Stand by for action! Courtesy of Marineville's Light Refraction Video Corrector, we bring you this archive listing on the exploits of the WASP vessel Stingray. Aquanaut Thomas Cock reports...
Stingray: TV Century 21, 1965
Stingray was well into its first run on British Television by the time TV Century 21 appeared on the newsstands, and for this reason it was the star strip. TV Century 21 was announced in the trade press as the series premiered on British television, and screenings of an episode were the main feature at launch parties for the comic in December 1964.
Stingray was the second futuristic Anderson series to be made, and with Thunderbirds already well into production, the seeds were sown to bind these futures into a cohesive whole. Unlike other comics, TV Century 21 resembled a glossy newspaper sporting full colour photos to report this new future on a week by week basis, retaining this format proper for its first three years. Stingray Lost! proclaimed the headline of the first issue, over a full colour photo of the eponymous submarine being attacked by a Titan Terror Fish.
It is difficult now, for anyone born after the establishment of colour television, to realise what seeing these marvellous photos would have meant. Until the late 1960s, Stingray, and the later Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, could only be seen in black and white, and it would be well into the 1970s that actually having a colour television would become the norm. While full colour strips had come to the fore with the Eagle in the 1950s, the addition of frames from the TV series to the artwork added a new dimension. And like Eagle, the artwork in TV Century 21 takes a more serious stance instead of trying to mimic the exact appearance of the puppets. Artists went for a realistic look, yet still tried to maintain a visual similarity in facial features if nothing else. While it had been tried once before on Supercar before reverting back, few would argue that the decision to have realism over comic caricatures was the wrong one.
As well as being entertaining, comics of the era usually had to have a degree of educational and informative value. While these tended to be ignored by the large percentage of the readership, TV Century 21 was to first to feature articles and features that were about the science fiction universe the strips were set in. Cutaways diagrams had been a popular factual feature of the Eagle comic in the 1950s, even going so far as to do a couple for ships from Dan Dare, and issue 4 saw the first of what TV Century 21 would almost be as famous for besides top comic art strips - a cutaway schematic of Stingray itself. This would be followed towards the end of the year by a Terror Fish, and become a regular feature of the publication and its annuals. None of the Anderson series prior to this point had enjoyed any features, factual or fictional, and this would mark a turning point, with the first brief biographies of the Stingray characters appearing in the annual for the series later in the year.
Stingray strip guide - part one
Story One (aka The Monster Jellyfish)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton, plus colour photo inserts.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 01, dateline 23 January 2065
Front Page: Stingray Lost! Titan Terror Fish Attacks WASP Vessel
The World is at peace... but the need for warships and strike aircraft still exists...
A mighty warship is on patrol when suddenly the crew spot a giant jellyfish, which is soon towering over them. An hour later back at Marineville, all contact with the vessel has been lost. This is the second carrier in a month, and Commander Shore is determined to find out why and orders Stingray to escort a third for security. While proceeding with these orders, Stingray passes the island of Lemoy as Agent X20 watches on. After relaying the sighting to Titan, a Terror Fish is launched to attack Stingray. As it approaches Phones quickly locates it and Troy dives to destroy it, but while submerged, a huge jellyfish rises next to the unprotected warship...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 02, dateline 30 January 2065
Front Page: Stingray Attacked! Air Search Ordered
The mighty warship is soon under a attack from the jellyfish, which smothers the craft with its tendrils. Dragging her down into deep waters, Stingray can only watch in despair. Before Troy and Phones have a chance to work out what to do next, they suddenly find themselves the victims of a Terror Fish attack fleet. While the fish pose little challenge to Stingray, they succeed in delaying her, and cause Phones to lose track of the warship. As Troy continues to search, another jellyfish suddenly appears. Stingray struggles to outmanoeuvre the creature, but in vain as before long Stingray is captured and out of Troy's control
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 03, dateline 06 February 2065
Front Page: Battle Stations! Hydromic Missiles Prepared For Launching
Completely at the mercy of the creature, Stingray is dragged into a secret base deep under the water. Soon Stingray is in a massive cavern, and all the water drains away allowing Troy and Phones to exit and investigate. It isnt hard to miss the sight of the missing warships also in the giant room. Meanwhile, at Marineville, Stingray is feared lost and Commander Shore feels he has no choice but to order preparations for missiles to be launched at the area. Troy and Phones have located the crew of the other crafts, but they appear to be in a trance and completely unaware of what is happening around them. Suddenly a beam of light shines on them and slowly Troy and Phones become physically paralysed
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 04, dateline 13 February 2065
Flash Panel: Tension Mounts at Marineville
Realising something is wrong, Marina leaves Stingray on a monocopter and heads into the beam of light. As it follows her, Troy and Phones are able to recover. Marina herself is unaffected, Troy theorises, due to her different molecular structure. Titan is aware of what is taking place and, angered, vows to deal with the three later. Safely back in Stingray, Troy prepares for action as the cavern is beginning to fill with water. But a jellyfish appears again and stops Stingray from leaving. Troy and Phones can only look on in horror as the other ships all leave
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 05, dateline 20 February 2065
Front Page: Titan Declares War! Stingray Trapped in Undersea Cavern
On board the mighty warships, the crew are still in a trance and they prepare a full scale attack on Marineville. Back in the cavern Troy and Phones are spoken to by Titan via a massive screen. Titan gloats over the fact that they are his captives and Marineville is about to be attacked. Meanwhile Shore is feeling relieved that the ships have been sighted again, but before long the whole WASP base is ablaze. Despite the knowledge it is their own men attacking them, Shore prepares a full missile launch...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 06, dateline 27 February 2065
Flash Panel: Marineville Bombed
As Marineville comes under a massive attack, Atlanta tries to convince her father wait before firing, hoping the attack is called off. Stingray meanwhile is in the grasps of one of the giant jellyfish, under the control of Titan. But Troy realises that Stingray's missile tubes are lined up with the creatures massive body and, seizing the chance, fires a pair - killing the creature instantly. Now free, Stingray fires at the source of the light beams with the aim of breaking the trance of the warships crew. But as the missile explodes on target the whole cavern begins to disintegrate, threatening to crush Stingray
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 07, dateline 06 March 2065
Front Page: Marineville Waits! No Panic Says Shore
Flash Panel: Where is the Super Sub?
