Dan Dare: THe 2000 aD years Vol­ume One

Dare to be dif­fer­ent

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher re­bel­lion

Writ­ers Pat Mills, steve Moore,

Gerry Fin­ley-day

Artists

Mas­simo Be­lar­dinelli,

dave Gib­bons

Judge Dredd be­came the scowl­ing face of 2000 AD, but it had orig­i­nally banked on an­other icon to be its flag­ship hero, res­ur­rect­ing Frank Hamp­son’s Pi­lot of the Fu­ture from the pages of Ea­gle.

It made sense: Dan Dare was a name, redo­lent of post-war Bri­tish de­cency, op­ti­mism and ad­ven­ture. But this was the late ’70s and the fu­ture had ar­rived in shades of A Clock­work Orange, sound­tracked by the Sex Pis­tols and booted in the nuts by Dirty Harry. Punk-fired 2000 AD va­por­ised every­thing but the name, the squig­gly eye­brows and arch foe the Mekon, re­tool­ing Dare as a leaner, meaner propo­si­tion, more in­clined to yell, “Taste boot-leather, you twoheaded freak!” than “Jumpin’ jets!”

This col­lec­tion re­prints the first half of Dan’s purist-bait­ing run in the comic (in­clud­ing bonus strips from early an­nu­als and spe­cials). At first he’s Ziggy Stardust af­ter a spell in boot camp: a vi­cious, pout­ing star­farer as freaky as his ad­ven­tures. Mas­simo Be­lar­dinelli’s art is sci­ence fic­tion at the mu­ta­tional cusp of hor­ror, phan­tas­magoric and mind­blow­ing, Bar­barella af­ter a bad trip.

Dave Gib­bons’ stint di­als down the high weird­ness in favour of stream­lined mil­i­tary ad­ven­ture. This Dan’s an adrenalised Big­gles in a fly­ing jacket, a de­gree closer to Hamp­son’s orig­i­nal but now com­mand­ing a mar­vel­lously scurvy bunch of cos­mic rogues, Dirty Dozen style. You feel the in­escapable shadow of Star Wars the mo­ment he wields a “laser broadsword”. It’s gutsy, thrilling stuff. Fa­thers may have choked but this was the bionic gen­er­a­tion’s Dan Dare. Nick Setch­field

There’s a def­i­nite Bowie in­flu­ence in the Be­lar­dinelli strips – Dan’s fe­male side­kick is ac­tu­ally called Ziggy.

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