DAN DARE – Pilot of the Future (Disembark here for EAGLE comics 1982-1985)

Eagle Cover 10 July 1982.

This post will take a look at a short period in the history of British comic book Eagle and one of its most famous characters Dan Dare. Eagle was founded by the Reverend Marcus Morris and was first published in 1950 to 1969. The character Dan Dare was created by Frank Hampson and made regular appearances until 1969 when Eagle, struggling by then, was merged with Lion comics, thus bringing an end to the sky heroics of ‘Pilot of the Future’ Dan Dare.

But fast forward to 1982… and a secret project team at IPC Magazines led by Barrie Tomlinson, David Hunt and Gil Page was putting together the final touches of its plans for the relaunch of Eagle and its greatest hero Dan Dare! The new format had already been decided: a shift from traditional art stories to photo-stories – a format that had proved itself a hit with pop magazines like JACKIE.

Daring to dabble

Dan Dare was to escape the new photo-story format and remain rendered as he had always been – in quality lines and ink drawn by quality artists. Not that Dan escaped change entirely! The original 1950s Dan as created by Frank Hampson was completely removed from the relaunched storyline and replaced with Dan’s Great-Great Grandson who took on the name ‘Dan Dare’ and his mantle ‘Pilot of the Future’, with adventures now being set 200 years into the future of the original storyline.

Below: Operation Eagle. From the 1983 Eagle Annual

Just some of the steps taken in relaunching a comic and one of its legends.


Not plain sailing

What began as an exciting relaunch for Eagle in 1982 quickly gave way to choppy waters. Dan Dare lost its lead artist Gerry Embleton just four months into the relaunch. The following year in 1983 the title made the transition from the photo-stories back to traditional comic art. This was followed by the change to a new size format and cheaper newsprint – and all against the background of the 1980s British printer’s strikes when Eagle saw the mergers of fellow IPC comics Scream! which integrated into Eagle in 1984, and then Tiger which merged with Eagle in 1985. 

The creative team for the Dan Dare strips during this topsy-turvy ’82 – ’85 period included the writers Pat Mills and John Wagner, with intial artwork coming from Gerry Embelton and Oliver Frey (Frey also did the work on the ’84 and ’85 Annuals). Then came the prolific art of Ian Kennedy (announced as the new artist in the July 31 issue, 1982), and finally the art of Carlos Cruz from the period 1984/5. Writer and artist credits are seldom printed in many of the later issues I own, so if I’ve missed or miscredited anyone let me know in the comments.

Final flight

Although I’m only covering the period ’82 – ’85, it’s worth concluding the history of that relaunch to say that Eagle, and all of its fellow IPC comic titles, was eventually purchased by the publisher Robert Maxwell in 1987. Five-hundred issues of this later Eagle were published until dwindling sales forced a change from weekly release to monthly. Later issues contained reprints – although new Dan Dare stories did appear written by Tom Tully and drawn by David Pugh. Eagle flew on for a while longer up to 1994 when it, and its famous pilot Dan Dare, once again disappeared from the sky.

Onto the images then. 1982 – 1985. And what a treat! TVTA is pleased to present a stellar selection of artwork and covers related to this exciting relaunch period for Eagle and Dan Dare!

Enjoy.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Wagner / Mills /Embleton. Eagle 10 July 1982.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Wagner / Mills/ Frey. Eagle 17 July 1982.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Mills / Wagner / Kennedy. Eagle 31 July 1982.

Page mixing traditional comic art with model photography. Mills / Kennedy / models by J. Baum. Eagle 28 May 1983.


Cover artwork 1982 – 1985


Title mergers

Eagle and Scream!, 1984

Eagle and Scream! 9 Feb 151 1985.

The stories ‘Monster’ and ‘The Thirteenth Floor’ from SCREAM! merger announcements with Eagle. 25 Aug 1984.

Eagle and Tiger, 1985

Eagle and Tiger. 14 Sept 1985 182.


Eagle Annual 1983


Dan Dare print advert. Eagle. 1983.


TVTA Fun Bonus!

While going through the dozens of Eagle issues I own from this period, I managed to put togther the four-part double-page series ‘Doomlord’s Alien Datafile Poster’

Pheww!! What a monster when all put togther…

Doomlord’s Alien Datafile. Four-part double-page poster collection in Eagle comic, 1985.

And lastly…

A Mekon and Treen target simulator to use with the free potato gun as given away in the September 24 issue of EAGLE, 1983, ‘Mash Up The Mekon’

Space Fleet Target Simulator. Eagle 24 Sept 1983.


That’s all folks. Thank you for flying into the future with us 🙂


Resources: 1983 Eagle Annual, Fleetway. Various Eagle comics, IPC, 1982 – 1985. Wikipedia entries for Eagle and Dan Dare. Images copyright belong to the current owners of Eagle and Dan Dare and are used here for information purposes. Image scans made by TVTA from personal comic collection.

Further reading: excellent Dan Dare article from Down The Tubes

’80-’87, comic book art and covers

Wonder Woman 265, 1980. Cover Andru / Giordano.

Welcome to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we showcase DC characters as seen in the 1980s, and feature cover artwork by Dan Jurgens, Raphael Kayanan, Dick Giordano and Ross Andru, Gil Kane, George Perez, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal. Also for your viewing pleasure are DC adverts featuring  Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Suicide Squad, Batman and more! 

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 


Aquaman. 1985.

The Flash. 1986.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. 1982.

Hex. 1985.

Tales of the Teen Titans 49, 1984. Cover George Perez.


Suicide Squad. 1986.

Wonder Woman Wonder Words, 1983.


Join TVTA again soon for more superb comic covers, art and adverts!

Welcome to TVTA Sweden and Finland!