As Troy struggles to keep Stingray in one piece, it appears his plan has worked. Onboard the warships the crew suddenly find themselves back in control, baffled as to what is happening. The attack on Marineville is immediately called off. Shore orders all the crew back for a full investigation. Meanwhile seconds from death, Troy engages Stingray to rate six and managed to avoid the falling rocks. Back at Marineville Troy explains to Shore what has happened. Titan meanwhile curses his failure, and vows to fight back
Action 21 - issues 1 to 6
Stingray The Comic - issues 1 to 4
Stingray - Stand By For Action
Marina appears from nowhere in part three, but does play a role in this story. In later stories during this first year, she is lucky to even appear in a coda!
The news item on the cover of issue 2 describes Submarine Aircraft Carrier S.A.3 as weighing 200,000 tons and having a crew of 17,000! A schematic of the craft would later appear in the ©1966 Stingray annual.
The reports for the front page are by a special TV 21 correpondent at Marineville and, in a couple of these, he indicates Battle Stations takes the buildings sixty feet below ground level.
Issue 4 features a cutaway b/w plan drawing of Stingray itself. According to this, the Chief Information Officer of the WASP is 'Lieutenant-Commander Jargon'. This diagram would later appear - by popular request - and coloured, in the ©1965 TV Century 21 annual.
The cover of issue 5 features an early cameo by Tracy Island, featuring in the background of the photo of Stingray (left) - but it is cropped so tight you could not tell at this point.
The reprints in Action 21 updated the strip to being set in 2088 - with new captions - one hundred years on from its own appearance.
Mach 4 Liner Is Destroyed! (aka Curse of the Crustavons)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?). Artist: Ron Embleton, plus colour photo inserts. Colour centrespread.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 08, dateline 13 March 2065
Front Page: Superjet Shot Down - All Feared Lost!
In an area of South American jungle, strange lobster-like aliens control a large walking machine. As they watch, the supersonic jet Fireflash is flying overhead. Fearing their coastal base is at risk, the aliens fire upon the Fireflash with their entire wrath. The jet is hit and spirals out of control, exploding in a ball of flames. A couple of days later at Marineville, Troy and Phones discuss what has happened. Commander Shore is chairing a meeting about the incident at Washington HQ. It is decided that the WASPs are needed to investigate these creatures, but the alien machine itself is approaching a tribe of Amazonians and prepares to attack!
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 09, dateline 20 March 2065
Front Page: Jungle Terror! Army Clears Way To Lake
Its attack completed, the alien walker returns back to the lake, its work completed for now. At Marineville, Troy and Phones prepare to embark to the Amazon. Stingray is launched, with Marina also on board, and proceeds at full speed to area 29 to rendezvous with an army team. Upon arrival Troy spots the giant US Army walker called the Jungle Cat. After being picked up, Troy and Phones watch events from the control room of the mighty machine. As they move forwards however, the alien walker is emerging from the water...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 10, dateline 27 March 2065
On board the US Army machine Troy spots the alien walker which immediately fires upon them. But the Jungle Cat is very well armoured and sustains no damage. Firing back, they hit the alien walker and completely destroy it. Upon investigating the wreckage Troy realises its amphibious nature, and decides they should wait in hiding for another walker to appear. As night descends, another does indeed appear, and after it returns to the water, Troy and Phones have no choice but to go down after it in Stingray, into the unknown
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 11, dateline 03 April 2065
Front Page: Stingray Hunts Aliens - Terror Machines Followed Into Lake
Stingray dives deeper and deeper, following the alien craft with no end to the journey in sight. Eventually they find a strange city on the ocean bed in the shape of a giant starfish. As Stingray moves in closer, they see a large window through which some sort of conference is taking place. Troy puts on his water gear and swims out for a closer look. Although able to get close and attain a clear view of events, Troy is unable to understand what is being said. Marina swims out to help interpret what is happening, but suddenly an alien notices Troy!
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 12, dateline 10 April 2065
Troy and Marine realise they have been spotted and rush back to Stingray. Before they can reach safety an alien craft emerges and fires. Phones quickly fires back and destroys the alien ship but Marina has been hurt in the exchange. Troy helps Marina back on board, and orders Phones to destroy the entire city with Sting Missiles. Luckily Marina is not badly hurt, but she is unable to explain to Troy what the aliens were speaking of as she cannot speak. Meanwhile at another outpost of the aliens, two creatures realise their base has been destroyed and vow to attack Earth and destroy all her cities
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 13, dateline 17 April 2065
Front Page: Scoop! Fantastic Underwater Shots From Stingray!
Stop Press: Paris Destroyed
The aliens begin to act on their will to fight back, and launch a rocket upon Paris. Back on Stingray, Marina is trying to explain what the creatures were speaking about. Troy soon understands that the alien creatures have another base, and are bringing terror to the world. Stingray heads back to the Amazon, and again makes contact with the Jungle Cat. The aliens meanwhile launch another rocket at Washington
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 14, dateline 24 April 2065
As a missile is fired, the army are able to locate the hidden base of the aliens and under Commander Shore's orders move in to attack. As they approach the base, another rocket is fired. But the Jungle Cat is able to shoot it down before it reaches its target. Before the aliens have a chance to fire again, the Jungle Cat fires upon the base with all of its power. The area is soon ablaze, and the aliens defeated. Troy heads back to Marineville to celebrate, and learns the rocket bound for Washington was intercepted. Atlanta is alone on the beach painting, unaware Agent X20 is watching her from the Isle of Lemoy
Action 21 - issues 7 to 10 (parts 1 to 5 only)
Stingray The Comic - issues 1 to 4
Stingray - Stand By For Action
Photos from the as yet unseen Thunderbirds raise this story up a notch, with the Fireflash and Sidewinder (here called a Jungle Cat) making appearances as inserts in the strip itself, and on the front covers of issues 8 and 9.
Part 5 marks the first appearance of one of the puppets in one of the photo inserts, in this case Marina swimming, whereas all previous ones had been of had been of craft or buildings.
Part 6 sees the change to a new masthead with a more dynamic artwork rendition of Stingray.
The cliff-hanger to part 7 is resolved in the next story, helping to maintain continuity throughout these early strips.
