Stingray: TV Century 21, 1966
After a solid debut year, issue 52 would see the first major reshuffle of TV Century 21. New series Thunderbirds would displace the original star strip Stingray from the centrespread, and it now resided as two separate colour pages. For the first story, the strip retained the same artist, Ron Embleton, before he side-stepped briefly to give his younger brother Gerry a stint for a short four-parter. By his own admission a restless and active artist, Gerry Embleton tended to become bored with the futuristic settings, and only stayed on the strip for two more stories this year. His style tended to be slightly gritter and darker, coming to the fore in the story Junk Jeopardy, which is probably the best Stingray story of 2066.
Towards the end of the year, Embleton gave way to Michael Strand, a relative newcomer who had illustrated (uncredited) the novel Thunderbirds - Ring Of Fire, and some strips for the first Thunderbirds annual - though these would not appear until after his first stories in TV Century 21. While a competent and efficient artist, Strand's style was not as dynamic as either of the Embleton brothers, though he would stay a consistent and enthusiastic contributor to the TV21 range, working on both the Lady Penelope and Joe 90: Top Secret titles.
If the artwork seemed to be taking a slight downturn, the stories actually saw an improvement. The first year, at times, seemed to struggle to find storylines that did the format justice, and part of this can perhaps be laid at the feet of not using all the characters the series had to offer. After being neglected for most of the first year, Marina (after possibly being revitalised in her own strip in Lady Penelope) returns with growing strength, and even Commander Shore steps in for an adventure or two. Continuity was also at the fore, and while we did not see the stories segue into each other as some had done in the first year, the Sea Leopard made a return appearance, and the last two stories are implied to be linked in setting and chronology.
The highpoint for fan of crossovers with other series comes though with A Trip To England, and while it probably comes as no surprise that Rudolf Cass is the villain, to have him unmask himself as the Hood is a wonderful underplayed move. Coming only scant weeks after defeat in his Thunderbirds strip debut, it must have been a surprise to a great many readers, and had them checking the other strips for future appearances. It also broadened the character, and showed - as had perhaps only been hinted at in the Thunderbirds series - that he had interests other than just International Rescue.
Stingray strip guide - part two
Story Eight (aka The Flying Fish Mystery)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 52, dateline 15 January 2066
Leaping straight into the action, a red sports car is seen crashing through Marineville check point 14. Pursued by security officer Nichols, the driver of the vehicle is a man named Halvic and he appears to be in league with Titan;s surface agent, Agent X20. A chase is soon in full swing. But before the WASP security agent has a chance to catch his target his vehicle is attacked by two aquaphibians hiding in the trees. His vehicle flies off the road in a ball of fire
Halvic meanwhile is liasing with X20 and they discuss a new weapon that they hope will defeat the Terraineans once and for all. Back at Marineville Shore is looking through Halvic's office for some sort of clue as to what is happening. Suddenly a code red message from Nichols is received and Stingray is sent to investigate. Finding Nichols car wreckage on the sea bed they realise he is in fact still alive. The car is brought to the surface and Phones and Troy try to speak to Nichols, but all he can mutter is "flying
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 53, dateline 22 January 2066
Troy tells Shore that Nichols appears to be delusional and can only speak about a fish. While not understating why, Shore is intrigued as he has found an odd drawing of a fish like object among Nichols' documents. Stingray proceeds with its original orders of playing target with a new huge surface vessel called the Sea Leopard. By this time, X20 and Halvic have arrived at Titanica to speak with Titan. Halvic is revealed to have been an underwater creature conspiring against the WASP. Titan and his party leave Titanica and head to Titan's secret base hidden deep inside a volcano. Titan reveals his fleet of robot crabs all fitted with the new weapon, and X20 and Halvic soon board one and take it to the surface, lying in wait for its prey. Meanwhile the ocean vessel Florida spots many unusual flying fish in the waters but it soon becomes clear that they are more then they appear. Suddenly explosions and threatening to destroy the Florida as the fish rain down upon it
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 54, dateline 29 January 2066
As the Florida sinks, Titan watches on with glee.He plans to use this new weapon to destroy Marineville, and says they will be ready to attack in only one marine week! Meanwhile the Sea Leopard is being launched and proceeding for its rendezvous with Stingray. However, she spots another vessel on its targeting system and is concerned it could be a Terror Fish. The commander, however, is confident of the ships invulnerability and proceeds as planned. Stingray and Sea Leopard continue their targeting tests, yet the unidentified vessel is still following. The Sea Leopard decided to investigate and sends a fighter. The pilot is slightly baffled at what he finds: many flying fish and a huge crab just floating in the water...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 55, dateline 05 February 2066
The fighter suddenly explodes and the Sea Leopard moves in to look closer. Titan, however, has hoped they will do just this and lies in wait for them. Soon two more fighter vessels are launched and a fierce air battle takes places between them and the flying fish. Realising they will be next in the firing line, the Sea Leopard fires its mighty missiles and appears to clear the area. However the ship has been badly damaged and cannot manoeuvre to follow the crab. Stingray is called in to catch the enemy craft and is beginning to close in when she suddenly comes under attack from a huge fleet of Terror Fish. While Sting Missiles quickly destroy the Fish, the crab is getting away
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 56, dateline 12 February 2066
