Who is Ralph?

Ralph Monotreme is your typical undergraduate in every way. He drinks, he parties, he flunks his exams, he gets into all sorts of scrapes... and he’s a platypus. (That bit isn’t too typical.)

Ralph was a star, for one brief shining hour: in 1986-87, to be exact. (Okay, for 17,520 brief shining hours.) In those days, Ralph appeared each month in the pages of Togatus, the student magazine of the Tasmania University Union. His outrageous antics and nail-biting cliff-hangers provided light relief for Tog’s two thousand readers; and at the end of 1987 were captured for posterity in book form, when the complete story was repackaged as Ralph, the comic book (Diogenes Press, Hobart, 1987; a bargain at only a dollar). Ralph was launched by Australian cartooning legend Michael Leunig on 25 September 1987 at the TUU Ref Steps, with the immortal words, “It’s funny, and it’s cheap.”

Ralph and MichaelAnd there it all ended. Well, almost. A dozen years later, Ralph is back. You can read the entire story—complete with obscure topical references—right here.

There’s more. You can also read The Animals of the Urbs, the 1988 follow-up which started well enough, but fizzled out after three episodes—only to be reprised months later, in a way that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans will truly appreciate.

Then there’s Warren the Wombat, a separate character who ended up in The Animals but began life in 1986 in his own strip, never before seen by human eyes. (Non-Rory humans, anyway.) A selection of the best of Warren debuts here—and why not?

And for those who just can’t get enough, there’s Extra Ralph: the remaining bits of the comic book; a couple of alternate takes that were later redrawn; and a few rough sketches from the archives.

If you were there, it’s a real nostalgia trip. If you weren’t, it’s a cracking read anyway. So sit back and enjoy the mystery and mayhem that is... Ralph.

(What? Still want to know more? Then you’d better read the original 1987 blurb from the comic book.)