The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History

Calling International Rescue! Chris Dale dons his funky blue uniform and coloured sash, and rides shotgun with the Thunderbirds, as they enter their second year in TV Century 21...

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Thunderbirds: TV Century 21, 1967


2067 could be considered the vintage year for TV Century 21. The publication had gone from strength to strength over its first two years, and was probably at its peak. From the renamed A.P. Films, to Century 21 Productions, the company had now spun off its own publishing division to produce not only the television tie-in spin off annuals like Thunderbirds, but also other licensed publications and stand-alone titles.

Thunderbirds had been the hit television series of 1966, and a phenomenal success. The end of the year had seen a handful of new episodes amidst the first repeats, and a feature film had been released over the Christmas period. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the problem with being a hit success is it can be difficult act to follow. While immensely popular in Europe and Japan, Thunderbirds failed to sell to a major network in the United States, and even now remains relatively unknown there. On the home front though, the programme was still big news, and the Zero X mission from the Thunderbirds Are Go! film had spun off a photo adaptation in TV Century 21, and a new strip based on the craft and characters was added to the publication.

While only the first year of the Thunderbirds strip is usually attributed to editor Alan Fennell, fellow writer and long-time friend Angus Allan is certain he continued to write all of them during the comic's original run. If this is so, then the scripts show a marked change in style, and in a recent interview writer Scot Goodall has mentioned he took over the writing of the strip. While the crossover point is unclear, it would seem the change was during this period, possibly from the story The Space Mirror.

Political intrigue played a major part in these new stories too. Previously, it had only really been a clash between the military and International Rescue's policy of secrecy that had been touched upon. Now the nationally neutral organisation was quite drawn wholesale into various political arenas. Even though Depth Probe touches all the bases as well as its predecessors, somehow it seems inconsequential - almost a reworking of Arctic Menace which it followed.

Where Bereznik had been name-checked in Depth Probe, it became the the theatre of operations in the afore-mentioned The Trapped Spy. While it was all too apparent there were renegade states in the world of the television Thunderbirds, it had never been explored what would happen if International Rescue attempted a mission of mercy to one. Notch up the stakes by making the victim a U.S.S. spy with stolen secrets, and you have a classic in the making. And the story does indeed fulfil a lot of the promises of the format - though one has to ponder on Scott's 'murder' of Tobolsk, even in the light of self-defence. The denouement may seem a bit of a let-down to some, but the whole is a TV21 roller-coaster, and the solution is as clever as it is simple.

What could be seen a 'reader-pleaser', Tracy Island Exposed features both the Hood, Lady Penelope, and - as the title states - International Rescue's base of operations uncovered. Unfortunately, the stunning set-up is let down by rather convenient solutions, such as the 'memory eraser' which pre-dates SHADO's equally handy 'amnesia drug' from UFO.

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Thunderbirds strip guide - part two

Story Seven (aka Depth Probe)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?). Artist: Frank Bellamy. Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 105, dateline 21 January 2067
Flight 287 from Tokyo, carrying six scientists assigned to 'Operation Depthprobe', runs into trouble during its flight over the Nevada Desert when the aircraft's controls become jammed at maximum speed. John has monitored communications between the aircraft and the Operation Depthprobe centre, and Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are launched to assist. The aircraft exhausts its fuel and begins to crashdive, but the Thunderbird craft are able to position themselves underneath each wing and pull the airliner out of it. Touching down safely in the desert, the International Rescue operatives are surprised when they ordered to vacate the area immediately, and watch in amazement as the six men they just saved walk out into the desert...

ThunderbirdsPart 2 - Issue 106, dateline 28 January 2067
The scientists vanish beneath the surface of the desert, and arrive in the control centre of Operation Depthprobe. Here, tests are being conducted on pentatholeum - an unstable rocket fuel that can only be safely ignited in space. As a pentatholeum-fueled rocket is made ready for lift-off, a saboteur makes certain that the launch will fail - and will destroy half of western America in the process. As the countdown for launch reaches zero, the rocket fails to lift, its engines firing at seventy per cent thrust and refusing to stop. International Rescue monitor the situation as two technicians enter the launch bay to cut the engines manually...

Part 3 - Issue 107, dateline 05 February 2067
The technicians barely escape with their lives as an explosion rips through the launch bay and destroys the gantry. International Rescue contact the centre and offer their services, which are accepted. Arriving in Thunderbird One, Scott is told that there is only twenty minutes left before the pentatholeum refrigeration system on the rocket gives out. He, together with Virgil and Brains, battle the fire to gain access to the launch bay. As they work to disconnect the circuits, the rocket topples, and falls against the side of the launch bay...