While Stingray tries to locate the crab, Titan's vessel has in fact reached its secret base in the volcano. Phones soon realises he cannot locate the craft at all, and Stingray heads back to the Sea Leopard. Commander Shore has already made his way there, and Troy and Phones head over in their monocoptors. After a quick conference, Troy reveals he managed to capture one of the fish and soon Shore devises a plan. Intending to trick Titan into believing the Sea Leopard is out of commission Stingray on its own moves out. Agent X20 witnesses this and contacts Titan to tell him their missile was indeed successful against the Sea Leopard. A short while later, a transport vessel, with Stingray hidden inside, is passing the island of Lemoy with a large crude oil carrier in tow. Predictably, the scene is soon ablaze after the flying fish begin to attack, but Stingray cannot move out to attack, as it appears the door to free it is jammed...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 57, dateline 19 February 2066
Stingray finds itself with some luck when a missile strikes the transport vessel and frees her, with no damage to herself. As X20 watches on he realises they have been tricked, for the Sea Leopard is now approaching . Halvic is in control of the crabs and starts an immediate withdrawal. But before long, Stingray starts shooting the crabs apart with its missiles. Titan orders Terror Fish to the area but they too are soon destroyed. But it has not been a total loss, for the crab with Halvic has reached its base safely. Stingray has managed to track it and found Titan's secret base! The Sea Leopard fires all her missiles at the base and destroys it completely. Back on the surface, Halvic is pulled from the water and can be sure a long prison term will be his. Titan appears to be defeated once more
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 53: Sea Leopard Launched
Issue 55: Admiral Beatty Arrested - World Navy Chief In Spy Charge & Sea Leopard Attacked - Stingray Rushes To Battle Area
Issue 56: Stingray Takes Up Attack Position! WASP's Battle Plan
Century 21 - issue 3
Stingray The Comic - issues 8 to 11
With the debut of Thunderbirds in issue 52 of TV Century 21, from this story on Stingray moves from the centrespread and becomes two individual pages.
The opening parts, with a dying man muttering "flying fish", and the robot fish themselves arcing over the Florida and destroying it, are strangely reminiscent of the UFO episode 'Reflections In The Water', which would not be filmed for another four years. The mechanical crabs' base is also inside an extinct island volcano, similar to that seen in the same UFO episode.
Rather unusual in that Troy and Phones barely appear in the first four parts of this story.
The tug and oil canisters is referred to as 'robot towing ship Y19' on the cover of issue 56, and is based on a vessel from the episode 'An Echo Of Danger'. Frames from the film print appear as an 'Aqua-scan video film (left).
Where Troy got the Fish he shows Shore in part 5 is anyones guess!
As has come to be predictable, Atlanta and Marina make no appearance here.
In the 1990s reprints, the first instalment was mistakenly called part 1 of The Medallion Mystery.
Graham Bleathman produced a cutaway painting of Sea Leopard for issue 20 of Stingray The Comic.
Story Nine (aka The Medallion Mystery)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Gerry Embleton. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 58, dateline 26 February 2066
Britain's greatest treasure, the Crown Jewels, are about to leave Britain for the first time in history...
Matt Dobson, organiser of the 2066 World Fair in Canberra, checks the schedule with Superintendent Hodges of Scotland Yard while en route to London Airport. The armoured consignment is loaded aboard a World Air Force Wombat - the fastest and best equipped plane for such a cargo. But seventy thousand feet over the central Pacific, the plane enters a strange pink cloud formation, and a roaring sound puts the crew in a hypnotic trance. Following orders given over the radio, the Wombat ditches in the ocean, and the patrolling Stingray is ordered to investigate. Finding the crew dazed in a lifeboat, Troy recognises Tony Holland among them. But meanwhile, some miles away, the sunken Wombat is being raided by frogmen...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 59, dateline 05 March 2066
The two frogmen speedily transfer the Crown Jewels to their miniature submarine Sea Nymph and, after blowing up the Wombat, return to a hangar hidden in the underside of a boat. The two men report to their boss 'Apollo', who sees the theft as revenge on the British Government for snubbing him. Meanwhile, Stingray has returned to Marineville with the crew of the Wombat, who are immediately under suspicion - especially after the story of the 'pink cloud'. Troy vouches for Holland, as they were at the academy together, and Stingray is despatched to investigate the Wombat crash area. Finding the wreck, Troy and Marina swim out, and find an unusual medallion in the debris...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 60, dateline 12 March 2066
The medallion features a figure like a greek god on it, but the frogman it belongs to discovers he has been lost it, and is ordered by 'Apollo' to retrieve it. The Sea Nymph closes on Troy and Marina as they find laser torch marks on the Wombat debris. Sensing danger, Marina warns Troy just in time, and the two hide in the wreckage as the frogmen seek them out. Troy takes a gamble on tackling one, and is wounded by a harpoon just as Phones arrives in Stingray. The frogmen flee and, after Troy's injury is tended too, Stingray tracks the sub's signal. All they find, however, is a large yacht. But Troy notices that the same greek god figure is painted on its bows...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 61, dateline 19 March 2066
Phones recognises the boat as the Apollo, belonging to Greek shipping tycoon Patrakhos, and Troy hails it with a view to a search. But Patrakhos opens fire with a sonic gas capsule, and Troy and Phones are immobilised. Marina is not affected though, and puts Stingray into a crash-dive beneath the surface. Patrakhos wants to finish them off for good, and takes his two crew in Sea Nymph to attack Stingray. But by now, Troy and Phones have recovered their wits, and two sting missiles make short work of the attacker. With Patrakhos dead, Stingray tows the Apollo to Hawaii and the port authorities, clearing the name of the Wombat crew.
