Dan Dare is a British science fiction comic hero, created by illustrator Frank Hampson who also wrote the first stories, that is, the Venus and Red Moon stories, and a complete storyline for Operation Saturn. Dare appeared in the Eagle comic story Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future in 1950, dramatised seven times a week on Radio Luxembourg.
The stories were set in the late 1990s, but the dialogue and manner of the characters is reminiscent of British war films of the 1950s. Dan Dare has been described as “Biggles in Space” and as the British equivalent of Buck Rogers. Dan Dare was distinguished by its long, complex storylines, snappy dialogue and meticulously illustrated comic-strip artwork by Hampson and other artists, including Harold Johns, Don Harley, Bruce Cornwell, Greta Tomlinson, Frank Bellamy and Keith Watson.
The most recent mainstream story was a Dan Dare mini-series published by Virgin Comics. It was written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Gary Erskine and is a completely new and somewhat darker interpretation of Dan Dare. Since October 2003, however, Dare’s adventures have also continued in Spaceship Away, a specialist magazine created by Rod Barzilay by agreement with the Dan Dare Corporation. Published three times a year, its mission statement is to continue the original Dare’s adventures where the original Eagle left off, in a style as close to that of the classic strip as possible. To that end, Barzilay originally hired former Eagle artist Keith Watson, and following Watson’s death Don Harley, both of whom had drawn Dare in the 1960s, to work on the strips which are written very much in the style of the fifties stories. Despite a fairly small circulation (it is available only via mail order, through its own Web site or in a select few comic shops), Spaceship Away continues to appear.
Holiday special 1990
Solid space mystery
Annual 1991, Book 1,2