Thunderbirds Are Go!

There’s a new Thunderbirds show on, and this time it’s done with CGI instead of puppets (a method Gerry Anderson referred to as “Hypermarionation”, though they’ve no doubt dropped that like a bag of hot sick, now that he’s out of the picture. He’s only the British Disney / Tezuka, why show respect for that, eh?). Anyway, to accompany it, there’s also a new comic!


Er, my scanner appears to have turned the bright orange into pink. Didn’t even notice!

I bought it, hoping it would have reprinted Frank Bellamy strips from TV21 (perhaps referred to as “great rescues of the past” – the new Thunderbirds are the children of the old ones, right?), but it doesn’t. It IS mostly comic, though! There’s one long strip, broken up into three parts, and which is also “to be continued”!


Unfortunately, it’s done with the same CGI as the TV show, rather than illustrated art. Now, I’m as innocent as a babe unborn, so on first glance, I thought “oh, cool, DC Thomson have been given access to the same models and software used in the show, so they can pose them in new ways, in original settings, to make up exciting new stories. That’s far better than just stitching a limited batch of pre-made production stills together”.

Silly me, eh?

I then noticed that the master villain from the old series, The Hood, is introduced in this first story’s cliffhanger. “Oh cool” I thought. “They’re bringing back an old character in the comic story, thus making big steps in the overall plot in both the comic and TV versions, rather than treating the comic as a bit of knocked-out merchandising. Still, it’s strange that they’re putting such a major character in the comic version, when, in the 60’s, he mainly showed up in the TV version, and…”



Yes, the comic stories are just screencapped adaptions of the TV episodes, and therefore TOTALLY WORTHLESS AND POINTLESS. It’s like they’ve not even heard of video recorders, let alone anything else that’s been invented since then. The adaptions aren’t even any good, just look at this:

ntb_04 – ntb_06

Never mind, eh? It’s only for kids.

75% of the issue is taken up by these worthless “repeats”, and the intervening feature pages are, well, exactly what you’d expect from a current British comic.

ntb_05 – ntb_02

Never mind, eh? It’s only for kids.

Wow, a futuristic rocket plane in the, er, 2080’s (the original Thunderbirds was set 100 years in the future, in the 2060’s) has an auto pilot! And Brains (who is now Indian, because an Indian is always the scientist in these things. Well they can’t use a Japanese, Chinese or Korean, can they? That’d be a stereotype! Not that I’m being a critical theorist, I’ve seen a documentary where they went to an Indian secondary school, and the girls were all saying they wanted to be scientists or doctors.) has managed to invent a method that allows it to travel anywhere in the world… though I think the Wright Brothers got there a little ahead of him.

I wonder how much DC Thomson paid for the licence to use Thunderbirds? And then they crank out this rubbish. A couple of work experience lads could throw this together in an afternoon. They’ve even had the audacity to make it a monthly, no doubt to avoid the risk of running out of episodes to adapt before a new series starts. Imagine having to pay somebody to come up with a new plot! There is, I must grudgingly admit, some brand new, illustrated comic material in there. Here’s a whole third of it:


One of the others had “Thunderbirds are glow!” as the punchline… just in case you think I picked out the worst one.

I would like to remind everybody that Britain is a G8 nation and the works of Gerry Anderson are popular all over the world. And THIS is what our comic “industry” (partly from apathy, and partly hamstrung by the WH Smith / Tesco “these ‘magazines’ must come with a toy” monopoly) is turning out. Look down a couple of entries. See that? See what NORTH KOREA is producing? Why are their comics better than ours? Where’s the bosses of DCT, Smith’s and Tesco? Would they like to explain why NORTH KOREA is producing better comics than a country with a GDP in the trillions?