As with Solo (covered in the previous blog post) TV Tornado was a comic launched by City Magazines after the successes they'd had with TV Century 21 and Lady Penelope weeklies. Unfortunately it never reached the heights of popularity of those two comics, although it did manage to run for 88 weeks.
TV Tornado was a bit... odd. Take a look at the cover to issue 1 above for example. Various redrawn images of popular characters but the composition is quite bizarre, with Tarzan apparently threatening Batman and Robin much to the amusement of Hoss from Bonanza and the nonchalance of Superman. Even as a 7 year old I thought this was a strange cover, and I'm sure most readers would have preferred a more heroic illustration of Batman rather than the peculiarly cowering one that was used.
Inside, the editorial by 'Ed Storm' tells us that TV Tornado is a "bumper bundle of thrills" featuring comic strips and text stories. It neglects to mention that The Phantom isn't actually a TV show, but perhaps he came as part of the King Features deal to use Flash Gordon. (Flash wasn't a TV series either at that stage but kids were familiar with him due to the 1930s chapter serials still being screened at Saturday morning matinees at ABC cinemas.)
Everything about TV Tornado screamed low budget, from its one colour page (the front cover) to its use of prose stories and U.S. newspaper strips. It does have some interest for collectors though. Here's a three page Batman text story from issue 1...
There were also text stories for The Man from UNCLE and Superman...
Curiously, Batman and Superman were only in the first few issues. The next issue I have is issue 10, by which time they'd been replaced by The Green Hornet and Magnus, Robot Fighter. The latter was a popular American comic published by Gold Key but the strip in TV Tornado appears to be new.
TV Tornado also carried a new humour strip, - Dan Dan the TV Man by Denis Gifford...
With issue 37, the comic became TV Tornado and Solo, absorbing its ill-fated companion comic.
By this time, The Saint was starring in the comic, based on the hugely popular Roger Moore TV show.
A new addition to the merged title was The Mysterons, in order to cash in on the Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons TV series which debuted on ITV that week. The first episode of this strip had appeared in the final issue of Solo the week before (see my previous post). Despite being drawn by Don Harley, one of the top artists of the day, The Mysterons was a strange concept for a strip. In the TV series, we only see the Mysterons as copies of the humans or vehicles they've destroyed, created by twin circular beams of light. The comic strip took the imagery literally, initially showing the Mysterons as beings of hooped light, then changing them into physical hexagonal beings! The idea behind the stories seems to be to emulate the style of The Daleks strip from TV21, but it really struggles to work and I can't imagine many readers really connecting with it.
The editor of TV Tornado was someone who'll be very familiar to many; Mick Anglo, creator of Marvelman. He also illustrated some of the material for TV Tornado, including the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea strip and some covers I believe.
TV Tornado lasted for 88 issues, and merged into TV21 in September 1968.