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British Comic Characters Profiled | Dan Dare – Five Items of Iconic Merchandise

Long before Star Wars, Dan Dare fans rushed to buy merchandise based on their favourite space hero from Eagle comic – even Dan Dare tooth powder and hair brushes. Here are five of the most memorable items…

 

A Dan Dare Figures Set  produced by Crescent Toys in the 1950s sold at auction by ComPal in 2012 for over £600, featuring Dan and Digby,  Professor Peabody and Sondar. Image: ComPal

A Dan Dare Figures Set produced by Crescent Toys in the 1950s sold at auction by ComPal in 2012 for over £600 (because of the damaged rocket launcher), featuring Dan and Digby, Professor Peabody and Sondar. Image: ComPal

 

Dan Dare Space Men set

A set of these six 90mm tall plastic figures of Dan Dare characters from Mettoy sold for £2280 at Chrsities, over nine times their pre-sale estimate. Another set of Dare figures made by the Cresent Toy Company sold for £1560.

 

Mekon Pocket Watch

 

Mekon Pocket Watch

A lovely, chrome cased watch produced by the company Smiths, examples of this item can be found on ebay and Etsy. A striking image of the Mekon appears on the face on a red background. Dan himself also appeared on a watch made by Ingersoll: the British Museum has the prototype.

 

A promotional comic created to promote Virgin's Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future Game

A promotional comic created to promote Virgin’s Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future Game

Dan Dare Computer Games

Primitive by today’s standards, the three Dan Dare computer games produced by Virgin Games from 1986 to 1990 for the Commodore, ZX Spectrum, Atari and Amstrad still produce as much as a nostalgia buzz for the 80s computer generation as the 50s Dan Dare toys do for the former schoolboys of that decade.

There’s more information here on the World of Spectrum site

 

The Dan Dare car as it appeared in the 1981 Corgi Catalogue. Image: Gasoline Alley Antiques

The Dan Dare car as it appeared in the 1981 Corgi Catalogue. Image: Gasoline Alley Antiques

 

Corgi Dan Dare Car

A rare one this – very rare indeed, because it was never released! This Dan Dare toy car, promoted in the 1981 Corgi Toy Catalogue was planned to co-incide with the release of the ATV TV show but, like the programme itself, it failed to materialiase. You can sometimes pick up the Corgi catologue which featured a photo of the car, from ebay and specialist dealers.

 

Dan Dare Planet Gun

Dan Dare Planet Gun

Dan Dare Planet Gun

There was so much fun Dan Dare merchandise released in the 1950s, but the Dan Dare Planet Gun, now georgeously retro, must surely rank as one of the best. It fired spinning missiles, well spinning bits of plastic anyway, and the illustration on the box was so iconic it wa released as a postcard a few years back.

Read our ovevriew of Dan Dare by Ian Wheeler

• Read our list of currently available Dan Dare collections

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