There’s plenty of interest in Dan Dare of late, with B7 Media‘s new audio series developing fast (I’m happy to report the pilot script from Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti is shaping up nicely) and the release of 2000AD‘s simply gorgeous first volume of that comic’s never-before-reprinted Dan Dare saga written by Pat Mills and others, drawn by Massimo Belardinelli and Dave Gibbons.
Given all this, it seems an opportune time to shine a light on a lesser-known incarnation of Dan Dare published in the 1990s, and I’m delighted top artist Jon Haward has kindly given us permission to publish the Dan Dare samples he did that landed him work for Eagle back then under the editorship of Barrie Tomlinson.
“These character studies and colour comic strip pages where sent to Barrie and he liked them enough so I could be fill in artist on Dan Dare when David Pugh was on holidays or worked on longer story lines,” Jon explains.
“I worked for Barrie on Dan Dare for I think nine months,” he recalls. “I learned a lot at that time – I was 25 and had only been a freelance artist for four years .
“It was a dream gig and it was well paid I had 10 days to draw four pages of comic art – layouts, pencils, inks and colouring using markers and pencil. Everything back then was fax for pencil approval and posting the original art to Barrie.”
In all, Jon drew two stories for “New” Eagle, both written by the late Tom Tully: an untitled six part story published in the issues dated 8th September 1990 to 13th October 1990 and a second published in issues cover dated 9th March 1991 until May 1991 (when Eagle went monthly) titled “The Return of the Mekon”.
He also drew two untitled strips for the 1992 Eagle annual and two stories for a Dan Dare holiday special, and a pin up.
“It was hard work,” jon acknowledges, “but lots of fun and I have a lot of happy memories.”
As well as Dan Dare, over the years Jon has worked on many icons such as Spider-Man, Judge Dredd, Macbeth, Warhammer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shinobi and Mutant Chronicles amongst others. For the past two years he has been passing his knowledge to the next generation of artists by mentoring students in colleges and universities as well as providing home tutoring.
Among other creator owned projects such as Simba Khan for Aces Weekly, he also co-created and is currently working on new material for the critically acclaimed Tales of the Buddha before he got Enlightened written by Alan Grant, which consists of adult humour strips collected and published in trade paperback format by Canadian publisher Renegade Arts Entertainment. As you can see from the samples below, he hasn’t put SF comics completely behind him!
• Official web site: www.hawardarthouse.blogspot.com