The alien's headquarters, referred to as the Crustavon Star City (also shown in photo inserts) is the Solarstar city from the episode 'The Big Gun'.
Film frames from the episode, showing the Solarstar city being destroyed, appear on the cover of issue 13.
News on the cover of issue 8 refers to the Fireflash lost being an Air Terrainean Mach 4, and rescue parties mentioned in part 1 of the strip travelled from Nova Iorque and Couta Magalhaes. The last airplane lost by the company was in April 2054 - a Concorde Mark IX which blew up over the Antarctic on a Sydney-Buenos Aires flight, ending 74 years of Concord (sic) design aircraft.
The cover of issue 9 refers to the inland lake being at San Juan.
Titan Strikes! (aka Atlanta Kidnap Affair)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton, plus colour photo inserts.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 15, dateline 01 May 2065
Front Page: Battle In Space - Interplanetary War Scare!
Agent X20 activates the mechanism that transforms his House of Lemoy into a secret base to communicate with Titan. Titan orders X20 to kidnap Atlanta, and use her as bait in order to capture Troy Tempest. Meanwhile Stingray has returned from Brazil, and after finishing their report, the crew greet Commander Shore. Troy and Phones decide to go and see Atlanta, assuming she is at home. But when they arrive they get no answer, so conclude she must be at the beach. But before Troy can reach her, X20 has arrived in his sub and is closing in on Atlanta...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 16, dateline 08 May 2065
Front Page: Atlanta Kidnapped! Wasp Beauty Snatched By Titan
X20 takes Atlanta at gun point back to his submarine unnoticed. Troy and Phones drive to the beach and find Atlantas abandoned belongings. A quick search reveals a line of tracks, leaving Troy to conclude Atlanta has been kidnapped. Meanwhile Shore has heard from Titan, who now has his daughter. Shore orders Stingray to head to Titanica, but to watch their movements every step of the way. Atlanta is standing before Titan, who orders her to be taken to the island to act as bait for Troy, and after he has been captured, she too will be killed. Leaving on a Terror Fish, Atlanta is taken away
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 17, dateline 15 May 2065
As Stingray approaches Titanica, Troy decides to leave the craft and try to head there on his own, feeling it to be quicker. Against Phones advice, Troy dons his water gear and starts swimming out. Soon two aquaphibians catch sight of him and fire. Troy is hit and begins to sink to the ocean floor. When he awakes he finds himself staring at the evil Titan. The ruler declares Tempest is to die and orders him to be taken to the island for execution. Troy is soon placed onboard a Terror Fish which departs Titanica, but Phones doesnt know Troy is onboard it and prepares to fire...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 18, dateline 22 May 2065
Front Page: Tempest Awarded V.M. - President Honours W.A.S.P.s
As Phones closes in for the kill, the aquaphibians realise what is happening and force Troy to signal Stingray. Troy explains the situation, leaving Phones no choice but to follow at a distance. But the Terror Fish crew seize the opportunity and fire upon Stingray. Hitting her full blast, Stingray slowly falls to the ocean bed, and the Terror Fish continues to its destination. A short while later the vessel arrives at a small island and Troy is thrown onto a coral bank on the edge of a lagoon with the island at the centre. Dazed and confused, Troy looks around and sees Atlanta tied down to wooden spikes in the ground on the central island
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 19, dateline 29 May 2065
Troy immediately dives into the water to go and help her, but Titan is watching events, and releases giant sharks to attack him. As Troy surfaces near the island, Atlanta sees he is being followed by a shark and warns him. Troy battles for his life with the creature, eventually managing to slay the beast. But as he is beginning to rise to the surface for much needed air, another pair of sharks begin to draw close. Meanwhile, Phones checks the damage on Stingray, which does not appear to be major and the WASP vessel is able to move. Atlanta can only watch on in horror as the sharks close in to seal Troys doom
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 20, dateline 05 June 2065
Front Page: Stingray Searches - Troy Tempest Still Missing
Troy fights for his life and manages against all the odds to slay the first shark, but has been wounded in the fight. Stingray meanwhile has its own problems as it comes under attack from a pair of Terror Fish. Phones calls upon all his experience and knowledge, and manages to outwit the fish, leaving Stingray able to continue onwards. Troy meanwhile lies senseless on the seabed, but just in time Phones swims out and helps him on board Stingray. As Troy recovers onboard, Phones heads over to the island and frees Atlanta. Titan meanwhile has seen everything that has taken place, and sends a huge armada of Terror Fish to attack...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 21, dateline 12 June 2065
Front Page: Stingray Breaks Out! Atlanta And Troy Safe...
Back on board Stingray, Phones quickly picks up the huge armada of Terror Fish heading their way! Troy struggles to make his way to Stingrays controls, desperate to help Phones deal with the enemy. With Troy in command, Stingray is ruthless and quickly destroys every single fish, leaving a trail of destruction. Mission accomplished, they head back to Marineville. After leaving hospital, the core wasp team all share a well earned celebratory dinner back at the Shore residence, where discussion turns to the recent assassination of the Astran Kaplan...
Stingray The Comic - issues 4 to 7
Stingray - Stand By For Action
Parts 2 and 3 mark more use of puppet shots - Troy and Phones in the injection tubes, and Titan on his throne - that seem rather incongruous compared to the more realistic artwork depictions. Not surprising, these are the last to do this.
This is the last of the strips to feature photo inserts from the TV show. While they were helpful in the first strip in creating the scene, the use of puppet shots here simply take the reader out of the comic world. The withdrawal of photo shots leaves the comic to stand up on its own, essential to its long term success.
In part 3, Titan has an attack of James Bond villain syndrome and saves Troy's live before ordering him to be taken elsewhere and killed.
While this does follow on immediately from the preceding story, there is actually no real connection, unlike the later Aquatraz/Uranium Plant story.
While Atlanta doesnt really do an awful lot other than be rescued it is nice to see her actually in the strip, something which becomes a rarity for the rest of this debut year.
The cover of issue 15 features a photo of Stingray, as other World forces are prepared for possible interplanetary war, as seen in events occurring in the Fireball XL5 strip.
The cover of issue 16 indicates Atlanta is 23 years old. This age, as well as other information about her, would also be used in the brief biography in the ©1965 Stingray annual, later in the year.
