In Review: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault

Captain Scarlet - The Vault - CoverBy Chris Bentley
Publisher: Signum Books
Out: Now

The Book: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons made its television debut in 1967, presenting a dark and sinister science-fiction drama that has captivated audiences ever since. The scenario depicted a world at the mercy of ruthless attacks from vengeful Martian computers with the power to raise the dead. The puppetry techniques behind the series were similarly unprecedented, elevating Gerry Anderson’s ‘Supermarionation’ to new heights of sophistication.

Here is the definitive story of a television classic, told by the people who made the series and illustrated with a wealth of previously unpublished images, including new shots of the original puppets, studio models and vintage merchandise.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

The Review: If you want one of the best guides ever to Gerry Anderson’s follow up show to Thunderbirds, then this latest “Vault” title by Chris Bentley is it. Just like Thunderbirds: The Vault by Marcus Hearn, this brilliant Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons book offers an exhaustive, fascinating guide to the spy-fi adventure series, which first debuted when James Bond, The Man from UNCLE and The Avengers were also at their height.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Bentley reveals how Gerry and Sylvia Anderson not only took their cue for the series concept from popular film and TV of the era, but their own experience from the success of Lady Penelope and her secret agent adventures in Thunderbirds. Detailing the origins of the show, its production, stories and spin-offs, crammed with terrific photographs from the show, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault leaves no stone unturned in providing a definitive, superbly written guide to the show and its legacy.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault Sample Pages

Not only do we get an the low down on the show and its creation, there’s also plenty to savour in terms of the book’s guide to the show’s merchandise – produced not just when the show was originally released, but in response to subsequent successful revivals. This includes coverage of the comic strips in TV21, “Mark of the Mysterons” in the short-lived title SOLO, “The Angels” in Lady Penelope and the 1970s Countdown strips and 1990s Fleetway title. For me, it was those strips that helped build more of the mythos than the show and this book indicates how important TV21 was in building awareness of the new show, even before its launch.

A thoroughly enjoyable look back at everything Captain Scarlet, including its regretably short-lived revival as a CGI animation that has probably stymied another reboot for now, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault may cover ground of other previous guides to this Anderson series but it does it with panache.

If you bought Thunderbirds: The Vault you’ll know what to expect from this title. You get it – in spades. an absolute must for any Captain Scarlet fan.

Buy it from amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)

Read our review of Thunderbirds: The Vault

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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