” Can you tell me how old Dan might have done it” – Preview

18September 2016

Prossit avatarSydney’s Dan Dare story .

Although the Sunday PEOPLE had run a Dan Dare newspaper strip back in 1964, the plan by the PLANET ON SUNDAY to revive the character in a similar way in 1996 was sadly doomed to failure. The prospect had been  an exciting one ; Britain’s most famous sci-fi creation revived by the pen and artwork of Sydney Jordan. Thus the Dan Dare strip appeared in the first issue of the PLANET and started to unfold its story, but  unfortunately  the new paper abruptly ceased publication and the strip was left high and dry  after just beginning to tantalise its readers  with its  mysterious opening  . Sydney had written and drawn the strips for the next two weeks but for the rest only a written outline of the story existed .Looking at the three extant strips we are given some intriguing glimpses of  how things had changed both for Spacefleet and the world.

Dan's first foray into the newspaper strip. "Mission to the stars" by Don Harley first appeared in the PEOPLE in March 1964
Dan’s first foray into the newspaper strip. “Mission to the stars” by Don Harley first appeared in the PEOPLE in March 1964

The story , according to Sydney, is set a few years after Dan’s last Eagle appearance .Peace reigns now between Earthmen and Treens  as shown in the very first panels. The Mekon has made no return after his mysterious disappearance at the end of the MOONSLEEPERS (Eagle vo.16 no.29) and the inner planets are at peace .We see Dan , dishevelled and seemingly a shadow of his former self, visiting the grave of Sir Hubert Guest. He is approached by a strange woman, a government official , whose chauffeur is none other than Digby,  who Dan seems not to recognise. In the third strip we see the car, containing the official, Dan and Digby  careering off the road after being hit by a waiting sniper – and the rest is silence. The strip ceased at that point and we  are left wondering how this strange set of events would have turned out .  I interviewed Sydney about this story and he explained  to me just how it would  have developed and how the mysteries set up in the first three panels would have been resolved . The story involved a threat to the entire Solar system , a threat so great that all the planets would have to put their former differences behind them and unite against  this new menace , before which even the Mekon would be cowed. We will be revealing the full Planet on Sunday story in future posts beginning next month.   Skipper Prossitt

The first and only DAN DARE strip by Sydney Jordan: published in the PLANET ON SUNDAY  in 1996
The first and only DAN DARE strip by Sydney Jordan: published in the PLANET ON SUNDAY in 1996

One thought on “” Can you tell me how old Dan might have done it” – Preview

  1. One requirement for the new strip, specified by Frank Hampson’s family, was that it had to be compatible with Frank Hampson’s version of Dan Dare rather than the later ones. Sydney Jordan commissioned me to research the Hampson version and I discovered there was a convenient gap at the end of ‘The Ship That Lived’, where the Mekon had been defeated but Earth was virtually depopulated, and the start of the next story where everything is all right again. I suggested that Dare might have had a nervous breakdown due to post-combat trauma, thanks to his near-death in an escape capsule, and perhaps brought on by discovering what the Mekon would have done to his family. His recovery would allow time to bring readers up to speed on the back-story and what was now happening. Sydney commissioned me to write what would have been the second story, about an orbital debris-collecting system which was now stuffed with weapons and unexploded ordnance from the battle in which the Mekon had conquered Earth – but alas, it was never to be.

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