The cover of issue 18 (left) tells of Troy Tempest being awared the V.M. (Valour Medal), even though at this point he is considered missing in action. This would be the first use of a main cover story that is quite unrelated to events in a strip, and expanded on the TV Century 21 universe.
'On The Trail of the Kaplan's Killers'
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. Colour centrespread.
TV Century 21 Issue 22, dateline 19 June 2065
Front Page: Zodiac Sends For Stingray!
In Marineville, Troy receives orders from Shore to capture some evil doers currently onboard a submarine. (The information actually came from Colonel Steve Zodiac of Fireball XL5!). After deciding to leave Marina behind, Stingray moves into action. A fighter jet meanwhile has picked up the course of the submarine in question and Stingray proceeds to the coordinates at full speed. Realising that Stingray is on their trail, the submarine hides in the hope of evading capture. But Phones and Troy soon discover them and after a brief fire fight soon disables the submarine and the fugitives are captured.
Action 21 - issue 7
Thunderbirds The Comic - issue 51
A one-off adventure, another part of the on-going Fireball XL5 'Astran War' strip that also crossed over with Lady Penelope in issue 19 of TV Century 21.
As such, it has not been included in the numbering of the Stingray guide as it isnt a 'full' story, but this marks the first strip crossover, helping to tie all the Gerry Anderson shows into one coherent universe even further.
Story Four (aka The Ghosts of Station Seventeen)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. Colour centrespread.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 23, dateline 26 June 2065
The story opens with an introduction to an early warning system for Marineville, situated on a tiny island four hundred miles off the coast of the USA. The crew of Station Seventeen are in a state of unease fearing their building is haunted. Feeling uneasy one of them, Cluny, contacts Commander Shore informing him they intend to leave. Despite Shore accusing him of mutiny, the team leave anyway! A brief discussion in the command room results in the decision to send Stingray, with Troy, Phones and Commander Shore himself, to investigate the crews claims of ghosts! Upon their arrival, Troy is puzzled to see a light at one of the towers and to make matters worse Phones picks up a "horrible moaning" on his headset...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 24, dateline 03 July 2065
Phones claims he can no longer hear the noise, and Shore decides they should investigate in person. After Troy opens the door despite his unease, the three WASP members enter the building. Turning on the lights they initially find nothing out of the ordinary. Wishing to investigate more fully, Troy leaves Phones and Shore to seek out the tower where he thought he saw a light shine from. After a short walk up some stairs he finds a lantern - someone else had been there and recently. Suddenly the door behind him slams shut and Troy hears it being locked. Meanwhile Phones and Shore are looking at the transmitter when suddenly they find themselves plunged into darkness. Shore activates the light on his hover chair to find himself utterly alone, when suddenly the floor below him starts to lower and he descends into the unknown...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 25, dateline 10 July 2065
Front Page: Ghost Castle Mutiny - Commander Shore Leads Investigation
Shore continues descending and finally comes to rest in a large, apparently empty, room. A moment later Shore hears Phones and turns to find him clutching his head. Phones recounts how someone had bludgeoned him. Refusing to admit the possibility of ghosts, Shore instead turns to the immediate problem of how they are going to escape. Meanwhile Troy realises he is trapped and slumps against a wall, defeated. But the wall suddenly falls back and Troy finds himself falling down a chute, eventually emerging in the same room with Phones and Shore. The three men begin investigating their surroundings. Hearing footsteps behind a wall they all rush to investigate further but are suddenly halted in their tracks by a ghostlike figure dressed in armour
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 26, dateline 17 July 2065
Front Page: Senator Attacks Stingray Mission
Troy pulls his gun on the figure and fires! Yet after the smoke has settled there is nothing to be seen, just the mark on the wall where Troy shot. The three regroup in the dungeon and Shore orders a complete search when Phones steps on a flagstone and hears a whirring. Suddenly the central stone area begins to rise up! Phones jumps on with Troy and Shore, and soon they find themselves back in the hall. A painting on the wall bears more than a slight resemblance to the 'ghost', leading to the inevitable conclusion that everything that has taken place is part of someones plan to scare people away. Phones heads back to Stingray to check on it, leaving the commander and Troy to look around the island. Outside it is raining and the two men head to the tracking building. When they reach it, nothing appears to be amiss. Phones contacts them and everything appears to be in order, when suddenly a computer begins to smoke. The next instant it explodes, and as the room catches fire Troy exclaims to the commander than the entire building is in danger of exploding...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 27, dateline 24 July 2065
Front Page: Explosions at Station 17
Realising the imminent danger, Troy and Shore rush to escape. Exiting the building with seconds to spare, it explodes leaving the inevitable conclusion of sabotage. Leaving Phones on Stingray for the purpose of security, Troy and Shore head back to the castle to try and solve what is happening once and for all. After searching for hours Troy finally finds what he is looking for - the mechanism to send the floor panel downwards. After lowering themselves, Troy and Shore head back in the dungeon where they saw the ghostlike figure, and start looking for a rational explanation to what they saw. Troy soon finds a projector and, turning it on, sees once again the ghost figure it had all been a trick! After a long walk around in the caverns, the two men eventually find themselves outside on a wooden pier. It appears to be an old landing stage, and Troy soon realises there are marks implying a boat has been moored here recently. Heading back inside, they soon find what appears to be the master bedroom. Meanwhile in Stingray, Phones realises there is a heavy fog descending and urges his two fellow WASP members to return, when through the fog a sinister, old fashioned large boat begins to appear
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 28, dateline 31 July 2065
Stop Press: Ghost Galleon Sighted
After Phones radios in to tell them what he has just seen, Shore and Troy head back to Stingray to look into the ship themselves. No sooner have they boarded the submarine, than it suddenly comes under attack from the supposed ghost ship! After a second attack fails to strike Stingray, Troy feels they are missing on purpose. Using his monocoptor he heads over the massive galleon to see what is happening. After ten minutes without contact, the ship moves away from Stingray with Troy still on board! Phones and Shore are baffled when the ship disappears without trace! Suddenly Phones picks up a sounding - incredibly the ship has dived and is travelling underwater. Stingray submerges and begins to give chase. Troy meanwhile, attached to a ball and chain, regains consciousness after a blow to his head when he sees someone - someone he thinks is a ghost...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 29, dateline 07 August 2065
Stop Press: Tempest Captured
Recalling his previous encounter with what appeared to be a ghost; Troy scoffs at the idea of what he is seeing. Suddenly two strange fish-like men appear and explain it was they who have been attempting to scare away the terraineans from the WASP installation. Explaining their plan to destroy Marineville to him, Troy realises he must do something to stop their evil plans. He discretely contacts Stingray over his wrist radio and orders them to destroy the galleon. Stingray fires a warning shot in an attempt to show they mean business. However the two strange sea people decide to retaliate and move at great speed before firing upon Stingray themselves, leaving the sub with no option but to retreat. On the galleon itself Troy waits for his chance, and seeing an opportunity swings his ball and chain at his captors. Seizing his chance Troy struggles to the deck and exits the submerged galleon. But Stingray has gone and, still attached to the ball and chain, he begins to sink to the ocean bed, while the two alien creatures stand and gloat
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 30, dateline 14 August 2065
Front Page: Ghost Ship Hunted! Tempest Near To Death!
