An exhibition of art by Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson at The Atkinson, in Southport, Lancashire – where both the character and Eagle comic were “born” in the 1950s – is on now until March, and it’s well worth a visit.
The exhibition covers all aspects of Frank Hampson’s career including some of his early sketches, artwork for Ladybird Books and of course, Dan Dare.
While the room is dominated by a huge interactive screen with imagery of Frank’s works across his career, it was his art that was the real attraction for me, fellow downthetubes writer Richard Sheaf and writer and publisher Tim Quinn as we gathered at the Atkinson last week to see what was on display.
Fans of Frank’s work will not be disappointed. Charting his entire career from the 1940s onwards, Not only is there plenty of “Dan Dare” art from Eagle to savour, but early work, too, some of his unpublished “Peter Rock” strip, along with stunning art he painted for various Ladybird Books.
There are some other gems, too: cinefilm of the “Dan Dare” art team acting out various “stunts” for reference for the strips, design work for the strip, and, intriguingly, a copy of a script for the proposed Dan Dare film hawked to studios in the 1970s. I think there are a few of us who would love to read that!)
Plus, Frank’s “Yellow Kid” award is also on display, his winning of this a highlight of the artist’s career in his later years.
Taking up a large room at the fabulous Atkinson gallery and museum – which has plenty of other great art on display right now, too – I’m really glad Richard persuaded me along to take a look at this last week. If you’re in the North West, it’s well worth a visit.
If you are planning to get to this exhibition, be sure to check out the Dan Dare display in the permanent exhibition area of the gallery, too – some great items included, such as art by Don Harley and alien heads!
Plus, Southport has some other attractions on offer, too, and I’m not just talking about the Nostalgia Tea Rooms knowledgeable Mr Quinn took us to for lunch. Broadhursts of Southport offers three floors of secondhand and new books, including British comic annuals, for example, and it’s literally around the corner from the Atkinson. Dave’s Books, on Lord Street, is also worth a peruse.
• Frank Hampson – The Man Who Drew Dan Dare Saturday 15th September 2018 – Saturday 16th March 2019 – For more about the exhibition visit The Atkinson web site
• The Atkinson is at Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB. The Museum and galleries are open Monday – Saturday 10.00am – 4.00pm, Sunday CLOSED | Check all opening times here | Web: www.theatkinson.co.uk | Find The Atkinson on Facebook: TheAtkinson | Follow The Atkinson on Twitter @AtkinsonThe | Watch The Atkinson video channel on Youtube: AtkinsonThe
• There’s more about the original creation of the Dan Dare bust by John Fowler here on DanDare.org and the fiftieth anniversary art here on the official Frank Hampson web site, which also has a feature on the birth of Dan Dare and Eagle here
• Find out more about “Peter Rock” on the official Frank Hampson web site run by his son, Peter
• The Old Bakehouse in Botanic Road, Churchtown, Southport – the original studio used by Frank Hampson and his team to produce the 1950’s Dan Dare strips – is not open to the public but has been recently restored
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