Eagle Society pays tribute to Dan Dare and Thunderbirds comic artist Don Harley

Don Harley (right) alongside Spaceship Away founding editor Rod Barzilay, at an Art Day in 2002 at Bristol's Central Museum and Art Gallery. Photo: David Britton
Don Harley (right) alongside Spaceship Away founding editor Rod Barzilay, at an Art Day in 2002 at Bristol’s Central Museum and Art Gallery. Photo: David Britton

David Britton of the Eagle Society pays tribute to Dan Dare and Thunderbirds artist Don Harley, who died earlier this week.

Our full tribute to Don will be published soon.

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Don Harley. On behalf of the Eagle Society, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to his family for their loss, but also the loss of someone who added so much colour to our childhoods.

On a personal note, I knew Don Harley a long time, but for how long, I cannot remember. But there are two aspects to Don that I will always remember, he was a brilliant illustrator, described by Frank Hampson as “the second- best Dan Dare artist” and a very modest, gentlemanly and kind man.

Don Harley's superb wraparound Dan Dare cover for Spaceship Away 21
Don Harley’s superb wraparound Dan Dare cover for Spaceship Away 21

At the unveiling of the bust of Dan Dare in Southport on 15th April 2000, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the launch of EAGLE, it took a great deal of persuasion on my part to get Don to join the group for the official photographs. He preferred to remain anonymous. Eventually he succumbed and I was pleased that he was able to share in the recognition that he so richly deserved.

The Dan Dare sculpture unveiling in Southport in 2000. From the left: The Deputy Mayor of Sefton Council, Robert Brennan, Don Harley, Kate, Peter Hampson, Sally, Margaret Jackson (Frank Hampson’s sister) Jan, Greta Edwards (nee Tomlinson), Chad Varah and Derek Lord. Photo courtesy David Britton
The Dan Dare sculpture unveiling in Southport in 2000. From the left: The Deputy Mayor of Sefton Council, Robert Brennan, Don Harley, Kate, Peter Hampson, Sally, Margaret Jackson (Frank Hampson’s sister) Jan, Greta Edwards (neé Tomlinson), Chad Varah and Derek Lord. Photo courtesy David Britton

Don’s modesty was also reflected in his comment when he expressed to me his failure to understand the interest that surrounded EAGLE and in particular, Dan Dare. He always saw producing such fine artwork, as “just a job to me, to be done well. I don’t understand all the fuss”.

I tried to explain what his work meant to my generation!

I also appreciated his involvement when we had an “Art Day” in Bristol, at the Dan Dare exhibition that I organised with Howard Smith at the Central Museum and Art Gallery in 2002. He and Greta Edwards (neé Tomlinson) spent the day helping young and not so young visitors improve their drawing skills.

I know that there will be many people who will want to express their admiration, thanks, condolences and personal memories for the loss of such a fine artist and man.

For those of us in the Eagle Society, it is an irreplaceable loss.

David Britton

Our full tribute to Don Harley will be published soon.

Eagle Times, the journal of the Eagle Society, is published four times a year and the subscription for 2021 will remain at £30 for the four issues (£45 for overseas subscribers). This year’s issues (Volume 45) will be Published on 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 14th December

Postal applications and back issue enquiries to: Eagle Society Membership Secretary Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Wellcroft, Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire LU7 9EF

If you wish to pay by Paypal (from your Paypal account to the e-mail address given below) we request that you make your payment as a GIFT) | Enquiries: membership@eagle-society.org.uk

Eagle Times is online at eagle-times.blogspot.com

Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation

Avatar

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.



Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries, SF Comics

Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: