After the amazing Wallace Wood completed his brief outstanding run on Daredevil, he left Marvel and attempted to launch a competing line of Tower Comics of superhero/agents that had never been seen before. Wally Wood's THUNDER AGENTS have been revived a time or two in the industry, but none had as much promise and drama as that original run.
As a kid back in 1966-67, I don't recall seeing those issues hit the spinner racks, but I DO recall seeing them show up at a neighboring small grocery store in a variety of other forms. This means, they were frequently coverless and occasionally the cover was missing just the title, having been razor-bladed off.
Now, it's come to light that organized crime had a racket running where covers were stripped off from magazines and comics and returned for credit. The unscrupulous operators of the scam would strip off the cover and then ship stacks of the remaining, intact comics out the back door, sometimes packaged in plastic bags, (2 or 3 for the price of one) and sometimes just plain coverless.
In my youth, I became aware that this particular Italian store had their coverless comics displayed in dual rows in a re-purposed corrugated cardboard box that sat atop a wire rack packed with used paperback books for sale for a quarter. These coverless comics were sold for a dime a piece, and I scored many a spare Marvel for my collection from this seemingly endless box of older used comics. (They would also buy collections from older kids and resell them, so you always had to be vigilant to be the first one to discover the sudden influx of some kids collection.) I remember vividly the dual stack of comics, standing on end in two parallel rows, similar to how today's comic boxes stand comics on end. I spotted my copy of Marvel Comics Collector's Item Classics #2 and Tales to Astonish #44 (June 1963) in the stack and reached faster than my friend could to grab them for myself.
I remember these original Thunder Agent issues being available coverless for a long while by the dozen, but other than recognizing Wally Wood's distinctive inking and (pardon the usage) Dynamic figures, I never invested in anything other than Marvel comics (to my ever-living regret!) I vaguely remember single issues or adventures featuring Dynamo, Nomad, and possibly Thunder Agents.
Recently, it has been claimed that Marvel and DC had conspired to keep Tower Comics from getting a toehold in the industry. Specifically, could Stan, Martin or Mort have actually accomplished this?
What do you think? Was there a conspiracy or was it just a side-effect of the Mob's greedy practices that limited the distribution and success of Tower comics?
I think I saw that.
I scored a Second Volume hardcover for $12 or so last week. But haven't gotten to read it, except to flip through and confirm the death of Mentor is there...and some back-up with Weed that looks good.
I'll be very interested to see what IDW comes up with. I just can't swallow the Volume 1 prices at the moment.
David Warren said:
eBay has a listing for all 7 of the Thunder Agents Archives.
The first issue is a softcover and the rest are hard covers.
The listing is for &129.95, currently on sale for 114.36 (with free shipping)
That ebay listing is mistaken. The softcover volume 1 is the recent collection of the DC revival, not the first volume of the Archives.