We’re posting this strip on September 30th 2019 – the 54th anniversary of the first broadcast of “Thunderbirds”. It’s a measure of how much our personal lives have changed since we used to post fortnightly Greys comics, that this was originally being drawn for the 50th anniversary, but has only recently been finished.

We both grew up watching Gerry Anderson’s TV shows. Some of the live action shows, such as Space:1999 we watched during their original runs, but for the Supermarionation classics of Thunderbirds, Stingray (Mark’s favourite) and Captain Scarlet (Vince’s favourite) we were too young to have seen them the first time round, and instead grew up watching repeats. Not that we knew that back then: there’s a certain timelessness to the style and the stories that made them seem like a creation of our time, for our generation. It’s no coincidence that International Rescue’s pilots are named after some of the Project Mercury astronauts: we may have missed out on the original space race, but some semblance of the same wonder and excitement of men launching themselves into adventure atop an oversized firework rushed through us every time we heard the stirring countdown to a Thunderbird’s launch. 5…4…3…2…1.

No wonder there’s still such love for these creations. The current incarnation, “Thunderbirds are Go” is a faithful nod to the original, albeit mostly in CGI. But the use of model shots for a lot of the backgrounds and scenery gives it a wonderful style that still tips its hat to the original. It does keep the countdown, which is still the most thrilling part of each episode.

Then there’s the incredible work of Century 21 Films with their “Thunderbirds 1965” project for the 50th anniversary: a crowdfunded creation of three new episodes using original audio recordings, with film, model and puppetry work that was kept faithful to the techniques used over 50 years ago. Unfortunately there are legal encumbrances that have, so far, prevented a general release of these episodes, but keep an eye on their Twitter account, as they do occasionally show them at special events or stream them online. They’re a must-see for any Supermarionation fan.

As to our cartoon: we’re sure it’s not a very original punchline. No doubt the same gag was used somewhere in the 1960s, but perhaps you could think of our creation as similar to “Thunderbirds 1965”, mixed with a bit of “Thunderbirds are Go”: we’ve made a new cartoon from an old joke – but done so with some modern computer generated imagery.

Cette bande dessinée est aussi disponible en français
This comic is also available in French

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↓ Transcript
[Jeff Tracy is standing at an open doorway. Inside the room Lady Penelope is in bed with Action Man and Sindy]

Jeff: Penelope!

Lady Penelope: Jeff! I can explain…
…I just wanted bit of fun with no strings attached.