New Spaceship Away is a treat for 2000AD and EAGLE artist John M. Burn fans

Spaceship Away Part 59 - cover by John M. Burns

Fans of 2000AD artist John M. Burns are in for a treat with the release of the latest issue of the Dan Dare-inspired anthology magazine, Spaceship Away. Not only does his art feature on both the front and back cover of Issue 59, but there’s a short, classic “Dare” sample strip commanding its centre pages, too – and he’s also interviewed this issue.

Originally created by Rod Barzilay, Spaceship Away is now designed, produced and edited by Des Shaw, and this issue is a gem, offering four strips, a tribute to EAGLE artist and colourist Joan Porter, and more.

The cover art is adapted from art by John previously featured as a centrespread in Issue 19, which is available only as a reprint, direct from Spaceship Away.

The centrespread of Spaceship Away 19 by John M. Burns, utilised in part as the cover of Issue 59
The centrespread of Spaceship Away 19 by John M. Burns, reworked and utilised in part as the cover of Issue 59
Spaceship Away Part 59 - Dan Dare - "The Corium Experiment"
Dan Dare in “The Corium Experiment”

This issue’s strips open with the first four pages of a Dan Dare story titled “The Corium Experiment“, starring Dan, Albert Digby and Professor Peabody, which was originally published as “Digby the Guinea Pig” in the Dan Dare Spacebook in 1953, in black and white, the first page drawn by Frank Hampson, the rest by Desmond Walduck.

The strip was recoloured and coloured by John Ridgway some years ago, who tells downthetubes he also coloured “Dan and Donanza“, drawn by Frank Hampson, from the same publication, for intended use in Spaceship Away. Both strips have previously been reprinted in the Dan Dare Dossier.

We’re also presented with the continuation of the Jeff Hawke adventure, “The Comet’s Tale“, in colour.

Spaceship Away Part 59 - Jeff Hawke - The Comet's Tale by Sydney Jordan
Jeff Hawke in “The Comet’s Tale” by Sydney Jordan
Spaceship Away Part 59 - Dan Dare in "Old Times Sake" by David Motton and John M. Burns
Dan Dare in “Old Times Sake” by David Motton and John M. Burns

The centrespread is the first page of “Old Times Sake“, a Dan Dare sample strip featuring artwork by John M. Burns scripted by 1960s Dan Dare writer, David Motton. The strip, we’re told, is one of those rarities where the words followed the creation of the art.

Nick Hazard, Interstellar Agent is back this issue, too, in another episode of the story “Invaders from Time“, written by Philip Harbottle, with art by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines; and we’re also treated to another episode of “Target Earth” by Gordon Coombs, with art by Harry Winslade, first published in Express Weekly.

Spaceship Away Part 59 - Nick Hazard - Invaders from Time, by Philip Harbottle, art by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines
Nick Hazard – Invaders from Time, by Philip Harbottle, art by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines
"Target Earth" by Gordon Coombs, with art by Harry Winslade
“Target Earth” by Gordon Coombs, with art by Harry Winslade

Alongside the interview with John M. Burns, Andrew Darlington provides a fascinating article on “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire“, and there’s a smashing tribute to the Joan Porter, artist, photographer, researcher and invaluable backbone of the original Dan Dare Bakehouse studio team, who, as we previously reported, passed away last year, aged 96.

Spaceship Away 59 - John M. Burns Interview

This splendid issue rounds off with the latest “Space Review“, researched and written by Ray Wright, and a tantalising back cover offering a new look for Dan Dare and company in the 21st Century, drawn by John M. Burns.

This is a great issue of this long-running comics magazine, available to order soon direct from the publisher.

• Order Spaceship Away on subscription – and back issues, too – from the magazine’s web site here


• John M Burns Art Facebook Group

Our tribute to Joan Porter

• Jeff Hawke –

• Jeff Hawke Club

• Bear Alley – Steve Holland’s profile of artist Harry Winslade

A fantastic piece of detective work about the comic creator from Steve Holland, whose credits also included illustrations for the Eagle, “The Brainy B’s” for Zip and the “Battle Brothers” for Express Weekly, as well as working on various boys and girls titles for DC Thomson

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

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