John Carbonaro, for the comics lay people out there, was the caretaker of one of the greatest groups of non mainstream superhero groups of the Silver Age (approximately 1954 – 1971), the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
John was a BTF (Big Time Fan) who rose to prominence in the world of comics by acquiring the rights to the super spy/hero group published by Tower Comics in the 60’s. Opinions on his stewardship of the property differ wildly from “overly protective” and “control freak” to “loving devotion to the property”.
After the suicide of creator/editor Wally Wood in the early 80’s, Carbonaro purchased the rights and has maintained stewardship until his death at age 58. He came very close on more than one occasion to striking gold with the group, in movies, in animation, and even at DC and Marvel. The THUNDER Agents adventures were last published in a series of DC Comics Archives hardcovers sereis, before the soon to be published new DC heroes was cancelled in 2000. There was one series of books, post Silver Age, published in the mid-80’s, with updated versions of the classic agents done by comics luminaries such as Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko, Jerry Ordway, and Ambush Bug creator Keith Giffen.
Comics and television writer Mark Evanier offers this piece on Caronaro.
Word is that JC made arrangements for an heir for the property. That could be one of the best or worst things to be in comics. I guess we’ll see.