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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spaceship Away #40 (Autumn 2016)

Spaceship Away completes its 13th year of publication with issue 40. Also coming to a close is Tim Booth's 'Mercury Revenant' after 8 issues and 18 episodes. One of the earliest episodes was set around Christmas, and the tale ends on a similar festive note. Sandwiched in-between has been one of Dan's hottest adventures on the surface of Mercury and a very satisfying old-school Dan Dare yarn it has been, too.

Tim Booth is also responsible for the longer-running 'Parsecular Tales', with episodes 26 and 27 appearing here. In all Booth has produced over 80 episodes of various stories and he's definitely Starship Away's star discovery. One hopes that he can keep up the pace in 2017 and beyond.

Concluding this issue are Jet Morgan's latest reprint from Express Weekly – or, in this instance, one of the annuals – and Nick Hazard's previously unpublished adventure 'Planet of Doom', based on an old 1950s Vargo Statten paperback yarn.

David Ashford leads off a trio of articles this issue with a look at a long-forgotten space hero drawn by Syd Jordan. Hal Starr first appeared (drawn by other hands) in a obscure series of comics published in the 1950s to promote body-building. Syd drew some schoolboy adventures featuring one Dick Hercules before jetting off into space with Starr. He drew only seven stories, although he revived the name for a series reprinted in Spaceship Away issues 8-15, originally published as John Stark in the Dutch weekly Eppo Wordt Vervolgd in 1987-88.

Next up, Jeremy Briggs introduces the people behind the scenes at the new B7 Media's Dan Dare recordings that are soon to be released on CD. As well as meeting the actors and production staff, we get a look at the various stories that are being adapted – the first set of three stories (released in December) are the first three that appeared in Eagle, but the second set (released February 2017) are stories eight, four and five.

Busy Jeremy is also behind an interview with Dave Gibbons who discusses his time drawing Dan Dare in 2000AD, strips recently reprinted by Rebellion. It's a good, insightful interview and I never knew that Dave met Frank Hampson... but you'll have to buy the issue to find out how that went.

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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