Wishing to ensure his death, the creatures fire upon Troy with their great cannon. Realising what is happening, Shore and Phones rush to help in Stingray. Firing two sting missiles at the galleon buys them enough time and Phones leaves Stingray. Taking a spare set of breathing apparatus with him Phones helps Troy back onboard Stingray, and then gives chase to the galleon. Now on the surface, a vicious battle ensues which ends in Stingray firing four sting missiles at once! No ship could survive such a blast and the galleon explodes in a giant ball of fire and slowly sinks to the ocean floor. Troy recovers back at Marineville, where Shore is lenient on the crew of Station Seventeen now that the true story has been revealed. After receiving his commanders plaudits, Troy rightfully concludes they have indeed laid the ghosts of Station Seventeen to rest.
Countdown - issues 23 to 30
Stingray The Comic - issues 1 to 4
Stingray - Battle Stations
This is the first strip not to feature photos as part of the strip, though the castle (from the episode 'Loch Ness Monster') and the galleon (from 'The Ghost Ship' and 'Set Sail For Adventure') suggest this may have written to include them initially.
By now the strip was well established, and so this is no great loss. Indeed it helps the story flow more fluently in its own right and you are not taken out of the comic world, into to TV world and back again.
By the time the strip appeared, the series would also have finished its first run broadcast in most of the UK.
One of the alien creatures is referred to by name as 'Glibe', but the other is never named.
It is also never really clear how exactly two creatures in one boat could hope to manage to destroy Terrainean life on their own with apparently no back up!
Marina is never mentioned in the entire story; indeed her only appearance is the second to last frame when back at Marineville.
Atlanta fares just as badly appearing in a non speaking role in a less than impressive two frames!
The cover of issue 26 sees a cover article only peripherally related to events in the strip, with Senator Jack Marasel of France believing Stingray's mission 'hunting ghosts' is a waste of time. Senator Adrinnikof of Russia defended the mission.
Each instalment ran across the entire centrespread, meaning that half of the reprints in the 1990s comics were next to impossible to read unless you first removed the central page which was a poster!
Story Five (aka Aquatraz)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. Colour centrespread.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 31, dateline 21 August 2065
Front Page: World Government Official Missing - Marshal Ketov Disappears From Bathescaphe
Stingray, while out on patrol, receives orders to collect an important passenger, Marshall Ketov. Having been visiting various WASP facilities, Ketov is apparently impressed with what he has seen, Commander Shore having fully assured him protection from any threats. Ketov himself is leaving a uranium plant in WASP bathescaphe B1 while thanking the crew for their diligent service. Unknown to them, Agent X20 has been monitoring their progress and is in communication with the mighty Titan. Realising they are soon to rendezvous with Stingray, Titan sends a mechanical fish to intercept B1. It soon reaches its target and fires, hitting B1 and sending it to the ocean floor. Stingray realises it has lost contact and proceeds to investigate. Meanwhile Titan has taken Ketov prisoner and soon learns the secret of how the WASP vehicles are powered: uranium. The ruthless dictator declares the prisoners to be of no more use and orders them to be taken to the prison Aquatraz for execution
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 32, dateline 28 August 2065
Stop Press: Search for B1 continues
The B1 crew and Ketov are being transported by mechanical fish, and Ketov warns the evil pilot that the WASP staff will seek revenge if they are harmed. Meanwhile Stingray is still trying to find the B1, with little reward, and Troy fears Titan may be involved in some manner. As Troy ponders this thought, Titan orders that the vessel B1 is repaired in order to help him take over the uranium installation in the Pacific. Back on board the Terror Fish headed for Aquatraz, the B1 crew are desperate to warn Marineville. Ketov however, feels any attempt would be futile and blames Shore for letting this happen in the first place. Finally Stingray has found evidence of a sea battle having recently taken place. But will they have time to rescue Ketov? For as the Terror Fish nears its destination it is caught in a whirlpool and spirals out of control
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 33, dateline 04 September 2065
On board the supposedly out of control Terror Fish, Ketov is getting more and more angry with Shore's failure to deal with the situation. One of the other crew with him is more constructive, and frees himself before surprising the aquaphibian crew and getting a message out. He has just enough time to signal their location before being shot down with a paralying ray. The Terror Fish has now reached their destination of the invincible prison of Aquatraz, located in a subterrainean sea beneath the Pacific. The desperate efforts of the crew member were not in vain thankfully, and Shore directs Stingray to the last known position of the Terror Fish. Soon Stingray finds itself caught in the whirlpool, and the submarine is dragged down to an impossible depth. Realising they have never been this deep before, Troy is very worried about the hull buckling, when Stingray suddenly starts leaking water
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 34, dateline 11 September 2065
Realising the danger they are all in, Troy rushes to put on his underwater equipment. While still in the whirlpool Troy exits the vessel, and attaches himself to the hull with a pair of electro magnets. Luckily Troy was able to complete the repair with a metal compound before any major damage had occurred, and now Stingray has also left the whirlpool. Meanwhile, Ketov and the B1 crew are being forced at gunpoint through an airlock into Aquatraz. Soon they find themselves in the centre of the prison under constant surveillance from a closed circuit camera system. Not knowing what their fate is to be, the three admit defeat concluding there to be no escape. Meanwhile, Stingray appears to have found something, but Aquatraz has also found them and launches a full spread of missiles at the WASP craft...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 35, dateline 18 September 2065
Front Page: Stingray Nears Aquatraz! Desperate Rescue Bid at W.A.S.P. Vessel!
