Friday, 8 December 2017

"DARE TO BE A DANIEL" - THE FIRST DAN DARE...


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Contrary to what you've been led to believe (especially if you're British), the original DAN DARE is not a spaceman who appeared in the first issue of EAGLE in 1950, but a private detective who debuted in WHIZ COMICS #2 (but was actually the first issue), cover-dated February 1940.  (Though it may've gone on sale around November 1939.)  This means that a Dan Dare was featured in comics a whole ten years before his admittedly more iconic namesake first saw the light of day.

'Tis said that our Dan was named after the Sunday School song "Dare To Be A Daniel", but I wonder if MARCUS MORRIS and FRANK HAMPSON were aware of their hero's predecessor and simply 'borrowed' the name?  The fact that it so appropriately tied in with the mood of the song (as well as the ethos behind the character) could've been the deciding factor in them using it for their own comic strip creation.  After all, both explanations aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, though admittedly the possibility of there being a connection is pure speculation on my part.

Anyway, enjoy the first Dan's debut instalment from another century - and millennium.  (Click on images to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.)     




2 comments:

TC said...

I had DC's reprint of Whiz #2, but I have no memory of the Dan Dare strip. I remember it had the first appearances of Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher, and Ibis, and I think there was also a sailor or soldier of fortune adventurer named Lance O'Casey, a western series called Golden Arrow, and a newspaper reporter called "Scoop" something.

And I've heard of the British sci-fi hero Dan Dare, but I have never seen the comic itself. And, having forgotten all about Fawcett's detective character, I never made the connection until now.

Kid said...

TC, if I'd seen your comment a mere 5 minutes ago, I could've confirmed the contents of Whiz #2, but I've just put my Millennium reprint of it back in its place under a pile of comics in my filing cabinet. However, I think you're right - Scoop Smith was the reporter's name, if I recall correctly. The first issue of Eagle (Dan Dare's comic) is on the blog somewhere, so Dan's first instalment is within your reach.

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