icon_uk: (Robin Joker Another day....)
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Ah Thunderbirds... a staple of children's viewing for many decades here in the UK.

Gerry Anderson (still going strong at 82, gawdbless him) never saw the fact he used marionettes in his work as being a disadvantage.




As far as the public are concerned, Thunderbirds are an anonymous, philanthropic, worldwide disaster rescue and recovery team. They hold allegiance to no Government, are privately funded and will attempt rescues for anyone, in any circumstances.

In reality they are a family. Jeff Tracey was one of the first astronauts and thanks to shrewd investments was, to borrow a quote from Big bang theory "Somewhere between Bruce Wayne and Scrooge McDuck" in terms of wealth. He had bought a Pacific Island to raise his family in, even after his wife's death (Never stated outright, but accepted to be complications following the birth of her fifth child). Their five children (Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan) all achieved success in their own fields often involving public or military service but all withdrew to the Island for, apparently, personal reasons. Of course, the REAL reason was their fathers decision to form International Rescue. He gave carte blanche to polymath genius known as "Brains" (His real name is never confirmed until the live action movie, but he used the alias Hiram K. Hackenbacker on occasion in the series) to create the most advanced, most versatile and most effective vehicles possible for their missions. (It should be noted that Brains had a very prominent stammer, but this was never a source of mockery in the show, a deliberate move on Anderson's part.)

And boy howdy, did he succeed. IR have some of the COOLEST looking vehicles in known fiction; the beautifully stylised Thunderbird-3, or the awesome Thunderbird-2 which was capable of carrying pods loaded with mission-specific rescue equipment, be it the burrowing Mole, the inferno dousing Firefly, or their primary underwater vehicle; Thunderbird-4. The vehilcles ignited the imaginations of children all over the country for at least three generations, and long may they continue to do so.

And of course, they had a comic too. Called TV Century 21/TV21 (For several years it had a fun front cover gimmick which always appeared to be the front page of a newspaper dated 100 years from the actual date and outlined the contents as if they were news reports. (This also established a sort of shared universe between some of the series (Thunderbird-4 pilot Gordon Tracy had served with the World Aquanaut Security patrol, or WASP which was the focus of the Stingray series), but this was never acknowledged in any of the shows.

Mr Anderson was always canny enough to retain ownership over his creations. Some were sort of divided up in his divorce from long time colleague Sylvia Anderson (The voice of Lady Penelope amongst others), but we won't dwell on that. Strips included Thunderbirds, Stingray and other notable Anderson creations, as well as things like Lady Penelope in her own adventures, which I must see if I can post a sample of sometime.

This is from the TV21 from September 2068 with fabulous art from Frank Bellamy

Even if only for his groundbreaking work in Eagle, Frank Bellamy should be lauded to the skies. His love of machinery and giving fantastic devices a certain... reality is wonderful, and ideally suited to a sci-fi action adventure strip.

But, on to the strip itself (This story is actuall 7 2-page strips, so I'm posting just under 5 pages in total and hope that's acceptable)

Out story starts on the newly opened Trans-oceanic bridge, which links Australia and Antarctica BY ROAD!! (To allow the free flow of essential minerals discovered beneath the Antarctic to processing plants built in more habitable climes.) But all is not well...



Flying attack penguins capable of creating oil slicks! How awesome is this already?

Seventeen trucks crash, and eight end up underwater. As the cabins are pressurised, there may be survivors, so TB1 and TB2 are sent to investigate, with TB4 in TB2's pod to being the search when...



Poor Gordon, he's sort of the Aqualad of the team, exceptionally skilled in his own field, and essential on any mission on or under the sea, but the rest fo the time he gets overlooked a lot... but here he shows his stuff.

TB2 tracks towards the iceberg when hidden pipes start generating clouds of freezing fog, VERY freezing fog which means TB2 has to fly fast to melt the ice that's form on it's fuselage but then heads straight back.



Look at them, they're liked waddling little Daleks aren't they? :)

Virgil manages to make it to the surface by blowing up some penguins, and when he's up there, he sees (Yup, at last we're getting to the Dudes in Distress bit)

"But what could possibly be more dangerous than squadrons of killer penguins?" I hear you ask. You'll see!



Told you! :)



His just killed a bloody robot polar bear with foot long blade claws by jamming an ICICLE into it! International rescue is HARDCORE!

Now the purists among you are probably already complaining that a Polar Bear should be nowhere near the South Pole, as they live at the North Pole, but all I'll say is that it's a robot bear with retractable claws, it can be wherever the hell it wants to be!

It is eventually disocvered that this is all part of a plan by the evil Bereznik nation to overrun the mineral plants in Antarctica... and in the process, he manages to capture two of the brothers, this time, Gordon gets away, but Scott and Virgil are put into another OTT deathtrap... It has a very Golden Age Batman and Robin vibe to it...



I include that last bit just to give Gordon a little bit of respect, since he gets to save the day, albeit not in his usual vehicle.



How could I overlook the definitive UK Dude in Distress

No post on "Dudes in Distress" concerning Mr Anderson would be complete without featuring the end title art used in my personal favourite Supermarrionation series; Captain Scarlet (As, thanks to the Mysterons, he was indestructible, he could face more peril than might otherwise have been healthy, with the added twist that he'd STILL recover)



Note how happy they are singing about how "They smash him, and his body may burn! They crash him, but they know he will return, to live again"!

If that went by too fast, here are the end title cards showing in excruciating detail exactly what they do to him!




Now THAT's a dude who KNOWS distress!

Date: 2012-02-04 07:09 pm (UTC)
magista: (iron man)
From: [personal profile] magista
I always thought that Captain Scarlet must have some serious psychological issues, what with essentially being expected to put his life on the line all the time. It's not like dying wouldn't hurt, every time.

Date: 2012-02-04 08:19 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
I read "ROBOT BEAR" in Stephen Colbert's voice. Which is actually the second time that's happened today. What are the odds?
P.S. I love how, amid all those incredibly life-threatening scenes, there exists a picture of FALLING BOXES! *dramatic music*

Date: 2012-02-04 09:50 pm (UTC)
espanolbot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] espanolbot
Grand pianos made of anvils and safes.

Date: 2012-02-05 12:38 am (UTC)
iluvpurplegoats: (daffy)
From: [personal profile] iluvpurplegoats
I have to admit I've never actually read a TB comic, though it seems I've been missing out – Robotic Polar Bears (with Wolverine's claws apparently?) Cool! (pun not intended.) The TV show however, I was all over that. When the series was reran in the early 90's to great acclaim, my 5/6 year-old self adored it (I still do, to be honest). The theme tune was brilliantly memorable, the machines themselves were awesome, and I have to admit that the brothers were cute even if they were marionettes.

I actually always felt sorry for John though. Not only was he constantly stuck on board TB5 (IIRC he and Alan were suppose to trade off monthly, but we hardly saw that happen) but the poor guy only got to go on one lousy rescue and even then he didn't really do much :(

I'm patiently waiting to see if anything comes of this remake they're 'meant' to be doing.

Date: 2012-02-05 05:58 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
Dayum, whatever they pay that guy, it isn't enough.

Date: 2012-02-05 06:16 am (UTC)
ext_3522: (Default)
From: [identity profile] minervasolo.livejournal.com
I've got the first two volumes of C21. My favourite story is the one where Captain Scarlett plays football in the Arab Nations Cup.

The art is funny; some strips try and ape the look of the puppets, while others are more human. You often find still shots look like puppets, but when required to do something the puppets couldn't they look much more normal.

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