Welcome to the web home of THE EAGLE SOCIETY.

THE EAGLE SOCIETY is dedicated to the memory of EAGLE - Britain's National Picture Strip Weekly - the leading Boy's magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. We publish a quarterly journal - the Eagle Times.

This weblog has been created to provide an additional, more immediate, forum for news and commentary about the society and EAGLE-related issues. Want to know more? See First Post and Eagle - How it began.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Eagle Times - Back Issues

We have received a number of requests from Members* about the availability of back issues (back numbers) of Eagle Times. Those listed below were available on 20 April, 2017 but, as some were in extremely short supply, Members are advised to contact the Eagle Society to check availability of specific issues before placing an order

  • Vol 3  (1990) No 4 
  • Vol 4  (1991) No 4 
  • Vol 5  (1992) No 2 
  • Vol 10 (1997) Nos 3, 4 
  • Vol 11 (1998) Nos 1, 2, 3
  • Vol 12 (1999) No 2
  • Vol 14 (2001) No 3, 4 
  • Vol 15 (2002) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 16 (2003) Nos 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 17 (2004) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 18 (2005) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 19 (2006) Nos 1, 2 
  • Vol 20 (2007) Nos 3, 4 
  • Vol 21 (2008) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 22 (2009) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 23 (2010) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 24 (2011) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • Vol 25 (2012) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Vol 25 (2013) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Vol 27 (2014) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Vol 28 (2015) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Vol 29 (2016) Nos 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Vol 30 (2018) No 1

For Members of the Eagle Society, back issues are generally priced at a quarter of the current Annual Subscription (ie £6.75 each for UK subscribers or £9.50 each for non-UK). If paying by Paypal, please add £1.50 to your total order. All payments in £ stirling, please.

* Although Eagle Times (the Journal of the Eagle Society) is supplied to Members on an Annual Subscription basis, prospective or non-members wishing to see a Sample Issue may now do so. Please see our post Eagle Times - Sample Issue.

This post replaces an original made on 19/12/2010 and any subsequent updates

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Eagle Times Vol 30 No 1

Spring 2017 Contents

  • 'The Shepherd King': part 1 of a three-part examination of Clifford Makins' and Frank Bellamy's strip about the biblical King David, comparing the strip with biblical accounts of his life. The strip began on Eagle's back page in September 1958. 
  • 'Alan Stranks under closer investigation': some other facets of the rare life of the writer who created PC49 for radio, then brought him to Eagle, and wrote the 'Dan Dare' adventure 'Prisoners of Space' for Eagle in 1954
  • 'Blunderbirds are Go!': continuing a look at Eagle strips of the 1960s with this send-up, drawn by Brian Lewis, of the TV series Thunderbirds
  • The Original ‘Rider of the Range’: an examination of the life of Cal McCord, who starred in the first three Riders of the Range radio serials
  • Dan Dare: The 2000AD Years, Volume 2: a review of the second volume of reprints of 'Dan Dare' from 2000AD comic 
  • 'He Tried to Stop You Reading Eagle', part 2: an adjunct to the series, 'They Helped to Bring You Eagle', this continues the story of Leonard Matthews, General Managing Editor of Fleetway 
  • 'Martin Aitchison (1919-2016)': a personal recollection the artist Martin Aitchison, particularly the Eagle years, written by Nick, his only son; illustrated with some of Martin's non-Eagle work 
  • 'In and Out of the Eagle': a further instalment in the series presenting collections of Eagle-related snippets
  • 'Harris Tweed, Eagle and 1950s Coffee Culture': an exploit of Extra Special Agent Harris Tweed in  an espresso bar inspires a look at this lost social scene of the1950s  
  • 'Space Fiction Movies in Eagle's Times', part 1:  a look at films about space exploration and alien visitations to the earth, the bread-and-butter of the Eagle's Dan Dare's adventures between 1950 and 1969. This part covers 1950-1953, from Rocketship X-M to War of the Worlds
  • 'Hulton's Boys & Girls Exhibition, 1958': a look at the programme of the third Hulton's Boys and Girls Exhibition, held at London's Olympia in 1958.    
  • 'Yet More Eagle Miscellany' - a further collection of notes on Eagle history
  • 'In Defence of Comics 1953' - reviewing an article that appeared in the Daily Express in 1953 defending comics as a route to the love of reading. The original article was authored by Lady Pakenham who did much to promote literacy in the young
  • 'They Helped to Bring You Eagle: No 3 Brian Blake' - the resident artist and art restoration specialist who worked on Eagle in the 1960s

