Concept art for the animated series Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, first broadcast back in 2002, has surfaced online, work created by concept artist Dave Max.
Back in 2002, the Dan Dare Corporation – owners of the character and comic strip originally created for Eagle comic by Frank Hampson – produced Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, an animated series distributed to over 130 countries worldwide including Channel 5 in the UK. Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s song “Dan Dare – Pilot of the Future” featured as the opening title theme and guest stars included Robbie Coltrane, Charles Dance and Tim Curry.
26 episodes comprising thirteen two-part stories were produced, the first six with effects by Netter Digital, twenty by Foundation Imaging, now Neo F/X. (Foundation are credited for all episodes – they ‘tidied up’ the first six). Six episodes of were released on DVD in 2005.
A slick CGI series, while some traditionalists were horrified when Carry On Star actor Julian Holloway was hired to voice Digby as a Cockney rather than a Northerner, the show gained plenty of followers internationally, particularly in Spanish language countries of South America.
The first two episodes introduced the characters (via a brief version of the first Venus story) and dealt with the creation of Space Fleet and how Dan became a colonel.
Numerous assets relating to the show have featured online in the past, including a Series Bible and test footage of the Mekon, noted here on the downthetubes Dan Dare Character Profile Page, but a recent find is a gallery of concept art by Dave Max.
Dave is one of the team at Blacksheep Productions, a group of conceptual designers who have collaborated together since their school days at Art Center College of Design in the early 1990s. Once a misfit crew of artists and storytellers with a shared vision and artistic influences, Blacksheep Productions has become an independent team of professionals with over 20 years combined experience designing quality artwork for the television, film and game Industry.
As well as design work on Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, some of their collaborations includes work on Babylon 5, Voltron and LEGO’s Bionicle animated features, taking them to various studios, including Warner Brothers TV Animation, Electronic Arts Games, Foundation Imaging, as well as their very own Studio 432.
The art offers an insight into how much work the Dan Dare Corporation put into creating the show, which sadly had terrible scheduling in the UK that certainly did it no favours with a potentially loyal British audience.
• Buy Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future on DVD (six episodes only, AmazonUK Affiliate Link)
• Dan Dare Corporation – www.dandare.com
• Buy Dan Dare collections and related books on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
With thanks to Andrew Paul for spotting Dave’s gallery
Dan Dare © 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.