Monday, 12 May 2014

Peter Cannon...Thunderbolt

Back to those lazy, hazy days of Bronze Age summers now, for one of the many, many classic strips re-presented in Alan Class' seemingly endless run of b/w reprint books.
Peter Cannon...Thunderbolt was originally published by Charlton, as part of their Action Heroes line, and was written and drawn by Pete Morisi.
Pete worked under the pseudonym of ' PAM ' basically because while producing a plethora of strips for Charlton as well as Thunderbolt, he was pulling down forty hours a week working as a New York city cop.
And you think you work hard...

You may spot a bit of a George Tuska influence in Pete's art. That's deliberate as PAM was a huge fan, and in fact initially asked Tuska if it was ok for him to to work in his style. PAM also has Alex Toth's minimalist line work look, and though it's not as sleek as Toth, it has a charm all it's own.

Peter Cannon...Thunderbolt is a great character, and I'm going out on a limb here and suggesting he was a direct inspiration on Roy Thomas when he came up with Iron Fist, what with his years of training in a remote monastery and all.
Regardless, Peter is, I guess, kind of a Zen superhero, often given to philosophising about society and the nature of humanity. He's also an example of the Triumph Of The Will, having no superpowers, but has been trained to the perfect state of body & mind, giving him the closest thing to superpowers a ' normal ' person can achieve. As demonstrated by his catchphrase in times of danger: I can do it...I must do it...I WILL DO IT!
You can be a superhero too, kids, you just have to work at it!

In amongst the fantasy, Thunderbolt is actually kind of a realistic strip; Peter often works out of costume ( which may be just as well, considering he has that bare leg look even Robin gave up eventually ) and in fact, the strip would've made a pretty good '70's TV show, all told. Here's Peter on a mission for best friend / sidekick Tabu.                                                                                                                                          


  1. I enjoy seeing these strips in their original unironic and unvarnished glory.

  2. Thunderbolt was awesome. A shame there's no Archive-style collection of all ten issues. A further shame that every revival has been awful or worse.