We’ve covered some of the reprints the original Dan Dare experienced across the globe in the past on downthetubes and Richard Sheaf wrote a detailed guide to many of them In the Titan Dare collection, Safari in Space. But until now, I hadn’t quite appreciated quite how much exposure Dan enjoyed in Asia. We’re very grateful to another of our contributors, King Viswa, for additional information.
In the 1960s, it was the famed southern Indian media house Dalton Publications who brought Dare to that huge country.
Dalton had a film production house, producing some of the biggest box office hits and published comics as well.
Some of our readers may already know Dalton as the initial publishers of Chandamama, a highly-regarded, beautifully illustrated monthly children’s magazine featuring myth and magic tales, launched in June 1947 by noted film makers B.Nagi Reddi and initially edited by his friend, Chakrapani, then by Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao for 28 years, right up until his death in August 1980.
Eventually printed in over a dozen different languages, including English, with sales of over 200,000 at its height, Chandamama remained in publication until 2011, and was last owned by Geodesic Information Systems Limited, a company that sought to bring it into the digital age. Those plans were never realised, after Geodesic was found defaulting on outstanding loans and was ordered to be wound up by the Mumbai High Court.
A number of copies of Chandamama are available to read on the Internet Archive.
Dalton’s initial attempt to bring Dan Dare to India came to an end in 1968, but another attempt was made when they began to publish Walt Disney comics, Batman and Superman comics in the mid 1980s.
The first appearance was in Falcon, the official Tamil, tabloid format version of the Eagle. Priced at 75 Paise (three quarters of one rupee, the Indian currency), the first issue was launched on 1st January 1968 and published in Tamil, English and Hindi.
The Dan Dare stories published were all 16 parts of “The Mushroom” and the first 6 (of 23) parts of “The Moonsleepers” from Eagle and Boy’s World Volumes 15 and 16 in 1964 and 1965. All of these had art by Keith Watson and all would have appeared on the front cover of the UK publication necessitating the first page of each week’s pair to be cropped at the top to remove the UK comic’s logo and the resulting space filled in Falcon with an advert.
Falcon was sold not only in India but Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, East Africa and South Africa.
Sadly, the comic lasted just 22 issues; sales simply did not justify its continuation, and its short life and format, which makes it difficult to preserve, mean copies are something of a rarity.
Although King Viswa sadly lost his own copies of Falcon (along with the rest of his comics collection) to a flood in December 2015, a friend of his has very kindly provided some scans, not only of Dan’s first Indian appearance but the cover and story pages from the last issue, too.
Let’s hope some of the modern incarnations of Dan Dare – the new Audio Adventures and Titan Comics new Dan Dare comic – also gain the attention of Asian fans of the space hero!
• Did you first read the adventures of a British comic hero in another country or language? Why not let us know, below?