Part 4 - Issue 108, dateline 12 February 2067
Miraculously, the fuel does not ignite and no-one is hurt, but the rocket engines are now firing against the launch bay walls, sending heat up the side of the craft. International Rescue firefighting trucks are unloaded to keep the outside temperature of the rocket down, and the pentatholeum is pumped aboard Thunderbird 2. As eight of the ten thousand gallons is drained into the International Rescue craft, the firefighters suddenly run dry, and the rocket temperature begins to soar. Nevada has been saved, but will the base crew be... ?

Part 5 - Issue 109, dateline 19 February 2067
Scott and Brains cut their way into the rocket nose cone, and the crew are lifted out on harnesses just as the pentatholeum explodes. Brains examines the plans of the rocket, and detects the sabotage, carried out by undercover Bereznik agent Professor Spencer. He is quickly captured by base security, and International Rescue head home, leaving the 'Operation Depthprobe' team to begin their work all over again.

Tomorrow's News Today:
Issue 106: Thunderbirds Mystery
Issue 108: Desert Inferno - Thermo-nuclear Blast Threatens U.S. West

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 28 to 32, 1967
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 4 to 5
Thunderbirds The Collection issue 2
Thunderbirds: In Space (Book 2)

Thunderbird 5 is again used to monitor outside communications, as was seen in the episode 'Pit of Peril'.
Another similarity to 'Pit of Peril' is the failed rescue attempt by the Depthprobe technicians before International Rescue arrive on the scene.
It seems a little unlikely that Thunderbirds 1 and 2 can balance a out-of-control, front-heavy aircraft between their wings, without it falling off. But this method would be seen in other Anderson strips, such as The Angels.
The IR agents use jet packs to examine the rocket - perhaps the same kind that were used to save the crew of the telerelay station in the episode 'Edge of Impact'?
Oops - the last frame of the final part says that Scott looks down at the desert - but this accompanies a picture of Thunderbird 2.
The cover of issue 105 features a specially taken photo of Thunderbird 3 shooting down two asteroids (left), as part of a cover promotion for a free gift of a 'Thunderbirds Target Trainer'.
Issue 106 includes another free gift, a 'Thunderbirds/Special Agent IQ Test Card'.
Thunderbirds In Space and the Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 refer to this story as 'Operation Depthprobe'.

Story Eight (aka The Trapped Spy)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?). Artist: Frank Bellamy. Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 110, dateline 25 February 2067
The Bereznik State Zoo is a camouflage for their most secret experimental research station. A spy gains access to the station and steals some top secret plans. Escaping in a jeep and pursued by the base's security forces, the spy heads for the Russian border, but his vehicle is hit by a shell and explodes seconds after the spy gets clear. The explosion traps the spy in a cave, and the World Security Council in Washington contact International Rescue for assistance. However, as political problems are not something International Rescue gets involved in, Jeff Tracy refuses to help...

ThunderbirdsPart 2 - Issue 111, dateline 04 March 2067
The U.S.S. Chief devises a plan to force International Rescue to save their agent. Katania Benenora, the daughter of the Bereznik dictator, is going to visit the research station the next day, and the plan is to attack the administration building and then jam the protective shields that defend the building. The attack goes exactly as planned, and Katania is trapped inside, forcing General Benenora to call International Rescue. At the same time, the U.S.S. contact International Rescue and threaten to shoot down any of their aircraft that fly into Bereznik territory. Jeff agrees to both rescues, and so the Thunderbirds converge on the Bereznik border by sea and air. The World Air Force launches fighters to follow Thunderbird 2, with orders to shoot it down should it cross into Bereznik...

Part 3 - Issue 112, dateline 11 March 2067
Thunderbird 4 arrives in the main Bereznik harbour, and Gordon is taken to see the chief of the secret police, Colonel Tobolsk, who has him taken to a cell and removed of his uniform. He contacts Jeff, who sends Scott out to Bereznik in Thunderbird 1 to warn General Benenora that someone in Gordon's uniform is planning to assassinate him. The warning may come too late, however, as the assassin moves in for the kill...

Part 4 - Issue 113, dateline 18 March 2067
Scott's radio message finally reaches the General, who is pushed out of the assassin's firing line by one of his soldiers. This convinces him to trust International Rescue, and so the Mole is unloaded in the mountains to save the U.S.S. agent whilst Scott and Brains work to free Katania. Their plan is to force the shield open by using two hydraulic jacks, allowing Scott enough room to enter. As he prepares, however, one of the jacks is already slipping...

