A HEART OF
AWAY IN THE
Name: John V. " Johnny Boy" Carbonaro
Dates: September 30th, 1951 - February 25th, 2009
..Beloved son of Katherine and the late Anthony. Loving brother of Candy Mauceri. Devoted uncle to Michelle, Kristie, and Joey. Cherished nephew and cousin to many.
Beloved friend to many more. A brave man of integrity and heart...
Cemetery: St. Charles Cemetery
Conklin St. and Wellwood Ave.
Pinelawn, NY 11735
Last Sunday while THE SPOILER KING and I were heading back into the Valley to pick up some last mementos from HAZELTINE HELLMOUTH to bring back to Harry P 's place - I got this alarming phone call from Editor St. Santos informing me that an old acquaintence of ours John Carbonaro had passed away due to complications related to diabetes. The news was kind of nerve wracking to me to say the least, because my dad's future health is hanging on a thread after shortly learning that he might be borderline.
Personally I only met and had dinner with John two or three times. John Carbonaro was the legal owner of a fab 1960's era super hero team called the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents - which I heard he inherited from the estate of original artist, Wally Wood ( I could be wrong here - and I'm sure Editor St. Sparky will correct me for any faux pas damage I may cause), who back in the day was the hot artist for much of the EC output in the fifties such as Tales From the Crypt and Haunt of Fear. Wood's long lasting legacy along with writer/scripter Len Brown was the creation of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents published by Tower Comics which in lieu of the current Watchmen movie out today - you could almost consider this misfit rag tag bunch of heroes, Dynamo, Menthor, and No-Man to be the blueprint models to Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Dr. Manhattan (Doc Manhattan and NoMan separated at birth?) . The comic book was such a success with its' first few issues that sales nearly rivaled those of DC Comics (back then they was known as National Periodical Publications), Marvel Comics Group, Archie, Charleton, and the Fawcett books.
I'll let Wikipedia explain the rest - but it's sad to see him go, although it wasn't quite unexpected. Both Editor St.Sparky and I knew that he was suffering badly from diabetes and we were trying to hatch this plan to perhaps round up some of the local Los Angeles independent/alternative comic book talent and perhaps find a way to reinvigorate the franchise to perhaps work out a deal with John to use the Landescape Productions masthead to do a new full color comic book mini-series without sacrificing the integrity of the characters so that we could help defray the cost of John's health care crisis.
John's main concern about the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents -of which he was so passionate about - was making sure that the integrity of the characters were to remain intact. We had some conversations on the way to the San Diego Comic Con which resulted in a impromptu pitstop business lunch at some gentlemen's club where I had eyes on some beautiful french girls the entire time throughout the our conversation of which he expressed the utmost disappointment and dyspathy in the way that DC was handling his property for a new ongoing series.
He revealed to us that he had the project yanked once he learned that Dyanamo was going to a raging homosexual throughout the series. I conveyed my opinion that I thought it wasn't that much of a big deal once I explained to him that I've have had lots and lots of experience writing about raging homosexuals, in particularly about one who goes traversing around the afterlife calling himself the Deposit Man - but John, he was really adamant about keeping the sixties era trapped motionless in that same time capsule motif . He did not want them messed with in anyway possible. I got to look at those three aborted in the can issues and I specifically remember one scene he pointed out in particular was a scene in which Dynamo or somebody was ripping terrorists' bodies in half or decapitating them with his fist - which John felt was way over the top.
My only comment after my own personal observation was that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - it's a new world out there and the person who probably wrote the story (which could have been Dan Didio himself - since I recall some harsh antedotes of John not having good dealings with him) was probably venting some pent up animosity over those terrorist attacks. Since John knew I was a small bit writer - he was gracious enough to ask me if I had any ideas for stories that kept in the same alignment of what he wanted to please send him his way. I confessed to him, that I was only familiar with the first four issues that was reprinted in an expensive hardcover archive edition that DC had published and if he were to throw out a assignment to me about doing a brand new solo story of the Iron Maiden for instance, I wouldn't even knew where to begin to write a plot. HOWEVER I did express interest in doing a NoMan story and I'd certainly appreciate it more to this day if I could still do one now that I'm a avid listener to the Steven Wilson band of the same name.
Anyway, as singer/songer John Wetton (Asia/U.K/King Crimson) would put it: 'dreaming of missed opportunties.'
