Publication Dates: 31 March 1979 – 18 August 1979
Number of Issues Published: 22 (#1 – #22)
Tornado was a short-lived weekly British comic published for 22 issues by IPC Magazines between March 1979 and August 1979. After the cancellations of the Starlord and Action titles IPC launched Tornado as a way to use up stories already commissioned for the other titles. Like Action it was a mixed title featuring War, Detective, Horror and Science Fiction stories. Tornado was printed on the low quality newsprint stock used by 2000 AD and also had 5 stories of 5 to 6 pages per issue. The title also had a ‘superpowered’ editor, like Tharg, ‘Big E’ who was portrayed in photo-strips by a rather portly Dave Gibbons. The real editor was Kelvin Gosnell.
Main stories were:
– The Mind of Wolfie Smith written by Tom Tully, with art by Vincente Vano, was the story of a young boy whose telepathic and telekinetic powers suddenly emerge, leading him to become a runaway.
– Angry Planet written by Alan Hebden, with art by Massimo Belardinelli, was set in the late 21st century on a Mars that had been made habitable by humans. The story told of the struggle of the first generation of genetic ‘martians’ to free themselves from exploitation by Earth.
– Wagner’s Walk was a WW2 story much in the ‘Action’ style as the hero is an escaped German POW fleeing the Red Army.
– Blackhawk, written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Alfonso Azpiri, was the story of a Nubian Galley slave who rescues his ship from pirates. Granted his freedom and a commission as a Centurion, Hawk forms his own legion out of other slaves who are then treated as a type of “Dirty Dozen”.
– Victor Drago was a pseudonymous revival of Sexton Blake, IPC’s long-running fearless detective, written by Bill Henry with art by Mike Dorey.
Tornado was merged with 2000 AD with the latter’s 127th issue. The only characters to transfer were Blackhawk, Wolfie Smith and Captain Klep, the star of a one-page comedy strip. Both Blackhawk and Wolfie Smith had their storylines considerably modified to more closely fit the sci-fi tone of 2000 AD. Blackhawk was kidnapped by aliens and forced to compete in an outer space gladiators’ arena, and Wolfie Smith was menaced by an ancient force under a stone circle. By September 1980, 2000 AD had finished presenting stories with the Tornado characters.
13-22, Summer Special 1979