Eagle Comic (5)

On the front cover, Eagle featured Dan Dare, the lantern jawed squeaky clean hero:

He could easily dominate the whole front page:

He was always helped, and occasionally hindered, by Digby, his rather podgy sidekick:

Presumably, he was named after an extremely obscure aircraft called the Digby, which was the name given to the Douglas B-18 Bolo in Canadian Air Force service. You can see this lost aircraft in action in the Powell and Pressburger film “49th Parallel” made in 1941 with Leslie Howard and Laurence Olivier. It’s a thriller well worth keeping an eye out for, and a film which portrays perfectly the repulsive attitudes of the Nazis:

Here’s another picture of Digby:

And, yes, he is using an electric hairdryer as a weapon:

I shouldn’t poke fun, though. Some of the science was years ahead of its time. Who else had heard of nuclear fusion in 1950?:

Dan Dare and Digby had their nemesis in the extraterrestrial figure of “The Mekon”:

Dan, Digby and the Mekon caused a revolution in the unchanging comic world of Weary Willie and Tired Tim. Issue N0 2 of Eagle came out on April 21st and the comic was on its way. Here’s the top half of that second issue:

And the bottom half of the same page:

Sometimes the price of the comic was rather strange. This issue cost 4½ old pence which even in the days of a pound made up of 240 pence was an unusual price. I can’t get enough of that eagle personally:

On the other hand, there was a 4½d  stamp at the time. Here’s a special one for National Nature Week:

The Eagle went from strength to strength, with its brightly coloured, vigorous art work…

It always had futuristic machines…

Here’s that orange caption:

There are occasional monsters…

And the Dan Dare stories always had lots of alien species. Was it this type of picture that inspired the bars and cafes of “Star Wars” ?

Why, they even had girls from time to time…




Filed under Aviation, Film & TV, History, Literature, Personal, Science, Writing

19 responses to “Eagle Comic (5)

  1. A friend bought a first edition of the very first Eagle. He claims that it is worth a fortune but his wife thinks that he wasted his money!

  2. I wish I’d saved all mine

  3. We had some amazing heroes back then. Great post, makes me wish I had had these as a kid!

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed reading those old entertaining comics, maybe a bit dated in some aspects but overall a great imaginative story line.
    Thanks for the link to the 49th parallel.

    • 49th Parallel is a marvellous film with some fantastic moments. It portrays the Nazis as absolutely vile, and willing to kill anybody of an inferior race to them like you might discard an unwanted sweet wrapper. Leslie Howard was a great anti-Fascist and if you ever have the chance to see the biography of his life “The Man Who Gave a Damn (2016)” it is simply marvellous.

  5. The B-18 Bolo is a new one on me! These comics were just so far ahead of the game weren’t they.

    • To quote “Wikipedia the Great Mother of us all”: The Douglas B-18 Bolo is an American medium bomber which served with the United States Army Air Corps and the Royal Canadian Air Force (as the Digby) during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Bolo was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company, based on its DC-2, and was developed to replace the Martin B-10.”
      I haven’t looked if a kit exists, but these days, anything is possible!

  6. Science fiction writers, whether the big blokes like Jules Verne or Asimov or the comic strip writers were very often in the future reality because they weren’t under the constraint of money and Government..

    • Thank you for that. It’s a really perceptive and interesting idea. On the other hand, let’s not forget our British government who try not to place too many constraints on the ideas they have.
      The big money eater at the moment is a high speed train that will run north-south, from the land of plenty in the south to the poverty stricken plains of the north. I don’t think that they have realised yet that nobody in the south ever wants to go to the north and that the people in the north will not be able to afford the fare to go south.

  7. Chris Waller

    This brings back memories. I have to confess I had completely forgotten Digby. By the way, in a previous post you mentioned Don Lawrence. Didn’t he also work for ‘Look and Learn’? The style of some of the art work in that magazine was similar to The Eagle.

    • Yes, he did. He also worked in The BIble Story where he concentrated on Old Testament stories. I think he may have been the person who drew the 1066 story I’m after which ran for five or six weeks, probably in Look and Learn or Ranger which merged with it.
      Don Lawrence is in Wikipedia but this is the website to beat them all
      The man behind it all, Kees Kousemaker, is also in Wikipedia.

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