A page of “The Daleks” from the 1960s comic TV Century 21 is currently being offered on eBay for close to £5000.
The page, drawn by Richard Jennings, featured in Issue 19 of the top-selling 1960s comic which predominantly featured strips inspired by Gerry Anderson TV series such as Stingray and Fireball XL5 at the time this strip was published. Publishers Century 21 Publishing were clearly keen to capitalize on early “Dalekmania” and snapped up rights for a Dalek strip, which ran for 104 issues, encompassing 16 stories that led up to an impending Dalek invasion of Earth.
(A follow up story, “Return of the Elders”, ran in Doctor Who Magazine 249-254, written by John Lawrence, with art by Ron Turner).
Although credited to Dalek co-creator Terry Nation, an interview conducted with TV Century 21 editor Alan Fennell by Alan Woollcombe in Doctor Who Classic Comics Issue 19, published by Marvel UK in 1994, indicates the early stories were written by him, followed by Doctor Who‘s first script editor David Whitaker, with Fennell retaining plot approval and providing some story input thereafter.
While the eBay auction lot describes the page as from “The Amaryll Challenge”, the stories comprising the strip originally had no individual titles. It’s the second page of a seven-part story which ran in Issues 18-24 (22 May 1965 – 3 July 1965) and is credited to David Whitaker. Richard Jennings drew the whole story, one of seven he created for the comic, sharing credit on an eighth – “Eve of the War” – with Ron Turner.
Jennings, who died in 1997, also worked on the original Eagle, on the “Tommy Walls” strip (advertising Wall’s ice cream) and other strips such as “Storm Nelson”, a maritime adventure strip. As well as “The Daleks”, His credits also include strips for the Junior Mirror and Swift before his career came to an end in the late 1960s. Steve Holland charts his career in more detail here on his wonderful Bear Alley site.
Sadly, although several publishers have explored the idea, including Titan Books, and the strip has been reprinted many times, “The Daleks” has only ever been re-published in its entirety in one publication once in any respectable manner, as The Dalek Chronicles by Marvel UK under the supervision of Gary Russell. The rights on the strip are quite a quagmire, shared jointly with Express Newspapers, the Terry Nation estate and, the BBC, who own their design, created by the late Raymond Cuisick.
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.