Sunday 22 December 2013

Thunderbirds —The Comic Collection

Thunderbirds —The Comic Collection by Gerry Anderson (Egmont)
ISBN 978 1 4052 6836 3
HB $39.95 RRP
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This collection of classic comics is presented in a beautiful hardback edition, containing 288 pages of quality original artworks. A brief introduction explains the history of this popular futuristic British series from the 60s and 70s. The TV Century 21 (TV21) series cartoons are in chronological order, beginning with The Earthquake Maker and finishing with the Lady Penelope comics. All are set in the 2060s, one hundred years in the future from when they were written.

Thunderbirds were created in Britain by Gerry Anderson in 1964. They were a popular TV series with spin-off toys from the show. The first edition of Thunderbirds comics came out in January 1965 and quickly became quite influential and a best seller for boys. The final issue of TV21 came out in 1969, but in the 1990s more Thunderbird comics were published when there was renewed interest in the TV series.

This book provides hours of entertainment for comic lovers. The detail in the pictures is faithfully reproduced in imaginative colours, tones and textures. Several comic strip artists' work is reproduced, most notably Frank Bellamy in the earlier comics. Other artists include Graham Bleathman and in the later editions, John Cooper, Eric Eden and Frank Hampson. Also included in this edition are labeled cross-sections of the Thunderbird rocket ships 1,2,3 and 4 and 5, Tracy Island and Lady Penelope's Car — Fab 1.
It will be interesting to see how these comics appeal to the kids of 2013. In the 1960s there was great excitement about space travel and the future. Do we feel the same way forty years later? Or can this book help re-create inspiration for reaching out to the stars? Maybe this would be a good thing.

This is a book that many parents will enjoy looking back on. It also provides an opportunity for older children and teenagers (particularly boys) who are into comics, to discover something a bit different. There is so much to see in this collection, and the adventures can be read over and over again. 5,4,3,2,1 ... Thunderbirds are go!

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