Sunday, February 25, 2018

This week in 1968: TV21 No.163

To take our minds off the oncoming snow storm, let's go back to 1968 to see which issue of TV21 was out exactly 50 years ago this week. It was issue 163, and by this time the newspaper-style covers had been replaced with comic strip and Captain Scarlet dominated the comic.

The Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons TV series had debuted on TV a few months earlier so it made sense to make him the star of TV21. It was easier than producing a spin-off Captain Scarlet comic and it gave TV21 a boost. I do wonder though if revamping the comic so much was counter-productive to sales? I presume they must have been sliding anyway, so it was worth a shot.

What's notable about comics of the 1960s is how lively they were; full of movement and action, and no one did it better than Mike Noble...


The newspaper-style cover that TV21 had for its first 154 issues was now an interior feature as TV21 Stop Press. Perhaps for the best, with alarmist headlines like this. Ha! 
The centre pages featured Frank Bellamy's stunning work on Thunderbirds, and this was the week where this memorable panel of the Hood first appeared...

Full colour printing was still a luxury for most British comics in the 1960s. Adventure comics such as Valiant and Victor only carried one or two pages of full colour for example and were printed on newsprint. TV21 had top class glossy photogravure printing, allowing for painted artwork (as opposed to the flat colours of Lion or Buster). Artist Jim Watson used it to its best advantage with his vibrant colour work on Zero X. (Incidentally, the cliffhanger of this episode must be one of the strangest ever!)


There you have it. Just a few pages from this issue of TV21 from this week in 1968 (or 2068 as they preferred). Don't forget that you can click on the images to see them much larger to study the artwork. 

Snow's a'comin'. Wishing you all a safe week!

6 comments:

James Spiring said...

Correctly predicting the future? The Channel Tunnel hadn't been built yet in 1968.

Unknown said...

Those flying cows have got me hooked! Off to the roof space to hopefully dig out the next issue.

Ken

Lew Stringer said...

True, James, but there had been talk about a Channel Tunnel for years before construction took place.

SID said...

The 1960s were a great time for comics. I would have loved to have got comics like TV21 but I was just too young to appreciate them at the time. :(

Lew Stringer said...

TV21 was incredible for its first few years (1965 to 1968), and then it declined a bit towards the end of its first series. The new series that began when it was relaunched as TV21 and Joe 90 in 1969 had some good art but it was a far cry from its original version, and got worse as it went on.

So basically, if you buy back issues, the best ones are from 1965/66/67 really.

Colin Brown said...

Lovely stuff Lee. Or Sid could get those great TV21 compilations.

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