Saturday, April 20, 2024

Eagle Times v37 no1 (Spring 2024)

Another year, another volume of Eagle Times, the remarkable magazine dedicated to the original Eagle.  Remarkable because the original lasted 19 years (1950-69) and ET is heading towards double that in 2025 but still has new things to say about the paper that inspired its launch back in 1988.

Truth be told, much of this issue is only related to Eagle glancingly, although there are enough features that tie directly to the classic comic for hardcore fans who want their Fifties fix. Things kick off with a look at the copyright battles of Captain Marvel and how this affected the British reprints by Len Miller – famously the origin of our own Marvelman, who became entangled with his own lengthy series of legal battles forty years later that dragged on for another 25 years.

David Britton covers another American comic named Eagle (having covered one last issue), this one featuring a character named Richard Eagle whose adventures Britton found difficult to follow. Hopefully he took solace in writing about Lily Renée, an artist I coincidentally discovered two days before Eagle Times dropped through my letterbox. She had a fascinating story: born in Vienna to a privileged Jewish family, who escaped the Nazis via the Kindertransport that brought her to England in 1939., working as a nursing assistant during the Blitz.

Her parents had escaped to America and Lily joined them in New York. She found work with an advertising agency and then in comics, at Fiction House, where she drew for Wings Comics, Rangers Comics, Planet Comics, Fight Comics and others, and later for St Johns Publications. Later she wrote children's books and plays and lived to 101, dying on 22 August 2022.

I learned of Lily while writing about Trina Robbins, who wrote a graphic novel biography of her exploits in 2011.

Lily is the second artist associated with American comics covered this issue, following part 2 of Adam Goodman's look at Milton Caniff. This episode covers the end of his time on 'Terry and the Pirates' and his creation of 'Steve Canyon'.

Other features that glance on Eagle include Eric Fernie's thoughts on thinking in comics and an obituary for Margaret Walker, Frank Hampson's youger sister, who attended various Eagle-related events.

Definitely centred on Eagle are articles by Jim Duckett on the 1960s strip 'Knights of the Road', Alan J. Palmer's discussing his favourite Dan Dare story, and a P.C.49 tale by Steve Winders.

The year is off to a good start.

The quarterly Eagle Times is the journal of the Eagle Society, with membership costing £30 in the UK, £45 (in sterling) overseas. You can send subscriptions to Bob Corn, Mayfield Lodge, Llanbadoc, Usk, Monmouthshire NP15 1SY; subs can also be submitted via PayPal to 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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