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Monday, January 07, 2019

Eagle Times v.31 no.4 (Winter 2018)

The latest issue of Eagle Times arrived shortly before Christmas but became a casualty of family visits and walking to work off the extra eating. I've only just had a chance to sit down and read what is always an enjoyable magazine. Too young for this to be a trip down memory lane – usually – I have the utmost admiration for the editorial team who always managed to dig up some new facts and offer some fresh impressions of the weekly comic that inspired so many to become fans and, in many cases, professionals.

Take Lionel Jeans, for instance. In an interview by Jeremy Briggs published in this very issue, he cites the Eagle's cutaway drawings as one of his inspirations to take up technical illustration at college, which led to work in West Germany. Returning in 1981 and seeking freelance work led him to Practical Householder and then to its unlikely stablemate (both were published by IPC), the recently relaunched Eagle. Jeans provided only a handful of cutaway drawings for their 'Eagle Data File' feature, but it's nice to put a face to yet another name (he signed his work 'Jeans') and discover more about their background and career.

Briggs also provides an overview of the 'Data File' series and, along with Richard Sheaf, a checklist covering the weekly, the specials and annuals where they appeared.

Famously the home of D. C. Thomson, Dundee is the subject of Eric Summers' article 'Dundee Folk'. But, of course, it is an article about the city's Eagle connections. The connections, whilst slim, are entertaining, and any excuse to talk about Frank Bellamy's 'Happy Warrior' (Winston Churchill being MP for Dundee for a while) is an excuse worth taking.

Steve Winders' look at Chad Varah's and Norman Williams' back-page biography of 'Alfred the Great' reaches its conclusion, as does his 2-part short story featuring PC49. Will Grenham's long-running look at space fiction movies produced during the lifetime of the Eagle also comes to an end.

Meanwhile, Jim Duckett looks at crossover stories that have introduced Dan and other Eagle characters to other fictional folk. He's met Judge Dredd and other 2000AD characters, various Doctors and his own great-great-grandson. Mostly the article covers frivolous Christmas or charity crossovers, but does mention The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Rupert Bear's encounter with Sherlock Holmes along the way.

David Britton wraps up the issue with two articles, one an episode of his series on 'Charles Chilton & The Indian Wars', whilst the other is a review of the current Frank Hampson centenary exhibition at The Atkinson, Southport, which runs until 16 March 2019 - visit their website for details.

The quarterly magazine is the journal of the Eagle Society, with membership costing £29 in the UK, £40 (in sterling) overseas. You can send subscriptions to Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Wellcroft, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9EF; subs can also be submitted via PayPal to uk. Back issues are available for newcomers to the magazine and they have even issued binders to keep those issues nice and neat.

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