Superman N°12 1987. Cover by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano. DC Sweden/Finland.

Greetings vintage mates! In my ongoing endeavour to gather a digital archive of international advertising, catalogues, posters and comic covers, The Vintage Toy Advertiser is pleased to post today some wonderful examples from Sweden and Finland. Välkommen!

Adding to an already impressive world map featuring France, UK, US, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Japan and Brazil… the following titles from the 1970s and 80s were aimed at a Finnish and Swedish readership, and feature Superman – (Stålmannen in Swedish), Batman – (Läderlappen), Dracula, Tarzan, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil (Våghalsen), and Spider-Man (Spindelmannen).

Enjoy the scans! Or as they may say in Swedish, Njut av skanningarna!

Dracula

Dracula N°6 1983. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Superman

Superman N°11 1986. DC Sweden/Finland.

Superman N°13 1978. DC Sweden/Finland.

Super fart! Let’s save the Superman fart joke for last! Super-Fart = Super Speed. Super-Spänning = Super-Voltage. Super-Tuff = Super-Tough!

Super Fart Superman! 1978. Sweden/Finland.

Tarzan

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan N°14 1977. Cover by Joe Kubert. Sweden/Finland.

Tarzan. 1977 Sweden/Finland.

Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil 

Hulk N°2 1984. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Spider-Man. 1984. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Daredevil. 1982. Marvel Sweden/Finland.


As always, thanks for looking 🙂 Coming soon… yet another international debut at The Vintage Toy Advertiser! (clue – you won’t have to read upside down!)

’75-’88, comic book art and covers

Wonder Woman N°240. 1978. Garcia Lopez et Dick Giordano.

Welcome, vintage mates, to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we span the years 1975 to 1988 and feature a DC-heavy dose of amazing cover work from the likes of Garcia Lopez, Dick Giordano, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kezel, Ross Andru, Jan Duursema and Jack Kirby, along with DC adverts for Stick-ons, medallions and Superman: The Movie.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 


Tales of the Legion of Superheroes N°321. 1985. Dan Jurgens et Karl Kezel.

Superman N°334. 1979. Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.

The Super Friends N°45. 1981. Schaffenberger et Smith.

Atlas N°1. 1975. Jack Kirby.

Power Girl. 1978.

Arion N°6. 1983. Jan Duursema.

Superman Double Dynamite. 1979.

Superman: The Movie. 1979.

Superman 50th birthday medallion. 1988.

Wonder Woman newspaper strip. 1979.

DC Super-hero Stick-ons. 1979.


Join TVTA again soon for more superb comic covers, art and adverts!

’74-’85, comic book art and covers

Marvel 50th Premiere. Alice Cooper. 1979. US.

Welcome, vintage mates, to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we span the years 1974 to 1985 and feature titles from the US and UK. Included (above) is my childhood copy of Marvel’s Alice Cooper – Tales From the Inside. I didn’t know very much about Alice Cooper back in the late seventies apart from the song ‘School’s Out’ – but the crazy story inside that 12p comic managed to fully capture my imagination as a child… and who could resist that cover?

Other comic book goodies included today are Godzilla King of the Monsters (below), more superb examples of the striking cover art as seen in DC’s Weird War Tales, and titles and ads for Marvel, Star Comics, Starlog, Starburst, Doctor Who and Fantasy Modeling.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 

Marvel Comic N°338. 1979. UK.


Weird War Tales

Weird War Tales N°32. 1974. US.

Weird War Tales N°78. 1979. US.


Various titles


’72-’89, comic book art

The Thing N°6. 1983. US.

… TVTA has a ‘Thing’ about comic book art!

Welcome, vintage mates, to another selection of comic book covers and art spanning the 1960s to present. Feast your goggles on amazing art candy by Bill Sienkiewicz, George Perez, Al Williamson, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Moebius, André Chéret, Brian Bolland, Alex Toth, Alex Roth, and the late Ron Smith. As always, thanks for looking 🙂 

Marvel and DC
Batman Black and White
The Phantom
TV related
Conan, Sonja, Rahan

I’d like to dedicate this post to the talented comic book artist Ron Smith, who passed away last week, aged 94. Ron worked on many British comic titles like Hotspur, The Wizard, The Topper, The Dandy, The Beezer, The Victor, and Warlord, but he will always be most famously remembered for his prolific work on Judge Dredd. The last three covers are by Ron Smith.

Fond farewells Ron Smith, 1924 – 2019


’77-’12, comic book art

After a busy summer picking up new acquisitions in both France and the UK, the TVTA scanning room is piled high with books just bursting with goodness that can’t wait to get out! The following post is a companion piece to our previous post and features another fine selection of comic book covers and adverts. Enjoy 🙂 

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with T… Thanos! Secret Wars II. ROTJ N°137. 1986. UK.

The Invincible Iron Man N°129. 1979. Cover by Bob Layton. UK.

ROTJ N°148. 1986. UK.

The Daredevils. Doctor Who N°78. 1983. UK.



Spider-Man. ROTJ N°83. 1985. UK.

ROTJ N°50. 1984. UK.


And now… Introducing… A TVTA comic book special! (it was Wooof’s idea)… Dances With The Empire!

#1. All join hands dance the dance chant the chant

#2. Across the Empire the Hiromi always dance happy

#3. Do your funky D.I.S.C.O. baby!

#4. IG-88: Ben, may I have the pleasure of this next dance?

Ben: Sure, let’s dance, tin-head. And may the force be with you!

Ben Kenobi pin-up. ROTJ N°83. 1985. UK.


That’s all for now vintage mates, thanks for visiting. Stop by again soon for a quick look at some ‘Ghostbusters’ that may or may not be the ‘Ghostbusters’ you imagine… ???