Dan Dare
Dan Dare: The Earth Stealers
Medium: comic
Year: 1961
Keywords: Dan Dare, SF, rubbish
Writer: Eric Eden
Artist: Don Harley, Bruce Cornwell
Country: UK
Format: 14 two-page episodes, The Eagle Vol.12 No.48 to Vol.13 No.9
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 9 July 2021
dan dare
I love the title and I like the story's opening. Dan and Digby fly back to Earth, but it looks like Venus. Spacefleet HQ's underwater. There are lions, not people, in English villages. The only humans we see are the guards of Earth Reclamation Limited, wearing helmets with an "M" that I was sure stood for "Mekon". (We're told that it stands for Malvol, the story's evil scientist, but I reckon the Mekon would have been revealed as the story's true mastermind if it hadn't been cut short prematurely.)
The reason for this is climate change. "When Earth's temperature rose, the ice-caps melted. Floods disrupted a population already harassed by the intense heat. Then came the plague, a hitherto unknown virus which swept the Earth. That was the end! The survivors were evacuated to Mars."
That's pretty nifty. What's more, Dan Dare heads for Mars, but Spacefleet wants to shoot him down before he can land. Earth's in quarantine.
I love all that. Unfortunately, the rest of the storyline is one-dimensional adventure tripe. It could have come from any 1960s boys' adventure comic. It's shapeless, it's wasting a memorable story set-up and it has a guillotined ending. All over the Eagle, stories were being cut short. The magazine's most recent purchasers, Odhams Press, were about to be bought out themselves, by Longacre Press.
I don't even like the art much. Dan's face looks boring! Dan has a fantastic face, when it's drawn properly.
I'm not planning to read the Longacres Dan Dare. I'd sooner read 2000 AD's. That's a travesty, by all accounts, but at least it'll be an exciting travesty.