Wednesday, 7 March 2012


If memory serves me right i got in touch with David Pugh the then Dan Dare artist for the New Eagle comic in 1989 about buying a Dan Dare comic strip page from him which had also been used for a cover where they had blown up a single frame to re-use.
David told me they where looking for a fill in artist for him when he was away on holidays and to lesson his workload , he asked me if i was still drawing and i said yes i was working for Postman Pat picture weekly drawing Charlie Chalk using coloured markers he said great i use them on my Dare artwork would you like to try out for Dan and the New Eagle ? i said yes !
I drew two comic page samples and character studies for the Editor Barrie Tomlinson one sample had Dan and Digby in classic kit in their space ship Anastasia painted in inks Barrie liked the work but wanted to see Dan based on David's updated combat geared Dare with his laser pistol the second page sample was coloured in markers and pencil (this was years before digital files and emails) to my suprise and delight i was offered the job.

my father was over joyed at this as he had been a regular Eagle reader in the 1950's and admired the skill and colour work and designs of Frank Hampson and co.

My first work on a 6 part Dan Dare story was published 8th Sept 1990 the writer was Tom Tully as far as i know all my scripts where from Tom, Tom used to type his stories on coloured paper i remember yellow paper alot the first adventure was about a Galactic Beauty contest which featured aliens who could morph into humans and who could bend minds at will , Dan had to fight a Alien called Borak to win the day and save everyone it was a ruse to try to get high tech info about Dan's Eagle craft .

I would draw my art on layout paper photocopy my pencils and fax my pencils to Barrie once approved i would spray mount my art sheet on card and colour the work with colour markers and pencils once finished the art which was half up from printed size would be posted special delivery to Barrie to repro for publication.
I drew other stories for The New Eagle Year book 1991

a full colour story where Dan and Digby faced a mutated lab monster Digby won the day by destroying the monster with his germs from his cold , another story which was in blue tone over black and white art had the heroes face the Mekon .

I drew art for the Dan Dare Holiday Special in 1991

a black and white Digby story where Digby faced light orb aliens in Scotland while Dan and Digby where on vacation, it even had a guest apperence by the Loch Ness monster!.

I also drew spot illustrations for a text story called A Scouran's best friend also a full colour centre spread
Dan pin -up
my last 6 part Dan Dare story featured the Mekon i was lucky enough to draw a Mekon portrait cover for the second part of the story this story started the 9th march 1991and was set on a orbital space craft featuring the Ringworld circus and dwarf aliens called the Flying Tygons
I enjoyed creating the creatures and space ship designs for these series i could have drawn more but alas in 1991 i developed deep vain thrombosis in my left leg and groin which made me ill for some time .Barrie passed on a story about giant mutant ants to John M Burns to draw , i was delighted not saddened as i was and still am a huge fan of John M Burns art and i enjoyed seeing John's take on Dan and Co

my last New Eagle issue was when the weekly turned into a monthly dated May 1991
Looking back i was pretty green drawing Dan some art could have done with more years experience but at the time i did the best i could during Dan's 40 th anniversary, I grew up with the Dan Dare reprints by Dragons Dream and the fleetway Dan Dare 1974 annual plus the Dan Dare 2000ad versions and Ian Kennedy Dan Dare so it was in a way it was a dream job something i'll alway be proud of.



  1. It's really great seeing your Dan dare work John, full of vim and vigor and really in your face dynamism.

    Love that black and white page with the blue overlay.