Part 5 - Issue 114, dateline 25 March 2067
Scott is trapped inside the trench as the jack slips free and his cable is cut. More jacks are added to force the gap open as Scott slides down the hydraulic arm and plants a charge. He barely escapes as it detonates, destroying the hydraulics and forcing the shield surrounding the building to drop. Katania is freed, but can the U.S.S. agent be? The rock is proving to be too difficult for the Mole to cut through...
Part 6 - Issue 115, dateline 01 April 2067
Brains discovers a series of streams underneath the danger zone, but first Gordon will need to be rescued from the Bereznik dungeons. In a daring raid in Thunderbird 1, Scott fires a line into his cell and pulls him out. But as Gordon dangles from the cable underneath the craft, Tobolsk orders he be shot...

Part 7 - Issue 116, dateline 08 April 2067
Gordon is winched into Thunderbird 1, and Tobolsk is killed as Scott fires a rocket into his office, before attacking the Bereznik gunboats that are holding Thunderbird 4. Once the submarine has been rescued, it is flown out to the river nearest to the position of the trapped agent. The International Rescue agents plant neutron charges against a cave wall, but release a torrent of water that slams into Thunderbird 4 and forces it aground...

Part 8 - Issue 117, dateline 15 April 2067
Scott and Virgil travel into the cave on foot, finding the rockfall that had buried the agent, and pulling him out alive. The dam created by the neutron charges bursts, and the three men, as well as Thunderbird 4, are swept to safety. Once outside, World Government troops arrive to collect the papers the spy stole from the zoo - but Scott destroyed them.

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 112: TB4 Arrested!
Issue 113: Thunderbirds On Secret Mission
Issue 115: Thunderbirds Jail-Break - TB1 In Prison Rescue
Issue 116: Gordon Tracy Free!

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 33 to 40, 1967
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 4 to 6
Thunderbirds The Collection issue 2
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Book 3)
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Bumper Compilation)

This is the first Thunderbirds strip to feature Bereznik.
Commander Zero from Fireball XL5, and Commander Shore from Stingray, make cameo appearances at the security council in the first two parts.
Interestingly, the head of Bereznik's secret police is called Tobolsk, who was killed in the Lady Penelope strip Behind Enemy Lines. And he gets killed here too.
Another specially shot photo of Thunderbird 1, landing on a basic jury-rigged miniature set, is used on the cover of issue 115. The buildings comprise of part of Glenn Field, from the film Thunderbirds Are Go!
This is the first Thunderbirds strip to feature Berezniks.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'The Bereznik Zoo Rescues'.

ThunderbirdsStory Nine (aka Operation Earthquake)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist: Frank Bellamy.
Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 118, dateline 22 April 2067
On May 8th, 2067, Moscow is decimated in an earthquake. International Rescue joins the rescue effort, and spend a few days rescuing survivors. Returning to Tracy Island, they are surprised when Brains wonders why there was no warning of the earthquake - but he soon gets his answer, as a newspaper reveals that 400 million dollars in gold was stolen from Moscow's main bank in the aftermath of the earthquake...

Part 2 - Issue 119, dateline 29 April 2067
Virgil and Brains return to Moscow, taking the Mole underground to look for clues. Eventually, they find a cavern, with machine tracks on the floor. Exploring further, they accidentally tunnel themselves out of the rock, and into the water...

Part 3 - Issue 120, dateline 06 May 2067
The Mole comes to rest on the seabed, and Scott takes Alan out to Moscow to fly Thunderbird 2 back to Tracy Island, so that he can bring Thunderbird 4 out to help. With oxygen supplies on the Mole failing, and the escape unit out of operation, Scott takes a desperate chance...

Part 4 - Issue 121, dateline 13 May 2067
Thunderbird 1 opens fire on the Mole, and the shock releases the escape unit. Virgil and Brains get to the surface whilst Gordon brings the rest of the drilling machine up. Seconds later, Montreal is devastated by an earthquake, and they fly out there to help. Brains suggests searching for the earthquake machine straight away, and, using the X-Ray scanner on Thunderbird 1, it is soon located...

Part 5 - Issue 122, dateline 20 May 2067
International Rescue follow the earthquake machine to the coast of Newfoundland, where it drives ashore and enters a secret base built into the side of a cliff. With the Mole fully repaired, the International Rescue team burrow through the door, quickly overcoming the opposition...that is, everyone that they know of...

