Nothing New by James Zee

Triple Western Has a Twin… or Two

While there are many local creations on the front of US reprints in Australia, the cover design of Magazine Management’s Triple Western and Triple Adventure stood out to me as unique.

As the name suggests, Triple Western (The Red Circle Press, 1955-1957, 21 issues) and Triple Adventure (Approved Publications, 1957-1958, 5 issues) included (most of the time) three stories.

The covers have a design with three bands, each with an image based on a story, along with its title and a teaser (although later issues of Triple Adventure varied the formula).

It isn’t as if the approach is rocket science, but it’s distinctive. However, there's nothing new under the sun…

The design first appeared on the US pulp novella series, Triple Western and Triple Detective in 1947. While early issues of those titles have a different design, a tri-band approach is used from the third issue in autumn 1947. By 1952, the style is set and is virtually indistinguishable from the Australian imitation.

There is no obvious reason why the design has been used.

Comics reprinted in the Australian titles are typically sourced from US publishers St John and Quality, although many sources are still unidentified.

The US titles include pulp (text) stories and are published by Best Publications, an imprint of Standard Magazines, Inc. While Standard published comics, the stories published in Australia seem to be reprinted only by H. John Edwards (including trade names such as Action Comics and Popular Publications). Examples are Coo Coo Comics, Dizzy Duck and Popular Romance.

Did Magazine Management like the design and just brazenly copy it? Someone could have seen the US version while overseas, as US imports were rare during the post-war period. However, it could also have been via an import of the British reprint edition of Triple Detective, published in the early 1950s.

If the UK reprint was imported and on the shelves in Australia, it would explain the design's source and the reason why most issues of the comic carry the full title “Triple Western Pictorial Monthly”.