The Great Derelict is a podcast that delves into all sorts of aspects of spaceships, science fiction and general geekery, and its episode “A Brief-ish History of Dan Dare” offers an interesting introduction to the character and the strip’s varied history – and an outsider’s take on whether the character is still relevant today.
It’s worth a listen, as host Andy Poulastides freely admitted to knowing very little about the character, or EAGLE. It did seem strange that Andy couldn’t find any experts nearer to home to talk about the character, but luckily, guests New Zealanders Peter Adamson and David Ronayne from the Where Eagles Dare podcast prove more that capable of “selling” the character, revealing just how complicated the space hero’s chronology is to an “outsider”.
Most of the different takes on Dan Dare are mentioned, and there’s clearly still a lot of love out there for the original Eagle incarnation created by Frank Hampson.
As the show nears to the end there’s a great section that’s an integral part of The Great Derelict format, focusing particularly on Dan Dare’s spaceships, including the Anastasia, drawing on The Dan Dare Haynes Manual for reference.
Some Dan Dare fans might find themselves shouting at the speakers as they tie themselves up in knots trying to explain character’s history, and Andy’s self-confessed lack of research displays an untoward and erroneous credit for Frank Bellamy’s influence on Gerry Anderson’s TV series, apparently unaware that the Thunderbirds strip launched simultaneously with that show. (It’s best not to dwell on his “revelation” that Warren Ellis and Chris Weston’s Ministry of Space is a bit like Dan Dare. either).
Nevertheless, there’s some interesting observations made and it’s an easy lesson if you have spare hour and a bit, and there’s some commentary on the Radio Luxembourg version, B7 Media’s Dan Dare Audio Adventures, and even ComicScene’s Dan Dare Art Challenge last year, which saw Charlie Gillespie reinvent the character as a gun toting female action heroine.
The Great Derelict episode touches on everything from Dan’s origins in the 1950s, re-imagining in the 1980s, all the way up to last year’s 70th anniversary – and what the future might hold, if any. There’s also some interesting thoughts on whether the character can be “reborn” in today’s busy entertainment culture.
Peter and David’s own Where Eagles Dare podcast, ancillary to their Doctor Who offering, Sofageddon, is an issue by issue guide to the 1980s Eagle, produced in a similar format to the entertaining 2000AD-focused Space Spinner podcast.