Dan Dare - Return of The Mekon by Ian Kennedy

Isn’t it about time the 1980’s Dan Dare stories were collected?

Eagle - 26th March 1983The 1980s Dan Dare stories came up in discussion over the weekend, which prompted me to suggest that if fans wanted to see them reprinted, then they needed to write to Titan Comics, who currently hold the license to republish the strips, and politely ask them, not just mutter about it on social media ad infinitum.

Well, it seems several people have already taken the plunge and dropped Titan an email. Good for you!

“Dear Titan Publishing, I am a fan of Dan Dare and I am collecting your current run of re-prints for classic Dan Dare,” wrote artist David Broughton, who let us know he’d dropped them a line. “I would very much like to spend my money on the collected adventures of Dan Dare from the 1980’s Eagle comic.

“Most Dan Dare fans I know of my age have all agreed that this is something we would like to see happen.”

I suggested collections of the 1980s Eagle Dan Dare stories some time back, while I was editing the range, but sadly at that point there as a hiatus to the series.

Eagle - 22nd April 1983

Titan Comics have now resumed their fabulous collections of the original series, with The Evil One out next month, featuring strips never before collected, edited by David Leach. While the collections take time to put together, we are drawing to a close on the original adventures, so perhaps, with a landmark Dan Dare anniversary coming up in 2020, the time is right to politely ask for the later stories to be considered?

Just to be clear, Titan publish the collections under license from the Dan Dare Corporation. They don’t own Dan Dare as intimated in some posts I have seen.

Eagle - 22nd April 1983 - Art

There are some hurdles to the re-publication of these “Dan Dare” stories, but they aren’t insurmountable. First, you need to find good quality copies of the original comic or, ideally, track down some of the existing original art, scattered to the four winds through sales and loans to galleries that never returned it.

The first ever Dan Dare story in the 1980’s Eagle, “Return of the Mekon”, drawn by Gerry Embleton, Oliver Frey and Ian Kennedy, was also published in a first rights basis, the script based on a film treatment by Pat Mills and John Wagner. While the first episode was written in-house by Eagle editor Barrie Tomlinson, a reprint would require reaching agreement with them as well as the Dan Dare Corporation.

Dan Dare - Return of The Mekon by Ian Kennedy
Dan Dare – Return of The Mekon by Ian Kennedy. © Dan Dare Corporation

As noted in the recent The Fleetway Files, published by Hibernia, John Wagner indicated his and Pat’s rights to the story in an issue of the fanzine, Arkensword (#16), back in the 1980s.

“Originally Pat and I did a synopsis for the Dan Dare film which was never made,” John said, “so when IPC decided to bring out the Eagle again, we sent that to them and explained that we could convert it into a comic strip but only on the basis of first British serial rights. i.e. the copyright is retained by us.”

With the recent publication of DC Thomson’s The Art of Ian Kennedy and Dan Dare’s milestone anniversary, surely there isn’t a better time to request these reprints?

Polite requests to Titan Comics via their contact page here

For those of you who need reminding who owns what Classic British brand or character, here’s our guide

Dan Dare copyright the Dan Dare Corporation

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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.

4 thoughts on “Isn’t it about time the 1980’s Dan Dare stories were collected?

  1. I remember asking Pat Mills via Twitter a good 5 or so years ago and he said not to hold my breath for any reprints – but that was then, so fingers crossed.

    The early Mills/Kennedy/Wagner/Frey stories are great fun.

    Maybe a concerted effort to email titan might indeed work?

  2. There’s an article about 80s Eagle in the current issue of Comic Scene. Maybe that prompted this discussion?

  3. I’d definitely buy that. I still remember the early stuff from that run. That Ian Kennedy and Oliver Frey artwork was awesome. Thing is, though, it did take a bit of a nosedive in quality when the original creative teams left. The less said about Dan Dare: Galaxy Ranger, the better.

    Honestly, the Dan Dare Corporation is squandering the Eagle IP. Considering that also includes Doomlord, Bloodfang and Manix (before the last story arc, which was rubbish and completely missed the point), as well as The Collector, they really could be making money hand over fist, but all they seem to care about is the Frank Hampson-era original Dan Dare, which is a real shame, since there’s so much other good stuff in there. That incarnation of The Eagle did last into the 1990’s, so it can’t have all been bad.

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