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 59: Crown Jewels Stolen - £1,000,000 Reward
Issue 61: Crown Jewels Sensation! World Senate uproar
Countdown Holiday Special 1971
Stingray The Comic - issues 12 to 15
This story had a 'preview' in the regular Dateline 2066 news feature in issue 55, three weeks prior to the first part, reporting that the Crown Jewels would be flown to Canberra for the World Fair. The same feature refers to the plane mounted on top of the Wombat as a 'Dart 1' strike fighter.
The Wombat is based on the Carrier Aircraft seen in the Thunderbirds episode 'The Duchess Assignment'. Photos of the model on the seabed being found by Stingray were taken but ultimately not used - possibly as the story had the aircraft wrecked by explosives.
Curiously, the flight path of the Wombat from London to Canberra is over the Pacific, which is ideal as a plot device for Stingray to become involved but which is actually a longer route - by a couple of thousand miles.
Oops - in part 1, while the captain of the Wombat is clearly Tony Holland, the mysterious voice refers to him by - and Holland responds to - the name 'Pearson'.
Pictures of an early version of the finished artwork for the first page, featuring a different aircraft to the Wombat, are believed to exist.
Space Smugglers Active! (aka The Monster Weed)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Ron Embleton. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 62, dateline 26 March 2066
Freighter UV61. Scheduled cargo: Chemical seed. Position: Space chart 15 area 7. Destination: Venus. Approach speed: 140,000 miles per second...
A malfunctioning circuit causes the freighter to accelerate to 200,000 miles per second, and it explodes when its engines overheat. A Moon-based tracking station detects the disaster, and warns none of the seed canisters must reach Earth. A space salvage operation finds seventeen of the containers but three are still missing. Tracking stations on Mars, Venus and the Mon track the paths of the drums to the Pacific Ocean on Earth, and Stingray is alerted as a massive search operation swings into action. Titan has also been alerted by X20, and terror Fish also scour the ocean. The Sea Leopard finds one drum intact, as do Titan's aquaphibians. But the third is found by Stingray, and it is leaking...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 63, dateline 02 April 2066
Troy is ordered to drop a radio beacon and get out of there fast. But before the ship can move, a fast-growing weed tangles the sub in its hold. Trying use the maximum speed of rate six only succeeds in driving the sub deep into another growth, and Troy is forced to use sting missiles to blast clear. If the weed continues to grow as fast, the ocean will be clogged up in a matter of weeks, so Doctor Pennova from Uranus is brought to Earth with a Vitrate chemical which will destroy it. But as Pennova lands, a reporter - in reality X20 in disguise - bugs the scientist, and overhears the secret conference...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 64, dateline 09 April 2066
As the weed is thick, sting missiles will be modified to inject the vitrate. X20 believes the weed can be a weapon to destroy the terraineans but he needs some of the vitrate first, and takes the place of one of the technical team modifying the missiles. Sea Leopard is monitoring the area where the weed is growing but it has already reached the surface, and the ship narrowly escapes. Pennova's worst fears are realised - the weed is growing faster than anticipated, and it may seed within four hours. After that, nothing will be able to stop it...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 65, dateline 16 April 2066
Pennova outlines the plan to Troy and Phones - they must fire the sting missile at the main trunk and get clear in seconds, or be trapped by the weight of the collapsing weed. But as Stingray is launched, Pennova finds the small bug on his sleeve, and Marineville's technical guys determine it a miniature microphone of unknown design. As Shore ponders who is responsible, technician Butch harmer is found bound and gagged. A hat with the label 'Press' indicates the persistent reporter may be responsible, and even worse, some of the vitrate rods are missing! Stingray closes on the weed, and fires a modified sting missile, as X20 makes his report to Titan...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 66, dateline 23 April 2066
As Stingray continues to make strikes on the weed with the vitrate sting missiles, Titan confides with X20 in planning to choke the terrain around Marineville with the weed. Terror fish have been despatched to deal with Stingray should it survive the collapsing weed. On the surface, Sea Leopard watches as the weed finally starts to writhe and disappear, but a warning to Stingray comes too late. The vast tendrils start to collapse towards the sub, and even at full boost, Stingray is caught in the dying mass as its motor fails under the strain. Nearby, Terror Fish report back to Titan that Tempest will never escape...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 67, dateline 30 April 2066
Despite the fact the dying weed has collapsed into a form of tunnel, with the main motor out, Stingray is trapped underneath. Troy reckons the sub can be pulled clear if a way to the surface can be cut, and ventures outside with a laser torch. Sea Leopard reports that Stingray is trapped under a layer of weed a mile deep, but Shore will not give up easily, and a rescue fleet is despatched. A terror Fish is tracked approaching Marine, but it is easily despatched by sea interceptor missiles. What Marine does not realise is that it contains the other canister of seed, which quickly starts to grow nearby...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 68, dateline 07 May 2066
As rescue launches hover over the trapped Stingray, Troy is knocked out by falling weed as he slowly tries to cut a way free. As he is rescued by Phones, Marineville discovers the second growth of weed, but Pennova warns to wait as the larger missiles used could cause it to spread. Despite having been told not to use the aquasprites, which do not have the range and oxygen to get them to the surface, Phones makes an attempt while Troy sleeps. But then his foot becomes trapped in the weed...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 69, dateline 14 May 2066
Having dropped his laser torch, phones has no way of cutting himself free, and estimates he only has an hour of oxygen left. Shore and pennova watch as the new mass of weed raises from the sea off the coast, and the scientist now believes a missile strike would be effective. But the thick tendrils protect the main trunk, so Shore takes a chance on a hydromic missile delivering the vitrate. As Phones' oxygen runs out, he is found by one of the searching bathyscaphes and rescued. As the sub blasts through the weed with lasers, Troy discovers Phones has gone, and Stingray is hit by more collapsing tendrils...
