Tandy Computer Whiz Kids “#1”
The comics aren’t given issue numbers, but I will use it to show where it should be in the timeline, including when the next reboot happens. This is the first in the series to use the “Tandy” instead of TRS-80, Tandy being the name of the Radio Shack’s computer stuff by this point.
Archie Comics/Radio Shack/Tandy Corporation (1985)
“The Computers That Said ‘No’ To Drugs!”
WRITER: Paul Kupperberg
ARTISTS: Dick Ayers & Chick Stone
EDITOR: William Palmer
Ali Gurka is using the waterways of Coastal City (the final rename of Alec & Shanna’s city unless they changed it again in the final reboot) to sneak drugs into the country. His latest plan is to use a traveling computer exhibit to get them to their contacts in Capital City. However, Judy recognizes some of his men and gets caught trying to uncover their plot. She did managed to get his name and the name of his boat to the newspaper but they can’t make the connection. Luckily, Detective Shaw is with Alec and Shanna, who are putting up a display at the exhibit. Shanna recognizes the name and uses the computer to look it up, allowing Shaw and the police to make the other connections and rescue Judy.
What they got right: Alec and Shanna (mostly Shanna but Alec did set everything up) actually use the computer as part of their help, which is what I expect from a comic about computer whiz kids. The computer lesson isn’t shoved into the story itself, reserved for a two-page back-up in the style of Radio Shack’s other “comic”, The Science Fair Story Of Electronics. This allows the story to be a bit more organic in its flow.
What they got wrong: But instead of showing off the Scripsit word processing program they should have showed off the Tandy’s early internet connection, foreshadowing how Shanna looks up Gurka later on. It’s also the start of panel recycling, which will just get worse for the next few issues. I’m also curious why Gurka decides to ransom off Judy except to do another ransom bit? I can accept this being the early days of computers and Shaw not thinking about looking up a news story, but it’s not like they couldn’t put the name “Ali Gurka” through the existing police database and come up with the same info except to give our title characters a way to be part of the story. Also…did the scuba cops who sneak onto the boat have stun guns? Tasers weren’t in wide use and the guns are shows firing a kind of electric beam instead of tranquilizer darts. Seems a bit sci-fi for the tone of this series now that they aren’t in the DC universe anymore. There’s also a panel where Jack refers to Ms. Wilson as Ms. Shaw. I’d make a dating joke but it appears he’s involved with Judy and I’m not spreading rumors.
What I think overall: This was actually a decent free comic for kids and improves a few things from the previous issue, though the panel reuse is going to get worse followed by the stories. I wish they had stayed closer to this quality once they switched to Archie.
[…] kids about drugs feels like padding. I know many of the readers of this comic didn’t catch the last time they were told about drugs and yada yada but what we have here is a plot without a story to go […]