainly aren’t as cheap as they used to be, with some copies in nice condition selling for three-figure sums in the early 2000s).

You can order the book here:…/newton-comics-rise-fall…