The TRS‑80 Computer Whiz Kids

written by Matthew Reed

Cover of The Computers That Saved Metropolis!

Cover of the 1980 comic book The Computers That Saved Metropolis!

The TRS‑80 Computer Whiz Kids (later renamed the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids) was a comic book series that was created by the Radio Shack Education Comic Book Program. The series consisted of eleven issues, running from 1980 to 1992, which were distributed for free to schools. Any teacher (writing on school letterhead) could request a free packet of fifty comic books from Radio Shack.

The comic books focused on classmates Alec and Shanna and their teacher, Ms. Wilson. Alec and Shanna were the so-called TRS‑80 Computer Whiz Kids. Ms. Wilson, her students, and the many visitors to the classroom all made frequent use of many different Radio Shack products.

DC Comics

The first three books in the series were produced by the Special Products department within DC Comics.

  • The Computers That Saved Metropolis!, written by Cary Bates, art by Jim Starlin and Dick Giordano, published in July 19801
  • Victory By Computer, written by Cary Bates, art by Curt Swan and Vince Coletta, published in 1981
  • The Computer Masters of Metropolis, written by Cary Bates, art by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte, published in 1982

These three comics are the best remembered because they featured the DC Comics superheroes Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman.

Cover of Victory By Computer

Cover of the 1981 comic book Victory By Computer

Cover of The Computer Masters of Metropolis

Cover of the 1982 comic book The Computer Masters of Metropolis

Archie Comics

The final eight comic books were produced by Archie Comic Publications. These books kept the characters of Alec, Shanna, and Ms. Wilson but eliminated (not surprisingly) the Metropolis setting and the superheroes. However, contrary to some sources, there were no appearances by characters from Archie Comics.2

Cover of The Computer Trap

Cover of the 1984 comic book The Computer Trap

  • The Computer Trap, written by Paul Kupperberg, art by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone, editorial direction by William Palmer, published March 1984
  • The Computer That Said No To Drugs!, written by Paul Kupperberg, art by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone, editorial direction by William Palmer, published in March 1985
  • News By Computer Foils Kidnappers!, writer/editorial direction by William Palmer, art by Carmine Infantino and Chic Stone, published March 1986
  • The Answer To A Riddle, writer/editorial direction by William Palmer, art by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone, published March 1987
  • Fit To Win!, writer/editorial direction by William Palmer, art by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone, lettering by Bill Yoshida, coloring by Barry Grossman, cover design by Jim Weathers, published March 1988
  • Safeguarding the Environment, script by Mike Pellowski, pencilling by Howard Bender, inking by Jon D’Agostino, lettering by Bill Yoshida, coloring/production by Barry Grossman, editing by Victor Gorelick, published July 1991
  • A Deadly Choice, script by Fred Brussow and Mike Pellowski, pencilling by Howard Bender, inking by Mike Esposito, lettering by Bill Yoshida, coloring/production by Barry Grossman, editing by Victor Gorelick, published February 1992
  • The Community Action Program, script by Mike Pellowski, pencilling by Stan Goldberg, inking by Mike Esposito, lettering by Bill Yoshida, coloring/production by Barry Grossman, editing by Victor Gorelick, published July 1992

The series was renamed to “The Tandy Computer Whiz Kids” after the first Archie Comic Publications issue because Radio Shack was in the process of rebranding their computers as Tandy instead of TRS‑80.

Cover of The Computer That Said No To Drugs!

Cover of the 1985 comic book The Computer That Said No To Drugs!

Cover of Fit To Win!

Cover of the 1988 comic book Fit To Win!

Notes

  1. The computers in the title The Computers That Saved Metropolis! were two Model I’s that Superman had brought to Ms. Wilson’s class.

  2. The Archie Comics characters did appear in another Radio Shack promotional comic book, Archie and the History of Electronics. This was bundled with some of the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids books, which probably explains the confusion.

Categories: Books

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