Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Fifty years ago today - September 1965.

It's time for me to once more barge my way past the collapsible palm trees on my front driveway and fire myself into the air through my retractable swimming pool - because there's only one way I could possibly launch today's post and that's by declaring Thunderbirds to be so very much go.

That's right. What was arguably Gerry Anderson's greatest ever show made its debut in this month of 1965 and the world would never be the same again.

How we gasped as more Tracys than you could shake a stick at repeatedly saved us from a string of gigantic machines that always seemed to have just one fatal and disastrous flaw in their design.

Why, in comparison to such magic, surely even the adventures of our favourite Marvel heroes must have seemed pale in comparison that month.

Or must they?

The Avengers #20, the Swordsman

Captain America could certainly do with a hand from International Rescue, as the Swordsman decides that, when you have a sword in your hand, the best way to kill people is to throw them off a building.

Fantastic Four #42

It's certainly not F.A.B. for the Fantastic Four either, as the Thing's in one of his now-traditional evil phases.

Journey Into Mystery #120, Thor

I detect that the Absorbing Man may feature in this story.

This is a good thing, as he's always been one of my favourite Thor villains and many a time have I wished to absorb the power of everything I touch.

Amazing Spider-Man #28, the Molten Man

The Molten Man makes his sizzling debut in his fireproof underpants.

I do always feel it was very prescient of him to think to buy fireproof underpants before conducting the experiment that accidentally turned him into a walking inferno.

Isn't this the issue where J Jonah Jameson keeps calling Liz Allen, "Miss Brant," for some reason?

Strange Tales #136, Nick Fury, agent of SHIELD

Poor old Dr Strange. After years of playing second fiddle to the Thing and Human Torch, now he has to play second fiddle to SHIELD.

Tales of Suspense #69, Iron Man vs Titanium Man

The second greatest villain ever to feature in the title of a Wings song makes his first appearance.

This is a good thing, as the Titanium Man has always been one of my favourite Iron Man villains and many a time have I desired the power to be encased in titanium.

Tales To Astonish #71, the Sub-Mariner

If I remember rightly, Subby finds himself up against some sort of seaweed monster.

This is a good thing, as seaweed has always been one of my favourite underwater menaces and many a time have I longed to possess the power of that substance.

X-Men #13, the Juggernaut

The Juggernaut's still up to no good.

This is a good thing, as the Juggernaut has long been one of my favourite X-Men villains and many a time have I longed for the power to be an unstoppable force.

From all this, I can only conclude that when I have the ability to absorb the power of everything I touch, am encased in titanium, have the power of seaweed and am an unstoppable force that no brick wall can stop, then at last shall I be content in life.


Colin Jones said...

Thunderbirds may be Gerry Anderson's greatest ever show but my favourite is the first season of Space: 1999 - definitely not the awful second season though. As for his puppet shows - it's Joe 90 that I remember watching as a little kid, I didn't see any Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet episodes till the 1990's and the Thunderbirds episodes were far too long in my opinion.

TC said...

I didn't start reading "serious" superhero comics until mid-1966, so these were a little before my time. I remember that Avengers story (the Kooky Quartet vs. the Swordsman), not from the comic, but from the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon on TV. I also read it years later in a Marvel Triple Action reprint.

In 1965, the big fad for spies and secret agents was underway, so Marvel was playing up Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of Dr. Strange. That was the same year that Tower Comics started publishing T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. In the movies, James Bond was fighting S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and the Man From U.N.C.L.E. was fighting T.H.R.U.S.H.

The Gerry Anderson shows were mostly syndicated in the US (except for Fireball XL5, which was shown on a nation-wide network), so their distribution was spotty. I remember XL5, Supercar, Stingray, and Captain Scarlet from the 1960's, and UFO and 1999 from the 1970's, but never saw Joe 90 at all, and didn't see Thunderbirds until it was rerun in the 1990's. Those reruns were shown in a half-hour time slot, but didn't look as if they were missing anything, even though they must have been drastically cut. I did read somewhere (probably Kid Robson's blog) that Thunderbirds was planned as a half-hour show, but the episodes were padded to fill a one-hour (including commercials) slot, so that might explain it.

Steve W. said...

Thunderbirds episodes were indeed far longer than they strictly needed to be. Probably the greatest examples of that are the two movies, which are so slow-moving that they too could probably be got down to thirty minutes as well if they cut out all the padding. I think the opening sequence of Thunderbird 6 lasts twenty minutes and it's basically just a plane taking off.

Doug said...

One of my favorite issues of the early Avengers, Steve! For years I either had #19 or the Marvel Triple Action reprint of 19 (I really do think I had a worn copy of the original) and never knew what happened to Cap when the Swordsman allegedly pushed him off the beam at the construction site! "To Be Continued" indeed! It was a joy years later to be able to see how everything turned out.

Several fun books on this list. Those were the days, as they say.


John Pitt said...

Had all of these bar JIM, FF & TOS, but not necessarily 49 years ago, as some comics would arrive over here out of sequence.
Juggy was one of my favourite X-villains, too, Steve, but as a solo character, as in this debut story. Once be was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, his power seemed very diluted.

Steve W. said...

Doug, I've never read that Avengers tale. I missed the Marvel UK reprint and I've never got round to buying the Essential Avengers Vol 1. One of these days, I shall have to put right that omission.

John, I think the FF issue is the only one I've ever owned, having bought it on eBay a few years back.

Dougie said...

I always liked Ditko's Molten Man although he wasn't exactly molten until Conway, IIRC, made him so.

That Avengers cover marks my earliest encounter with the Kooky Quartet. It was recycled as the cover of one of the two issues of Terrific that were read to me when I was a very small boy.

Anonymous said...

I never saw Thunderbirds as a kid, as by the time my family moved to England they were showing Captain Scarlet on tv. But I had enjoyed the comic version in Countdown (or TV Action, or whatever they were calling it at the time).

Have you ever seen it, Steve? Some pages are posted at
Well worth a look if you're into Gerry Anderson stuff.

Actually, its worth a look even if you aren't, because the artwork was by the phenomenal Frank Bellamy.
Those stories originally appeared in TV21, so interesting to compare with the Marvel comics you're going on about in the post. Nearly contemporary, but such a different approach....


Steve W. said...

Sean, I did have the odd issue of TV Action/Countdown when I was a kid, and also the odd issue of TV21, so I probably encountered the Frank Bellamy Thunderbirds at some point but I must admit to having no memories of the strip. I do vaguely recall TV21's Captain Scarlet strip. I also had an early 1970s Thunderbirds Annual. I don't know if the art in that was by Frank Bellamy or not.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...