The Gerry Anderson Comic Collection (graphic novel).

November 18, 2014 | By | Reply More

Looking at the cover of ‘The Gerry Anderson Comic Collection’ and its quick to surmise that it contains a variety of stories from ‘TV21’, ‘Lady Penelope and ‘Joe 90 Special Agent’ comics.


What is significant from the ‘Lady Penelope’ comic is one story that I haven’t seen reprinted before, explaining how Marina and her father, Aphony, can no longer speak. It isn’t because they were born dumb but all to do with the tyrant Titan. That’s the big bad from under the sea. I hope another volume goes on to the next story where Marina is a slave to Titan and how she’s rescued by a certain WASP captain.

There is also the origin of how the Angels, the ace lady pilots that work from Spectrum’s Cloudbase in ‘Captain Scarlet’ were brought together. There are also two stories of ‘Joe 90’ from his own comic. At this rate, can ‘Countdown’ be far behind?

The two Eric Eden illustrated stories of ‘Lady Penelope’ that I haven’t seen for a long, long time were from ‘TV21’ though. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ (originally 10 April 2065-22 May 2065) is a real espionage story with Penny and Parker penetrating Beresnik to rescue a rocket scientist. You’ll never trust a pair of boots ever again. The second is ‘Steelman Strikes Back’ (originally 05 June 2065-11 September 2065), a sequel to her first story, revealing the original robot’s creator and his sinister plan. I always thought it a strong story and finally being able to read it again after so many years is a real treat. A major aspect of all the main ‘TV21’ stories is that the creators didn’t write down to children but treated us at the time as young adults and gave us that respect with a lot of the stories.

Uniquely, we also get the second, ‘The Vengence Of Saharis’ (originally 27 February 2066-24 April 2066) and third, ‘Electrode 909’ (originally 15 January 2066-02 April 2066) stories of ‘Fireball XL5’ which I haven’t seen since the 60s plus the frequently reprinted ‘The Giant Ant Invasion’ (originally 24 July 2065-06 September 2065) which appears a little latter. The reason for them being collected is that they share the same villains so you can now see it in perspective. All ‘XL5’ art is by Mike Nobel and looking at the art again now, shows how he became a fan favourite. If Egmont does do separate volumes for each of this selection next year, I really wish they’d also include Graham Coton’s first story which has never been reprinted but is mentioned in the text by Sam Denham. I’d forgotten just how good ‘Electrode 909’ was and is truly far superior than we deserved back in the 1960s when XL5 literally gets trashed.

The Ron Embleton painted ‘Stingray’ stories ‘The Flying Fish Mystery’ (originally 29 January 2065-19 February 2065), ‘The Medallion Mystery’ (originally 26 February 2065-19 March 2065) and ‘The Monster Weed’ (originally 26 March-28 May 2065) have been in print before but are still awe-inspiring. Looking at them again now, you can see its creators thinking we can do things that they couldn’t do on TV and add a lot more realism in the effect. Embleton’s Sea Leopard was and is still truly inspiring aircraft carrier, especially the concealed runways for its aircraft.

Apart from one tale, ‘Jungle Adventure’, the ‘Thunderbirds’, its other two stories, ‘Danger In Deep’ (originally 16 August 2069-06 September 2069) and ‘Seeking Disaster’ (originally 27 September 2069-18 October 2069) are a couple I haven’t seen for a long time. The last of these stories was also the final one drawn by Frank Bellamy. Looking at all these stories together and as much as I admire Bellamy’s drawn and inked work, they are an odd contrast to Mike Noble and the Embleton brothers who truly did beautiful painted dimensional work. The stars of ‘Thunderbirds’ were their machines and unfortunately the Tracy family had secondary consideration to these when they could have been fleshed out better.

One only has to look at the ‘Zero-X’ comicstrip where the crew from the film ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ who barely had any characterisation had so much more depth here by Mike Noble. Despite Egmont publishers not noticing that they can’t spell ‘Zero’ as ‘Xero’ in the borders, we have their ‘Return To The Red Planet’ (originally 21 January 2067-18 February 2067) which should give the plot away and ‘Prisoners Of The Star’ (originally 25 February 2067-13 May 2067) which turns an escaped murderer story on its end with an alien invasion. Both stories would have worked irrespective of the Anderson connection.

The ‘Captain Scarlet’ stories are a mixture of colour and black and white art but that was the nature by that time with ‘TV21’. Again, I haven’t seen ‘Destroy Earth Comms’ (originally started 06 January 1968 as they moved the dates to contemporary time) and ‘Secret Mission’ (originally 27 January 1968-10 February 1968) and the more famous ‘Blue Mysteronised’ (originally 17 February 1968-02 March 2068) where Captain Blue is mysteronised is a real stalker for a long time.

As you should tell from my enthusiasm these aren’t reprints we’ve had time and again, this book includes ones that haven’t been done in a long while. Buy the book and praise Egmont. They might even be encouraged to print more and even as separate volumes as they’ve done with ‘Thunderbirds’ this year. I’m being spoilt. Hide this book from your sprogs and have some real pleasure reliving your past. British comicstrip art was never as good as this again.

GF Willmetts

November 2014

(pub: Egmont. 287 page graphic novel large hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4052-7266-7)

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Category: Books, Comics, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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