Publication Dates: 23 January 1965 – December 1967
Number of Issues Published: 154 (#1 – #154)
Publishing Format: Was ongoing series
Publication Type: magazine
numbering continues with TV21 (City Magazines; Century 21 Publications, 1968 series) #155
TV Century 21, later renamed TV21 (from issue 155), TV21 and Tornado (from issue 192), TV21 and Joe 90 (from issue 243), TV21 (from issue 278) and TV21 and Valiant (from issue 347), was a weekly British children’s comic published by City Magazines during the latter half of the 1960s. It promoted the many science-fiction television series created by the Century 21 Productions company of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. The comic was published in the style of a newspaper of the future, with the front page usually dedicated to fictional news stories set in the worlds of Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and other stories.
Many of the leading British comic artists of the time worked for the publication, including Frank Bellamy (who drew two-page-spread adventures for Thunderbirds), John Cooper, Eric Eden, Ron and Gerry Embleton, Rab Hamilton, Don Harley, Richard E. Jennings, Mike Noble, Ron Turner, James and Keith Watson, and the duo of Vicente Alcazar and Carlos Pino under the pseudonym “Cervic”. It was adapted for the Dutch market as TV2000. Early copies of TV Century 21 are difficult to find, and attract high prices compared to nearly all other print material associated with Anderson’s work.
In 1965, the Supermarionation TV series Stingray (1964 – 65), which followed the underwater adventures of Troy Tempest and the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP), was given with its own comic. The first issue of TV Century 21 was published on 23 January 1965, capitalising on the popularity of the latest Gerry Anderson-produced TV series. In contrast with TV Comic, which was a traditional strip comic, TV Century 21 was conceived as a newspaper for children with a front page containing “Stop press”-style news items and photographs.
Although production on Supercar (1961 – 62) and Fireball XL5 (1962 – 63) had ended prior to the launch of TV Century 21, they were still being broadcast sporadically on ATV in the United Kingdom, and therefore also appeared in the comic. Thunderbirds (1965 – 66) was not featured until issue 52, but one of the series’ main characters, the aristocratic Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, appeared from issue 1. Fireball XL5, Stingray and Lady Penelope were the first three colour strips whose origins can be traced to the first issue. The front covers were also in colour, with photographs from one or more of the Anderson series or occasionally of the stars of the back page feature.
TV21 also extended its licensing beyond the Anderson productions, and for its first two years published strip adventures based on extraterrestrial Doctor Who villains the Daleks, the early scripts for which had the approval of Dalek creator Terry Nation.
The comic dropped the “Century” from its title in January 1968, after 155 issues, and became known as TV21. The previous year, the character of the “indestructible” Captain Scarlet, the hero of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967 – 68), had made his first appearance. The backstory of the Mysterons, Scarlet’s Martian enemies, was being revealed in TV Tornado, another City Magazines publication. In September 1968, after 192 issues, TV21 merged with TV Tornado to form TV21 and Tornado.
– American “The Adventures of Tarzan” reprints
– Burke’s Law”
– Captain Scarlet”
– Clancy Clott: Magician’s Mate”
– The Daleks”
– Fireball XL5″
– Forward from the Back-Streets”
– I’ve Got a Sports-Mad Dad”
– The Kid King”
– Lady Penelope” (Frank Langford)
– Land of the Giants”
– My Favourite Martian”
– The Saint”
– American “Spider-Man” reprints
– Star Trek”
– Tarzan” (from TV Tornado)
– Thunderbirds” (Frank Bellamy)
– The Tuffs of Terror Island”
173,174,208, Thunderbirds extra 1965
153,154, Annual 1965,1967,1968, spring Extra 1967, Stingray Special 1965, Summer Extra 1965