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20.02.1971

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POLYSTYLE PUB.

DIED - 24.03.72


The first issue of Countdown came with a free poster and cost 5p. You could probably get £70 for a near mint condition copy today.

COUNTDOWN was edited by Dennis Hooper, who had been the original art editor on TV 21. COUNTDOWN was obviously a rival to LOOK-IN at the time (1971), which ironically was being edited by Alan Fennel ;the original editor of TV 21!

Countdown was quite a coup for Polystyle, its publishers, as they had gained the licence to use Gerry Anderson strips after TV 21 ( on its last legs by then) relinquished it. However, after the real-life moon landing of 1969, kids were less interested in space fantasy and although Countdown was an excellent comic, it was out of its time.

The title changed to TV ACTION a year later, emphasising action shows like Hawaii 5-0 and The Protectors. It continued the numbering from Countdown, but eventually merged into TV COMIC after 130 or so issues.

Nevertheless, COUNTDOWN/TV ACTION is worth seeking out for great artwork by Harry Lindfield, John Burns, Brian Lewis, and others, plus better than average scripts for comics of that period. Later issues of Countdown also reprint some early TV 21 strips.

Although not a huge success by any means, Countdown was the best adventure comic of the 1970's in my opinion.
Lew Stringer

Countdown - bibliography

For more Countdown Titles click here

When I was about 10 I used to subscribe to Countdown, The strip I remember most was based around the ships from 2001 a space odyssey, with the star baby from the end of the film appearing as a telepathic alien (I think his name was Sam)
I also remember the plot device of an implant called "Whisper Wheels" or something like that, which imparted telepathic abilities. The main city on the moon was called Selene, sorry to waffle on like this but its just brought it all back.
The other strip I remember was Ghost Rider. I was well fed up when instead of my copy of Countdown suddenly I started getting brightly coloured copies of TV21 with a badly drawn Star Trek story on the front cover, although it did eventually introduce me to the Silver Surfer, a long time favorite.
Gareth Owens - (see Gareths stunning work at www.gamesofgod.com )

Countdown was renamed TV Action from issue 59 dated 1st April 1972 and ran until issue 132 dated 25th August 1972 when it merged with TV Comic. Several of the Gerry Anderson strips were in fact reprints from TV 21. Later issues of TV Action had a big story where one of the regular strips would have a full length story with a big picture on the cover.

Originally the pages in Countdown were numbered backwards. Some of the Gerry Anderson strips were reprints from TV-21. Countdown was renamed TV Action from issue 59 and Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee) appeared on the cover. Later they did a 'Big Story' where one of the strips would have a picture on the cover and a full-length strip rather than part of a serial. Clive Huggett - Clive Huggett

Dear Colleagues, I well remember my first Countdown mag; Issue 1. The excellent Countdown story (which I still remember to some degree, but then I'm sci-fi mad), Gerry Anderson stuff, and even a Doctor Who comic! This was a real shock; partly because I am especially Who-mad; partly because I'd never seen my favourites in comic form before - I was about 11; but mainly because Patrick Troughton was still the Doctor here, and I quickly realised the significance of this different-looking fellow; although who the Timelords were had me puzzled. So, when months later, they showed several episodes of War Games to finish off Patrick Troughton's reign, and I was providentially sick at home from school, I knew what was coming...! The first story was set in the Australian outback! I only remember that because I'm an Australian...

Cheeky - Character

For more Cheeky Characters click here

Later Who stories were quite good; several excellent Dalek ones spring to mind (Daleks of all manner of coloured livery, and several episodes set on Skaro!); a story about a one-armed machine-like invading race who recharged by grabbing a glowing railing set in all the corridors of their ship; and one on a lazy egghead race called the Vogans (you know the type) who used humanoid slaves for all the work. I loved that damn magazine, although I liked it a lot less when it became T.V. Action and less glossy...

But the prize for me was Countdown. I never got to see 2001 until much much later, so everything was novel to me. As I recall, Countdown was the last of the Discovery series of ships (as per the movie). It had a crew of 6; Marc Zero (Captain), Bella One, Grant Two, Thelma 3, Felix 4 (Negro, Astral Navigator) and Yoko 5 (Japanese, Space Biologist), still in cryogenic sleep when the ship was returning. They'd met an alien called Bikyl ("Bill") on a planet called Biros (I hated that; it's like we'd have to name all our people with names similar to Earth if we meet aliens), and it was he who woke them when a warning rocket was sent their way. For, dear readers, a nasty tyrant called Costra (maybe they were thinking of the Cosa Nostra) ruled the Earth-Moon system, and he'd determined to destroy Countdown because people might rebel around these free-thinkers... But some official called Bellingham ! sent a rocket their way to warn them. The rest of the series concerned their survival through the missile attack; the mission and rescue of Grant Two (they had a transporter!) and the recruiting of some old coot lunar prospector; their eventual (rescue of Bellingham and? Not sure on this, though I think they met his daughter...) overthrow of Costra and his ilk; and their decision to return the now critically injured Bill to his home. Oh, and the whisper wheels were like beautifully-faceted red gems set in gold circles, clearly telepathic communicators, and worn around the neck. - Jack Dwyer

If you have any other information on Countdown please drop us a line.Drop us a line.

   
 

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