The near simultaneous appearance of [recently released] works, all of which received positive reviews, suggested that Australia’s mainstream book publishers were ‘catching up’ with international trends.
Such concentrated media coverage created the false impression that the Australian graphic novel was an entirely new phenomenon, thereby ignoring earlier Australian examples of the graphic novel and bypassing any mention of Australia’s post-war comic book industry, the scale and diversity of which easily eclipsed the modest output of present-day graphic novel publishing activity.
Yet just as Australian publishers, readers and journalists have lagged behind their overseas counterparts in their critical reappraisal of comics and graphic novels, it would appear that Australian academe has been equally tardy in giving this medium serious consideration... Comics, it seems, remain an invisible medium.
In 1976, the term "graphic novel" appeared in print to describe three separate works. Bloodstar by Richard Corben (adapted from a story by Robert E. Howard) used the term to define itself on its dust jacket and introduction. George Metzger's Beyond Time and Again, serialized in underground comics from 1967–72, was subtitled "A Graphic Novel" on the inside title page when collected as a 48-page, black-and-white, hardcover book published by Kyle & Wheary.The term "graphic novel" began to grow in popularity months after it appeared on the cover of the trade paperback edition (though not the hardcover edition) of Will Eisner's A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories (October 1978). This collection of short stories was a mature, complex work focusing on the lives of ordinary people in the real world, and the term "graphic novel" was intended to distinguish it from traditional comic books, with which it shared a storytelling medium.