Part 6 - Issue 123, dateline 27 May 2067
One gang member opens fire on the International Rescue team, and Scott orders Alan to bring the Mole into the cave. The gang leader prepares to make his escape as his drilling machine and the Mole clash. Brains opens fire on some oil drums to create confusion, but just as the rest of the gang are about to be captured, the Mole drills into the side of the earthquake machine. Both vehicles explode, and the blast shatters the cavern...

Part 7 - Issue 124, dateline 03 June 2067
Battered and bruised, the International Rescue team reach safety outside, but a surviving gang member warns Scott that one of the nuclear devices they used to cause the earthquakes is still inside the cavern. Scott risks his life to go back in there and remove the detonator, and succeeds, just as the mountain caves in.

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 120: Virgil And Brains Trapped!
Issue 121: Montreal Earthquake! Virgil And Brains Safe... International Rescue Rush To Scene...
Issue 122: TB1 Tracks Quake Machine! Gangsters Responsible For Disasters?
Issue 124: Thunderbird Team Defy A-Bomb - Everyone A Hero In Rock Cave Fire

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 41 to 47, 1967
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 7 to 8
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Book 3)
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Bumper Compilation)

Oops - the date given for the earthquake in part 1 is May 8th 2067 - two weeks ahead of the cover date of the issue it is in. Interestingly, the Dutch TV2000 reprint amends the date to October 14th - the date that issue appeared in
This may be the only instance of Tin-Tin appearing in a strip beyond the first, and Atlantic Tunnel. Although not referred to by name, she appears to accompany the Tracy brothers on the rescue in part 1.
It is also one of the rarer instances where four of the Tracy brothers go on a rescue mission together.
The 'Domo' from the episode 'The Duchess Assignment' is used in part 1.
In parts 4 and 5 Scott uses an x-ray scanner, lowered from under Thunderbird 1, to search for the earthquake machine. This is vaguely similar to the sounding device used in the episode 'The Man From M.I.5., and a photo from it appears on the cover of issue 122.
Thunderbirds The Mole is pretty much destroyed at the end of this story, and Brains says it will take a couple of months to build another. However, the Mole is used in the next story, after only a month or so.
Frank Bellamy draws a stylised Thunderbird 1 which is incorporated into the masthead of part 5 (left).
The concept of a Mole-like burrowing machine to commit a robbery harks back to one of the Supercar strips in TV Comic.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'Newfoundland Quake Makers'.

ThunderbirdsStory Ten (aka Tracy Island Exposed)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?).
Artist - Frank Bellamy.
Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 125, dateline 10 June 2067
Another defeat at the hands of International Rescue prompts the Hood to use his hypnotic powers over Kyrano to discover the location of their headquarters. Posing as an Air Terrainean test pilot, he steals the passenger jet Goliath and, ejecting before impact, crashes it into Tracy Island...

Part 2 - Issue 126, dateline 17 June 2067
The residents of Tracy Island scramble to put out the blazing wreck that threatens Thunderbird 2. Eventually, the fire gets so bad that the craft has to be moved out onto the runway, but the Hood soon returns in another aircraft, and takes a picture. The next morning, that picture is on the cover of the World News - International Rescue's secret base has been revealed...

Part 3 - Issue 127, dateline 24 June 2067
Thunderbirds 1 and 2 take off for Thunderbird 5. Jeff orders Brains to build a wooden mockup of Thunderbird 2, and then contacts Penelope, asking her to arrange a disaster. A telecast shows the world that Tracy Island is in fact merely an International Rescue amusement park, but this does not fool the Hood. Penelope seals Parker in a vault at the Bank of England, hoping that when International Rescue arrive to save him, it will be proved once and for all that they do not come from Tracy Island. The plan hits a snag, however, as the Mole, the only thing that can save Parker, is back on Tracy Island, which is currently crowded with tourists - one of whom happens to be the Hood...

Part 4 - Issue 128, dateline 01 July 2067
Gordon finds the Hood snooping around outside, and he uses his hypnotic powers to overcome Jeff, Brains, and Gordon. Kyrano enters, distracting his half-brother and giving Gordon a chance to knock the criminal out. A fake typhoon warning clears the island of the tourists, and the Thunderbird 2 mockup is dismantled as the real thing returns to collect the Mole. The Hood is prepared to have his short-term memory erased, but before Brains can carry out the procedure, the criminal warns that the Mole is mined - and will explode in one minute...

Part 5 - Issue 129, dateline 08 July 2067
Virgil drops the pod into the sea, but the Mole does not explode - the Hood has lied. The Hood's memories of the events are erased, and he is dumped on the mainland. Thunderbird 2 retrieves the pod and flies to London, where Parker is rescued - plus a few security boxes he has to put back! International Rescue head home, their secrets secure.

