In Memoriam: Dan Dare artist and colourist, Joan Porter

We’re sorry to report the passing of Joan Porter, aged 96, who was part of Frank Hampson’s studio working on “Dan Dare” for the Eagle, primarily as a colourist.

Joan Porter
Joan Porter

Part of the studio from its inception in 1949, although she did take a break from working there, Joan Porter (nee Humphries) also did research, photography and secretarial work for the studio until it was disbanded in 1959, when Odhams Press took over the Eagle.

Joan was responsible for colouring Frank Hampson’s early line work, including the very first issues. She became Frank’s “number two” in the mid 1950s, responsible for the art materials, and more importantly, taking the many reference photos the studio used. A tribute to Frank on the Ladybird Fly Away Home site, adapted from a biography written his son, Peter, notes that when the studio relocated to Bayford Lodge, an entire ceiling was removed from one room so Joan Porter, could take photos from the required perspective angles.

Joan assisted Hampson on his final work for Eagle, “The Road of Courage“, his retelling of the life of Christ, published in 56 parts, which first appeared on the back page of the weekly comic, cover dated 19th March 1960. Her work on this prompted him to write to her to say “Wherever I am and whatever I am working on, I shall want you for the colour.”

Paying tribute, Andy Boyce, a longtime “Dan Dare” follower who informed downthetubes of her passing, noted, in comments published by Moonbase Central, “Joan was a very private person, and rarely gave interviews about her time on ‘Dan Dare’, put off by the fact that much of what was written was inaccurate. However, in later years she collaborated on some articles in the Eagle Times fanzine, including one on some of the techniques used by the studio.

“Joan had a puckish, slightly absurd sense of humour, and when I met her at a rare public appearance, and asked for her autograph in a book, she replied ‘only if you give me one of yours’… This led to several years of entertaining correspondence, which I shall very much miss.”

The last surviving member of Frank Hampson’s original “Dan Dare” team, Steve Winders notes in his tribute for Eagle Times, that “her organisation was a key factor in the high quality and success of the strip. 

“She will be greatly missed. Her passing marks the end of an era in the Dan Dare story.”

Our sympathies to Joan’s family and friends at this time.

Eagle Times: A Tribute to Joan Porter by Steve Winders

Moonbase Central: Joan Porter Tribute

British Pathe News: Frank Hampson drawing Dan Dare

Joan Porter can be seen in the final frames of a Pathé news item, holding a Treen mask. Steve Holland has more details about the art featured here on Bear Alley

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

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1 reply

  1. Very sorry to hear this. The Road to Courage artwork was amazing.

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