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Malcolm Douglas: main page
page header: Ham Dare

This of course was a parody of the Eagle comic's Dan Dare. Frank Hampson's daring spaceman (born in Manchester, as it happens) and his Wigan sidekick Digby were vastly popular in the 1950s and '60s, and naturally I had followed their adventures avidly; though I was too young to have seen much of Hampson's work, having started reading the serial in 1960, not long after Frank Bellamy stopped drawing it.

When Lew Stringer came up with the idea for this one, I was more than happy to take it on. I spent a lot of time researching it, and got hold of such reprints and back copies of the early Eagle stories as I could. I wanted to base the style quite closely on Hampson's, and succeeded tolerably well; in his book The Dan Dare Dossier (Hawk Books, 1990) Mike Higgs described the result as "a delicious parody ... put together with a great sense of homage to Frank Hampson."

Ham and Pigby appeared in two full serials, and in short adventures in both of the Oink! annuals: on each occasion pitted against the evil Weakun and his henchmen, the Meanies. The poster below appeared as a double page spread in the first annual (1988). It was based very closely on Dare's personal spacecraft, the Anastasia. Lew sent me detailed sketches of what he wanted in it, and it was only some years later that I realised that they had been based on an Eagle "cutaway" spread printed in 1958; and that he had thoughtfully rectified the omission in the original of an onboard toilet. Well, nothing was too good for our boys.

The picture here is a link to a larger image.

Ham Dare poster: link to larger image