The latest issue of Eagle Times, the quarterly journal of the Eagle Society – is available now from the organisation.
While remaining dedicated to the memory of Britain’s national picture strip weekly Eagle, the team behind the Society have made a decsiion to begin to expand the remit of their magazine, covering other classic British strips and comics. This is the first issue to reflect the changes and while still Eagle-centred, I don’t see this as an unwelcome move, and there’s an enjoyable mix of features to the issue.
The lead article is devoted to the story behind the unpublished “King Solomon’s Mines” strip that was commissioned from British comics legend Frank Bellamy for Eagle, but was dropped in favour of “Montgomery of Alamein”.
Will Grenham delves into the original novel, other adaptations and how Eagle Times has covered the abandoned strip in the past, one of those “Might Have Been” moments of British comics for which there is some beautiful evidence. The article includes a wonderful double page spread of one of three boards Bellamy drew, and in print, it is all the more astonishing than seeing it online.
Also in this issue:
• The Bidding War for the 1963 Dan Dare Annual
Not an eBay bidding war – Steve Winders recalls his school days and tge ferocity of interest in all things Dan Dare
• Eagle Centre Spreads – David Busfield merges his interest in Eagle’s impressive cutaways and Dinky Toys. If like me you were an avid fan of tge Dinky Toys catalogue growing up (the closest I would come to most of their range!), you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane, taking in the Hillman Minx and the Austin Healey
• The Lost Opportunities of those early “Dan Dare” stories – Alan Vince looks at possible paths not taken by Frank Hampson in the early days of the strip, abandoned for reasons unknown but sparking questions even today
• “Flint of the Flying Squad” – Will Greham delves into Eagle contributor Alan Stranks other police-based radio serial, which became a daily strip in the Daily Express
• Artist George Davies – Will examines this littele known artist’s work, which included art featured in the 1947 film Penny and the Pownall Case and “Kit Conquest and “Storey G.C.” for the Daily Express. His work is entirely new to me, so this was a fascinating item, as a newspaper strip fan
• King Solomon’s Mines – a great guide to the many adaptations of H. Rider Haggard’s novel, with the focus on Frany Bellamy’s unfinished Eagle strip
• Invasion Earth – Kevin O’Donnell looks back at the short-lived BBC/SciFi Channel joint production screened here in 1998
• Mekonta and other concept cities – Alistair Crompton considers how the Treen city of Mekonta seen in the first “Dan Dare” story stands up almost 70 years after it first featured in Eagle
• “The Case of the Educated Archie” – a text story adventure of Archie Berkeley-Willoughby of Scotland Yard by Steve Winders
• Gerald Palmer, an appreciation – recalling the work of the acclaimed fine artist who also drew for Eagle, who died last year
• Space fiction movies in Eagle‘s times – Will Grenham looks at films such as Beyond tge Time Barrier and Assignment Outer Space
• A review of Titan Comics Dan Dare story “He Who Dares”
“In and Out of Eagle” – articles on real world connections to the title – focus this issue on Rossall School, where Frank Hampson was educated, and other uses of a “Sargasso Sea in space” concept in fiction, seen in the “Dan Dare” stories “Reign of the Robots” and “The Ship That Lived”.
The Eagle Society is dedicated to the memory of Eagle – Britain’s National Picture Strip Weekly – the leading boy’s magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. Annual subscription (which includes copies of Eagle Times) is £29 (UK), £40 (overseas).
Subscriptions to Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Befordshire, LU7
• The Eagle Times is online at eagle-times.blogspot.co.uk, which has been created to provide an additional, more immediate, forum for news and commentary about the society and Eagle-related issues. Want to know more? See First Post and Eagle – How it began