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 70, dateline 21 May 2066
The bathyscaphe finds Stingray, and with their combined engine power, the sub is finally pulled free. A Terror Fish reports to Titan on the escape, but X20 reassures him Marineville will soon be finished by the growing weed. The surface agent could well be right, as even a hydromic missile fails to kill the weed, and it is only minutes away from seeding itself. The rescue hydrofoil carries Stingray to the weed, and it is up to Troy and Phones to once more make an attack with sting missiles before it is too late...
Part 10: TV Century 21 Issue 71, dateline 28 May 2066
As the weed dies and collapses, Stingray makes a bid for the ocean door... and just makes it inside! But now the sub is trapped until the weed can be cleared from the area, and Titan sees this as a chance to attack. A fleet of Terror Fish are despatched, and the hydrofoil is attacked. Using a helicopter, Stingray is airlifted back to the ocean, where it makes short work of Titan's fleet. As Pennova is thanked by Shore as he returns to Uranus, Titan swears to destroy Stingray... yet again!
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 63: Stingray In Desperate Search - Dangerous Canister Lost In Pacific!
Issue 66: Stingray Trapped - Entombed In Weed
Countdown & TV Action - issues 52 to 61
Stingray The Comic - issues 11 to 15
While faster than light travel had already been touched upon in other strips (notably Fireball XL5, which now had a speed of Velot 4 - four times the speed of light) it is interesting that the speed of the UV61 is so casually near, and beyond, that speed - 186,000 miles per second.
Graham Bleathman produced a cutaway painting of the Rescue Launches that appear in this story, for issue 21 of Stingray The Comic.
Story Eleven (aka Junk Jeopardy)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Gerry Embleton. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 72, dateline 04 June 2066
Atomic liner Mercury, pride of the Philippine Passenger Fleet, ploughs through the blue waters of the South China Sea... but she travels no guided course...
The ship runs aground on Discovery Reefs, and on routine patrol Stingray is ordered to investigate. Finding the Mercury, Troy and Phones use hover jets to board the ship and discover the crew and passengers in a coma-like state. Reporting to Marineville, the aquanauts are told Commander Shore will join them. All valuables have been taken from the liner, and Troy believes the people were victims of a gas attack. The only possible clue lies in the log, as the liner passed an old Chinese junk boat earlier - a rare sight in the 21st century. And sure enough, three hundred miles north, the junk is closing on the Atlantic liner Bird Of Paradise...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 73, dateline 11 June 2066
The junk is not alone, for in the depths underneath is an advanced sub as well. Commander Shore arrives on the Mercury, and with the passengers out for several more days, he decides to join Troy and Phones on Stingray to continue patrol. it is now evening, and the 'Captain's Dance' ball is in full swing on the Bird Of Paradise. Toman Fang orders his 'brothers of the dragon' crew to attack, and the frogmen use hoverpacks to leave the sea and board the liner. But even in the surprise attack, an automatic alarm is triggered, and Stingray diverts to investigate. As the Bird Of Paradise surrenders its wealth, Phones detects the secondary signal close by the liner... and the aquanauts are surprised to find it is a World navy submarine...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 74, dateline 18 June 2066
Commander Shore orders Troy to warn the sub but it manoevres for attack and fires two missiles. An explosive flash blinds the Stingray crew as it careens across the seabed. Marina is not affected, and pilots the sub clear from a second destructive attack, and fires a sting missile which hits their attacker. As Stingray surfaces and vision returns to Troy and the others, Shore contacts Marineville. The junk is definitely linked by a report in the log of the Bird Of Paradise, and an air search is ordered. The junk is located shortly after, and Stingray closes in...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 75, dateline 25 June 2066
The junk is boarded by Troy and Phones, who are greeted by Captain Ho, who speaks little english. A search finds nothing, and while Ho is spoken to by one of his crew in cantonese, Troy wonders where they go from here. But the junk crew have not bargained on Phones having learned a smattering of Cantonese, and back on Stingray he tells Troy and Phones Ho was being asked to contact 'Toman Fang' at the submarine base. While Ho receives his new orders, Troy and Phones follow the junk using an aquasprite. They find it near another liner, but cannot warn it without scaring the pirates off. They must find a way to get on the liner, and wait for the sub to attack...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 76, dateline 02 July 2066
Leaving a taped message on the aquasprite, which will return to Stingray automatically, Troy and Phones use a dinghy and distress flare to get picked up by the liner Eldorado. The captain considers the possibility they are telling the truth about the pirates, but still has the aquanauts locked up until Marineville can verify their story. The aquasprite has rejoined Stingray, and Shore has found Troy's message but he tells Marineville to deny all knowledge in the hope the pirates will still attack. Sure enough, come nightfall, the frogmen emerge from the sea and gas the crew and passengers. But even though Troy and Phones still have their gas masks, they are trapped in a locked room...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 77, dateline 09 July 2066
The locked room attracts the interest of two of the frogmen - who find themselves attacked by Troy and Phones when they open it. Using the frogmen gear, Troy and Phones are able to get aboard the submarine with the others undetected - almost. Even though all the frogmen were counted back, two now appear to be missing as Troy and Phones hide away onboard. Toman Fang orders a search for them...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 78, dateline 16 July 2066
Troy and Phones have secreted themselves atop of two missiles in ceiling racks, but Phones slips from his when the room is searched. Brought before Toman Fang, Phones is accused of being a WASP agent, and who could reveal the location of the WASP tracking station to ensure the sub's continued plunder. Troy attempts to contact Stingray but the sub's hull is reducing signal strength. Troy hides in a missile launcher tube to try and get a clearer signal, but the mechanism is faulty, and is fired during repairs. The aquanaut is ejected unprotected into the depths, and starts to drown...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 79, dateline 23 July 2066
Shore is beginning to suspect something is wrong as there is no further word from Troy. The renegade sub has reached its base, and preparations are made to relocate in case Phones had made contact with his base before capture. Outside, half-drowned, Troy struggles onto a small rocky island, and makes contact with Stingray again. As he awaits pick-up, he sees the junk off-shore with its sails lowered - the 'island' is the secret base! As the boat sails into a hangar, the 'island' starts to sink to the sea-bed and moves on giant tracks. Troy is once again left in the sea, but as Stingray approaches, they see sharks are closing in...
