Monday 16 July 2012


Copyright relevant owners

An interesting but short-lived monthly comic hit Britain's newsagents' shelves and spinner-racks back in 1986 - T.H.U.N.D.E.R. ACTION.  Short-lived in that it only lasted four issues; interesting because, along with newly originated material, it contained what seems to be unauthorised reprints of WALLY WOOD's '60s secret, super-powered T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS.

Unauthorised?  I suspect so, primarily because the pages were laser-scanned from what appears to be original TOWER COMICS issues.  Also, there's no copyright acknowledgement to whoever was then the current owners of the material, the only copyright reference being to U.K. publishers, SAVOY SERVICES Ltd.  (The comic was apparently a 'ROCK PHOTO PUBLICATION '.)

The first issue had a mix of full colour and black and white content, which didn't affect the new material as it had been created for b&w reproduction.  However, in the case of the U.S. reprints, the monochrome pages were 'muddy' and the colour ones looked washed out.  With the exception of the occasional pin-up page, the rest of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. material was presented in a landscape format, akin to the MARVEL UK comics of the '70s, The TITANS and SUPER SPIDER-MAN & The SUPERHEROES.

With issue #2 the magazine went all-colour, which was a vast improvement, particularly in the case of the U.K. originated stories.  (JONATHAN SHATTER, plus new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. tales.)  The U.S. reprints though, continued to suffer from less than perfect reproduction, hardly surprising given their source.  The fourth issue proved to be the final one, although the cause of its sudden demise remains unclear.  Perhaps it simply didn't sell enough copies to warrant continued publication, or the lawful copyright owners of the Tower Comics adventures threatened legal action against Savoy Services Ltd.  We may never know.

Whatever the reason, these four issues make an interesting addition to the saga of The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS!  If you're a completist, you may want to hunt them down on eBay - I imagine they wouldn't be terribly expensive to acquire for your collection.

Unfortunately, the captions and speech balloons for the new strips were typeset, which seldom lends itself to a satisfactory look - especially in action-adventure stories.  They badly needed hand-lettering, and when it comes to badly hand-lettering strips, no one beats me.  (Er, hang on a minute - that didn't come out right.  Oh well - you know what I mean.)

So, there you have it - a whistle-stop tour of a 'blink-and-you'll-miss- it' comics mag from over a quarter of a century ago.  If there's enough demand (and even if there isn't), I may one day share some more of the contents with you all as a special treat.  And if you have any information pertaining to this short-lived series of comics from so long ago, feel free to divulge it in the comments section and spread some enlightenment to your fellow bloggers.  There's no point in keeping it all to yourself.

As you can see, issue #4 carried a 'PG' rating.  Perhaps that had something to do with the mag's cancellation, as such an advisory may have resulted in it being placed on higher shelves, out of sight of potential purchasers.  (If customers can't see it, they can't buy it, can they?)  Having said that though, in my experience, newsagents seldom pay the slightest bit of notice to what it says on the covers of comics, automatically assuming that all such publications are for children.  

Oh, all right then - if you'd like to read those new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. tales in their entirety then just click right here.  Be seeing you.


Click on images to enlarge, click again for optimum size.


baab said...

It looks absolutely terrible.
The cover design is so bad and that character , have I forgotten his name already,John Shatter?
Shat who?

Fair enough on the thunder agents and allowing youngsters the opportunity to see Wally Woods work.

I was totally unaware of this publication and no wonder.

I bet there is a fanbase somewhere.

Kid said...

Highly collectable - a million quid and they're yours.

(No? I wonder if 'Skip' would be interested?)

baab said...

need to explain that one to me-right over my head!

and they arent really worth a great deal are they?


Kid said...

I would imagine they're worth no more than a pound or two - if even that. Although that doesn't stop ebayers asking £15 for comics worth no more than a few quid.

Skip? Don't worry - The Shadow knows.

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