Agent Fireball: Debriefing A Cold War Spy

Bullet - Promotional AdvertIn February 1977, DC Thomson released the first issue of Bullet, their new boy’s adventure comic, at the same time that IPC released Action. The two comics went head-to-head as weekly action adventure anthologies with photographic editorial characters.

If the success of a comic for a publisher is that it makes a profit without causing them any problems, then Action failed spectacularly after a mere nine months. By the same measure, Bullet succeeded for almost three years.

Action’s photographic editorial character was the somewhat manic looking Steve, portrayed by writer and future Tharg, Steve MacManus, while Bullet’s was the altogether more suave agent Fireball. Unlike Steve, Fireball also featured in his own eight-page strip in each issue of the comic and the title was built around the character in the same way that Warlord before it had been built around World War Two spy Lord Peter Flint.

Earlier this year downthetubes negotiated an information exchange with agent Fireball and, in a scene reminiscent of a classic cold war spy swap, interviewer Jeremy Briggs was dispatched alone across a damp, foggy bridge to a meeting with DC Thomson editor Garry Fraser.

With a career spanning titles as diverse as Nutty, Commando, the Topical Times Football Book and Classics From The Comics as well as Bullet, Garry talked to downthetubes about much more than just moustaches and his Fireball medallion…

Bullet - Fireball for HireThe result of their meeting has been classified “DTT Eyes Onlyand can be viewed here

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers, Comic Creator Interviews, downthetubes Comics News

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