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CSBG Archive

Silver Age September – The Introduction of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents!

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we look at the introduction of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in issue #1 of their series in 1965. Written by Len Brown and drawn by an All-Star cast of artists (led by Wally Wood), this was a bold new group of superheroes that took the comic book world by surprise.

Enjoy!

Harry Shorten’s concept of what would be Tower Comics was a pretty solid one, really. He took one of the most amazing comic book artists there was, Wally Wood, and basically told him, “Do whatever you want.” However, the problem was that as amazing as an artist as Wood was, he was not exactly the type of guy you want running your comic book company. Still, for the short period of time that Tower Comics was around they really made an impact.

Their most famous effort was T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, a mixture of two of the top trends of the 1960s, spy stories and superhero stories. The concept was that a spy agency acquires some powerful devices that they use to form their own superhero group (complete with a non-powered but highly effective support staff known as the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad who are practically a superhero group themselves – think the Challengers of the Unknown).

One of Tower’s innovations was to make the books bi-monthly and have them be 25 cents and 64 pages long as opposed to your standard 12 cent/32 page comic book of the time. Also, a typical issue would consist of five or six interconnected stories that would come together for a story at the end of the issue (very similar to how Golden Age team-up books like All Star Comics worked).

For the first issue of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Len Brown scripted the entire issue (presumably off of a plot he worked out with Wood) and the individual stories were drawn by Wood (penciling and inking two stories and penciling a third with inks by Dan Adkins) and (get ready to be amazed) one story by Reed Crandall (already it is an amazing mixture of talent just by having a book by Wood and Crandall), one story by Gil Kane and George Tuska with inks by Mike Esposito (holy crap, Wood, Crandall, Kane, Tuska and Esposito?!?) and finally a story by Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia (this is practically a Who’s Who of pre-1970 comic book artists).

The stories are introductions to the three members of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and their support staff, as well as the main villains of the series, the Iron Maiden and the Warlord. Here are some samples from this dazzling comic book debut…

First, Wally Wood sets up the story…

Then Wood introduces us to Dynamo…

Then Reed Crandall introduces us to Noman…

Then Gil Kane and George Tuska introduce us to Menthor (who has the neat twist of being a double agent forced by the special helmet to do good when he has the helmet on!)…

Then Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia introduce us to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad…

Finally, Wood and Dan Adkins bring them all together as the Agents and the Squad must rescue a captured Dynamo…

Awesome stuff, right?

DC has reprinted the whole original series. Go get ‘em!

9 Comments

Have the seven archives DC put out. All great stuff. Hopefully will get Vol Eight sooner then later.

was going to say dc now owns the rights to thunder agents. was hoping they made this list. for love the concept. not to mention the limit each member had of their powers.

Mike Sekowsky’s drawing of Kitten is great. Wonderfully drawn face.

Menthor and the Atom (Ray Palmer) seem to have the same costume designer.

Precisely.

Yes Yes Yes!!! NOW you’re talking my speed!

I’m not being facetious, I really want to know – what makes Wally Wood revered? I think the art above is fine – good even – but I always struggle to identify a Wally Wood page. his work doesn’t seem to have the individuality of a Kirby or a Ditko. Please school me since I’m just not seeing it.

I agree with Mr. Dawson.

i don t agree with mister dawson

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