UFO Comic Anthology Volume Two (book review).

July 26, 2022 | By | Reply More

The second volume of the ‘UFO Comic Anthology’ is now out, following the adventures of the 1970 Gerry Anderson series with its extended comicbook life, ensuring Straker was given as much action as Foster. The bonus is interviews with two of its artists, Jon Davis and John M. Burns. Interestingly, neither artist was keen on depicting the actors, mostly because their training was to do original art. An added bonus is a look at the Italian cover reproductions.

I own a couple of these photobooks but seeing how good the paintings were makes it also fun recognising which photographs they were based off. There’s also a mention of the 1973 400 card set Figurine Panini produced. About time, too, as I thought everyone had forgotten it. I acquired a set and album back in the late 1980s. Some of the cards compose into a 6 card picture and it part of my decision to glue them in to see the set as it was intended to be seen. It’s also under a hen’s teeth category as I’ve not seen it pop up on the auction website.

The look at the ‘Countdown And TV Action Summer Specials’ reveals that in the first one, the ‘Countdown’ story was repurposed for its use here. Considering that Grant Two was the only human allowed off the spaceship, it does explain that mystery when Felix Four joined him.

Looking at the schematic of Moonbase where the sleep sphere has only 6 bedrooms, you do have to wonder where everyone sleeps. I mean, there’s a minimum of three in the Control Sphere, three interceptor pilots and a selection of technical staff not to mention the higher-ups when they visit occasionally, not to mention what shift system is used. Its problematic just how big Moonbase actually was and looking at the design here should make you think.

The testing of a new prototype of Interceptor called the Vanguard in ‘The Destructive Decoy’ story must be playing tricks on me as I could have sworn that Straker took it for a spin.

In terms of comicbook stories, ‘UFO’ far exceeds the number in the TV series. Looking back at the stories now, its more obvious that the problem of bringing the TV series adult content down to more of a teenage for the time period. The aliens becoming far more the enemy doing far more than grabbing people for transplants and attempting to create a beachhead on Earth. In doing so, we do end up seeing less of the Interceptors and Skydiver with the emphasis on Straker, Freeman and Foster.

What makes this book of historic importance is the articles behind the scenes. Here, there is more emphasis on the Italian, Japanese and American comicbook stories, the latter two going off in their own direction. We do get to see the only American story, set in 1987 when the UFO flap has apparently ceased and SHADO’s funds have been cut back and a rude awakening. Considering there was a hint in the TV series that Straker was expanding SHADO’s world-wide operations and a bigger Moonbase, this appears to be overlooked. If anything, this story is probably the closest to the TV series but it wasn’t really aimed at teens.

Considering how ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Captain Scarlet’ were given CGI makeovers, you would think ‘UFO’ might go the same way in live action. I suspect if it ever did, we might see more activities across the world.

There is a lot to read here and certainly enough to make you think. I only hope they continue and look at the other strips from ‘Countdown’ in the near future.

I’ve spent more time thinking about SHADO operations from this book as the information given extends in many directions so if one aspect doesn’t get you, something else here will surely do. As books of historical interest, both should be in your collection and probably a lot cheaper to get than getting the original comics and specials. I suspect if you a fan of the ‘UFO’, then you’ll be getting it anyway. Launch the interceptors.

GF Willmetts

July 2020

(pub: Anderson Entertainment, 2022. 320 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £36.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-91452-229-1)

check out websites: www.gerryanderson.com www.gerryanderson.com and www.gerryanderson.com and https://shop.gerryanderson.com/collections/books/products/ufo-comic-anthology-volume-1 

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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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