01/02/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Spaceship Away. Rod Barzilay, 8 Marley Close, Preston, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6DH, UK. 44 page A4 glossy stock magazines. Price: £ 6.99 (UK), 9.00 euro, £10.00 (overseas) each. On subscription or wanting to get back issues, buy 6 and the 7th is for free!
check out website: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk
With these five issues of 'Spaceship Away', we are now up-to-date with # 16 which started my surprised interest a few months ago. If I've inspired you enough to seek out these Dan Dare stories then if you're considering resources, keeping up with three issues a year or on subscription should be easier from now on. As the covers of the five issues should show here, publisher/editor Rod Barzilay is looking ahead and ensuring that there is always plenty of material to keep schedules going. Always a smart move when there are readers waiting.
As with last month, it's better to deal with the stories as a collective than per issue. Reading the letters pages, some of the readers have already been buying duplicates so they can cut one up and put the stories together. As a previous comment about having two or three stories featuring Dan Dare and his companions in trouble at the same time, it is like keeping a scorecard to keep track sometimes although I have to admit I read them from issue to issue than doing that.
With 'Green Nemesis', Dan's team is split up investigating a Sargasso Sea between Venus and Earth which contains derelict spaceships. With the Mekon and his people taking over their spaceship, the Marco Polo, while they're all out exploring, each team is having their own adventures. Professors Joselyn Peabody and Ivor Dare are exploring an abandoned advanced spaceship. Back at the Marco Polo, Dare is contemplating getting back inside while there has been a small mutiny inside. With artist Don Harley from the original Hampton team doing art duties here it truly looks like you're back into the 1950s.
Charles Chilton's 'Journey Into Space' continues as Jet Morgan and his team encounter ever larger threats. This is still very typical of the radio serial of its time and if you thought space opera was something that only had American origins then its worth poking around here.
The 'Hal Starr' story by Sydney Jordan reaches a climax within these five issues. In some ways Jordan has always kept to the original way of some aliens are bad and many just want to get on with things. Nothing too complicated and if you want to see Jordan away from his 'Jeff Hawk' material then this is a good opportunity.
'Rocket Pilot' focuses more on Hubert Guest when he was a pilot, taking along a younger Dan Dare whom he sees a great future. It's interesting seeing Keith Page tipping his hand to all things Dare before it actually happens. The way things are developing, it shouldn't be too long before we see the Kingfisher taking off.
'The Gates Of Eden' is seeing the organisation of a food convoy from Venus to Earth to beat a famine. Some of the logic does escape me here when I would have thought it would make more sense to import seed and such than purely food.
There is also the start of 'Space Girls' by Iain McClumpha which is starting some controversy with some of the readers cos of the bare midriffs. I suspect its more to do with the art looking like its sprayed from a computer than the subject matter that is more jarring compared to the other material. Only time and issues will tell as to whether it will gain popularity or not.
Apart from the comicstrip stories, there is also an assortment of other goodies and debate as to what Arthur C. Clarke contributed to the early Dare and a delightful insight from Greta Tomlinson of working life at the Hampton Studio that would have union reps up in arms if there were any then or now, come to think of it. If you're a fan of Dan Dare then you'd be sorely lacking if you don't consider looking in at this incredible magazine. It looks like a labour of love for all those involved and the appeal to its readers comes out in the mailing comments. This magazine deserves its success and needs support to continue to grow.
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