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 80, dateline 30 July 2066
Commander Shore uses a gun to scare off the sharks, and Troy is rescued. Meanwhile, Toman Fang has identified Phones as one of the crew of Stingray - thanks to Captain Ho. Phones is strapped into a box seeded with quick growing, needle sharp bamboo shoots that will kill him painfully in a matter of hours. Stingray arrives in the area, so Fang silences all systems to avoid detection. But Troy has already recognised the 'island' on the sea-bed, and he makes a last attempt to get inside undetected to rescue Phones...
Part 10: TV Century 21 Issue 81, dateline 06 August 2066
Troy works his way through a ventilation shaft and finds himself in the sub's concealed hangar. In another room, he finds Phones and rescues him. Toman returns to gloat only to find Phones gone, and Troy - who knocks him unconscious. With Toman's keys, Troy and Phones explore and find the crew of the World Navy reaper sub imprisoned. Captain Adams leds Troy, Phones and his crew back to the sub, and pilot it out of the base. Contact is made with the waiting Stingray, and the base and pirates are destroyed for good.
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 74: World Navy Sub Turns Pirate - Shock Message Received From Stingray
Issue 78: "Come In, Tempest" Stingray Contacts Troy - THEN SILENCE...
Countdown & TV Action - issues 62 to 71
Stingray The Comic - issues 12 to 18
Phones mentions his 'South American days', which appears to be a reference to his time as a soldier of fortune, as seen in the story 'Marineville Traitor' from the ©1965 TV Century 21 annual.
Ho uses a communications console hidden on the junk in a similar way to X20's table console.
The World Navy submarine from the as-yet-unseen Thunderbirds episode 'Atlantic Inferno' (which would not air until October) features on the cover of issue 74, and provides the basis for the stolen Reaper sub in the story.
The reprints in Countdown & TV Action wrongly credit the strip to Don Harley.
The colour artwork for the first page of part 1 is still known to exist in a private collection.
Story Twelve (aka Creatures of the Lake)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Gerry Embleton. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 82, dateline 13 August 2066
Lieutenant Fisher is attempting to send classified material via the scrambler to a base in Rio de Janeiro, South America, but the message arrives unintelligible as if someone is interferring with the trico wave transmission. Meanwhile, elsewhere in South America, a new monorail is making its maiden run through the jungle, carrying its engineer Ryan, and a TV camera crew. The construction has been beset by problems, which unknown to the 'surface dwellers' is sabotage by aliens operating from under the Amazon. Marineville checks its equipment to find no fault, as Rio de Janiero reports the language translator is printing out - 'Surface dwellers machine to be destroyed at map ref 3720'! Quick checks reveal the new monorail to be the target...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 83, dateline 20 August 2066
The monorail applies its brakes, and comes to a screaming halt just over the brink of disaster, as the track explodes. Crew and passengers evacuate by the rear compartment, abandoning the consignment of plutonium onboard, as the rest of the monorail plunges into one of the jungle lakes. Rescue helicopters arrive, led by Lieutenant Fisher, who takes Ryan to meet Commander Shore. Ryan believes the setbacks to be the work of Bereznik but the strange signals suggest an alien race at the bottom of the lake. Shore wants the lake a restricted area, but a United Network rescue helicopter is already attempting to retrieve the plutonium. A diving chamber is lowered to the incredible depth of one thousand feet before a call urgently requesting to be taken back up is given... then the line goes dead...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 84, dateline 27 August 2066
As the cable is found to have been cut, the helicopter is called by Marineville to pull out of the area, despite Major Chester's reluctance to leave his man trapped on the lake bottom. Troy and Phones meet Ryan at Marineville, and are briefed by Shore, who wants the monorail freight train modified to take Stingray to the lake. Travelling undersea to the mouth of the Amazon, the sub is loaded aboard at the Pacific-Atlantic Marshalling yard. But as it sets off across the Amazon by monorail, the aliens observe, and instruct the local natives to attack...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 85, dateline 03 September 2066
Instructed by their 'lake gods', the natives attack the helijet which is on patrol to airlift Stingray from the monorail. Gas grenades make short work of the natives, and Shore can only ponder why the normally peaceful tribe turned nasty. Stingray arrives, and is lifted into the lake, but as it dives the sub is caught in strong underwater currents...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 86, dateline 10 September 2066
As Troy struggles for control, Phones is amazed to find the depth reading is sixty thousand feet! On the surface, the monorail is recieving a signal on Stingray's wavelength but it is a high-pitched bubbling. Conversely, Troy and Phones find themselves deafened by noise from the radio. As they recover, they avoid a giant clam, and Troy ponders whether the turbulance they passed through has shrunk them in some way. it would appear troy is right, as giant -sized man-eating piranha are closing in on them...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 87, dateline 17 September 2066
Stingray tried to evade the piranha without luck, but sting missiles kill the lead fish - which the others turn on, allowing the sub to escape. Further on, they discover an underwater city, and troy and Phones gamble on entering in the hope of finding out what reduced them in size. A tunnel of light leads through a force-field which holds the water back, but the two aquanauts are unaware they are being observed...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 88, dateline 24 September 2066
