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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 September 2011
I grew up in the 1960s reading DC and Marvel comics, but I remember there were some British comics back then that stood out in quality and scope. I was too young for `Eagle', which started several years before I was born, bur I remember the start of The Trigan Empire in `Ranger' and then continued in 'Look and Learn', which I would read in the public library every Saturday, but the comic book event of my childhood was the debut of Gerry Anderson's `TV21' comic. I couldn't name the artists then, but I could recognise Frank Bellamy's work, which stood out above anyone else's, even 1960s' Marvel. Allegedly, Stan Lee offered to let him draw anything he wanted if he'd work for Marvel.

In recent years there have been quality reprints of The Trigan Empire from a Dutch publisher, and Titan Books have been reprinting the Dan Dare strips from `Eagle', which has led to an appreciation of Frank Hampson's work (and the reprints have now reached the Frank Bellamy period!). Now, in these Century 21 volumes (volume 5 is scheduled as I type), we have the start of the ongoing reprinting of the classic TV21 strips from the mid-late 1960s, and the high-point of the British comic book (2000AD was a different format and in a different style). TV21 featured strips drawn from the various Gerry Anderson TV series, with a few back-ups created for the comic, but set in the Anderson `universe'.

The TV21 format was the same "widescreen" that `Eagle' and its rivals were published in, and the publishers of Century 21 have found the archive of the original artwork, which they are using for these volumes. There are some gaps, and these have been filled by digitally-remastered scans from the comic book pages, but the vast majority of the pages presented here are taken from the originals. Some of the strips were presented as two-page spreads in the centre of the comic; as this is a bound book, the pages have been reprinted with a bit of overlap, so you don't lose any artwork in the binding - something American publishers should take note of.

This volume, containing 140 pages of comics, presents the epic 32-page Thunderbirds story `Destination Sun' by Frank Bellamy, along with a second Thunderbirds story by him; two Captain Scarlet stories by Ron Embleton; two Fireball XL5 stories by Mike Noble; one Stingray story by Ron Embleton; one Zero X story by Mike Noble; and one UFO story by Martin Asbury.

This is indeed one of the treasures of the British comics industry, and will probably come as quite a shock to American comic book enthusiasts in terms of quality and scope. And considering it sold almost a million copies a week in the mid to late 1960s (and more if you include its spin-off titles), it also outsold even the top-selling American comics by a margin of two or three to one.

Further Treasures of the British Empire:
Frank Bellamy's Heros the Spartan
Classic Dan Dare: Trip to Trouble (Dan Dare (Graphic Novel)) (Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future)
Latest volume to date, featuring Frank Bellamy's artwork
Classic Dan Dare: Voyage to Venus Part 1
First volume of the series, featuring Frank Hampson's artwork
Trigan Empire: The Invaders from Gallas v. 1
First volume of the complete Don Lawrence series (he was followed by Oliver Frey)
Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Volume 1: v. 1
Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Volume 2: v. 2
Century 21: v. 3: Escape from Aquatraz (Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson)
Ron Embleton's Wulf the Briton: The Complete Adventures
Another full-colour classic from the 1950s
Karl The Viking The Complete Don Lawrence (deluxe 4 volume set)
Black & white artwork.
King of Crooks (featuring The Spider)
Jerry Siegel creates a British comic classic.
The Steel Claw: Vanishing Man
Another classic British comic series.
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on 31 August 2012
Having recently bought all 4 volumes in the series, they are excellent value and the used versions as good as new. My only complaint is to the publishers - many strips were orginally printed on the centre pages of TV-21. These reprints are on separate bound pages and the speech bubbles are often difficult to read because of mis-matches between each page. If RH books had taken a little more care or reformatted the pages, the stories would have been far more readable.
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2010
Once again, another fantastic collection of comic strips taken from the sixties comics TV21 and featuring Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Zero X. There is also a UFO strip taken from the seventies comic Countdown which also featured Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who unlike TV21 which also featured a Dalek strip on the back page. So the connections are all there in this unmissable series of graphic novels.
There is one underlying fault which cannot be corrected and consequently spoils the reading of the stories. In TV21, it was customary to spread a comic strip across two pages and as a comic can be pushed flat this was not a problem. In the reprints, imaging and some of the text is lost in the spine of the book and makes it almost impossible to read without breaking the spine. This is very unfortunate and something which is part of the reprint process. Despite this, I would still recommend these books to fans of Gerry Anderson's puppet series and comic book readers of old comics.
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on 4 August 2012
The book itself is very high quality and arrived quickly.
I loved these comics as a child growing up in the Sixties and was not dissappointed when it arrived.
The reproduction of the wonderful original artwork is glorious and the stories will send you straight back to your childhood.
More please!!!!
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on 12 July 2010
I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THE FOURTH VOLUME OF THE COMIC BOOK SERIES IT JUST IMPROVES WITH EVERY VOLUME . IT IS ALSO NICE TO SEE BYGONE STORIES BANG UP TO DATE WITH SMART REPRINTS AND NEW COLOURING. CAN'T WAIT TILL VOLUME 5 IN OCTOBER
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on 22 January 2016
Excellent book top quality & fast delivery, thank you.
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on 17 August 2010
so so good all my old favs in one place . quality is outstanding in every way . Now! all we want is collections of ALL mike noble artwork of tv21+ .
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on 5 September 2011
I BOUGHT THIS FOR MY HUBBY AND IT SURE DOES KEEP HIM ENTERTAINED HE LOVES IT IN FACT HAVE BOUGHT HIM A FEW BOOKS LIKE THIS AND HE LOVES THEM ALL.
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