Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future

Dan Dare / Frank Hampson in person

Before col. Daniel MacGregor Dare, 
there was chaplain Dan Dare...


Before Dan Dare appeared in its familiar form, Marcus Morris tossed around the idea of Dan as a chaplain - emulating Marcus himself in real life. Needless to say, chaplain Dare could have never achieved the familiar  popularity wearing a collar. From the book "Living with Eagles". Image supplied by: David Britton
(for the full page spread - 750x1273, click here). 

 

Dan Dare
a.k.a. Col Daniel MacGregor Dare
Irish Times, 04/12/2000
London - Col Daniel MacGregor Dare, better known to readers of the Eagle comic as Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, made his first appearance 50 years ago this week (April 14, 1950) as a wholesome role model for British children to combat a wave of American horror and crime novels.

Dan Dare B&W print
Dan Dare print issued to Eagle Club
 members in the 1950's. 

Dan Dare colour artwork as Hampson drew it
Original colour rendition
The drawings are of course by Frank Hampson

Dan Dare in Eagle, July 15, 1955
One of my most memorable Dan Dare frames after Dan, for the first 
time, meets Lero of Cryptos in THE MAN FROM NOWHERE.

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Frank Hampson
The Dan Dare Creator
His son Peter in his later youth modeled as cadet Spry & his father as Hubert Guest.
Hampson himself ocassionally "impersonated" Dan Dare :-)
Younger Frank Hampson
Hampson in early 50's
Older Frank Hampson
Hampson in early 80's

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The unveiling in Southport on Saturday 15th April 2000, to mark the 50th anniversary of Eagle. Photo detail of Peter Hampson, Frank's son, with the bust of Dan Dare. For more details, click here.

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1980 Eagle Convention
April 12-14, 1980
Photos and text provided by Adrian Perkins


Hampson at the 1980 Eagle Convention with some of the Dan Dare comic figurines. In his lap is a copy of Astral Group Newsletter, published by Adrian Perkins and the precursor to Eagle Times.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

Frank Hampson and Keith Watson at the 
1980 Eagle Convention.
At that event Alan Vince presented an audio/visual lecture on 
Dan Dare with Frank and Keith taking audience questions 
afterwards. Greta Tomlinson from the team was in the audience.
Eaglecon was held 12/13/14 April 1980.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

 

Peter Hampson
This photo shows Peter Hampson and some objects in his father's exhibition at the 1980 Eagle Convention. 
The painting on the left is a scapperboard vision of the Mekon. To the right - and suspended from the ceiling - is the large model cutaway spaceship that Walkden Fisher made for the studio in the Autumn of 1957. This event was its first public appearance. Frank sold it in 1982 and when it came on the market recently[2001] it was bought by an Eagle enthusiast (Note by J.L.: David Britton bought it).
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

 

Dan Dare by Frank Hampson - 1977
Frank painted this image some time before EagleCon for his portfolio submitted to the Society of Strip Illustrators when he joined in 1977. It remained in his Bayford Lodge studio until its first public display at the 1980 event.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.
Stripey and Digby
This image of Stripey and Digby was painted by Frank at the same time as the one on the left.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

 

The 1980 Eagle Convention, which was held in London in April, had an art display which comprised many original paintings from the 1950s. Most of the artwork displayed was provided by Alan Vince - one of the event's organisers - .

Although only photographs of some of the displayed items exist today, we list in full all the items that Alan provided.

1 Ron Embleton "Johnny Frog"
4 John Worsley "PC49"
4 Keith Watson "Dan Dare"
4 Richard Jennings "Storm Nelson"
4 Frank Humphris "Riders of the Range" - including his "Battle of the Big Horn" painting
1 Harold Johns "Dan Dare"
2 Norman Williams "St Patrick" / "Lord Nelson"
3 Martin Aitchison "Luck of the Legion"
4 Robert Ayton 2 "Jack O' Lantern" / 2 "Sir Walter Raleigh"
1 David Langdon "Professor Puff and his dog Wulf"
2 George Cansdale Nature pages
5 John Ryan 2 "Harris Tweed" / 1 "Captain Pugwash"
6 Ashwell Wood centrespreads
3 Peter Jackson 2 "Marco Polo" / 1 "David Livingstone"
1 Frank Hampson "Road of Courage" + visual of same
3 Frank Bellamy "Dan Dare"[on loan from the event's sponsors, Dragon's Dream/Roger Dean]

To this art display Frank Hampson - also one of the organisers - added many items from his archives. David Gould displayed Frank's portfolio of artwork for Peter Rock from 1961; rescued from destruction by IPC by David it was returned to Frank at EagleCon80.

The present whereabouts of most of these items is unknown.

(P.S. by Jack Lupic - Harold Johns' artwork displayed at Eaglecon 1980 is presently owned by Terry Doyle.)

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This photo, taken in October 1979, shows Frank and Dorothy Hampson accompanied by Alan Vince at a booksigning session in London's Forbidden Planet. The book was Dragon's Dream The Man From Nowhere.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

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Frank Hampson with Adrian Perkins
A photo of Frank helping me to raffle some Dan Dare items at a stall I had at the 1979 World Science Fiction Convention (Seacon) held in Brighton. At that stage - summer 1979 - I had my Astral Group for enthusiasts of Dan Dare (all twenty of us, and most of them still in the Eagle Society today).

Though Frank and Arthur C. Clarke met soon after my raffle my camera failed and I have no photographic record of the artist and the scientist who worked on Dare in late-1949/early-1950.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

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Here are the three photos that I took at Comic 101 held in London in 1976. 

The attendees numbered at least 1500. The event was organised by the comics historian, the late Denis Gifford. Hampson was somewhat baffled by the audience reaction. towards him. Overwhelmed is probably a better word to use here. He had been out of the limelight for some fifteen years and had got used to losing control of Dan Dare and his following. At that event he found out that he still had a vast following amongst comics enthusiasts and comics professionals (artists and writers).


Frank Hampson
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

He had also had a beutiful studio prop in the shape of Sir Hubert's SF formal dress cap.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

 


A small display he brought along Dan Dare and Sondar were Action Men; the Mekon and his chair were on a tall plinth, the helicar and the Spacestation were made out of plastic (the 1950s originals were made from balsa wood and were lost in the late-sixties). The gold statuette is his award from Lucca the previous Autumn. It was all enclosed in a three-foot diameter perspex hemisphere. We never saw the items in this display again.
Photo and text by Adrian Perkins.

Last Revised: January 08, 2015

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Jack Lupic
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