When TV21 folded, the publishing firm Polystyle Publications (who owned TV Comic) looked to capitalise on the gap left for Gerry Anderson’s Supermantionation shows and negotiated a deal for a new comic which would feature Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray and the soon-to-air UFO.
Polystyle brought in Dennis Hooper as Editor and Roger Perry as Art Director. Both had worked for some time on TV21 and had a good working relationship with Gerry Anderson. As a result, they were able to use the TV21 back catalogue and reprint stories that had originally appeared in that comic in 1965. A Dr Who strip was also introduced.
Countdown spared no expense with high-quality paper and photogravure printing for the colour pages.
It was expensive to produce, but Polystyle had negotiated a deal with Sun Printers for the first year of the Countdown run where they only paid for the printing costs, not the manpower involved in producing the finished product.
The result was a lavish, 20-page comic complete with photographs. Launched on 20 February 1971, the comic was also double the price of other comics at a whopping 5p.
The comic was clearly aimed at an older audience, but ultimately production became too expensive after the first year, and Polystyle switched to a much cheaper alternative printing process.
The comic was renamed TV Action and lasted for another 18 months before finally folding.