A Martian Menace invades Spaceship Away – the official, Dan Dare-inspired comics magazine

Spaceship Away Issue 41 - Cover by Graham Bleathman
Spaceship Away Issue 41 – Cover by Graham Bleathman

The latest issue of Spaceship Away – the glossy strip and feature magazine inspired by Dan Dare and the original Eagle comic – has just been released, wrapped in a striking cover from Graham Bleathman, and will be available to order soon from the the title’s official web site.

Published three times a year, I have to confess a little bias reporting this, as the issue includes “The Martian Menace”, a strip written by myself – originally intended for the short-lived STRIP Magazine, drawn by Joe Pimentel with much appreciated art assist and colour by John Ridgway.

Dan Dare - Martian Menace by John Freeman, Joe Pimenetel and John Ridgway
Dan Dare – Martian Menace by John Freeman, Joe Pimenetel and John Ridgway

Editor Des Shaw also kindly commissioned me to wax lyrical about the background to this strip, a test for a regular Dan Dare strip that never happened. The development work, which included development designs by Australian artist Lucas Bowers, with additional work by John Ridgway, as well as other strips written by Ivan Carlo (writing as Gian Danton, which he discusses on his blog in Portuguese here), proved another false hope for Britain’s best-known space hero, but my background “bible” was used to help shape the new Dan Dare Audio Adventures, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Space didn’t permit the inclusion of a number of visuals I assembled for the feature, so here’s a couple of them for you.

The Mekon by Lucas Bowers
The Mekon by Lucas Bowers
John Ridgway pitched this page of Dan Dare art at STRIP Magazine for the planned revival of the space hero
John Ridgway pitched this page of Dan Dare art at STRIP Magazine for the planned revival of the space hero

Also in this issue of Spaceship Away:

Dan Dare: Shakedown Cruise by Tim Booth
Dan Dare: Shakedown Cruise by Tim Booth

Dan Dare: Shakedown Cruise by Tim Booth. This is the first episode of a new story from Tim that sees Dan and Digby taking some young cadets out into space for the first time.

Dan Dare: Parsecular Tales by Tim Booth
Dan Dare: Parsecular Tales by Tim Booth

Dan Dare: Parsecular Tales – the final episode of this long-running story, also by Tim Booth, that has spanned alternate universes and introduced a myriad of new ideas to the space hero’s world

The Killing Zone by Ron Turner coloured by Martin Baines
The Killing Zone by Ron Turner coloured by Martin Baines

The Killing Zone by Ron Turner coloured by Martin Baines – a one-off space opera tale of invasion and resistance with peppered with Ron’s usual trademark giant reptiles and unmistakeable space hardware (if you’re a fan of Ron’s work, then you really should also check out Space Ace, a title with a similar format to Spaceship Away re-publishing some of his strip work)

Davy Rocket, a fun, well drawn one page humour strip, the creators uncredited

• “Two Unlikely Dan Dare Artists” – a great feature by David Ashford on the work of Jack Daniel (better known for his work on the Daily Express newspaper strip “Kit Conquest” and “Riders of the Range for Eagle) and Norman Williams (whose work for Eagle included “The Great Adventurer”, the story of St Paul, and “The Baden Powell Story”)

• “Space Station” a feature by D.J. Nunn featuring art by Bruce Cornwell taken from the first ever Express Annual, published in the 1950s

• “The History of Early Rockets” a one page feature launching a new series of items

Graham Bleathman’s cover also features as a double page pin-up, and there’s along with photographs of a classic piece of Dan Dare merchandise there’s also a new Dan Dare painting by Bill Naylor.

I’m very glad “Martian Menace” has finally appeared in print. I hope you enjoy it. Obviously its inclusion makes it impossible for me to review the issue, but Lew Stringer has posted his glowing opinion here!

Spaceship Away 41 will be available to order soon from spaceshipaway.org.uk A three-issue subscription costs £25.50 in the UK. The title has a low print run but the high cover price reflects that creators are paid for their work for the officially-licensed magazine

• The Dan Dare Audio Adventures Volume One is available to order now from amazon.co.uk | Dan Dare Audio Adventures Volume Two will be available on general release in May and you can pre-order it from amazon.co.uk here

Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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