The latest issue of Spaceship Away – the glossy strip and feature magazine inspired by Dan Dare and the original Eagle comic – has just been released, wrapped in a striking cover from Graham Bleathman, and will be available to order soon from the the title’s official web site.
Published three times a year, I have to confess a little bias reporting this, as the issue includes “The Martian Menace”, a strip written by myself – originally intended for the short-lived STRIP Magazine, drawn by Joe Pimentel with much appreciated art assist and colour by John Ridgway.
Editor Des Shaw also kindly commissioned me to wax lyrical about the background to this strip, a test for a regular Dan Dare strip that never happened. The development work, which included development designs by Australian artist Lucas Bowers, with additional work by John Ridgway, as well as other strips written by Ivan Carlo (writing as Gian Danton, which he discusses on his blog in Portuguese here), proved another false hope for Britain’s best-known space hero, but my background “bible” was used to help shape the new Dan Dare Audio Adventures, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Space didn’t permit the inclusion of a number of visuals I assembled for the feature, so here’s a couple of them for you.
Also in this issue of Spaceship Away:
• Dan Dare: Shakedown Cruise by Tim Booth. This is the first episode of a new story from Tim that sees Dan and Digby taking some young cadets out into space for the first time.
• Dan Dare: Parsecular Tales – the final episode of this long-running story, also by Tim Booth, that has spanned alternate universes and introduced a myriad of new ideas to the space hero’s world
• The Killing Zone by Ron Turner coloured by Martin Baines – a one-off space opera tale of invasion and resistance with peppered with Ron’s usual trademark giant reptiles and unmistakeable space hardware (if you’re a fan of Ron’s work, then you really should also check out Space Ace, a title with a similar format to Spaceship Away re-publishing some of his strip work)
• Davy Rocket, a fun, well drawn one page humour strip, the creators uncredited
• “Two Unlikely Dan Dare Artists” – a great feature by David Ashford on the work of Jack Daniel (better known for his work on the Daily Express newspaper strip “Kit Conquest” and “Riders of the Range for Eagle) and Norman Williams (whose work for Eagle included “The Great Adventurer”, the story of St Paul, and “The Baden Powell Story”)
• “Space Station” a feature by D.J. Nunn featuring art by Bruce Cornwell taken from the first ever Express Annual, published in the 1950s
• “The History of Early Rockets” a one page feature launching a new series of items
Graham Bleathman’s cover also features as a double page pin-up, and there’s along with photographs of a classic piece of Dan Dare merchandise there’s also a new Dan Dare painting by Bill Naylor.
I’m very glad “Martian Menace” has finally appeared in print. I hope you enjoy it. Obviously its inclusion makes it impossible for me to review the issue, but Lew Stringer has posted his glowing opinion here!
• Spaceship Away 41 will be available to order soon from spaceshipaway.org.uk A three-issue subscription costs £25.50 in the UK. The title has a low print run but the high cover price reflects that creators are paid for their work for the officially-licensed magazine
• The Dan Dare Audio Adventures Volume One is available to order now from amazon.co.uk | Dan Dare Audio Adventures Volume Two will be available on general release in May and you can pre-order it from amazon.co.uk here
Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.