Legendary comics artist Ian Kennedy will be providing artwork for a limited edition Dan Dare giclee print now being offered as a perk for backers for the third volume of B7 Media’s award-winning Dan Dare Audio Adventures, currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo.
Also being offered are a very limited number of statuettes of infamous Dan Dare villain The Mekon, created by comics artist and sculptor Neil Blackbird Sims, along with an option to have a role in the first new episode, if funding is achieved.
B7 Media is currently seeking crowdfunding to complete the trilogy of stories that reinvented the classic Eagle comic character for the 21st Century and coinciding with the space hero’s 70th anniversary this year.
Running on Indiegogo, backers can choose their preferred perks to support the new adventures. Both Ian’s poster and Neil’s sculpture of the Mekon are being offered on a strictly limited basis, the Mekon statuette limited to just 13 copies, for those who choose a £300 perk that includes a number of other goodies.
B7 Media are also offering a “Dare To Be” perk for £500, offering just one backer the opportunity to play a role in the first new adventure, titled All Treens Must Die.
Ian Kennedy‘s comics career spanning over 70 years, Ian Kennedy first turned his hand to illustrating anything and everything in the 1950s. His work appeared in Adventure, Hotspur, Rover, Sun, Buck Jones and many other comics. (In fact, it may be easier to list the comics Ian did not work for, rather than the ones he did…).
From the 1960s onwards, the Picture Library became a popular format and Ian worked on Air Ace, Bunty, Battle and War Picture Libraries. That’s not to neglect the work he did for many of the weekly comics in the Sixties, either, such as Adventure, Hotspur, Lion and Bunty.
From the 1970s onward, Ian began to specialise in science fiction comics, regularly producing work for 2000AD and Starlord. He also worked on Battle Picture Weekly, Buddy, Blake’s 7, and, in the 1980s, Eagle (Dan Dare), M.A.S.K., Wildcat and more.
His Dan Dare credits include untitled stories for the 1978 and 1979 Eagle Annuals; “Return of the Mekon” (with Barrie Tomlinson, John Wagner and Pat Mills, published in Eagle Issues 19-26, 1982); “The Dare Report” (with Pat Mills, for Eagle #34-38, 1982); and “Fireflight” (with Pat Mills, Eagle Issues 39-83, 1982).
He’s well known for his cover work, particularly for Commando Comics – creating over 1300 covers for the DC Thomson war comic to date – along with covers for 2000AD, Starlord, Tornado and Eagle, and Rebellion’s second collection of the 2000AD Dan Dare adventures.
Neil Backbird Sims – currently working in the new The77 comics anthology and other independent comics titles – has been a professional artist for the past 25 years working on many projects in many different mediums, and describes himself as a huge fan of Dan Dare and the Mekon.
With skill sets in both 2D and 3D art, past projects have included a 10-year stint for the Laurel and Hardy Society, supplying sculptured character busts and figures. He has also created sculptures of some of the characters from Lord of the Rings films, used to create high quality vinyl model kits when The Fellowship of the Rings was in post production.
In 2017, Dan Dare, whose adventures began back in the 1950s in Eagle comic, also the star of a radio series broadcast on Radio Luxembourg that same decade, dramatically returned to the airwaves over six all-new audio adventures from B7 Media, featuring acclaimed performances from Ed Stoppard (Dan Dare), Geoff McGivern (Digby), Heida Reed (Professor Peabody), Michael Cochrane (Sir Hurbert) and Raad Rawi (The Mekon) along with many notable guest stars including Hugh Fraser, Noof McEwan, Bijan Daneshmand and Jonathan Rhodes.
Over the last 18-months B7 Media have received many, many requests for further adventures and Volume Two of the adventures won the prestigious NYC International Radio Program Gold Award for ‘Best Digital Drama’ in 2018, prompting their crowdfunding campaign.
The initial plan is to fund and produce the first episode, All Treens Must Die, and release it digitally. If there’s sufficient demand and interest, B7 Media will go on to crowdfund subsequent episodes and as the stakes increase, so will the perks.
“I’m beyond excited that Ian Kennedy has agreed to draw a variant cover for our planned third volume of Dan Dare audio adventures,” commented series producer Andrew Mark Sewell. “I’ve long admired his artwork and especially his stunning Dan Dare strips for the 1980s Eagle.
“For a fast-paced adventure story like Dan Dare, Kennedy’s sense of action and movement in his artwork makes him a perfect choice for this exclusive variant cover. If you thought the original two volumes of audio stories were action packed you can be assured that with All Treens Must Die, we’ve upped the derring-do quota even more.”
“I’d seen Neil Blackbird Sims limited edition statuette for John Wagner and Dan Cornwell’s Rok the God graphic novel crowdfunding campaign, but I didn’t know he was a Dan Dare fan until earlier this month, when he posted some images of a sculpt of the Mekon, and some fantastic art he had created just for fun,” says John Freeman, who created the initial Story Bible for the new Dan Dare Audio Adventures and has written “Dan Dare” strips published in Spaceship Away.
“I was absolutely delighted to hear he was keen to flex his creative muscles and create a Mekon statuette for this campaign.”
“Dan Dare started my whole interest in B movies,” says Neil. “I love the innocent style and brooding threat – and the Mekon is the perfect villain!”
“Our ultimate goal is to fund the development, scripting, production and post-production of Volume Three in its entirety, boasting 3 x 75-minute adventures,” says Andrew Mark Sewell of B7 Media’s latest Dan Dare project.
“Reaching further goals will allow us to commission scripts for Volume Four, commission more episodes and produce a special drama revealing the astonishing ‘true’ story behind the creation of Dan Dare by Frank Hampson and the Reverend Marcus Morris.”
The crowdfunder will pay for the writers, actors, staff, studio hire, post-production, music, graphic designers, CD manufacture.
IndieGoGo supporters can choose as many perks as they want to support a project on the platform.
IAN KENNEDY WEB LINKS
Ian Kennedy has an official presence on the internet. His official site, developed by Mark Seddon, also includes a bibliography, details of upcoming appearances and a guide to prices for commissions ahead of convention appearances. If you have the budget and you’re interested in commissioning a larger painting from Ian, then there’s some guidance on that, too.
• There is also an Art of Ian Kennedy Facebook Group – this isn’t official, but items of note are posted by Mark to the group
• Ian Kennedy comic collections on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
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