|What a boring cover. Copyright relevant owner|
I recently purchased the last issue of the first series of a comic which had started its publishing life as TV Century 21 and ended its second series as just TV21. Not that I needed it, as, truth to tell, I have every ish of the celebrated periodical on data disc (for easy access to images for the blog, rather than having to dig out individual issues), but I also own numerous original numbers of its various formats, including the first full year's worth, when it was still a title to be reckoned with. However, with the passing of time, how the mighty fell - and then some!
The last issue (242) is pretty dire, to say nothing of dull, as it no longer contained as many colour strip pages as in its heyday. (Only Thunderbirds is in colour [2 pages], other colour pages being used for features and ads.) When artists of the calibre of Mike Noble, Ron Embleton, Eric Eden, and Richard Jennings were drawing full-colour strips for the comic in its early days, it was hard to beat and had real impact, but with their departure, it went into decline. True, Frank Bellamy was still drawing Thunderbirds right up to the end, but though his art remained competent and professional, it was now uninspired and wasn't enough on its own to maintain the comic's popularity (in my humble opinion).
I've seen it stated that TV21 eventually 'lost' the rights to do strips based on Anderson shows (which suggests that permission was withdrawn from them), but that's probably just a shorthand way of saying that it relinquished the license as, with the waning interest in Gerry and Sylvia's TV shows, the publishers (now IPC instead of City Magazines) simply thought it no longer warranted the expense of paying for something that failed to attract readers in large enough numbers to make it worthwhile. This would perhaps explain why the disappearance of GA strips in the comic was a gradual and not a sudden one.
|Never has Captain Scarlet looked so dull - bring back Embleton or Noble|
It had started with a bang, but finished with nary a whimper. A sad end to a once-fine comic, but the 'real' TV21 had died long before its final issue went on sale. Just look at the unimpressive headline font and underwhelming photo-illustration on the cover. Pretty disappointing, eh? Comments welcome.
Incidentally, despite what I said in the first paragraph, these pages are scanned from my newly acquired issue of the comic, not sourced from my data disc. (Can't remember where it is for the moment.)
|At least it's in colour, but it's hardly Bellamy's best work|