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is a team of comic book superheroes originally published by Tower Comics in the 1960s. They were an arm of the United Nations and were notable for their depiction of the heroes as everyday people whose heroic careers were merely their day jobs, as well as featuring some of the better artists of the day, notably Wally Wood. They first appeared in T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 (November 1965). The name is an acronym for "The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves".
Tower Comics were unusual for the time, being 25 cents when most comics were 12 cents, but they were thicker comics, usually featuring five or six independent stories, with all the main characters coming together for the final story of the issue.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was a bimonthly comic book published by Tower Comics. It ran 20 issues, from November 1965 to November 1969, plus two short-lived spin-off series starring the most popular super agents (Dynamo and NoMan). In the first volume of DC's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Robert Klein and Michael Uslan wrote that Tower publisher Harry Shorten "cut a dream deal with Wally Wood" in which Shorten would be the managing editor and "Wood would be granted a wide latitude of creative and business freedom devoid of a 9 to 5 office job or hefty administrative duties and be allowed to concentrate on creating characters and concepts for an expanding line of superhero comics." When it became obvious Wood could not handle the volume of material Shorten wanted to publish, he hired Samm Schwartz (1922–1997), who had worked for many years as an Archie Comics artist. Schwartz handled the scheduling of all the material and assignments of scripts and art other than Wood's own.
To launch the project, Wood huddled with scripter Len Brown on a superhero concept Brown had described to Wood a year earlier. Brown recalled, "Wally had remembered my concept and asked me to write a 12-page origin story. I submitted a Captain Thunderbolt story in which he fought a villain named Dynamo." With a few changes by Wood and a title obviously inspired by the success of the spy-fi TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the then current James Bond film Thunderball, the series got underway.
Scripts were written by Wood, Dan Adkins, Len Brown, Bill Pearson, Larry Ivie, Steve Skeates and Manny Stallman. In addition to Wood, the large team of contributing artists included Dan Adkins, Dick Ayers, Richard Bassford, Tony Coleman, Reed Crandall, Steve Ditko, Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Joe Giella, John Giunta, Gil Kane, Joe Orlando, Ralph Reese, Paul Reinman, Mike Sekowsky, Chic Stone, Sal Trapani, George Tuska, Ogden Whitney and Al Williamson.
In the later 1980s, Solson Comics produced one issue of T.H.U.N.D.E.R., a planned four-issue series which was never completed. A second issue was almost done. This series was not quite set in the same universe as the original series and took the characters in a different direction.
In 1983, They appeared in Texas Comics, Justice Machine Annual #1, written by William Messner-Loebs, with art by Bill Reinhold, Jeff Dee and Bill Anderson.
In the early 1990s Rob Liefeld (of Extreme Studios, Image Comics) claimed to have the rights to publish T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents . He even advanced Dave Cockrum money to do the series. Liefeld was said to have told Cockrum that he had free rein and no approval needed on his stories from either Liefeld himself, or any of the other editors at Extreme Studios. But Liefeld claims that Cockrum later came back to him and decided he didn't want to do the book, and gave Liefeld no reason.
Another revival was attempted by Carbonaro in OMNI Comics #3 (1995) but was never continued beyond that issue, though more work was completed. In the early 2000s, DC Comics planned to release a new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series under license from Carbonaro. Work for about two issues of a new series was completed, but Carbonaro put a stop to it as it made radical alternations to the characters. DC failed to create a series keeping in line with the original series and tone, but DC did begin publishing reprints of the original Tower series in their hardcover DC Archives format in a total of six volumes.
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 1 ISBN 1-56389-903-5 (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1-4)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 2 ISBN 1-56389-970-1 (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #5-7 and Dynamo #1)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 3 ISBN 1-4012-0015-X (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #8-10 and Dynamo #2)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 4 ISBN 1-4012-0152-0 (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #11, NoMan #1-2 and Dynamo #3)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 5 ISBN 1-4012-0164-4 (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #12-14 and Dynamo #4)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives, Volume 6 ISBN 1-4012-0416-3 (reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #15-20, plus covers of four UNDERSEA Agent books)
The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Companion (2005), edited by Jon B. Cooke for TwoMorrows Publishing, is a book-length history of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, combining material from Comic Book Artist with printed previously unpublished work. [ISBN 1-893905-43-8].
The first issue introduced the first three T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents: Dynamo, NoMan and Menthor. UN soldiers storm a mountain laboratory of a UN scientist, Professor Emil Jennings, driving off the forces of the Warlord. The scientist is dead, but he left behind several of his inventions- super weapons to combat the Warlord's worldwide attacks. These inventions provide superpowers: Leonard Brown is given the Thunder belt, which makes him super strong and invulnerable for a short amount of time and is code-named Dynamo. Dying scientist Anthony Dunn transfers his mind into an android body of his own design. With a wide number of these identical bodies, he can transfer his mind to any of them should something happen to the one he's in. He is given an invisibility cloak and becomes NoMan. John Janus gains mental powers from the Menthor helmet. He is a double agent for the Warlord, but when he wears the helmet, he turns to good. Joining these super agents is the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad, a special team of agents who fight the worldwide threat of the Warlord. In subsequent issues, additional agents were added:
Virgil 'Guy' Gilbert of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad is given the Lightning suit and becomes a super agent in the fourth issue. More importantly, in the second issue, we learn that the Warlord is actually a Subterranean, and his forces are humanoids who live under the surface and have engaged in a war with the surface world to reclaim it from humans. In issue 7, Menthor is killed. In issue 8, Craig Lawson is given an experimental rocket pack and becomes the Raven and more importantly, the Subterraneans are defeated in that same issue.
Later post-Tower additions included sonic-powered agent Vulcan, two different UNDERSEA Agents (father and daughter), and two later versions of "new" agents who wore the Menthor helmet.
With the threat of the Subterraneans ended, new villains appeared in the original series. Issue 9 introduced S.P.I.D.E.R. (Secret People's International Directorate for Extralegal Revenue), the main villains for the rest of the series. Other menaces included the Iron Maiden, an armored mastermind (introduced in the first issue) who worked for the Subterraneans, and who was a possible love interest for Dynamo); Andor, a fast-healing telekinetic superhuman created by the Subterraneans, who was introduced in Dynamo #1; and Red Star (Communist menace) and others.
- Undersea Agent
The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad
- Guy (Virgil Gilbert) becomes Lightning in TA #4
- Dynamite (Daniel John Adkins)
- Weed (William Wylie)
- Kitten (Kathryn Kane)
- Egghead (James Andor)-Killed in Action TA #2 (but later reappeared as a villain in an issue of Wally Wood's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents)
JC Comics (also known as JC Productions), was a very short-lived comic book company owned by John Carbonaro that published a few titles in the early 1980s. Carbonaro had purchased the rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents from the defunct Tower Comics, and tried to relaunch them with his own comic book company.
Carbonaro was also associated at the time with Archie Comics and their attempted relaunch of their superhero titles under their Red Circle Comics. This resulted in JC Comics reprinting some of the Archie materials just before the Red Circle Comics came out, cross advertisements between JC and Red Circle, and the wrap-up of the JC Comics' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in Red Circle's Blue Ribbon Comics title. Some have mistakenly interpreted this to mean that Archie owned the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents characters or that JC Comics was an Archie imprint.
There was a brief issue when David M. Singer, who had been working for Carbonaro at the time, attempted to publish his own T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents comics under his Deluxe Comics line, forcing Carbonaro to sue him and stop publication after five issues.
Since then, JC has tried to launch new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents material. In 1995, Carbonaro tried getting them in Penthouse Comics' Omni Comix, but that line ended after the first story came out. Another attempt was planned with DC Comics, but the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive and some statutes are all that came of it.
* JCP Features #1 (1981) — magazine-sized, new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents material; reprint of Archie's The Black Hood
* Hall of Fame (3 issues, 1983) — reprints from Tower's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (2 issues, 1983–1984)
Published by Archie Comics/Red Circle Comics
* Blue Ribbon Comics #12 (1983)
Published by Penthouse Comics
* Omni Comix #3 (1995)
Published by DC Comics
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 1 (2002) ISBN 978-1563899034
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 2
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 3
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 4
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 5
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archive, vol. 6
Sparky wants to add - I'm happy John came to be us for his Los Angeles adventures. It's late and I miss our friend - I want to punch out Masky McDeath's face for taking our friend too damn early. I'm pissed about Patrick McGoohan and went silent because I couldn't think of stuff to say. Ricardo Montalbán should not be forgotten. Lastly PJF - RIP.
Go not quietly into the night ...
Had to edit this due a weird ass format template change ...