Rare one-shot 1960s Dan Dare zine featuring contributions from Ron Embleton and Frank Hampson, heads to Classic UK Comic Zines digital archive

The cover of the 1969 zine Ultima Thule by Ron Embleton, portraying then Prime Minister Harold Wilson as an astronaut
The cover of the 1969 zine Ultima Thule by Ron Embleton, portraying then Prime Minister Harold Wilson as an astronaut

A new item destined for the Classic UK Comics Zines archive thanks to downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf is a rare edition of the one-shot fanzine published in October 1969, Ultima Thule, thanks to its original editor, artist and Dan Dare fan Andrew Skilleter, today best known, perhaps, for his Doctor Who art.

Devoted to Dan Dare and the Eagle, edited by Andrew Skilleter and ECK Mackenzie, the zine features original covers by Ron Embleton and Frank Hampson – plus a nice page from Steve Moore (friend of Alan) of “Spock”. It also includes an interview with Dan Dare artist Keith Watson.

Ultima Thule Ad

The re-presentation comes thanks to Andrew, after I spotted an advertisement for Ultima Thule included in a selection of pages from another early British zine, Fantasy Advertiser #29 on social media. Richard volunteered that he owned a copy of this rare zine and, with Andrew’s permission, has scanned it for the Classic UK Comics Zines archive curated by David Hathaway-Price.

Ultima Thule - Keith Watson InterviewUltima Thule - Keith Watson Interview

Opening with an “Ultima Thule Prelude” editorial on Frank Hampson, Ron Embleton and Dan Dare and thanking Steve Moore, Marcus Morris, Keith Watson, Frank Humphris and Stan Nicholls, the zine includes “Dead or Alive”, a “Riders Of The Range” feature, a Dan Dare in Eagle checklist feature with Des Shaw (today, editor of Spaceship Away), “Dan Dare revisited” – Frank Hampson, Eagle and Dan Dare retrospective feature with Des Shaw art, “Frank Hampson Team” feature with profiles, “Keith Watson Interview” with extensive art (Eagle, Dan Dare).

Self portrait by Ron Embleton, including a message to Andrew Skilleter, published in Ultima Thule
Self portrait by Ron Embleton, including a message to Andrew Skilleter, published in Ultima Thule
A tribute to Star Trek’s Mr Spock by Steve Moore, better known of course, as a prolific and fondly remembered comics writer
A tribute to Star Trek’s Mr Spock by Steve Moore, better known of course, as a prolific and fondly remembered comics writer
Art from Frank Hampson’s “Peter Rock” project
Art from Frank Hampson’s “Peter Rock” project

Art -wise, treats include a one Page strip by a young Andrew Skilleter, “Kargaz”, homaging Frank Hampson, a four page strip by ECK MacKenzie titled “The Liberator”, a Ron Embleton “Self-portrait” art, Steve Moore “Spock – A Tribute To Star Trek The Best TV Series Ever Made” art – and art from Frank Hampson’s unpublished “Peter Rock” strip, a projected newspaper strip – an image recently exhibited at The Atkinson in Stockport.

• Keep an eye on The Classic Comic Zines web site for a digital re-presentation of Ultima Thule, which should be live some time today, Monday 13th May 2019.Zines are not featured unless with the permission of their original editors

Andrew Skilleter is online at andrewskilleter.com

With thanks to David Hathaway-Price, Richard Sheaf and Andrew Skilleter

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

One thought on “Rare one-shot 1960s Dan Dare zine featuring contributions from Ron Embleton and Frank Hampson, heads to Classic UK Comic Zines digital archive

  1. Hullo John,

    There is nothing like starting a hare running.

    Reading and enjoying Keith Watson’s comments about how it was to work with Frank Hampson on Dan Dare, I noticed mention of a Frank Bellamy. Keith said “we were working with Frank Bellamy”.

    Not a rare name, but not that common.

    Then I went online and found out when he was born (1917), but only after writing this:

    In 1982 I was living in west London, and that was the year I met the woman who would become my wife. She had a friend called Frank Bellamy, who owned a West Indies orientated travel agency called Transatlantic Wings. Frank had the UK agency for LIAT – Leeward Islands Air Transport – my wife having used LIAT for Caribbean holidays before we met.

    This Frank Bellamy sold the travel agency and settled down to write travel books. Caribbean Island Hopping is one; The Caribbean another. I have just found both on Amazon, and have ordered them. Something I would never have done had I not read Keith’s article!

    So, not the same Frank Bellamy, but possibly a relation; a son? Was Olympus camera advertiser David Bellamy a relative? I saw him once, when I used an OM1 for stock photography work.

    If you’d like to reply, ecdh5348@gmail.com is my email address.

    With best wishes,

    Eric Hayman, in the 1950s an avid Eagle reader.

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