Dan Dare

Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future

The Venus Story.

This was the story that began Dan Dare; a story which would provide the basis for the next ten year's of Hampson's work, and which would continue to supply ideas even to the present day.

The first few episodes set the scene, and introduce the main characters: here Hank and Pierre appear for the first time, in a frame and style typical of the early days.

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

Having arrived on Venus, Dan and Digby are captured and taken to Mekonta. Venus is inhabited by Treens, and the Treens, with their leader, the Mekon, were to provide a fruitful source for many future stories.

Here we see Sondar, who will become one of the few "good" Treens.

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

And later, Dan and company are recaptured:

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

Treen fighters!

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

And now, for the first time, we see the Mekon himself:

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

And by the time Hampson and the team had got into their stride, some very impressive artwork was being produced. Here we see a Treen telezero craft been hijacked by Dan and company.

This frame shows Hampson at his best, with the figurework of the Treens in the foreground contrasting with all the engineering detail behind, whilst the beautifully rendered telezero ship dominates the frame. Hampson's lack of scientific or engineering expertise is often evident: while the detail is superb, the constructions themselves can be somewhat bizarre.

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

And this next frame is positively cinematic with its back lighting.

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future But our heroes escape back to Earth, and invade Venus not with high tech gadgetry, but with gliders and bows and arrows (machines have been disabled by application of Treen science), exemplifying the concept that humans do these things for pleasure, and haven't yet entirely succumbed to the temptations of machinery. Dan Dare Pilot of the Future

This initial story was seminal to the whole canon: not only did it set the scene, but the scenes and characters created were to carry the strip forward for the next ten years under Hampson's guidance. Later artists and writers used the same characters and settings, but without Hampson's imagination, the stories feel stale.

And perhaps the greatest achievement was to extend the complete narrative over 77 weeks!