British Comic Hero Dan Dare Is On the Comeback Trail

Posted by at 4:14 pm on October 30, 2014

Dan DareDan Dare, the quintessentially British comic strip hero, will turn 65 next year, and comics publisher 2000 AD is planning to mark the occasion with the release of some never-before-reprinted stories from the 1970s charting the adventures of the “pilot of the future”.

Dare and his trademark wavy eyebrows first appeared in the pages of the Eagle comic in 1950, created by Frank Hampson. Dare would go on to battle evil in space – and his nemesis the Mekon – in the pages of the children’s comic until it was put on hold in 1969. Eight years later, he was brought out of suspended animation to appear again in the first issue of 2000 AD’s weekly comic, with the strip illustrated by Italian artist Massimo Belardinelli, and later by Dave Gibbons, who would go on to collaborate with Alan Moore on Watchmen. The Dan Dare strip ran until 1979.

“Dan is still, to this day, seen as something of an old-fashioned hero – the original strips in the Eagle were formed from a very British idea about space exploration and the future, very different to the ‘wild new frontier’ of most American fiction,” said Michael Molcher, from 2000 AD’s parent company, Rebellion. “So that’s why 2000 AD’s Dan Dare is important – his popularity in 2000 AD not only helped kickstart the 1980s revival of Eagle, but also showed the character could adapt to a new age.”

Dare has been reinvented many times since, with takes on the hero contributed by such people as Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and others. The first of the two-volume series will be published next autumn, featuring five main stories comprised of a total of 47 episodes, with an additional six standalone stories. It will include rare art by Gibbons and is, said Rebellion, “the last, great unreprinted story from 2000 AD’s first issue”.

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