Saturday, 17 May 2014


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TOWER COMICS' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS was an interesting experiment, but one, ultimately, that didn't quite work.  Forget for a moment the rosy glow of nostalgia in which people fondly recall these comicbooks of the 1960s - looking at them today, they somehow just don't completely cut the mustard.

True, there's some great artwork from WALLY WOOD and STEVE DITKO (amongst others), but Wood often used assistants, and despite the classic inking style that he applied to these strips, the figures were - even when supposedly in motion - oft-times stiff, stilted and static rather than in fluid state of movement.

The dialogue was likewise nothing to write home about.  Despite modern-day claims by fans of the series about 'characterization' not found in other comics of the day (apart from MARVEL), any attempts at characterization were superficial and perfunctory, and the dialogue served merely to move the plots along without imparting any great insight into the motivations or personalities of the characters themselves.

However, the mags do have an indefinable 'magic', despite sometimes coming across as second-rate Marvel knock-offs, and full marks to DC COMICS for releasing a six volume series of deluxe, hardback reprints from 2002 - 2005.  A seventh volume containing all five issues of DELUXE COMICS' 1980s revival was released in 2011, six years after the previous volume and obviously as an afterthought - or an attempt to make some bucks from the material before DC passed copyright of all T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents strips over to IDW.

Unfortunately, the seventh book in the series lacks the combination gloss-matt dustjacket finish, and the strips seem to have been scanned from the published comics rather than printed from proper proofs;  also, instead of the matt paper utilized in the earlier editions, a glossy paper has been used, highlighting (in my estimation) the slightly less than perfect reproduction.  The paper is also thinner, resulting in the book appearing less substantial than its predecessors, despite having an approximately similar page count.

IDW are currently issuing their own softcover editions of these classic strips, with nicely painted covers based on Wood's originals, but I think that the DC Comics printings pip them to the post.  Therefore, I thought I'd present the front and back covers for all of you Criv-ites to enjoy.  So what are you waiting for?  Start enjoying!

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