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 127: Operation "Cover-Up"
Issue 128: TB Chief Calls In London Agent - Lady Penelope Sets Up Disaster

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 48 to 52, 1967
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 7 to 9
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Book 3)
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Bumper Compilation)

Lady Penelope and Parker make their first appearance in a Thunderbirds strip since its debut story at the start of '2066'.
The Hood makes a return appearance in the Thunderbirds strip, his first since the story Atlantic Tunnel, but in the meanwhile he had appeared in the Stingray strip A Trip To England.
The ability of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to operate in space is also seen again.
This story features the DT19 airliner from the Captain Scarlet episode 'Winged Assassin', as the Goliath airliner. But this would not be seen on television in the UK until October.
Thunderbirds Huh? - in part 1, the Hood steals the Goliath and ejects from it over the sea, leaving it to crash into Tracy Island. But a very short time later in part 2, he has acquired another plane to fly overhead and photograph Thunderbird 2 on the runway. Maybe he had it waiting on a nearby island, but this is not explained.
Oops - in part 3, Penelope's friend at the Bank of England is Sir James but in part 5 it has changed to Sir William.
It is implied Jeff Tracy has contacts in the media, such as Bill McQuire of World Television, which may explain how some secrecy is maintained.
More special photos were taken to promote the strip featuring the Thunderbird 2 and DT19 models in front of the cliff hangar (right) but again these were not used.
The reprint in TV2000 switches the Goliath from Thunderbirds' Air Terrainean to Dutch airline KLM! A very clever stroke as KLM has a very similar blue and white livery.
Part 1 of this story is reproduced, in black and white, in George Perry and Alan Aldridge's The Penguin Book Of Comics.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'Operation Cover-Up'.

Story Eleven (aka The Revolution)
Writer: Alan Fennell (?). Artist: Frank Bellamy. Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 130, dateline 15 July 2067
July 15th, 2067 sees the atomic ship President depart New York on her maiden voyage to Australia. High above, in Thunderbird 1, Jeff and Scott watch the launch before heading home via Nicaragua, so they can examine the new canal that the President will be sailing through. Meanwhile, in the nearby shanty town of San Casas, revolutionaries are plotting ways to make the government notice their plight - and they decide that the best way to do that is to blow up the President...

ThunderbirdsPart 2 - Issue 131, dateline 22 July 2067
The revolutionaries travel from village to village looking for like-minded people to aid them in their cause. The leader, Juan, outlines his plan - the canal will be blocked, and the crew and passengers on the President will be ordered to disembark before the ship is blown up. However, some of his comrades do not share his vision, and the next morning, they take the tanker that Juan had planned to block the canal with, and ram it into the President's bow...

Part 3 - Issue 132, dateline 29 July 2067
The crew of the President lose control, and the liner crashes into the bank, completely blocking the canal. Juan and his friends, however, decide to go ahead with their plan, and the rebel leader orders that the passengers and crew be ordered to disembark. His comrades, however, threaten to shoot anyone who leaves the ship, and so Captain Thomas reports the situation to the World Maritime Agency. The communication is picked up by Thunderbird 5, and Jeff sends Scott out to the danger zone in Thunderbird 1. Upon his arrival, Scott discovers that the President has dammed the canal, and that the water levels are rising...

Part 4 - Issue 133, dateline 05 August 2067
The President of Nicaragua is prepared to send in troops to deal with the revolt, but Jeff contacts him directly and advises him to call them off. He agrees, and grants International Rescue 24 hours to deal with the situation. The rebels watch as the rising water levels flood the nearby village of San Pedro. Scott is on hand to save the villagers who were unable to evacuate in time - but suddenly the weight of water bursts the north bank of the canal, sending a tidal wave cascading across the plateau...

Part 5 - Issue 134, dateline 12 August 2067
Thunderbird 2 is launched, as the President begins to become unstable in the water. Juan and the rebels watch as Thunderbird 2 arrives, and launches Thunderbird 4 from its pod. Thunderbird 4 inspects the President, which shifts its position again, crushing Thunderbird 4...

Part 6 - Issue 135, dateline 19 August 2067
Thunderbirds 1 and 2 attach lines to the President, to pull it off of Thunderbird 4. Juan, unable to stand idly by any longer, dives into the water to rescue Gordon. The President is pulled back onto an even keel, but Juan's followers are still plotting against him, and have gone to the army, warning them that the rebels are being aided by International Rescue...

