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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Eagle Times v.33 no.2 (Summer 2020)

It'll take more than a pandemic to keep Eagle Times out of your letterbox. Now in its thirty-third year, the magazine continues to delight and entertain, with features and stories centred around the famous Eagle comic of the 1950s and 1960s.

This issue launches into a nostalgic look at the (New) Eagle Annual, with a rundown of the highlights from the ten colourful annuals that appeared in the Eighties and early Nineties. I remember buying most of these as they came out, so happy memories of the contents are somewhat dampened by the reminder that a lot of them were printed in such a way that the pages perforated at the binding and fell out.

Jeremy Briggs' articles on obscure contributors are always welcome, and this time he looks at the career of Kenneth McDonough, artist on the 'Heroes of the Clouds' feature but more widely known as a painter of aviation scenes, a scale modeller and box artist for Airfix. If you didn't know anything about McDonough before beginning this article, you'll know plenty by the end of it and enjoyed a lot of good art along the way.

David Britton's 'The Story of a Train that Went Nowhere' picks up steam with part two, based on an unused outline for an article on the Canadian Pacific Railway by Christopher Mayer submitted to Eagle in 1958. Introduced last issue, the outline forms the bulk of the text here, with additional background and detail by Britton, who has a second piece in this issue describing the White Funnel Fleet, the subject of a promotional offer in Eagle. His third continues the story of Charles Chilton and the Indian Wars, studying how Chilton treated real-life incidents in his 'Riders of the Range' strip. Well researched and well illustrated with artwork by Frank Humphris, the series here reaches the war with Geronimo.

Shorter features include another look into the lost sketch books of the Dan Dare Studio, an episode of 'In and Out of the Eagle' which seems to have suffered a loss of signal (you'll get the joke if you buy the issue!), a reminiscence of visiting W. H. Smith's by Kevin O'Donnell, an episode of the magazines' regular P.C. 49 short stories, plus a look at the career of pop musician Donovan. Oh, and (full disclosure) a rather nice review of my Rocket: The First Space-Age Weekly book.

The issue is 25% bigger than normal, clocking in at 52 pages, plus covers, and includes two prints featuring Dan Dare by Bryan Talbot.

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 membership@eagle-society.org.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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