“Lady, that’s not a Cabbage Patch Kid”.

The Tandy Computer Whiz Kids “#2”

Archie Comics/Radio Shack (1986)

“News By Computer Foils Kidnappers!”

WRITER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: William Palmer

ARTISTS: Carmine Infantino & Chic Stone

Ms. Wilson’s class is visited by Detective Shaw, who comes warning of the dangers of being kidnapped. Meanwhile, a couple of kidnappers working for a child kidnapping ring led by “The Customer” is considering going into business for themselves with the next kid, whom they plan to grab at the same convention Alec and Shanna are operating an exhibit at for the school. Shanna recognizes one of the kidnappers from a news story and uses their set-up to confirm her suspicions as he’s one of the kidnappers. Taking a look around with Shaw and Judy, Alec spots a suspicious van and the woman that climbs out was with the scar faced man. They’re just in time as the lady tries to grab a little girl, rescuing her and capturing the would-be kidnappers. The Whiz Kids and Shaw get a reward for their rescue.

What they got right: New writer Palmer tries to continue Kupperberg’s idea of using the promo comic to discuss some other danger in the world, making it more like a PSA comic in addition to a promotional comic. Conceptually it’s not a bad idea.

What they got wrong: However, the execution is terrible. The award ceremony feels like padding out the comic, there are scenes lifted right out of the previous comic…including one moment where Alec and Shanna run into Judy from the TRS-80 solo comic (not that Judy contributes anything besides her cellular phone that’s like a suitcase with a phone receiver on it because it was the 1980s), and Shanna referring to the “Metro City News”, the name that comic went with in place of Metropolis, while the rest of the comic still calls it Coast City. Even the panels of Shaw’s and the principal’s visits to the class are just the same from previous stories but with dialog changes, while the obligatory computer history is back, but with the character redrawn. Also, how is Alec one of the Computer Whiz Kids when he’s always clueless about the computers for the obligatory Tandy Corporation shill section and Shanna has to tell him how everything works? His contribution requires no computer stuff as he just spots the van.

What I think overall: Throw in the idea of a kidnapping ring and the whole thing just fall apart. There’s a nice action moment going after the kidnappers and not much else. This is when the series started to fall apart and you’d think for a seasonal series there would be plenty of time to make it when that’s your only job.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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