Although it became widely popular in Italy shortly after its introduction, Alan Ford remained relatively unknown outside Italy. The French, Danish and Brazilian editions soon failed but the only other foreign edition, in SFR Yugoslavia, was a huge success, becoming and remaining one of the most popular comic books in the former country and its successors.
Although the initial plot in the first few episodes develops around an agent called Alan Ford, he is later just one of the central group of characters: Group TNT is an assembly of misfit secret agents, who operate from a flower shop in New York City, United States, which they use as a front for their secret headquarters. They are incompetent and lazy, yet intelligent and cunning, especially when it suits their own personal interests. Their outlandish biographies are dwarfed by that of their iron-fisted and shrewd leader, the wheelchair-ridden Number One, a Methusalem character who embezzles the millions paid to the group by American government or city fathers for secret missions, while paying a pittance to his agents.
The comic book ridicules aspects of American society, including capitalism and racism. There were also direct references to local Italian reality, whose social ills were often satirized by Magnus & Bunker, as well as terms in Milanese dialect.
Alan Ford is published monthly by Max Bunker Press in Italy. There are also editions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia (at least 4 different editions, as of 2008), Serbia and Slovenia. A Republic of Macedonia edition was also available for a while, and the Serbian editions are now imported into Macedonia and Montenegro, still remaining hugely popular. The comic book has been adapted to animated film and theater plays, as well as used as a source of inspiration in books and movies.