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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Agent Fireball: Debriefing A Cold War Spy

In 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 II 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...

The result of their meeting has been classified "DTT Eyes Only" and can be viewed on the downthetubes main site.

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