Luckily for Stingray, the missiles are an older style and the hull will be able to withstand the barrage. Realising they cannot fire missiles themselves for fear of killing innocent prisoners, Troy and Phones don their underwater gear and head out towards the prison complex. Inside the prisoners fear the worst when their room begins to fill with water. Just as it reaches their chests however, the water suddenly stops. As Troy and Phones approach the control room, the Aquaphibians inside decide it is time for the prisoners to die. Troy shoots through the pane of glass at the aquaphibians, paralysing both of them. But the execution control has already been operated, releasing a giant electric eel into the chamber where the prisoners stand
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 36, dateline 25 September 2065
The prisoners feel something brushing their legs, and Troy and Phones can only look in horror at the events on a TV screen . Suddenly on a different screen the Stingray crew see a squad of aquaphibians heading towards them. Activating the airlock, Troy and Phones conclude they must head to the prisoners and try to rescue them. They proceed to take a travel car to the prison centre, as do this countless aquaphibians, all converging to one place. But Troy and Phones have a head start and arrive safely to the prison centre unhindered. Heading downwards past other cells full of prisoners of many differing races - all of whom have angered Titan - they attach a few charges to the doors. But which cell are Ketov and the B1 crew in? All the while, more and more eels are entering the cell
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 37, dateline 02 October 2065
Front Page: Escape! Riots At Aquatraz - Tempest Rescues Ketov!
The three captured men see the eels swimming and call out. Hearing them Troy and Phones are able to locate the cell and rescue them. Realising that they will soon be overrun by aquaphibians, Troy orders Phones to detonate the charges they had earlier placed on the cell doors locks. The explosions release many prisoners who proceed to attack their oppressors as they stream past. Equipping the rescued men with breathing apparatus, Troy shoots the side of the wall out, and they all swim to the safety of Stingray. After backtracking via the whirlpool, they blow all tanks to reach sea level, and head back to Marineville. But Troy cannot rest completely, for he suspects they have upset Titan, and he is plotting some form of evil attack!
Countdown - issues 31 to 37
Stingray The Comic - issues 5 to 7
Stingray - Battle Stations
This is one of the most memorable stories from the first year of Stingray strips, if not all of them, featuring the often mentioned but never seen Aquatraz from the series.
This story is in effect the first of two strips that make up one long story - the whole plot of what Titan is going to do with the captured B1 is resolved in the next strip.
Although she appears in Stingray several times (unlike previous stories) Marina does absolutely nothing in this strip!
The B1 bathyscaphe originally appeared in the episode 'The Golden Sea', and the cover of issue 31 (promoting the start of the strip) features a photo of Stingray with the sub from that episode.
Aquatraz is located in a subterrainean sea, and in part 4 Troy states they are deeper than ever before, but this appears to ignore events in the episode 'Subterranean Sea'.
In part 7, one of the alien prisoners appears to be the same race as those encountered in 'The Ghosts of Station Seventeen' (second from left).
The cover of issue 31 indicates Marchal Ketov is a senior member of the Council of Nations.
In the 1990s reprints Stingray The Comic, there was a two page break between parts 1 and 2 (and similarly for parts 4 and 5) which contained an advert and an instalment of Marina - Girl of the Sea. Why this was not placed either before or after the story as to not interrupt its flow is a mystery!
In a misprint of issue 6 of Stingray The Comic, the footer claimed the thrilling conclusion to follow next week was at the end of part 5 not at the end of part 6
Story Six (aka The Uranium Plant Invasion)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. Colour centrespread.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 38, dateline 09 October 2065
Front Page: Sam Shore Suspended - Marshal Ketov Accuses W.A.S.P. Controller
In Titanica the mighty Titan is cursing at Troy Tempests continued ability to elude his grasp and orders the B1 to be put to sea, starting his plan to cripple the world's shipping. Stingray is returning to Marineville with Marshal Ketov on board, whom at his first opportunity storms into the control room. Accusing Shore of failing to protect him, Ketov vows to see the commander sacked and leaves to report him for misconduct. The B1 vessel approaches the Pacific Uranium dredging plant and requests access from the WASP crew manning the station. The crew are dubious after hearing reports that Titan had earlier attacked the B1 and contact Marinevile to confirm. However, unknown to them, Titan has diverted their radio signals and feeds them false information, and the B1 is allowed access. While the ocean doors are open, a whole force of Terror Fish enter the base and attack causing mass devastation. Meanwhile Shore has just received notice that pending an investigation he has been relieved of command, leaving Troy in charge of the WASP HQ...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 39, dateline 16 October 2065
Front Page: Tempest Takes Over
Following their brutal attack, the aquaphibians have now taken complete control of the uranium plant, capturing many prisoners, and Titan himself is planning to journey to the area. While Shore ponders his next move, Phones leaves Marineville in Stingray, with Lieutenant Fisher as co-pilot, to rendezvous with a uranium tanker about to leave the (unknown to them) captured plant. The aquaphibians have learned how to fully operate the base, and not only launch the tanker on remote control to meet Stingray, but also a mechanical fish equipped with a new uranium power unit. After locating the tanker Stingray does a quick sweep of the area and find finds nothing amiss. Suddenly the Terror Fish appears and even at rate six, Stingray cannot match the fishs astonishing speed. Phones realises matters are about to worse as the fish turns and fires
