The 1980s Dan Dare stories came up in discussion over the weekend, which prompted me to suggest that if fans wanted to see them reprinted, then they needed to write to Titan Comics, who currently hold the license to republish the strips, and politely ask them, not just mutter about it on social media ad infinitum.
Well, it seems several people have already taken the plunge and dropped Titan an email. Good for you!
“Dear Titan Publishing, I am a fan of Dan Dare and I am collecting your current run of re-prints for classic Dan Dare,” wrote artist David Broughton, who let us know he’d dropped them a line. “I would very much like to spend my money on the collected adventures of Dan Dare from the 1980’s Eagle comic.
“Most Dan Dare fans I know of my age have all agreed that this is something we would like to see happen.”
I suggested collections of the 1980s Eagle Dan Dare stories some time back, while I was editing the range, but sadly at that point there as a hiatus to the series.
Titan Comics have now resumed their fabulous collections of the original series, with The Evil One out next month, featuring strips never before collected, edited by David Leach. While the collections take time to put together, we are drawing to a close on the original adventures, so perhaps, with a landmark Dan Dare anniversary coming up in 2020, the time is right to politely ask for the later stories to be considered?
Just to be clear, Titan publish the collections under license from the Dan Dare Corporation. They don’t own Dan Dare as intimated in some posts I have seen.
There are some hurdles to the re-publication of these “Dan Dare” stories, but they aren’t insurmountable. First, you need to find good quality copies of the original comic or, ideally, track down some of the existing original art, scattered to the four winds through sales and loans to galleries that never returned it.
The first ever Dan Dare story in the 1980’s Eagle, “Return of the Mekon”, drawn by Gerry Embleton, Oliver Frey and Ian Kennedy, was also published in a first rights basis, the script based on a film treatment by Pat Mills and John Wagner. While the first episode was written in-house by Eagle editor Barrie Tomlinson, a reprint would require reaching agreement with them as well as the Dan Dare Corporation.
As noted in the recent The Fleetway Files, published by Hibernia, John Wagner indicated his and Pat’s rights to the story in an issue of the fanzine, Arkensword (#16), back in the 1980s.
“Originally Pat and I did a synopsis for the Dan Dare film which was never made,” John said, “so when IPC decided to bring out the Eagle again, we sent that to them and explained that we could convert it into a comic strip but only on the basis of first British serial rights. i.e. the copyright is retained by us.”
With the recent publication of DC Thomson’s The Art of Ian Kennedy and Dan Dare’s milestone anniversary, surely there isn’t a better time to request these reprints?
• Dan Dare books on Amazon UK (Affiliate Link)
Dan Dare copyright the 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.