Amadan leader Bose orders Troy and Phones brought to him, and a green light immobiles the aquanauts as they find themselves in a control room. Bose explains the monorail construction has weakened the foundations of their city, which has been evacuated until a possible experimental salvation has been found. Troy and Phones have been reduced to one-eighth of their normal size, and if Bose is successful, he can reduce them further. The whole Amadan race can be reduced to a size smaller than the eye can see, to prevent further interference. Troy and Phones are given a potion, and subjected to further rays in a chamber, which successfully reduce to little larger than an Amadan finger. But then there is an abrupt disturbance, and the aliens are thrown to the floor as the miniaturised aquanauts watch helpless within their chamber...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 89, dateline 01 October 2066
With the Amadans unconscious, Troy and Phones make a perilous climb to the top of the chamber, and clamber through a small ventilation hole. A fallen girder provides a fortunate bridge between the chamber and the control panel, and the only way to test the reverse is for Troy to return as Phones hits the right giant-sized button. Their luck holds, and Troy is returned to his prior size, as is Phones soon after. The Amadans are freed from the debris and, as Troy feels partly responsible because of the trouble the monorail has caused the aliens, a bargain is struck. Troy and Phones take the two aliens away as their city finally collapses. With the results of their experiment, the Amadans may finally find peace as, back on the surface, Troy persuades Commander Shore for the lake to be a prohibited area in the future.
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 84: Stingray Goes Overland - Diver abandoned in Amazon drama
Issue 88: Marineville in Turmoil - Where is Stingray?
Stingray Annual 1993
Stingray The Comic - issues 22 to 24
Stingray Monthly - issue 1
Phones mentions a previous trip to the Amazon in part 3, possibly reference to the story Curse of the Crustavons the previous year.
Gerry Embleton appears to have drawn his inspiration for the design of the Amadans from Olmec masks, and their giant sculpted heads, as seen at La Venta.
More new photos liven up the cover stories, with the Air Sea Rescue helicopter from the film Thunderbirds Are Go! featuring in a jungle setting, possibly from the filming of the episode 'Attack of the Alligators'.
Story Thirteen (aka A Trip to England)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Michael Strand. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 90, dateline 08 October 2066
Troy is receiving final briefing for Stingray's latest mission - to represent the WASPs at the thousandth anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. All countries are represented - including Bereznik - so security is still an issue. Adding to the problems are the fact Commander Shore has agreed to allow a World TV camera unit to be based on Stingray to cover the preceedings. X20 arrives at Titanica to report the news, and reveals to Titan he has an agent on Stingray. When the sub arrives at the United Kingdom. a bomb planted in a sting missile will wipe out the cream of the navies also at the celebration.Meanwhile, at Marineville, the camera crew led by Rudolf Cass arrives...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 91, dateline 15 October 2066
As Stingray leaves marineville for the Rosario Tunnel, Cass apologises for delaying their departure. Troy makes light of it, as they will be company for a couple of weeks, but warns Stingray is a security vessel and they should not wonder off the main deck. As the sub enters the six hundred mile undersea tunnel beneath Mexico which links the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, X20 is following in his craft and receives a report from his agent 'Barracuda'. In the tunnel, the lights in Stingray's cabin fail, and the sub narrowly avoids collision with another craft. When the auxilary lights come on, Troy is found unconscious, and Cass reports the near disaster to the world...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 92, dateline 22 October 2066
Cass insinuates Troy fainted from panic, but when he recovers he asks Cass and his crew to leave the main deck. Troy is sure someone slugged him from behind, and finds the lighting cables have burnt in two, causing the blackout. Shore has seen the TV report, which has not helped the image of the WASPs, and Troy reports he is investigating. Meanwhile, X20 has followed Stingray through the Rosario Tunnel, and reports to Titan that 'Barracuda' is preparing phase two of his plan. Troy is making sure their guests are watched, and splits the duties between himself, Phones and Marina. But as Marina hears a noise in the missile store and investigates, a hidden figure plans her death...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 93, dateline 29 October 2066
As a missile falls from its mounting, Marina is saved by Phones, who injures his arm. As Troy arrives, the camera crew voice their concerns they could have all been blown up. Troy investigates and finds the locking chains had been tampered with. 'Barracuda' reports to X20 he will now separate Troy from his crew, and as Phones and Marina retire for the night, Troy is attacked at the transmitter while making a report. Phones is woken by Cass, who tells him their equipment has been wrecked, and the culprit sees the unconscious Troy, lying at the wrecked transmitter with a laser in his hand...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 94, dateline 05 November 2066
