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Eagle[ edit ] Dan Dare appeared on the cover of the first issue of the weekly comic strip magazine, Eagle , on 14 April There were two large colour pages of his story per issue.

The artwork was of a high quality, the product of artists in a studio called the Old Bakehouse in Churchtown, Southport , Lancashire. It had scale models of spaceships , and models in costume as reference for the artists.

The storylines were long and complex, sometimes lasting more than a year. Attention was paid to scientific plausibility, the promising young writer Arthur C. Clarke later a science fiction luminary [2] acting as science and plot adviser for the first six months of strips.

The stories were set mostly on planets of the Solar System presumed to have extraterrestrial life and alien inhabitants, common in science fiction before space probes of the s proved the most likely worlds were lifeless. The first story begins with Dan Dare as pilot of the first successful flight to Venus. The first occurred after two episodes of "Marooned on Mercury" , which was taken over by Harold Johns, from scripts by Samaritans founder and clergyman Rev.

Chad Varah , who had known Marcus Morris in Southport. Hampson returned to start the following story, "Operation Saturn" , but suffered a relapse after 20 weeks. Principal art was taken over by new chief assistant Don Harley , who completed the story and its successor, "Prisoners of Space" the only series to feature extensive work by an artist outside the studio, finishes being provided by Desmond Walduck.

Hampson returned full-time in , starting "The Man from Nowhere" trilogy, which took Dan and his companions outside the Solar System for the first time.

The quality of the strip and its popularity remained high throughout the s. The conflict caused Hampson to leave the strip in , in the middle of a long plot that saw Dan searching an alien planet for his long-lost father. Characters[ edit ] Dan Dare was surrounded by a varying cast, initially: He was born in Manchester , England, in and educated at Rossall School. He excelled at jujutsu , but he most often found non-violent solutions to predicaments.

He was bound by a sense of honour, never lied, and would rather die than break his word. His lean-faced character was recognisable by the outer tips of his eyebrows , which were wavy. In place of British rank insignia it had coloured stripes and circles on the shoulderboards. His cap badge was a vertical, antique rocketship in a circle with one five-pointed star on either side. Initially, Dare had been intended to be portrayed as a chaplain.

Rotund and sometimes bumbling, he provided comic relief. He was fiercely loyal and the only character apart from Dan to appear in every story. His favourite recreation was sleeping and he was fond of traditional English food. His nearest relative was his Aunt Anastasia, after whom Dan named his spaceship. He was a veteran pilot, having been on the first mission to the Moon and led the first mission to Mars.

Pierre was primarily a pilot, Hank more a mechanic. Sondar was a Treen , a reptilian inhabitant of northern Venus. Originally a servant of the Mekon , he reformed after Dan spared his life during a traumatic episode that also caused his first experience of strong emotion, which the Treens suppressed. He became governor of northern Venus when the planet was placed under UN rule at the end of the first story, but nevertheless joined Dan on later adventures.

He escaped at the end of each story to return with an even more inventive scheme for the conquest of Earth. In , Keith Watson and writer David Motton were allowed to introduce a new supporting cast, who remained with the series throughout the rest of its run.

Colonel Wilf Banger, handlebar moustache, pilot and designer, an impulsive and volatile character.

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Banger designed and built the Tempus Frangit. Technician Nutter Cobb, red-haired, broken-nosed. Major Shillitoe Spence, balding, pencil moustache.

A prim, fussy administrator. Xel, first encountered in Operation Time Trap in Xel is another enemy in the mould of the Mekon. Having stowed away with Dare at the end of his first appearance, in the next story Xel allies with the Mekon but the two fall out. Xel would make regular appearances through the 60s before being finally captured. Vehicles[ edit ] Spacecraft of various designs were presented as the product of inhabitants of various planets.

The vehicle most identified with Dan was the winged Anastasia. Designed by Sondar, it employed both Venusian and Earth space drives. Later, an alien ship was adopted and renamed the Zyl-bat. There was also an experimental time-travelling ship called Tempus Frangit Latin: There were land and air vehicles — in the first stories, cars conform to styling of the time, while some flying machines were based on the design of helicopters of the mid-twentieth century.

London Transport used overhead monorails and helibuses in early stories. Ground transport cars were also drawn with gyroscopes and single wheels. Venusian vehicles were depicted as being technologically more advanced than those of Earth. South of the Flamebelt the Therons had applied their technology to peaceful agricultural purposes including dedicated agricultural land and flying machines. Spaceports[ edit ] There is evidence that the Spacefleet spaceport in Earth is west of Formby in Lancashire on a semicircle of land built into the Irish Sea by landfill.

