Monday, 21 October 2013

Frank Bellamy and THUNDERBIRDS The Comic Collection

Some stories are reprinted over and over. Some stories are not often reprinted in any form!Some get skipped in the run!

Egmont's Thunderbirds the comic collection

Although the news of this publication came out of the blue a few months ago, it was a pleasure to finally see a copy. I have updated the website with the listing of these reprints from TV21. While I was doing it I noticed how the run of reprinted stories skips some stories.

  • TV CENTURY 21 141 - 146 "The Earthquake Maker"
  • TV CENTURY 21 147 - 154 "Visitor from space"
  • TV CENTURY 21 155 - 161 "The Antarctic menace"
  • TV CENTURY 21 162 - 169 "Brains is Dead"
  • TV CENTURY 21 170 - 172 "Space cannon"
  • TV CENTURY 21 173 - 178 "The Olympic plot"
  • TV CENTURY 21 179 - 183 "The Barracuda awaits"
  • TV CENTURY 21 184 - 187 "Devil's crag"
  • TV CENTURY 21 188 - 191 "Eiffel Tower demolition"
  • TV CENTURY 21 192 - 196 "Nuclear threat"
  • TV CENTURY 21 197 - 202 "Hawaiian lobster menace"
  • TV CENTURY 21 203 - 208 "The Time machine"
  • TV CENTURY 21 209 - 217 "Zoo Ship"
  • TV CENTURY 21 218 - 226 "City of doom"
  • TV CENTURY 21 227 - 234 "Chain reaction"
  • TV CENTURY 21 235 - 238 The Amazon Fire Pit
  • TV CENTURY 21 239 - 242 Subsmash Rescue
  • TV 21 & Joe 90 1-4 Volcano Oil Search
First of all we start with a reprint from TV21 #141 and I suspect this is because this was the first issue in which Bellamy no longer had the double page spread (because some guy called Ron Embleton started illustrating something called "Captain Scarlet"!) and therefore these strips are easier to reprint being two single pages - no problem with the gutter between pages.

The Zoo Ship

After this first story, we follow the published order from TV21, until issue 178's ending of the story "The Olympic Plot". We skip #179-183 (a story variously known as "The Jupiter Revolt", or in Thunderbirds Holiday Special [1993] as "Mission to Moonbase"  or "The Barracuda awaits"  in  Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson: Menace from Space by Chris Bentley (2012)) and go onto "The Devil's Crag from issues 184-187. We then carry on from #188-202.

It's then that we carry on into un-reprinted territory...well, sort of....

Devil's Crag

In issue 203 (7 Dec 2068) we get "The Time Machine" which has only been reprinted (to my knowledge - and please correct me) in the reprint title of the 1990s Thunderbirds (issues #27-32 [Parts 1 in # 27, 2 in #28, 3 in #29, 4 in #30, 5 in #31, 6 in #32]) to be far too exact. "The Time Machine" ran in TV21 until  #208 (11 Jan 2069) and this volume from Egmont carries on into unreprinted territory (except in that 90s comic Thunderbirds!). We see issues 209 through to 226 of TV21 and then we move onto John Cooper's artwork from the second series TV21 & Joe 90 with two stories "The Big Bang" and "The Mini-Moon" before reprinting the excellent Lady Penelope. As a 8 year old I loved these stories drawn by Eric Eden - especially the one about the Isle of Arran riddle.

The one mistake I have found in this reprint is that Bellamy is wrongly credited on the contents page with illustrating "The Isle of Arran" which is drawn by Eric Eden (pp250 - 267). But this is a minor criticism

For Dan Dare fans I should mention Frank Hampson's outing with Lady P is reprinted here too. The art is not as crisply reprinted as I'd like, but the whole book looks to be taken from reprinted material and not original scans that's not too surprising. Before I close this long ramble of factual material I should also give credit to Graham Bleathman's cutaway art of the Thunderbirds as well as Tracy Island, FAB1, Creighton-Ward stately home. All in all a fantastic book to own especially if, like me, you're always grabbing the Ravette paperbacks or Bentley and Marcus Hearn's series of reprints and getting frustrated that you have to jump around the volumes so much. This book will be in easy reach so when I search for stories I can find them quickly.

The funky wallpaper, sorry endpapers

Oh and I think I ought to mention the beautiful endpapers which would have made an 8 year old Norman some fine wallpaper back in the day!

Brains is dead

Christmas is coming so get this on your wishlist, the ISBN for Thunderbirds Comic Collection is 9781405268363

Where to now Egmont? Well they have also released some interesting boxes of postcards, follow the links for more information.I enjoyed seeing the Thunderbirds: 100 F.A.B. Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection) full of photos and screen grabs. The others in this series are 70s Girls Comics: 100 Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection) and Battle: 100 Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection)

Other's opinions
Lew Stringer review
Win Wiacek review
John Freeman's review on Downthetubes
Steve Holland's review
Forbidden Planet's review 

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