Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Dan Dare

2000 AD, a revived Eagle, Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis have all revived Dan Dare in different forms but have any of them done it right? (Maybe Grant wasn't trying to do Dare, just to make a point about power politics?)

I get the feeling that there is nothing left to do with the character. A plan of the original creators was to get him into films. He would have been there before Star Trek and Star Wars. (Another sf series that was meant to be filmed but wasn't was James Blish's Cities In Flight.)

The first Dan Dare story started with the premise that the Moon and Mars had already been visited in the twentieth century. The first story was about the first trip to Venus and the first conflict with the Mekon. (A story in the revived Eagle had the Mekon saying, "Even my escape craft has an escape craft!" Neat.)

There followed some stories set in the inner and outer Solar Systems, then a long trilogy:

(i) an extrasolar alien, a "Krypt," arrives on Earth;
(ii) Dan, Digby and others make the first human interstellar crossing to help the peaceful Krypts against the war-like Phants;
(iii) they return to find that the Mekon has conquered Earth in their absence.

Usually in Eagle, one story ended and another began without any indication of how much time had elapsed between or, more generally, how they were related chronologically but this "trilogy" was a single long sequence. I started looking at the pictures, not yet reading, somewhere in (ii).

Dan encountered a Scottish clan McWho, thus a pre-Doctor Who use of the word "Who" as a surname. After the second conflict with the Mekon, there were some more interstellar journeys. Dan went to Terra Nova to try to find his father but was interrupted by a long paper strike. I would like to know more about what happened in subsequent adventures of this original Dare.

There was an eight page Dare story in each Eagle Annual and sometimes also a separate Dan Dare Annual. A story about an attempted terrorist attack on the Olympics when they were held on Venus was particularly exciting as some of the athletes had to run across the field to the bewilderment of the audience to prevent an explosion. One story in an Annual backtracked to the first meeting between Dan and Digby.

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