John Carbonaro, a longtime fan-turned publisher when he purchased the rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, passed away at age 58 on February 25th, as reported by long time friend Robert J. Sodaro. Carbonaro purchsed the former Tower characters in 1981, and a rather long and convoluted rights battle with various entities prevented too much from being done with them subsequently. DC had planned a revival of the characters in the early 2000’s, but Carbonaro withdrew approval; however, DC did publish six Archive Editions of the original material.

Mark Evanier has some more remembrances.

According to Sodaro, Carbonaro did assign the rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents to an heir, so we may still see them again one day.


  1. When I met John, I was a kid just starting out reading comics and he was working at a comic shop in Houston. I will never forget the time he explained to me why you don’t see “slick” printed in comics… never mind “flick.” The man loved comics and had a huge heart. I’ll never forget how he really looked after all the kids in the neighborhood who hung out at the shop. We all called him “Carbo.” RIP.

  2. He suffered with terrible illness for years, and I never heard him exhibit any self pity at all.

    He was always there to help a buddy.

    From my experience: One of the good guys!

  3. I hitched a ride down to San Diego with Alan Sinder one year and we picked up John on the from his apartment in Long Beach.

    I do remember the conversations on the way down about T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents and I recall he was very protective on making sure that the integrity of those characters were to remain intact on anyone approaching him with the idea of any new projects.

    He had guidelines – and sure as hell stuck to his guns.

    I think I was only one of the lucky few that got a glimpse of that aborted DC series.



  4. This is so bizarre for me because I was just re-reading two of DC’s THUNDER Agents archives along with TwoMorrows’ excellent THUNDER Agents Companion. To have so much THUNDER Agents on the brain and then have Mr. Carbonaro pass away is pretty surreal.

    Anyone interested should really check out the originals. You’ve just gotta approach them like you would a TV series from the 60’s like “Man from UNCLE” or “The Prisoner”. They’re a lot of fun.


  5. Hi I’m Michelle John niece. He was really an avid fan of Comics. I glad he was liked. He was also apparently well known as well. I am a bit surprised. He did suffer for a long time. He was a Diabetic. complications soon led to congestive heart failure, which is what resulted in his death. I am glad he will be missed from others as well as from his family. He is survived by his mother Katherine Carbonaro 85, and his sister Constance Mauceri 60.

    Michelle Mauceri

  6. I’m very saddened by Johns passing. I worked with him on the THUNDER AGENTS back in the 80’s. He was a good man and although I hadn’t seen him in a few years we stayed in contact through e-mails. I will miss him. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  7. I became friends with him after the shock of the Omni Comics fiasco. I helped John get a Hollywood lawyerwhen we tried to get the Agents on stable ground as the DC thing crumbled. I remember doing E3 with him and my wife. He remain stalwart and true. We had good times in the Claypool booth that I’ll always cherish. I’ll also miss the goofy email jokes he sent my way. I got one 4 days before he died. I’m really sad. According to Robert, one of John’s nieces is using John’s AIM account – so don’t be freaked if you see activity there.

  8. I am so sorry that John passed away, John worked with me at my comic store in Houston (Camelot Comics) and we published the Justice Machine/Thunder Agents Annual together. I lost track of him when I closed my store and moved to KC. I had a lot of good times and I wished I could have told him that I am sorry for not looking him up before he passed.
    rest in peace friend

  9. I knew John Carbonaro thru phone calls and e-mail, which resulted from me writing a fanfic story about the THUNDER Agents back in the Nineties. John, it turned out, was a fan of the story and just wanted to make sure I got the copyright notice correct. We talked several times about trying to get the story pubbed as a paperback, which, of course, didn’t happen. As it was, he was the first pro fan of my work, and that meant a lot. So did his friendship. It sounds cliche, but I’ll miss you, John.