With the 60th Anniversary of the classic UK boys comic Eagle upon us, I've been taking some time out to read the Dan Dare: Pilot Of The Future collections published by Titan Books.
Now, my first introduction to the Dan Dare character was during the 80's, when IPC Magazines relaunched the Eagle for a newer audience. This version of the comic was very different from it's '50's incarnation... who was originally created by artist Frank Hampson and was the headline character of the original comic (running on the front page for many years of the original titles run). This new Eagle was made up of mostly photo-strips, featuring characters such as Doomlord, Manix and Joe Soap. The Dan Dare strip featured was different from it's 50's predessessor as well, in the fact that although it was a traditional drawn strip... the title character wasn't the ORIGINAL Dan Dare, but in fact his great, great grandson - who took up the mantle to face his ancestors greatest enemy, the Mekon (who was indeed the original from the 50's strip... and had survived by being banished out of space inside a metor). The modern version featured some great stories, with wonderful artwork by the likes of Ian Kennedy, Carlos Cruz and Oliver Frey... and as a fan I was always intrigued to read the original Dan Dare's adventures. I was lucky enough to read a few, courtesy of re-prints/second hand books... but it wasn't until a couple of years ago when Titan started publishing the original stories in hardback form that I truly was able to appreciate how wonderful they are. Considering these stories where written and drawn in the 1950's, both the stories and the artist who produced them were well ahead of their time. The artwork, by Hampson and his studio is simply beautiful to behold... artwork in the early collections can look a little basic, but really comes into it's own from the collection Man From Nowhere (Safari In Space featuring some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen in comics). I'd recommend to anyone out there who loves good comic art to pick up these collections. For more information on where to get these wonderful collections, please click here.