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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Spaceship Away #37 (Autumn 2015)

The latest issue of Spaceship Away has landed on my doormat and is, as usual, a winner from first—a Don Harley cover featuring Dan, Dig and Sir Hubert under attack in a scene from Terra Nova—to last.

Tim Booth provides two ongoing tales of Dan Dare & Co., with 'Mercury Revenant' and 'Parsicular Tales' reaching episodes 12 and 21 respectively. Booth's two tales continue to be thoroughly entertaining and, even though 'Parsicular Tales' is celebrating its fifth birthday, having started in the Autumn 2010 issue, it can still surprise readers, in this issue revealing the secret identity of Scobal, the man behind the latest telesender technology.

Jet Morgan reaches episode 3 of his latest adventure drawn by Terry Patrick and Ron Turner provides the artwork for episode 3 of "Planet of Doom", a Nick Hazard story based on the 1954 Vargo Statten novel A Time Appointed.

The connection between Turner and Statten (John Russell Fearn) is explored by Phil Harbottle in an article that begins in 1950 with the publication of Turner's first SF book covers for Scion, where Fearn was about to begin a five year association that would see him produce over 50 SF novels. Although Fearn died in 1960, Harbottle has been indefatigable in keeping the author's books in print. As he was also a fan of Turner's art, he commissioned many new covers and recreations of old covers over a period of fourteen years until Turner's death in 1998. These were used on both reprints of old titles and on new works based on the Fearn legacy and continue to appear to this day.

Andrew Darlington explores the Dan Dare of the Eighties, revived in the pages of the New Eagle in 1982 and drawn by Gerry Embleton, Ian Kennedy, Oliver Frey and Carlos Cruz – fine artists all but hampered by the decline of the British comics industry which saw sales of the new Eagle fall by a third after its launch, causing the publisher to drop gravure printing... and Eagle became just another letterpress comic. Darlington will continue the story next issue.

The third and final article comes from the pen of Alan Vince and tells the story of Eric Eden, the quiet and unassuming artist once fired by Frank Hampson for being a "disturbing influence". He returned, Hampson having apologised, a couple of years later and later found himself scripting the strip for Don Harley and Bruce Cornwell. Eden's other great work was on "Lady Penelope" for TV Century 21, which he drew for a year, but after struggling to find work in the early 1970s, he took on a full-time job with the British Museum.

Rounding out the issue is the cartoon 'Davy Rocket' and a centrespread featuring another Don Harley illustration, this one imagining a meeting between Frank Hampson and Frank Bellamy.

You can find out more about the magazine, buy back issues and subscribe to the latest issues at the Spaceship Away website.


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