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 40, dateline 23 October 2065
Managing to evade the missile, Phones takes full control of Stingrays movements and manages to outmanoeuvre the fish. But just as Phones thinks they are safe the fish fires and hits Stingray, sending it to the seabed. As the fish closes for the kill, Fisher manages to raise the submarine's nose just in time for a sting missile to be fired. Hitting the Terror Fish and destroying it, Stingray leaves the area attempting to make it back to Marineville for repairs. Meanwhile in Washington, Shore in facing the enquiry and it is not going well. By now, Stingray has arrived back at Marineville, but the damage is so bad, she wont be able to leave dock for over a week
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 41, dateline 30 October 2065
Front Page: Lone Mission For Tempest - Blue Whale Drop In Pacific
Wondering how the Terror Fish was able to out run them in Stingray, Phones considers the notion that Titan has started using atomic power in his craft. Troy seems reluctant to believe it though, as the only possible way would be if Titan had taken over the Pacific plant and there is no evidence of this. Back at the base itself, Titan is continuing to block all radio signals creating the illusion of ease at the base. However one of the captured workers has managed to escape, and sends a message to Troy explaining the situation. After contacting the Washington tribunal Shore is found innocent and reinstated in command. The WASP team turn the attention back to the immediate threat posed by Titan, and Troy comes up with a dangerous plan - a one man sub entering into the area undetected and sabotaging Titan's plans from within, with himself as volunteer. After being dropped off near the base, Troy starts his journey into the docks and has almost reached his target when he is spotted by a pair of armed aquaphibians...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 42, dateline 06 November 2065
Troy overhears the aquaphibians with hypersensory earphones, and swings about, firing on the pair. He then proceeds to continue into the plant. Having studied the layout out before leaving Marineville, Troy is soon able to locate all the prisoners and details his plan - by altering the safety gauge, the prisoners can sabotage the upgraded Terror Fish, causing them to explode! An aquaphibian appears to take the prisoners to their work, and Troy heads into the loading docks but suddenly a spotlight pinpoints him. He manages to reach his one man submarine, and is about to leave when it is fired upon. The submarine is smouldering and useless, leaving Troy no option but to swim down and try to evade the continued gunfire
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 43, dateline 13 November 2065
Front Page: Tempest Rescued
Troy swims as fast as he can, all the time being pursued by the aquaphibians. Titan meanwhile has arrived at the base, and orders a Terror Fish to seek out Tempest and kill him. On the surface Troy signals to a WASP aircraft to pick him up. It arrives just as the Fish is about to fire on Troy, but manages to destroy it in the nick of time. After being collected and taken back to Marineville, Troy details his plan to Shore. Overnight a flurry of activity takes places to repair Stingray in an effort to defeat Titan. The work completed Stingray, with Troy and Phones onboard, heads out to meet Titan head on, who himself has launched a fleet of atomic powered Terror Fish
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 44, dateline 20 November 2065
Front Page: The Lone Attacker! Stingray In Uranium Plant Battle
As the Terror Fish close on Stingray they suddenly all begin to explode! Explaining the sabotage by the WASP personnel to Phones, Stingray moves in. Titan is incensed by what he sees, and orders Stingray to be destroyed. A team of Aquaphibians are about to fire a mighty cannon at Stingray but their effort is in vain as the gun is blown to smithereens with a Sting missile. Titan realises he is beaten, and desperately tries to find a Terror Fish that hasnt been upgraded so he can use to retreat back to Titanica. Troy and Phones soon retake control of the base, facing little resistance from the remaining Aquaphibians, and releasing all the prisoners. Titan broods over his defeat, vowing never to try and use uranium power again. It would appear that Stingray and its crew have defeated him once more.
Countdown & TV Action - issues 38 to 44
Stingray The Comic - issues 7 to 10
Stingray - Battle Stations
This story acts as a more or less direct continuation of Aquatraz to form a mammoth 14 part story.
Despite a strong opening with the Shore being relieved of duty subplot the story doesnt ultimately prove to be very satisfying. Very little actually takes place in the later parts and it is all a bit anti-climactic considering the large build up to the conclusion.
It appears Marina always stays in the control tower, never going in Stingray with Troy and Phones.
The cover of issue 38 features a 'TV21 picture scoop' in the form of the first pictures of a Terror Fish interior, taken by Lieutenant Spar (one of the two unnamed men with Marshal Ketov) with a F.015 lens videomatic camera, issued to WASP officers and carried in belt buckles.
Lieutenant Fisher makes his proper debut in this strip (left), having already been seen in the background in The Atlanta Kidnap Affair, but one of the problems of making the characters look more human is he looks suspiciously like Troy, and not how he appears on television at all!
For the cover of issue 41, a specially shot photo of the plane (from the Thunderbirds episode 'Operation Crash Dive' and referred to as an EJ2 in 'The Impostors') appears. Here it is called a 'WASP hypersonic aircraft', but is also referred to as 'Blue Whale 1' on the cover.
Issue 41 also features a cutaway b/w scematic of a Titan Terror Fish. This would later appear, coloured, in the ©1966 Stingray annual.
The artwork for the final part of this story exists in the collection of Dalek fan Mick Hall, and you can see a webpage about it here.
