By Frank Hampton (Titan Books)
There is precious little that I can say about Dan Dare that hasn’t been said before and better. What I will say is that everything you’ve heard is true. The vintage Dan Dare strips by Frank Hampson and his team are a high point in world, let alone British, comics, that ranks alongside Tintin, Asterix, Tetsuan Atomo, Lone Wolf & Cub and the best works of Kirby, Adams, Toth, Noel Sickles, Milt Caniff, Elzie Segar and Carl Barks. If you don’t like this stuff, there’s probably nothing any of us can do to change your mind, and all we can do is hope you never breed.
The Titan edition is a lavish re-presentation of the first year or so (14th April 1950 – 12th January 1951) of the strip that headlined the groundbreaking and legendary Eagle. Earth is slowly starving and must find new resources to feed its hungry billions. Space Fleet, despite three tragic losses, readies another mission to the mystery planet Venus, where it is thought such resources could be hidden beneath the all-enveloping clouds. The Earth’s last hope might be a strong-jawed, taciturn pilot and his podgy Lancastrian batman.
Thus starts a fantastic, frenetic rollercoaster of action and wonderment, replete with all the elements of classic adventure: determined heroes, outlandish villains, fantastic locales and a liberal dose of tongue-in-cheek fun. This is landmark comic adventuring and it has never been bettered.
The book also contains interviews and text features to bring alive not just the context of the stories produced in the 1950’s yet still affecting our world today, but also a Who’s Who of the characters, features on the creators and a checklist and glossary of the original stories. If you’re into comics, you should definitely own these volumes. If you love a good read, you should seek out this book and its sequels. Or simply if you’re Decent and British, Dammit, you should love these stories!