Researcher – Kevin Patrick

Kevin-Patrick-photoMy name is Kevin Patrick and I’m a PhD candidate affiliated with the Centre for the Book, at the School for English, Communications and Performance Studies, at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Prior to commencing my PhD in mid-2010, I was awarded first-class honours (BA/Hons) for my dissertation, Comic Books, Australian Society and Cultural Anxiety: 1956-1986 (2009). I have since presented conference papers and published academic journal articles drawn from my dissertation, details of which you can read on my profile.

My return to postgraduate studies came after a lengthy career as a freelance journalist, wherein I contributed feature stories, columns and reviews to numerous magazines, including Australian Aviation, Good Reading Magazine, Flightpath, The Monthly, Max and, to name but a few. I was the founding editor of Netweek magazine (1999-2001) and wrote two children’s books, Prehistoric Australia and Airborne Australia (Random House Australia), in collaboration with illustrator, Doug Holgate.

My pathway to the printed word, however, began with comic books, which I read voraciously as a child growing up in Australia during the late 1970s and early 1980s – you can relive my first encounters with comic books on my other blog, Comics Down Under. My interest in comics went beyond just reading and collecting them; I eventually began contributing articles and reviews to Australian comic and science-fiction fanzines, such as Apocrypha and The Fox Comic Collector Magazine. After drifting away from the comics scene for much of the 1990s, I became interested in Australian comics once again, and spent most of the first decade of the new millennium playing ‘catch-up’, attempting to locate all the interesting new titles and their creators that had appeared during that time.

This renewed interest found its first expression in a multi-part history on modern (post-1980) Australian comics that I wrote for Australian Book Collector magazine in 1999. During 2002-2007, I contributed a monthly ‘Comics Down Under’ column to Collectormania, which, due to the magazine’s focus on antiques and collectibles, focused on bygone Australian comic-book characters and cartoonists. By the mid-2000s, I’d amassed nearly every Australian comic book published since 1970 – a collection that I donated to the State Library of Victoria and which subsequently formed the basis for the exhibition, Heroes and Villains: Australian Comics and their Curators (2006-2007), for which I was also appointed Guest Curator.

In many respects, my current PhD research project sees me coming full-circle to my earliest comic-book reading experience; the second comic book I recall receiving (after The Amazing Spider-Man) was, in fact, The Phantom!


4 thoughts on “Researcher – Kevin Patrick

    • Hi Gerry – Thanks for your comment. I’m always delighted to hear how long people in Australia, India and Sweden say they’ve been reading & collecting The Phantom – most of my survey respondents to date state they have read The Phantom in their respective countries for 10 years or more, so the fact that you’ve been a ‘rusted-on’ Phantom “phan” for over 50 years doesn’t surprise me. I wonder how many comparable American comic-book heroes could claim such long-term loyalty among comic-book readers? (As distinct from people who collect superhero merchandise, but don’t necessarily read the character’s comic-book adventures) An interesting question to ponder! – Kevin Patrick

    • Hi Russell – Many thanks for bringing your fascinating article to my attention. It’s good to see such a well known literary/cultural affairs journal like “Overland” taking an interest in “The Phantom”, and comics/graphic narratives generally. Many of your own observations about the reasons behind the character’s popularity among Australian readers dovetails with my own research findings (and long-held, but until now, unproven, personal hunches!), so I’ll be sure to bring your piece to the attention of Phantom “phans” everywhere.

      – Kevin Patrick

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