Part 7 - Issue 136, dateline 26 August 2067
The President is secured, and Virgil uses Thunderbird 2's grabs to repair the breach to the canal. The government troops open fire on the area, but Gordon leads Juan and his loyal followers to surrender to them. The attack is halted, and the traitors are arrested. The breach in the canal is repaired, and, as the water level begins to rise, International Rescue head for home.

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 132: Terrorists Attack Liner - Thunderbirds Answer Call
Issue 134: TB4 Trapped Under Liner
Issue 136: Rebellion: Riots - Catastrophe - Carnage!

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 01 to 07, 1968
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 11 to 13
Thunderbirds: To The Rescue (Book 1)

The Empire State Building, which had been destroyed in the television episode 'Terror In New York City', can be seen as the President leaves dock.
In this story, Thunderbird 4 gets badly damaged, and has to be rebuilt by Brains. He must do some very quick work, as it is ready the following week for the start of The Space Mirror.
The President itself seems to undergo some mysterious repairs - in part 3, the ship's bow is clearly quite badly damaged by colliding with the canal banks, but in part 7 when it is finally pulled off the rocks the bow only has dents.
The feature on the cover of issue 134 is written by 'Jose Caraces', with an addition article about Thunderbird 4's cahelium hull protecting it.
The unidentified fighter planes from the episode 'The Cham-Cham' are depicted on the cover of issue 136, as Nicaraguan ZX2s used by forces to quell the rebellion. These do not appear in the strip however.
Part 2 of this story is reproduced, in colour, in George Perry and Alan Aldridge's The Penguin Book Of Comics.
A much loved Frank Bellamy design for the strip, Graham Bleathman produced a cutaway painting of The President for issue 13 of Thunderbirds The Comic to accompany the reprint of the story.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'Voyage of the President'.

Story Twelve (aka The Space Mirror)
Writer: Scott Goodall (?). Artist: Frank Bellamy. Colour centrespread.

Part 1 - Issue 137, dateline 02 September 2067
The survey ship 'Palmerston' is heading for an Antarctic base when the temperature suddenly begins to rise. The ice melts, and the sea reaches boiling point, seizing up the engines. International Rescue picks up their SOS and Thunderbird 2 is launched. Gordon plans to tow the Palmerston out, but before he can do so, the submarine is attacked by a blinding beam of light...

Part 2 - Issue 138, dateline 09 September 2067
Gordon dives under the water with little damage, and takes the Palmerston in tow, but seconds later, the heat beam disappears and the Antarctic waters return to normal. On Thunderbird 5, John carries out a stratospheric survey, and detects an unidentified object in orbit. Before he can examine it however, he is enveloped in a flash of light. Thunderbird 3 hurries to the space station... where Alan finds no sign of his brother...

Part 3 - Issue 139, dateline 16 September 2067
The heat beam hits Thunderbird 5, and Alan escapes in Thunderbird 3, heading for the area where John detected the unknown satellite and finding an orbiting platform that is reflecting the sun's rays. Alan is about to dock when the platform opens fire on Thunderbird 3, and the rocket is quickly captured. Alan is taken onto the platform, where he discovers John alive - as well as a diabolical criminal mastermind...

Part 4 - Issue 140, dateline 23 September 2067
The man responsible for the heat ray attacks is Soltan, and he intends to use the ray to cut into a vault underneath Lake Geneva that holds the World Government's stock of gold reserves. Soltan leaves for Earth in a rocket, but John and Alan break free and overpower their captors. Thunderbird 1 heads for Lake Geneva, just in time to see the beam deactivate and Soltan enter the vault. On the satellite, however, John and Alan are able to reactivate the beam, and Soltan is destroyed by his own creation as the vault is flooded by the sun's rays.

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 138: Polar Heat Blast - Thunderbird 2 On Stand-by
Issue 139: Heat-Beam Horror

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 08 to 11, 1968
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 14 to 15
Thunderbirds: In Outer Space (Book 2)
FAB - issues 46 to 49

This time round, Thunderbird 3 gets a lashing, damaged by Soltan's missiles.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'Iceberg Melts - The Sea Boils'.
The Fanderson reprints in the FAB club magazine faithfully retain the credit 'Gerry Anderson's' (Thunderbirds) and © Century 21 Productions, which are usually cut or masked on consequent appearances.

Story Thirteen (aka The Earthquake Maker)
Writer: Scott Goodall (?). Artist: Frank Bellamy. 2 pages, colour.