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Eagle Times Vol 29 No 4

Winter 2016 Contents

  • 'Christmas with Dan Dare' - a look at how the Christmas festival was recognised, represented and (sometimes) ignored in 'Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future' strips in Eagle and Eagle Annual 
  • 'Martin Aitchison (1919-2016)' - An illustrated short obituary of the artist of 'Luck of the Legion' in Eagle, who became one of Ladybird Books most respected and prolific artists
  • 'PC 49 and the Case of the Tramp's Secret' - a festive PC49 story, based on a story created for radio by Alan Stranks
  • 'A Christmas Wordsearch' - a puzzle, based on Eagle's Christmas issue, 25th December, 1965
  • 'Chicko and Christmas' - Christmas appearances of Norman Thelwell's strip cartoon character, who would appear for twelve years in Eagle and Eagle Annual
  • 'He Tried to Stop You Reading Eagle' - an adjunct to the series, 'They Helped to Bring You Eagle', this first part of the story of Leonard Matthews, General Managing Editor of Fleetway, covers his early career editing Sun, Comet and Knockout for Amalgamated Press, and originating Top Spot
  • 'The Jetex Dan Dare Space Ship' - on the "Tailored" spaceship model, first marketed as the  Dan Dare Space Ship, which was designed for Wilmot, Mansour & Co. Ltd by Peter Cock in 1953/4, powered by a Jetex 5 oz thrust rocket motor  
  • 'Under the 1950s Christmas Tree' - some of the Eagle and Girl inspired items that might have been received by children as Christmas gifts in the 1950s
  • 'Howard Corn (1943-2016)' - an obituary of the originator and Editor in Chief of Eagle Times, who was also one of its major contributors
  • 'Eulogy for Howard' - the words spoken by Bob Corn at his brother Howard's funeral on 18th November 2016
  • 'In and Out of the Eagle' - some more in the series presenting collections of Eagle-related snippets
  • 'Alien Flora and Fauna in Dan Dare' - on the various plants and creatures that inhabited the worlds of Dan Dare in Eagle
  • 'Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures' - a review of the first set of Dan Dare Audio Adventures from Big Finish and B7 Media
  • 'Enlightening' - a review of the exhibition on comics which is at the Lightbox Gallery in Woking, Surrey, from October to the end of December, 2016, and the talk given by Frank Hampson's son, Peter, on 8th October
  • 'Eric MacKenzie (c.1949-2015) - on the man who started the Dan Dare Club, through a letter to Eagle published in 1964 and would later produce the 'Dan Dire' parody in Comic Media News International in the 1970s and from 2004, in Spaceship Away.
  • 'Remembering All Treens Must Die!' - a relook at 'Dan Dare' strip drawn by Keith Watson that ran in Eagle from June - October, 1964
  • 'Children's Annuals of the 1970s' - a look at some of the children's annuals published in the 1970s, after Eagle's demise, but still in Eagle Annual's times (the original series of Eagle Annual appeared up to 1975)  
  • 'The "New" Bakehouse' - a look  at the former bakehouse that was Eagle's and Dan Dare's first studio and which has recently been renovated 
  • 'Space Quiz' - An illustrated quiz with artwork by former Dan Dare artist and writer Eric L. Eden, which originally appeared in Supercar Annual 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Dan Dare - A Brief History

Courtesy of the Big Finish site and YouTube, this short video presents a history of Dan Dare through his various incarnations, leading to today's release of Dan Dare The Audio Adventures Volume 1

There is an article about the making of the series in Big Finish's e-magazine, Vortex, issue 94, which can be downloaded from their site by clicking the image below.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Howard Corn (1943-2016)

Howard Corn in April 2016
 The Eagle Society Gathering at Sevenoaks, Kent

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death on 2 November of Howard Corn, Editor-in-Chief of Eagle Times and one of its major contributors, at the age of 73 years. 

Howard was born in Cheshire on 23 June 1943. His father was a cattle farmer, and Howard spent the first 23 years of his life on various farms across the country, which resulted in a disrupted schooling, as the family moved from one farm to another. 

He was six years old, nearing seven, when a bright new magazine for children hit the newsstands on 14 April 1950. He read Eagle from Number 1 and, though it was not his sole interest, Eagle was destined to have a major impact on his life. Unlike most Eagle readers at the time, his favourite strip was not 'Dan Dare' but, rather, 'The Adventures of PC49'. The western strip 'Jeff Arnold in the Riders of the Range' would become another firm favourite. Both these stories had started life as radio shows, which were listened to by the young Howard Corn.

