Obviously, these days internet gossip and rumours would have ruined any surprise months before anything appeared, but in those days things were much simpler.
Being an avid reader of TV21, and Gerry's new series, Joe 90 now being shown on television I knew that Joe wouldn't be ignored and a strip should soon be running in my comic.
A picture of Joe appeared on the back page in issue 207 (issue dated January 2, 2069). I thought, this must be the start of the build up.
The following week the back page carried a large photo of the lab under Professor McClaine's cottage. This was surly the prelude to Joe 90 joining TV21.
The next week showed the twist. Joe 90 was having his own comic, with a glossy front cover drawn by Thunderbirds artist, Frank Bellamy.
I can still remember my excitement as I rushed to the corner shop to buy it. I read it from cover to cover. It had a feature on the Jet Air Car, comic strips of something called Star Trek which I'd never heard of, Land of the Giants which I had, and the ITC series, The Champions. It was a lot different to TV21 but I still liked it.
The Joe 90 strip, although having a colourful start by Bellamy on the cover, had three pages inside, drawn in black & white by Keith Watson.
The free gift, a folded cardboard cut-out of Mac's car powered by an elastic band, is primitive compared to today's freebies, but I still enjoyed making and playing with it.
TV21 continued to advertise Joe 90: Top Secret for another couple of weeks on the back cover.
Issue 2 had the Coderpass, a variation on the original TV Century 21 free gift, the Identicode. I've still got my Coderpass, complete with a hideous school photo of me stuck to it.
The third issue had a sticky back felt W.I.N. badge.
Joe 90: Top Secret had a run of 34 issues, before finally joining up with TV21, which, sadly, at that time was already showing a decline.
Essay by Michael Burrows age 9 ( and a bit! )