Part 1 - Issue 141, dateline 30 September 2067
An earthquake decimates the city of Tashfar, home to a project that was designed to fertilise the Persian deserts. A ring of fire surrounds the city, blocking conventional rescue. The people trapped inside have only one chance - International Rescue. The call goes out, and soon Thunderbirds One and Two arrive in the Persian desert. A man approaches them, but is shot before he can talk to them. His last action before dying is to scrawl a message in the sand - 'FOCPT 50 MILES WEST - STOP THEM'

Part 2 - Issue 142, dateline 07 October 2067
Scott, Virgil and Brains have no time to consider the dead man's message. Using the Mole, they tunnel into Tashfar and lead the trapped people to safety, but another earthquake soon occurs in a nearby city - then another, and another. Brains notices the proximity of the four quakes, and concludes that they might not have been natural...

Part 3 - Issue 143, dateline 14 October 2067
The police bring in the body of the murdered man, and the International Rescue team learn that he was a detective named Tayron, and had been sent to the village of Peskula three weeks earlier in a routine matter. Thunderbirds One and Two fly out there to investigate, but a freak whirlwind whips up in the desert, forcing the two craft to crash. As the three men stagger unhurt from their ships, they can hear a high-pitched sound...

Part 4 - Issue 144, dateline 21 October 2067
A tower rises out of the sand, and blasts the Thunderbirds with jets of fire. Scott and Virgil destroy the tower with their laser pistols, and then continue on foot to Peskula. The village appears to be deserted, but, as the three men stop to rest by a pool, a pair of grabs burst from the water, and drag them under the surface...

Part 5 - Issue 145, dateline 28 October 2067
Arriving in an airlock, the International Rescue team are quickly overpowered, and taken to meet Parthal - the man responsible for the earthquakes. His plan is to split the country in half, using a powerful earthquake. The International Rescue team escape to the airlock, and steal a small submarine to get to the surface. Heading back to the Thunderbirds, the ground opens up, and Brains falls into a gaping chasm...

Part 6 - Issue 146, dateline 04 November 2067
Scott and Virgil are able to pull Brains to safety, and Thunderbird One takes to the air, opening fire on Peskula and destroying Parthal's underground complex. The diabolical mastermind has, however, escaped in a small aircraft, and collides with Thunderbird One, sending the madman spiralling down to meet his demise in the chasm he created.

TV2000 (Holland) - issues 12 to 17, 1968
Century 21 issue 1
Thunderbirds The Comic issues 1 to 3
Thunderbirds: To The Rescue (Book 1)
Thunderbirds The Collection issue 1

The letters FOCPT scrawled in the sand, seen in part 1, means 'focal point' - as pointed out by Brains in part 2.
With the start of the Captain Scarlet in the centre pages of TV Century 21, Thunderbirds moves to pages 18 and 19.
The start of publicity for Captain Scarlet also meant this story received no major promotion on the covers.
The scene of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 crashing in the desert was used to promote the reprint on the cover of Thunderbirds The Comic issue 2, painted by Steve Kyte (left).
The second page of the final part of this strip was turned into a duvet cover design by a company called 'Undercover' in 1992.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'Mr Big the Earthquake Maker'.

Story Fourteen (aka Visitor from Space)
Writer: Scott Goodall (?).
Artist: Frank Bellamy. 2 pages, colour.

ThunderbirdsPart 1 - Issue 147, dateline 11 November 2067
Space Freighter ZV7 misses its rendezvous with an Earth-orbiting space station, and an inspection reveals that the crew are all dead from depressurisation. Preparing to destroy the freighter before it enters the Earth's atmosphere, the station's commander is surprised to learn that the freighter must be saved, at all costs. International Rescue are called in, and are preparing to attach limpet tubes to the freighter as it hurtles towards New York City...

Part 2 - Issue 148, dateline 18 November 2067
Scott is able to force the freighter to level out, by ramming it with Thunderbird One. Thunderbird Two manages to take hold of the freighter, and guides it towards the Matto Grosso jungle for a landing. However, the freighter is shaken loose, and crashes into the dense woodland... and in the cargo hold, something stirs...

Part 3 - Issue 149, dateline 25 November 2067
A hideous alien monster bursts from its cage in the freighter's cargo hold. Virgil enters the freighter to check for signs of life, and is surprised by the alien. Opening fire on the creature enrages it, and it begins to grow, bursting out of the wreckage and rampaging through the jungle. Scott lands, and his search for Virgil reveals his brother's boot - turned to solid stone...

