At first Australian comics copied British comic papers until the first comic book The Kookaburra appeared in 1931.
Several early uniquely Australian comics had wide circulation and enjoyed long runs. Probably the most famous is the comic strip Ginger Meggs, created in 1921 by Jimmy Bancks which still runs in syndication to this day (with new artists, of course). Bancks published the first of the Ginger Meggs Annuals in 1924, and they were to continue for the next 35 years. For a more recent example, Dillon Naylor's Da 'n' Dill has been running in one form or another since 1993.
Because of its contribution to winning the Second World War, Australia incurred a huge national debt; local publishers found they had a captive market as import restrictions were enforced, at the same time the modern American style comic book (mostly sans color) was adopted. In its Golden Age, Australian talent produced exciting creations such as Captain Atom, The Panther, The Scorpion, The Raven, The Mask and many others. Later, in the 1970s, Vixen became Australia's first comic book super heroine. However, the longest, best-selling and longest-running comic book in Australia is a local fortnightly publication of The Phantom by Frew Publications. First published in 1948, The Phantom has had more than 1500 issues released. Although it mostly features reprints, the comic does occasionally include original work by local creators.
Since the 1940s, and particularly in the 1970s, many local reprints and translations of English, European and both North and South American comics were published in Australia. Since the 1980s there have been fewer local reprints and more direct importing of foreign comics.
Alongside the reprints and imports there has been a long tradition of Australian made comics, though many of these were clones of, or occasionally parodies of, foreign (mostly US) comic books. After the arrival of television in 1956 the market began to dry up, causing many publishers to fold. By the early 1960s the comic industry faded. Gerald Carr revived the Australian adventure-style comic book in 1974 with the best selling Vampire! during the horror comic boom, followed by Brainmaster and Vixen (1977) and Fire Fang (1982).
In the mid 1980s many anthology comics titles appeared, forming the basis for the modern Australian self-publishing community. Three notable ones were Fox Comics, which began in Melbourne in 1985 and lasted for 5 years and 26 issues. Phantastique from Sydney in 1986 lasted only 4 issues, as it was in the style of underground comix but with mainstream distribution - it generated national publicity from opponents Fred Nile and John Laws. Cyclone!, also from Sydney in 1985, was a more traditional superhero comic with an Australian flavour. It ran for 8 issues as an anthology and then another 8 as Southern Squadron focusing on its most popular feature (plus other spin offs and a 1990s revival - over 30 related comics were published in the series).
The first true Australian comic convention was Comicon I (1979) held at RMIT in Melbourne. Comicon II (1980) followed at the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne and Comicon III (1981) was held in Sydney.
The much larger Australian Comic-Book Convention was held on 16-18 January 1986 at the Sydney Opera House featuring international guests for the first time, including Will Eisner and Jim Steranko. It was the forerunner of the many later OzCon conventions held from 1992 to 1998 in Sydney, with an additional event in Melbourne in 1997, and the comicfest! events in Sydney from 2000 to 2002.
In 2000 anime conventions started appearing in Australia's yearly event calendar, with Manifest being held in Melbourne.