In Review: Spaceship Away Issue 38 featuring Dan Dare

Spaceship Away Issue 38 - CoverIssue 38 – Spring 2016
Edited by Des Shaw
Writers: Charles Chilton, Tim Booth, Ron Turner
Artists: Tim Booth, Ron Turner, Martin Baines, Graham Bleathman, Terence Patrick
Photo Visuals: Martin Bower
Feature Writers: Andrew Darlington, Philip Harbottle, Sean Wallace, Alan Vince
Out: Now
Available from: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk

The Magazine:  The first issue of 2016 Spaceship Away, an anthology title offering new “classic” Dan Dare adventures from Tim Booth, “Nick Hazard: Planet of Doom” drawn by Ron Turner and coloured by Martin Baines  – and a variety of features on Dan Dare, including a profile of artist Keith Watson, and vintage SF.

The opening page of the latest chapter of the Dan Dare story "Mercury Revenant" by Tim Booth

The opening page of the latest chapter of the Dan Dare story “Mercury Revenant” by Tim Booth

The Review: Offering a 40-page package of strips and features, the latest issue of Spaceship Away is a fine mix of  comic strip and articles. Tim Booth delivers the latest episodes of two continuing Dan Dare stories – “Mercury Revenant” and “Parsecular Tales”, developing the original character’s universe in the same setting as the stories of the original Eagle. The stories are great fun – although, like Lew Stringer, I can’t help but feel that both would benefit from a recap – with the kind of “epic” feeling to them that was part and parcel of the original tales in the weekly comic.

I’d argue that given the serialised nature of these strips – the main “selling point” of this magazine – it might be worth thinking about adding in a short story every issue, set in the Dare universe, perhaps at the expense of “Jet Morgan“, which ends this issue. I’m afraid that while some of the visuals of this strip are impressive – beautiful floating cars inspired by US classic motors speeding through London, for example – I’m not keen on this strip, for all its provenance.

"Nick Hazard: Planet of Doom" by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines

“Nick Hazard: Planet of Doom” by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines

Nick Hazard: Planet of Doom” by Ron Turner, superbly coloured by Martin Baines, is another great strip, with the kind of stunning visuals you expect from the artist who made TV Century 21’s “The Daleks” his own and did such fine work on “Space Ace”, the latter available in its own magazine.

Graham Bleathman's cutaway of Gogol's Personal Phant Transport from the Dan dare story "Rogue Planet".

Graham Bleathman’s cutaway of Gogol’s Personal Phant Transport from the Dan Dare story “Rogue Planet”.

The issue also features a smashing centre spread by Graham Bleathman – Gogol’s Personal Phant Transport from the Dan Dare story “Rogue Planet”, complemented by photographs of a model of the craft built by Martin Bower.

The features are a fine mix. Andrew Darlington‘s “Newer Eagle – Newer Dan Dare is a forthright re-evaluation of the new Eagle Dan Dare,  by examining the final adventures of classic Dan Dare in the 1990s. Some of them are nowhere near the standard of the Ian Kennedy-drawn tale reprinted in the new Eagle Adventure Special recently published by Hibernia Comics.

Spaceship Away Issue 38 - Feature

Philip Harbottle and Sean Wallace takes us step by step from the first manned rocket to man’s final conquest of interstellar space, as envisaged in the 1950s Authentic Book of Space and cover art of Science Fiction Monthly.

The profile of artist Keith Watson by Alan Vince reminds us just how talented a creator he was, with credits well beyond his work on Dan Dare. Well worth a read, as is the wonderful piece from Philip Harbottle and Sean Wallace, who takes us step by step from the first manned rocket to man’s final conquest of interstellar space, as envisaged in the 1950s Authentic Book of Space and cover art of Science Fiction Monthly.

This is the kind of article that, like the strips, really benefits from the high quality stock Spaceship Away is printed on, showing off these classic covers in all their glory. Every one would make for a wonder poster or postcard in their own right.

If you’re a fan of classic Dan Dare, Spaceship Away might be a little pricey (the price reflects the fact that contributors are paid for their work on this low print run title) but is well worth the price of admission. Recommended.

•  Spaceship Away (Issue 38, Spring 2016) is available now from http://spaceshipaway.org.uk – back issues also in stock

More Reviews

Steve Holland on Bear Alley

Lew Stringer on Blimey! It’s Another Blog About Comics

Web Links

Dan Dare Comic Strip Checklist – compiled by Jeremy Briggs, Richard Sheaf, Ian Wheeler and John Freeman (additions and corrections welcome)

More about SF Magazine Authentic artist John Richards by Steve Holland

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. 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 “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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