Part 4 - Issue 150, dateline 02 December 2067
Scott pulls the alive Virgil from the wreckage, and the brothers report to base. Thunderbird Two returns to Tracy Island to collect Brains, while Scott searches for the creature, following the trail of objects that it has turned to stone. Having found it, he opens fire - but the creature is unaffected, growing larger and reaching for Thunderbird One...
Part 5 - Issue 151, dateline 09 December 2067
Thunderbird One gets clear on the creature's grip, and meets Thunderbird Two as Brains arrives to assess the situation. He and Virgil approach the sleeping creature in the Mole, but as they make a closer examination, some natives fire a poison dart, which strikes the back of Virgil's neck and wakes the creature...

Part 6 - Issue 152, dateline 16 December 2067
Brains knocks out one of the headhunters, and the other two are turned to stone by the creature, which goes on its way. Brains administers an antidote to the poison, and the pair follow the creature's trail of devastation to Brazilia. The alien monster stumbles into the Brazilian capital...

Part 7 - Issue 153, dateline 23 December 2067
The creature's path will take it through the South American Cosmic Radiation Research Centre unless it can be stopped, and so Scott attacks it with missiles while Virgil sets the centre on fire. The flames hold the creature back, but the headhunter Brains subdued staggers from the Mole, and launches himself at Virgil...

Part 8 - Issue 154, dateline 30 December 2067
ThunderbirdsVirgil is forced to punch the headhunter to stop him, and drags him clear of the blaze. Unharmed by the flames, the creature attacks them. But the headhunter recovers and blows a poison dart into the alien's massive eye, and it collapses - finally dead. The savages turns and faces Virgil in a brief moment of mutual respect before vanishing back into the jungle, leaving him to ponder on the simple weapon that killed the alien creature. But Brains shakes him from his thoughts, as there are people trapped in the town - and International Rescue no doubt has more work to do!

ThunderbirdsTomorrow's News Today:
Issue 148: Thunderbirds Fail: New York City Doomed - All North America Threatened

Thunderbirds The Comic issues 16 to 19
Thunderbirds: In Action (Book 5)
Thunderbirds: Danger Zone (Bumper Compilation)

Frank Bellamy gives the Jovian creature an impressive scale in part 6, with a single frame illustration which takes up over half a page (see above). Its size seems somewhat variable throughout, but its ability to stretch its limbs implies it may be able to do this naturally.
This story was promoted on the cover of TV Century 21 issue 148, but this would be the last for Thunderbirds, with the Captain Scarlet strip moved to the front page from issue 155, until issue 177.
Curiously, this strip was omitted from the Dutch TV2000 run. Even more so when it is alleged the strip was reduced to and remained at two separate pages for foreign reprints.
The Classic Thunderbirds Calendar 2004 lists this story as 'The Jovian Eye'.

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The Revolution can be seen as the last of the true Thunderbirds strip classics, and it evokes the feel of some of the best episodes. There is no convenient get out, and rebel leader Juan is fleshed out in broad strokes as a wonderful counterpoint to the Tracys - honest, idealistic, but simply on the wrong side of poverty and the law. The enemy here is misguided anger and greed, personified by the antagonistic Casta and Golon, though the Nicaraguan government has to share equal blame in allowing the situation to develop.

From this point on however, while remaining high in adventure, the stories become far more fanciful, and tended to be shorter. The Space Mirror is sadly a reflection of things to come, with 'Soltan' becoming the first of the television Batman-style super criminals to appear. One can appreciate the desire to cash in on popularist ideals, but it detracts badly from the very original premise of Thunderbirds. Parthal in The Earthquake Maker treads a similar path, and is depicted in almost identical style by artist Frank Bellamy, who obviously thought villains had to have a beard and wear snazzy shades. The Earthquake Maker also saw Thunderbirds displaced from the centrespread by new Anderson series Captain Scarlet for a few months, to become a regular two page strip. Even though it would regain the centre pages from the beginning of the new year, it remained in this format instead of a full spread.

Though not a classic in the episode sense, Visitor From Space at least borrows on ideals from a literary one. And while the Jovian creature is not a true War Of The Worlds invader, its destructive stumble through alien Earth, only to be stopped by the simplest of weapons, is evocative of the novel. It remains reasonably true to the spirit of the series too, which is more than can be said for the slippery slide into Thunderbirds Power Rangers territory, where fists fly and life - in any circumstance - is no longer sacred...

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On to Part Three of this series.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History would like to thank:
Angus Allan
Scot Goodall
Norman Boyd
and Alan Notton
- for his help with this feature.

Version 1.2 - 01.09.06

Any comments or notes about any of the strips, please contact

All text © The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History, and its respective writers, and may not be reproduced without permission.
All images © their respective copyright holders

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