Phones takes command, and troy wakes to find himself locked in his cabin, under suspicion of sabotage. When Phones and Marina take him food, they pass a written message to him, explaining they are still on his side but had found bugging devices so cannot risk talking. Phones is trying to give the saboteur the freedom to give himself away, and as Stingray nears England, the radio is fixed. But Phones makes a report while the transmitter is off, to make the saboteur think he has succeeded in discrediting Troy, and Cass reveals himself to be... the Hood...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 95, dateline 12 November 2066
The Hood holds Phones at gunpoint, and orders him to start attacking the other Navy vessels attending the celebration. But Phones has a gun hidden in his armsling, and wings the arch-criminal. As the Hood is captured, and Troy freed, Phones calls Marineville and reports that he thinks the intruder is the Hood. In his confined cell, the Hood uses a transmitter concealed in his shoe to warn X20. As Stingray is in British territorial waters, Troy is told he must hand the Hood over to local authorities on behalf of the World Government. But as a police launch comes alongside Stingray and takes the Hood on board, X20's craft suddenly bursts from the water and hits it...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 96, dateline 19 November 2066
The police and Hood are thrown into the sea, and X20 retrieves his agent. But the Hood has failed in his mission, and will be used in a possibly fatal trap for Troy Tempest! As the police are pulled from the sea by rescue boats, Phones matches the description of the mystery sub to that belonging to X20. There is a hydrophone contact three miles away, and Stingray heads to investigate. X20 has taken the Hood to a nearby cove and left him marooned in a cave shaft. If Troy finds him and tries to rescue him, an explosion will seal them in...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 97, dateline 26 November 2066
Troy and Phones enter the cave, and X20 triggers the explosive. As he reports to Titan that Troy Tempest wll other them no more, the two aquanauts recover and work with the Hood to try and escape their tomb. The Hood has noticed that the air has remained fresh, and clearing a large rock out of the way reveals a small tunnel. A tortuous journey ends on a cliff top, and the Hood leaps over the sheer drop into the sea. Troy has no option to presume him dead, and two days later, Stingray rejoins the celebrations for the one thousandth anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 94: Stingray Sensation - Troy Tempest relieved of command
Issue 95: The Hood Captured (right)
Stingray Annual 1993
Stingray The Comic - issues 23 to 24
Stingray Monthly - issues 1 to 3
For once, Marina is given considerably more to do in the strip and, as in the series, seems far more of a third member of the Stingray crew.
While it is accepted that the undersea races tend to base their craft along the same shapes as cetaceans as a form of 'camoflage' (like the Terror Fish), part 3 suggests that X20's craft is shaped so it could be mistaken for a shark.
After remaining mute in the strip for so long, this strip utilises thought bubbles for Marina as well, as she investigates the missile hold in part 3.
Rosario is actually a region of Mexico, so the implication is the tunnel goes under that region of Central America.
Curiously, Michael Strand's depiction of X20 is more like a green-skinned Parker than the actual surface agent.
Story Fourteen (aka The Treasure Of Loch Fionn)
Writer: Dennis Hooper (?).
Artist: Michael Strand. 2 pages, colour.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 98, dateline 03 December 2066
Troy is given a new assignment while Stingray is moored at Southampton - to replace the commander of the new Loch Fionn WASP base in Scotland. While Stingray returns to Marineville with Phones and Marina, Troy travels by monorail to Edinburgh where he is met by WASP officer MacLeod. He explains the series of mishaps which culminated in the commander being injured in a sea-bug crash. When they reach the base, MacLeod also explains Troy is to meet the Laird, the local land owner, as a traditional procedure. At the Laird's castle, however, Troy is surprised to find Commander Shore is already a guest there...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 99, dateline 10 December 2066
Over dinner, Shore explains he suspects the sabotage is by someone inside the WASPs, and that as new commander, Troy will probably be a target. Stingray is actually two miles offshore, ensuring unsabotaged equipment is readily available if necessary. But as Shore predicts, someone is watching, and when Troy and MacLeod leave, the brakes of their car have been sabotaged. A parachute slows the car as it careens around treacherous mountainous roads, but MacLeod is knocked unconscious. Troy carries him clear just as the car topples over a cliff, and flags down an approaching car. But it is driven by the saboteur...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 100, dateline 17 December 2066
Troy dives out of the way as the driver attempts to run him down, and plays dead to lure him closer. As Troy waits on the roadside, he uses his wrist radio to report to Commander Shore. The saboteur attempts to throw Troy over the cliff edge but Troy fights back. Unfortunately, he stumbles and the other man knocks him out before another car scares him away. The new arrivals are Shore and the Laird, and the only clue lies in the saboteur's voice, which Troy is sure he can recognise. The next day, an impromptu parade of the WASP staff at the base is held, but Troy does not find his man. Visiting MacLeod in the infirmary, Troy is surprised when his predecessor Commander Barrett visits as well - for his voice is that of the man who attacked them...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 101, dateline 24 December 2066
