At the time that I was covering 1977 I didn’t own a copy of this publication – the first extra-2000AD publication from the House of Tharg, I think (unless it was the Summer Super Comic, which cost the same amount). Belardinelli’s version of Dare glares out from the cover of this 1977 one-off. This has much better printing than the weekly at the time, and better quality paper than the Sci-Fi Special to be. Format-wise it’s prog-size and shaped but unfolds three times to form a massive poster roughly A1-sized.
On the first unfolding we get various panels from the original Eagle comic (the eighties re-launch not having happened yet) and some text down the side. Starting with a recap of the Eagle years (or at least the first Eagle adventure from what I can work out) it goes on to what will later be told in comic form in the Dan Dare Annual 1979, regarding travelling to an orbital power station and then it’s time to unfold the poster magazine again…
…the text story continues – though it’s more a text story recap than a story. Dare self-sacrifices but is still alive, barely. After being in suspended animation for a century he’s revived thanks to 22nd century medical science. From his revival (with a new Bowie-esque face) there’s a mysterious twelve years gap until the Biog story-line. It’s still not adequately explained why the legendary saviour of the world from the previous century ends up as a lower status captain of antiquated ships that we first met in Programme 1. After the recap of the Biogs there’s a few paragraphs racing through the artists who have worked on Dare – Frank Hampson, Keith Watson and Frank Bellamy, before ending up with our Massimo. Other than the text, there are a few more panels from old Eagle while the majority of this page is taken up with Massimo Bellardinelli’s artwork from various points in the Biog storyline, plus a few bits on the introduction of Rok.
One more fold and the full poster is revealed – it’s most of the centre pages of Programme 12 where we saw future London and first met Rok. Without pulling out the old prog I think it’s been recoloured but not to the standard that the old Eagle pages are.
Closing everything up again and we get to the back page – a full page size extreme close up of the Mekon’s face. It doesn’t look like Belardinelli’s style so I’m guessing it’s one of the original Eagle’s artists again.
No grailpage or grailquote for this as it’s mostly reprint, no dialogue and no original art.
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