Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gil's Man Undersea!


When Tower Comics burst upon the Silver Age comics scene they came with a bomburst - the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. This book designed by Wally Wood had a sleek 60's modern sensibility and is still adored by fans today.

Tower's next offering was less successful. While the company, which also gave us the war book Fight the Enemy and Tippy Teen, would eventually spin off THUNDER Agent titles Dynamo and NoMan, their other initial follow up to that hit was UNDERSEA Agent. U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A. was an anagram like T.H.U.N.D.E.R. (The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves). It stood for
United Nations Department of Experiment and Research Systems Established at Atlantis. It's top agent was a man with the ideal undersea name Davey Jones.

As long as they appeared (six issues) Davey Jones and the UNDERSEA crew never crossed over with the THUNDER boys. Drawn by veteran Ray Bailey the book looked exceedingly old school and lacked the pizzazz of the THUNDER book. Trying to get some of that glow, the book was revised late in its run and Gil Kane was handed the gig.

IDW Publishing has recently reprinted those Gil Kane stories in a slim but handsome hardback. I wish someone would publish the whole shebang, as the series (warts and all) deserves a larger audience, but I'll take what I can get. I don't own all the UNDERSEA Agent books, so some of these are new to me.



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3 comments:

  1. Annoying question time: As a kid I came into the possession of a coverless issue of Undersea Agent. I’ve often wondered what issue # this was (as a lifelong comics geek, one gets a bit OC about this stuff, as you probably know.) It was lost to me somewhere in the mists of time. All I can tell you to help identify it (50 years on) is that on the first page there is a panel wherein a character (I’m presuming must have been Davey Jones) yells out “Scuba!” as something comes crashing through the windshield of the submarine. Can anybody help me out with what issue number this was of Undersea Agent? (Most appreciated in advance.)

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    1. I'm guessing it might be either issue #1 or #2 but I am not in a position to confirm that. It didn't appear that the stories by Kane held the action you described.

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  2. I found it after posting this yesterday. On Amazon they have those peak-inside pages of the first few issues of Undersea Agent. It was issue #3 and the character was actually yelling: “Scooby! Look out” – as an octopus tentacle crashed through a submarine portal. (Dang this internet stuff is amazing…My own murky memory – not so much….) You’re right, it wasn’t Gil Kane’s art either.

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