Batman, Superman and Superboy – revealed as British superheroes?

Quickly following up on our article on post-war US comics imports and Batman – The Detective #1 items, the latter which sees the Caped Crusader patrolling Liverpool, did you know Gotham’s Dark Knight was actually British? Oh, and Superboy and Superman, too?

Atalas UK - Super Adventure Comic 36 featuring Batman and Superman

At least, that’s what Australian publisher KG Murray might want its readers to have believed, when, back in the 1950s, they published this patriotic version of the cover of Super Adventure Comic, No. 36 for its British readership – featuring Batman, Superman and Superboy saluting the Union Jack.

Although published and printed in Australia, like other titles they produced Super Adventure Comic, reprinting Superman an Batman stories), Superboy and Superman, was also distributed in the UK. The Magic Robot site notes that the covers, though printed in Australia, were unique to the UK solely by virtue of a different price. In 1950, these comics cost 6d in both the UK and Australia. By 1957, the Australian price had increased to One Shilling (via 8d and 9d) whilst the UK issues continued at 6d, hence the requirement of different covers. The back cover carried local adverts, too.

Could it be that in some part of the DC multiverse, these heroes are actually British citizens?

“I’m not sure that even our US cousins know of this treachery!” laughs collector Gerald Edwards, who sent us this cover scan. “They might even claim it’s an imaginary story,” he suggests, “since both Superman and Superboy ought not to exist at the same time!”

This cover appears to be inspired by the cover of World’s Finest Comics #28, drawn by Jack Burnley, published in 1947, with Robin standing to Batman and Superman’s left, not Superboy.

The K.G. Murray Publishing Company was primarily known for its publication of DC reprint comics. Established in 1936 in Sydney, Australia by Ken ‘K.G.’ Murray, the company was a family-owned and run business until its sale to Australian Consolidated Press in 1973.

With thanks to Gerald Edwards and Brian Braddock

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I believe (though could be wrong) that I had a couple of those mags in the late fifties, and the pages inside were only black & white.

  2. I have a couple of Super Adventure Comics from the fifties and can confirm the insides are black and white. During World War II when a Canadian company was publishing comics with the Fawcett characters one of them, Commando Yank I believe, had the logo on his chest redone as the Union Jack.

%d bloggers like this: