PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1 “ENTER THE DRAGON” written by: STEVE DARNALL & ALEX ROSS illustrated by: JONATHAN LAU colored by: VINICIUS ANDRADE lettered by: SIMON BOWLAND covers by: ALEX ROSS (25%), JOHN CASSADAY (25%), JAE LEE (25%) & ARDIAN SYAF (25%) Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt created by: PETE MORISI
PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT ASHCAN Foreword by:
written by and illustrated by: PETE MORISI colored by: MIKE KELLEHER
PETE’S DRAGON Written by:
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P ETER CA NNON: THUND ERBOLT™, volume 1, issue #1. First printing. Published by Dynamite Entertainment, 113 Gaither Dr., STE 205, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. Peter Cannon ™ & © 2012 Dynamite Characters, llc. All Rights Reserved Dynamite, Dynamite Entertainment and the Dynamite Entertainment colophon are ® and © 2012. All Rights Reserved. All names, characters, events, and locales in this publication are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events or places, without satiric intent, is coincidental. No portion of this book may be reproduced by any means (digital or print) without the written permission of Dynamite Entertainment except for review purposes. P rint ed in Canada For information regarding media rights, foreign rights, promotions, licensing, and advertising please e-mail: email@example.com
PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT ASHCAN FOREWORD BY MARK WAID Pete Morisi (1928-2003), like the superhero he originated, was a fascinating man who led a double life: police officer by day, cartoonist by night. For twenty years, from 1956 to 1976, he served proudly with the NYPD, who knew nothing of his comics career, which he kept secret by signing his pages simply with his pseudonym—his initials, “PAM.” Pete’s career spanned four decades, during which he freelanced for a wide swath of publishers including Fox, Atlas, Harvey, Fiction House, and Lev Gleason, but most of his work—and that which he is known best for—was produced for Charlton. It’s there that, under the guidance of editor Dick Giordano, Morisi pulled off another dual-identity switch, transforming himself from a crime-comics illustrator with a strong George Tuska influence into the creator of one of the more fondly remembered superheroes of the Silver Age of Comics: Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, part of Giordano’s brilliant but short-lived Charlton Action Heroes line. Morisi wrote and illustrated a dozen issues of Thunderbolt before the line was cancelled in 1967. Nearly twenty years later, when DC Comics acquired the Action Heroes rights, Peter Cannon was set to reclaim his position as a 1980s crimefighter alongside Blue Beetle, the Question and others...but there was a snag. Morisi was a smart businessman. Peter Cannon, it turned out, wasn’t part of the Charlton rights package. Morisi had done something that’s commonplace today but that very few, if any, comics artists managed to do in the 1960s: he carved out a special deal that allowed him to retain full rights to his creation. If DC wanted to do Thunderbolt, they’d have to strike an arrangement...which is where I came in. In 1988, I was an editor at DC working under Giordano, my friend and mentor. Dick liked Morisi a lot. And he loved Thunderbolt. He asked me to develop a new series with writer Robert Loren Fleming, a move Morisi blessed—if he were allowed to be involved creatively somehow. At age 60, he couldn’t handle full art on a monthly series, so Dick suggested Pete do a special “reintroduction” story for my Secret Origins anthology series. It was in the DC offices that I met Pete, who looked and sounded for all the world like a Mickey Spillane character, and he graciously listened to me (the snot-nosed whelp) explain what I was looking for in a yarn. Pete was genial, good-natured, shook my hand, and a few weeks later made his deadline on the dot, handing in 19 completed pages, fully lettered and illustrated and ready to go. Unfortunately, while we were trying to get a subsequent series scheduled and off the ground, Secret Origins came to an abrupt end, and Pete’s story—sitting in a drawer, not even proofread—was eventually returned unused. Not until now—thanks to Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci—has it seen the light of day, so prepare yourself for Pete Morisi’s last published story and one of his best works. I’m monumentally happy to see it finally in print. Pete, you did your part on time like a true professional—I’m sorry it’s taken this long to do mine.
Comics professional Mark Waid has, at one time or another over the past 25 years, held pretty much every job the industry has to offer, from publisher to PR flack to editor to colorist. He is best known, however, as a writer, creator of the Eisner Award-winning Kingdom Come graphic novel with artist Alex Ross, and over 1,200 comics besides, including long runs on The Flash, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Irredeemable, Ruse, and Justice League of America. A well-known comics historian, Waid looks to the future - and the past - with his upcoming line of digital comics, launched in late 2011.
PETE’S DRAGON BY STEVE DARNALL One of the great pleasures of writing this new Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt series is that it's given me the chance to become better acquainted with the character that Pete Morisi created for Charlton Comics back in the 1960s. Now it can be told that the Charlton series was, as the saying goes, a little before my time; however, I do remember seeing Thunderbolt in the 1980s as one of the many, many characters listed in DC's Who's Who series. Pete Morisi had contributed an illustration of his character with a build like a wrestler (an athletic wrestler as opposed to a "professional wrestler"), but his physical prowess was secondary to the remarkable mental powers he had acquired through the study of a series of ancient scrolls. When I agreed to collaborate with Alex on this new series (which was not all that difficult a decision, truth be told), he prepared me for the journey ahead by passing along a plastic bag that contained a short stack of Charlton's Thunderbolt comics. As I pored over them, I was fascinated by the character of Peter Cannon, who struck me as less a reluctant hero than a sometimes petulant one. His powers had been bestowed upon him as a gift, although it wasn't a gift he had the option of rejecting. Upon mastering the Ancient Scrolls, he was more or less kicked out of the lamasery he'd called home since childhood and directed to use his powers on behalf of the outside world — a world that he considered hopelessly overrun with violence and greed. And yet, when he was needed (or prodded by his longtime friend Tabu), he became a man of action (and given that this book tied in to the recent explosion of interest in the martial arts of the East, there was a lot of action), using those powers to save himself, Tabu, and the rest of us from all manner of bizarre world-domination-y types. As I made my way through the short stack of books, I saw Thunderbolt #57, "Face of the Dragon." This issue had a strange cover involving Peter Cannon and what looked like a dragon, almost playfully nuzzling our hero as though it were a pet. The cover had a more recent addition as well: a Post-it note in Alex's handwriting. It said, simply, "My excuse for the story." As you can imagine, this is the sort of thing that makes a collaborator sit up and take notice. Opening the book to page one, I was greeted by another note, this one written some 45 years ago by Charlton Editor Dick Giordano. In a clear attempt to emulate the conversational style of Stan Lee, Mr. Giordano explained that "P.A.M. [Morisi's initials] has gone into secluded research for the next issue of Thunderbolt. From notes supplied by Tabu — Peter Cannon's confidant — Pat Boyette has chronicled this further volume in the saga of this dramatic hero!" Now, most anyone in the comic book business will tell you that a "fill-in" issue is typically intended as a placeholder, a chance for the publisher to maintain the status quo so as not to upset the plans of the book's primary creative contributors when they return to work. Still, there have been times when a substitute talent has been inspired to create something fantastic — figuratively and literally. Like "Face of the Dragon." above: cover to Thunderbolt #57
above: interior art to Thunderbolt #57
In this story, Peter and Tabu journey to the Himalayan Mountains to face down The Invader, a mysterious character who claims to harness remarkable magical powers, capable of appearing and disappearing in a puff of smoke and conjuring a fistful of snakes with a mere gesture of his hand. His followers are duly impressed, but Thunderbolt is having none of it. "You wear a mask and pretend to be a dragon," he says, "but can you face a real dragon?" At that point, "T-Bolt's features contort under the strain of a supreme application of will..."— which wasn't necessarily a new concept; after all, Morisi had made a point of showing that Thunderbolt could call upon amazing reserves of strength simply by powers of concentation—and the room is suddenly filled with "a roaring, fire-belching manifestation from nether darkness!!" Okay. That was new. After the Invader's followers have fled in panic, and the dragon has disappeared "into black oblivion," Peter explains to Tabu that "As long as I could maintain complete concentration…that dragon lived!… I gave it life through extra-sensory materialization!" One thing I've learned over the years as a writer and editor is that you never know where and how inspiration will strike. Thunderbolt was created at a time at a time of increased interest in Eastern philosophies and the martial arts. It says a lot about the template that Pete Morisi established that even the fill-in stories could be inspirational. They inspired Pat Boyette to the point where he seized the moment and added to the character's list of abilities. In turn, they inspired the story that begins in this issue. To Mr. Morisi, Mr. Boyette, and Mr. Giordano, our sincerest thanks for taking the first steps. above: interior art to Thunderbolt #57
To the rest of you: We hope you'll enjoy the ride.