A doctor tells Barrett he should not be out of bed with his injured leg, and as Troy is left alone with MacLeod he shares his suspicion. The attacker had mentioned the 'McEwan Hoard', which MacLeod explains is a local fairy tale - some ships from the Spanish Armada were rumoured to have floundered off the Isle of Ewe, where an outlaw chief called McEwan had looted them for treasure and stashed away. Unknown to them, Barrett has overheard, and Troy finds a message: Your silence = MacLeod's life - in his car later. Troy rushes back to find the doctor has two patients now missing - MacLeod and Barrett - and tells him to keep quiet about this while he investigates. Upon hearing Troy's report, Commander Shore orders Phones to leave Stingray and investigate the tunnel which had been sabotaged earlier. Inside, Phones finds a hoard of ancient treasure, but he is not alone...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 102, dateline 31 December 2066
A frogman holds Phones at gunpoint, who he identifies as Barrett, who has MacLeod is chained up in a nearby cave. Having lost contact with Phones, Marina sends out an emergency signal, but Shore advises troy he must sit tight and wait for Barrett to make his next move. This is a message tied to a rock hurled thrown through a window of the base gatehouse entrance, addressed for Troy. Barrett needs Stingray, and wants Troy to meet him off the Isle of Ewe to await further orders. Troy goes to Doctor Savi to get two sonic pills, and leaves a note for him to pass on to Shore. But unknown to him, Savi is Barrett's accomplice...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 103, dateline 07 January 2067
Troy is taken to Stingray by launch, and is reunited with Marina. Meanwhile, Phones has been left chained to the cave wall with MacLeod, and makes his own bid for freedom. The ancient chains have weakened, and MacLeod is able to break his and free them. They find a concealed stairway and decide to follow it. Barrett arrives at Stingray in skin diver gear, and orders Troy to take Stingray as far as possible into the tunnel. The rest of the journey, to avoid the sabotaged machinery, is by diving gear, and Barrett goes ahead first. He finds Savi, who has discovered Phones and MacLeod have escaped, and tells the doctor to hide in case of trouble. When Troy arrives, he demands to see Phones and MacLeod first, but Savi clubs him from behind...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 104, dateline 14 January 2067
With Troy tied up, Savi goes back to Stingray but finds Marina has gone. Troy tells the two renegades that no World Government country will grant them asylum, but one already has - Bereznik. As Barrett and Savi depart with the treasure, MacLeod returns and frees Troy. Barrett and Savi take Stingray out to sea, then use a seabug to rendezvous with a Bereznik vessel. Troy is bewildered as Shore lets them escape but the commander reveals the only way was to turn Bereznik against the traitors was to frame them. The treasure in the chests has been replaced with WASP monitoring equipment - and on board the Bereznik vessel Satenska, Barret and Savi are arrested as double agents.
Prins Valiant (Holland) - issue 16
Stingray Annual 1993
Stingray Monthly - issues 3 to 5
This story would appear to be set straight after A Trip To England, with Stingray in Southampton Docks.
Oops - part 1 refers to the previous base commander as Jordan, and that the injury is to his back, but for the rest of the story he is called Barrett, who has a leg injury.
Owing to the additional publicity for the Thunderbirds Are Go! photostory adaptation, this strip received no publicity on the front cover.
'2066' also saw an increase in the background information provided for strips in the cover articles and editorial features. These had already been fairly expansive but was at its most apparent during the first story this year. As Stingray investigated The Flying Fish Mystery, the news broke during part 4 (issue 55) that Admiral Washington Beatty, commander of the World Navy, had been arrested for espionage. Beatty had already been name-checked in a two-part This Is 2065 feature at the end of the previous year, and he is one of the three World Security Patrol (or Council, as TV Century 21 would appear to call it) seen in the opening moments of the first Stingray episode (above left). One of the others is identified as General MacCormack, commander of the Army-Air Force (above right), and this brings about a remarkable cohesiveness to the Anderverse, even if die-hard fans do not always take the TV21 information as canon. Not only is Beatty's arrest covered, and he even given a brief biography of his career to date in the best tradition of journalististic research, but his trial is reported at some length over the next few weeks, culminating in a charge of guilty and consequent appeal.
The seeds of future stories would also be sown, and in the same issue reporting the arrest it was announced the Crown Jewels would be sent to Canberra via a World Air Force Wombat - which eventually saw light as a strip three weeks later. But as advance planning went, it was topped by the news article in issue 57 that Dr. John Oswald-Smith, the mayor of Hastings since 2054, had been elected chairman of the Battle of Hastings Tenth Centenary Committee. The celebrations would be in October, and probably be attended by tourists from all over the world. Come September, in issue 87, and Oswald-Smith issued a full schedule for the coming month, even down to the fact Stingray would be attending. While the actual strip A Trip To England, starting in issue 90, overran the preceedings by over a month, the editorial team and writers have to be applauded for what in hindsight seems remarkable foresight and planning.
Mind you, if they had looked at that photo of Dr. Oswald-Smith, you may have thought someone may have cottoned onto the fact Titan may have had a hand in things, and forewarned Troy Tempest or Marineville. But there you go. You can't always believe what you read in the newspapers, can you... ?
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History would like to thank:
and Gerry Embleton
- for his help with this feature.
Version 1.2 - 01.09.05
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