It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

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Who dares eventually finds it

In my post on Dan Dare last week (see here), I mentioned I owned a copy of Dare by Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes, but seemed to have lost it. If you’ve seen my flat, this probably isn’t much of a surprise. Fortunately, while digging out some books for a post on bandes dessinées – which will appear later today – I stumbled across it. The cat hadn’t sold it on eBay, after all.

Anyway, here it is:

Dare was originally published in Revolver, from 1990 to 1991, but the comic folded before the last installment, so it was completed in Crisis, a 2000 AD spin-off. The trade paperback edition was published in 1991. Copies are not especially hard to find these days, and it’s worth getting.

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Dare more

When I wrote my post on the Hawk Books reprints of the Dan Dare strips, I didn’t bother including the other Dan Dare books I own. So here they are. There is one not shown, however: Dare by Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes, which I have spent the past month looking for but have yet to find. No doubt I’ll stumble across it within hours of this post going up on the blog…

Anyway, more Dan Dare books, see:

This is the one started it all for me. As you can see, it’s a bit tatty. But then it is thirty-five years old and it did get chewed by mice at one point… It contains ‘The Red Moon Mystery’ and the first part of the Terra Nova trilogy, ‘Safari in Space’.

A pair of annuals from two of Dare’s later reincarnations. On the right, 2000 AD’s Dare from 1980, and on the left the relaunched Eagle’s Dare from 1987. Neither are especially good.

The beginning and possibly the end: Dan Dare began life in Eagle, and his last appearance was in a six-part mini-series in 2007 written by Garth Ennis. I thought the Ennis Dare very disappointing, so much so that I never bothered to buy the second “collector’s edition” volume containing issues 4 to 6.

A novelisation of one of the Dare stories. It’s not very good. A collection of lesser Dan Dare stories from Eagle. And a non-fiction work on him, which I must get around to reading one of these days.

Two books about Dare’s creator, Frank Hampson. Tomorrow Revisited, published by PS Publishing, is actually a revised and expanded edition of The Man Who Drew Tomorrow.


Dan Dare

I’m fairly sure my first introduction to Colonel Dan McGregor Dare of Spacefleet was in the early 1970s, when my parents bought me a Dan Dare annual one Christmas. (No, I’m not old enough to remember Eagle, where Dare originally appeared.) The annual contained two stories, ‘The Red Moon Mystery’ and ‘Safari in Space’ – and they’re still my favourite Dare stories. We were living in Oman at the time, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t buy it there. Anyway, I treasured that book for years.

And then, during the early 1990s, I was in London visiting friends, and in a remaindered book shop on Charing Cross Road I found the seventh volume of a series of Dare reprints published by Hawk Books. I bought it, but never saw any of the other volumes in the series. When I returned to the UK to live in 2002, I decided to complete the series. It took me several years, and quite a bit of money, but I eventually did it. The last one I purchased was volume 4 Prisoners of Space in early 2009.

And here’s the full set…

 There are actually two editions of the first volume. I have the second edition, the 10th anniversary edition of the original. The Red Moon Mystery, volume 2, is one of Dare’s best stories.

 The Man from Nowhere, volume 6, and Rogue Planet, volume 7, is a two-parter and are one of the better stories.
 While Dare was away helping aliens on their home world in Rogue Planet, the Mekon conquered the Earth using robots – but Reign of the Robots, volume 8, is a bit silly, to be honest. The Terra Nova trilogy, volume 9, is one of my favourites. Since this was the most expensive volume to buy, it must be everybody else’s favourite too.
 The last three volumes cover stories written and drawn after Hampson handed over the reins and, sadly, neither the design nor the stories are as good as when he was in charge.
 Back in the day, you could actually buy replica Spacefleet uniforms. In fact, there was a huge amount of merchandising for Dare – everything from button badges to tin spaceship models. All before my time, of course. You often see items available on eBay for silly money. There’s even a novel, Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future by Angus P Allan, published in 1977. The book is illustrated with black and white line-drawings of panels from the comics, but as a novel it’s a bit rubbish.

Dan Dare has been resuscitated a number of times. In 1977, he appeared in the first issue of 2000 AD, and lasted until 1979. The strip has yet to be published as a trade paperback omnibus, which is really annoying. I do have a 2000 AD Dan Dare annual from 1980, but it’s not very good. The Eagle comic was relaunched in 1982, and featured Dan Dare as its flagship strip – but this was a grandson of the original Dan Dare. The new Eagle folded in 1994. In 1990, Grant Morrison scripted a new Dare, set in Thatcherite Britain, which was serialised in the Revolver comic. It was later republished as a trade paperback. In 2008, Virgin comics published a seven-issue Dan Dare mini-series written by Garth Ennis. I have an omnibus of the first three issues but wasn’t impressed. New Dare stories have also appeared in Spaceship Away, a magazine dedicated to Dare, and which has to date published twenty-seven issues. We won’t mention the terrible CGI television series.

Also worth noting is a “biography” written by Daniel Tartarsky, which was published in 2010: Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future: A Biography. Titan Books have also published a series of Dare reprint volumes, which are smaller in size than the Hawk Books versions. They’re also still in print. And it appears that Haynes will be publishing an Owner’s Workshop Manual on Spacefleet Operations in June of 2013. It’s already on my wishlist.