Spacesuits[ edit ] Spacefleet spacesuits had a corselet plate like on Siebe Gorman standard diving suits. Their suit had no life-support backpack; the life-support gear was between two layers of the helmet. All or most Dan Dare comic pictures were drawn from models or posed humans. As a result, the Spacefleet spacesuits in space hang in folds like the boilersuit in which the models posed and show no sign of gas pressure. After the first Venus war, Spacefleet spacesuits had propulsor backpacks copied from a Treen or Theron design.

The s[ edit ] In artwork was taken over by Frank Bellamy, Don Harley, Keith Watson , Gerald Palmer , with Bruce Cornwell , and the look changed, with the colourful, rounded rocket ships replaced by angular silver craft, and changes to the space suits and insignia. The changes were never wholeheartedly taken up, however, and the look was erratic from then on. In the strip was removed from the front to the inside of the comic, in black and white, and was drawn by Keith Watson.

Over the remaining years the strip varied in format and quality, eventually returning to the front page in colour, until it ended in with Dan retiring to become Space Fleet controller.

Strips from the s were reprinted until , when Eagle merged with Lion. For a while the reprints continued in black and white in Lion. The first instalment, scripted by Ken Armstrong and Pat Mills , had the character revived from suspended animation after two hundred years to find himself in a different world.

The Mekon had also survived but otherwise the cast was different, as was the tone of the strip heavily influenced by the punk movement, as was much of AD and the personality of the title character. Written by Kelvin Gosnell and then Steve Moore, the strip was initially illustrated by Massimo Bellardinelli , whose Dare owed nothing to the original apart from the wavy eyebrows.

After 23 issues in this format the strip took a break for a month and then returned in a revamped format with a more realistic style, written by Gerry Finley-Day and Jack Adrian Chris Lowder and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Dare was now launched on a deep space mission, much in the style of Star Trek but with technology designs very much influenced by Star Wars. In a series of episodic adventures, Dare encountered various threats, including an extended multi-episode adventure uniting slave races in opposition to the "Star Slayers" — the oppressive race controlling that region.

The overall mission had a surprisingly downbeat ending, leaving a space-suited Dare the only survivor, adrift in space on wreckage. Now penned by Tom Tully but still drawn by Dave Gibbons, this re-imagining of Dare casts him almost as a superhero with a colourful tight-fitting uniform provided by the Mekon.

Dare escapes to a planet that is home to an amphibian-like race, which claims he is their Chosen One. There he receives a semi-mystical glove that can shoot energy beams but is unable to prevent the Mekon from acquiring the mystical Crystal of Life.

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On his return to Earth, he and his Treen companion Sondar find themselves branded traitors and found guilty of helping the Mekon to steal the Crystal. This story arc concluded with the pair escaping the Earth authorities and going on the run to try to clear their names by tracking down the Mekon and recovering the Crystal, establishing the format for the next story arc.

In , to celebrate their 20th anniversary, AD published two issues with additional free comics, the first a reprint of the first issue of AD, which starred Dan Dare. The second free comic was a speculative issue called AD which contained strips partially based on the first issue of AD. The new character was the great-great-great-grandson of the original hero—the only surviving character from the original strip being the Mekon.

The initial artist was Gerry Embleton , who drew Dan to resemble the original exactly, but he was quickly replaced by Ian Kennedy , who gave the hero a younger look and blond hair. It opened with a flashback to the unseen final defeat of the Mekon by the original Dan, after which he was sealed inside an artificial asteroid and exiled into space.

Centuries later he was accidentally freed and returned to conquer Earth. A few years later the descendant of his sworn enemy returned from space to find Earth under Treen rule and set out to free the planet. One controversial aspect of the strip was a lengthy flashback which retconned the original Dan to be a veteran of the Second World War and to have travelled through time to the era in which his adventures in the original Eagle took place—an attempt to explain why a hero in the age of space travel had a s outlook on life.

After this initial storyline other writers were used and different supporting characters came and went, including Professor Pinkerton, a female scientist similar to Professor Peabody, and a new Digby again, a descendant of the original.

The Mekon was generally the foe in alternate stories. In the strip became more like a space opera , with increasing violence. Now drawn by John Gillatt, Dan took on a tough-guy look. He led space commandos and packed a hi-tech gun reminiscent of that carried by Judge Dredd. The original strip, featuring the characters of the s Eagle, was revived in , with artist Keith Watson providing the artwork for the initial run of stories.

Watson had been part of the Dan Dare team from to and was sole artist on Dan Dare from to The new Eagle ended in It presented bleak and cynical characters and was a not-too-subtle satire of s British politics.

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Ultimately, Dare destroys London, the Mekon and himself through a smuggled nuclear weapon. The Planet[ edit ] In , The Planet published its first and only issue. Inside was a new and unfinished Dan Dare story, "Remembrance", drawn by Sydney Jordan featuring a slightly older Dare and apparently set some years after the original Eagle strips.

Dare, assisted by Digby who sacrifices himself in battle leads a spirited defence of both Earth and his honourable principles.