Tuesday, January 12, 2016

50 year flashback: Thunderbirds arrive in TV Century 21

Fifty years ago today, on Wednesday 12th January 1966, the first Thunderbirds comic strip began in TV Century 21 No.52. The comic had been a huge publishing success for a year and this was a fantastic start for its first anniversary. Thunderbirds had been on TV for several months by then of course but only in black and white for UK viewers. Here they were in full colour, illustrated by the great Frank Bellamy. Admittedly, page three was in grey wash but that didn't matter. Thunderbirds had arrived in comic form! 

The strip has been reprinted several times since, in TV Action in the early seventies, in Thunderbirds the Comic in the 1990s, and in Volume 2 of the recent Thunderbirds: The Comic Collection hardback, but here's the original printing from TV21, photographed from my collection. 

10 comments:

Nutty Big D said...

I think the decision to draw the characters with normally proportioned heads was correct, the only thing I was unhappy with was the vertical black 3 on TB3 rather than a sideways white one!

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, I agree about the proportions. The TV21 strips looked much better for it.

As for TB3, I actually prefer Bellsmy's tweak to it. Design wise I think it looks more consistent with the rest of the ship. I must admit I'd never noticed the difference until now.

Britt Reid said...

"Thunderbirds had been on TV for several months by then of course but only in black and white for UK viewers."

Stingray (1964) was broadcast in color (or "colour", as you chaps say) and was the first recorded British tv series to do so.
(Even Doctor Who didn't go to color until the Pertwee episodes in 1970)
In fact, the Stingray opening credits made a big thing of it by beginning in b/w, then transitioning to color as the camera pulled back on the vid screen in Commander Shores' office...
Why wasn't Thunderbirds, which followed a year later (and filmed in color), broadcast in color?

Lew Stringer said...

Stingray wasn't broadcast in colour in the UK at that time. Colour television wasn't introduced to Britain until 1967, although many programmes were made in colour before then to sell to overseas markets such as the USA.

James Spiring said...

And ITV (which aired the Anderson shows) and BBC One didn't go colour until 1969 - that's why Doctor Who wasn't in colour until Pertwee's time.

paddykool said...

I remember buying this as a 13 year old.It seemed huge then and of course Bellamy's colour work was lovely.As for colour TV....well nobody had that for years.Everyone was renting black and white televisions by the month right to the end o the 1960's. in fact i can remember when colour sets came in , black and white sets were two-a -penny .As an art student in Leeds in 1972 , amate and I would buy themfor about £2.oo in the market and rig up a coat hanger as an aerial. Just had a thought.does anyone remember a puppet show called "Four Feather Falls"?. I remember it as being a very early 1960's magical little show....?...i've just checked ..yes , it's on youtube ..take alook .....https://youtu.be/vqLyY4zQOjk

Lew Stringer said...

The earliest Anderson show I saw was Supercar but I've since seen episodes of his earlier work.

I didn't have a colour tv until 1990, when I bought my own house.

Nutty Big D said...

Bellamy also added a thruster to TB3 - there are 4 90 degrees apart instead of 3 separated by 120 degrees - not sure which looks better.

Anonymous said...

Should that not be '...January 1966' not '...65'?

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Anon. I'll change that typo.

Perhaps that was due to lack of reference material, Nutty. He drew three thrusters in later episodes. That first episode is a bit odd because there's obviously a script change to try to explain why Bellamy missed out one of the Tracy brothers in the roundhouse, but it's John who's missing from that panel, not Gordon as stated. Anyway, this blog isn't one for nitpicking so let's enjoy the fantastic artwork.

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