Story Seven (aka The Weather Mystery)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. Colour centrespread.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 45, dateline 27 November 2065
In the Arctic, an isolated weather station is tracking what appears to be a falling meteorite
Meanwhile, at Marineville the weather is proving troublesome with the underground section becoming unexpectedly flooded. At the world weather control centre they are struggling to understand current weather patterns, which are baffling all the top scientists. After Shore contacts the station, he begins to comprehend the gravity of the situation and there is an accusation that what is happening isnt natural. A WASP air team sent to the Arctic to investigate first hand encounters icebergs in places where not expected, and Stingray is ordered to investigate. Suddenly one of the air team spots something but before they have to time to explain to Marineville what is happening, the aircraft disintegrates...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 46, dateline 04 December 2065
Front Page: World Weather Chaos! Ocean Levels Rising
Shore orders another aircraft to investigate the loss of contact. It finds nothing more than wreckage before it too begins to spiral out of control. The WASP pilot manages to restore control and make it back to Marineville. Shore contacts the weather station to inform them that it does indeed appear there is a sinister force at work. But the weather team tell Shore that they can only hold back the weather for around half a week, after which the world may very well be flooded. Troy and Phones rush to the trouble area in Stingray. But they are soon blocked in their way by masses of icebergs which begin to fall onto the craft as it surfaces
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 47, dateline 11 December 2065
Stingray soon finds itself stuck on the ocean bed unable to manoeuvre due to a damaged hydroplane. Troy radios in and then dons his water gear to attempt to make some repairs on the vessel. After a long tough struggle Troy has Stingray in working order again. Marineville is desperate for a result, and maintains complete radio silence as to not give away Stingray's position, leaving Troy and Phones truly on their own. After reaching the Arctic ice cap Stingray soon locates a lake and the two WASP men set out on the monocopters to investigate. But little do they know a strange alien being is watching them! Travelling for hours in the freezing conditions, Troy and Phones now find themselves travelling in circles and utterly lost...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 48, dateline 18 December 2065
As they continue their desperate quest Troy suddenly spots a domelike structure through the mist. He and Phones head over to investigate, all the time being watched. As they look for an entrance, the strange creature approaches and demands that they stand still. Phones however has other plans and pulls a gun, but before he has the chance to act he is fired upon. As Phones collapses Troy pulls out his gun and fires. Hitting the creature it falls down, apparently dead. Fortunately Phones is not hurt too badly, other than his arm, and luckily the blast missed the explosives he was carrying. Investigating the creatures motionless body they find no form of weaponry and believe it must be some form of robot. As Phones leans on the dome to support his wounded arm he releases some form of secret door. As they begin to explore inside they inadvertently trip an alarm and find themselves trapped
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 49, dateline 25 December 2065
Front Page: World Emergency - Troops Crush Looters In Riots
After nothing happens for a while, Phones and Tory move on wondering if they have in fact destroyed the only crew member of the building. They soon realises this not to be the case after seeing dozens of the robotic creatures gathered around some sort of nuclear furnace. Noticing they are all clutching an electric rail it is clear now there are robots, and Phones was shot via some sort of electric beam. Just as they plan to move on and take some sort of action they find themselves surrounded by three robots and take them captive. Soon they are held in a strange laboratory, stripped of their explosives. A robot returns and states they plan to test one of the subjects and require co-operation. Phones refuses and states they will never co-operate with their captors but Troy disagrees. He is led away as Phones is held back, struggling to vent his anger...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 50, dateline 01 January 2066
Troy soon finds himself strapped into a chair attached to a complicated set of machines. While he sits and watches Troy sees the robots repair the unit he had earlier shot. His captors soon return and start to read Troys mind, but due to his WASP training they are unable to learn anything, concluding him to be a lower intelligence. Tthe robots decide to release him and allow him to 'resurge'. Explaining that humans resurge by eating food and not absorbing electricity Troy asks for his clothing to be returned. Claiming it is full of food, when in fact it contains explosives, Troys plan is beginning to take shape, and soon he is returned to a cell adjacent to Phones. Tapping out his plan via Morse code, Phones realises Troy has not betrayed him. A short while later Phones is escorted away for tests, but he is carrying some explosive passed to him in the guise of food, and carefully places some on the robot guides. While being strapped into the chair for testing, his guards move to the electric rail to resurge, starting a massive explosion
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 51, dateline 08 January 2066
Stop Press: Weather Normal
The explosion has knocked out the security grid and Troy finds himself able to escape. He rushes to the nuclear furnace and sets his charges to destroy the power source of the robots. Searching for Phones, Troy manages to first find the monocopters. As the charges go off, their former captors are looking for them with the aim of destroying them! Troy and Phones rush to their monocoptors and manage to get away. After heading back to Stingray they quickly dispatch a pair of Sting Missiles at the iceberg. As the dome (which transpires to be an alien space craft) is seen sinking below the water it appears the world is safe again
Countdown & TV Action - issues 45 to 51
Stingray The Comic - issues 8 to 11
Yet again, Marina is given the short straw and doesnt appear once!
Apart from the opening instalment, we never see any humans other than Phones and Troy.
It is never made clear exactly how the Vidos are controlling the weather, or indeed who created or controls them.
Given the Alien ship managed to fly through space it isnt clear why if it is underwater it suddenly becomes completely useless and no longer poses a threat. Troy and Phones really should have destroyed it properly!
The cover of issue 49 refers to the World Emergency caused by the flooding, with a three foot rise in the levels of the Atantic and Pacific Oceans, causing flooding in Holland, Belgium, England, and low-lying areas of America and Canada
The cover of issue 49 refers to the World Emergency caused by the flooding, and the imposition by the World Security Council of Martial Law in the Northern Hemisphere.
The other turning point was merchandising. As the highest profile strip in TV Comic, Supercar was the only previous series to enjoy a number of adverts and related competitions. Blessed with larger pages and colour, Stingray become the focus of numerous adverts in this first year, with a couple of full page colour strips drawn by Rab Hamilton for swimming aides, and another by Ron Embleton for Golden Wonder Crisps.
Being the very first strip, The Monster Jellyfish had the unenviable task of bringing the world of Stingray and all of its spirit to the page in such a manner as to entice its audience. If the first strip had been a poor substandard effort that did little other than retell a story already seen by millions on television it would have failed. Yet at the same time it had to ensure it was faithful to what was seen on screen. One can imagine every single line being delivered by the same voice cast of the television show without any difficulty, as many no doubt did! The clever step of including photo frames helped provide the same sense of atmosphere generated on the screen so well. Of course the added advantage for readers was the opportunity to see exactly how the show would look in colour! In terms of drawing the audience in, the story must be heralded a complete success. Although many of the strips have very simplistic stories that always seem to end with Stingray simply blowing everything up, they remained faithful to the series. The stories really do feel like an extension of the events seen on television, and are all the more enjoyable for that.
It was not however a perfect start. This first year doesnt build on what takes place on the screen at all. It would have been a perfect opportunity to expand upon events, adding more background and generally enriching the world created. The exception to this would be the single part On the Trail of Kaplans Killers which begins to hint at broader things to come. In later years of TV Century 21 this world building was fully exploited and the strips became more satisfying for it. It is also disappointing just how little Atlanta and Marina did in this year. Neither feature in the majority of stories and, when they do appear, have very little to do indeed. Commander Shore fares a bit better and even goes with Stingray on a few occasions.
In general, the artwork is magnificent. They are a couple of occasions where the characters look nothing like their on-screen counterparts, but this can be forgiven. The drawings of the action sequences and the machines in general are stunning. If the artwork had been of a poorer standard the weakness in some of the stories would have I fear threatened to turn the year into a disappointment. Being the launch strip for TV Century 21 was not easy, but this first year must be hailed as a complete success.
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History would like to thank:
and Mick Hall
- for their help with this feature.
Version 1.2 - 01.05.05
Any comments or notes about any of the strips, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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