The first that many of us fellow Eagle enthusiasts knew of Howard was following his attendance at the Eagle Conference, held in London in 1980 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the birth of Eagle. His first contribution to Eagle fan literature was 'A History of PC49' for the Eagler magazine, serialised over three issues from 1983 to 1985. In 1985 Howard hosted a mini-con for Eagle fans at his home in Northampton. There would be another in Kidderminster the following year, followed by an Eagle Dinner at Bosham in 1987, which started a tradition for Eagle Society Annual Gatherings that has continued to the present.

When Eagler announced a new magazine, Eagle Days, in 1987, Howard became Assistant Editor of the new magazine, and one of its major contributors. As well as writing under his own name Howard would write anonymously or use pen-names. Eagle Day's first issue, Spring 1986, would see the first part of 'Jeff Arnold: A History' written under the pen-name Cowhand Horn, a name chosen due to Howard's cattle farming background and his penchant for westerns. The series would appear in all seven issues of Eagle Days

Without Howard, there would have been no Eagle Times. Following the collapse of Eagle Days in 1987, Howard instigated an emergency meeting of like-minded fans at the Westminster Central Hall Comic Mart and afterwards at a nearby cafe, presenting copies of an Eagle Times pilot issue entirely produced by himself. His enthusiasm ensured that an Eagle Times editorial team was swiftly created, with Howard fully at the helm. The first Eagle Times was published in the Spring of 1988, a quarterly journal for the Eagle Society that has had a regular, unbroken run to the present. There have been some changes over the years, but the enduring factor has been Howard. Howard's dedication to Eagle Days and Eagle Times surely stands as a publishing record for fanzines. His editorial hand has been on no less than 116 issues of Eagle Times, every one of which has had more than one article written by him under his own name or one of several pen-names, including: Cowhand Horn, Harold Harpole, James Howard and Jon Johnson. He had a great knowledge of Eagle and its creators, its companion papers (Swift, Girl and Robin) and wrote about these and other 1950/60s publications, including Express Weekly, Rocket, and Lion. He was also a great ambassador for and promoter of the Eagle Society, seeking out and building links with the original contributors and creators of Eagle, and with provincial news media.

Howard showed a great commitment to others, running a youth club in his younger days (like his fictional hero, PC49) and over his lifetime, he donated enough pints to the National Blood Service to fill a milk-float. His other interests included Speedway and Grasstrack racing; he had a love of music, and would often attend Country Music festivals. He was a member of the Cambridge Comics and Story Paper Club (otherwise known as the Cambridge Old Boys' Book Club) and in the 1980s he contributed articles about cowboy movies to their publications. Until he retired from his day job, Howard was a book company representative, and travelled widely across East Anglia and South East England servicing Christian bookshops for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). 

He had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, and whilst he had informed those closest to him and the Editorial Team, it was through the letters page of Eagle Times (published at the end of September this year), that most of our readers were made aware, when he wrote "to thank all the members of the Society who sent me get well cards and best wishes after I was was diagnosed with lung cancer." He was optimistic, as he expressed his appreciation for the thoughts and prayers of members, and he remained so throughout. He described his labour of love on Eagle Times as therapeutic, and was working on it very shortly before he died. Most of the content for 2016's last issue had already been been planned by Howard, and this Christmas will see the completion of 29 years of Eagle Times. Latterley, Howard had wished to see Eagle Times reach a full 30 years of publication, and it is the intention of the Eagle Times Editorial Team to endeavour that it does.

Our sympathies go out to his family and friends, particularly his wife Rosemary, his second wife whom he married in 1992.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Days of Future Past

The Dan Dare Radio Station, circa 1954

Here's a nice short documentary, Days of Future Past, featuring the Dan Dare Radio Station.

It was made by Larry Hall, who takes "a look at a piece of iconic Dan Dare memorabilia. This is the Dan Dare Radio Station, manufactured in or around 1954 by Randalls under their Merit brand. Although it has Dan Dare likenesses and logos on it, there's some doubt as to whether it was officially sanctioned by the Eagle, the magazine that published the adventures of Dan Dare, Pilot Of The Future, and drawn initially by Frank Hampson".

And here's the link to Larry's original post on YouTube

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Martin Aitchison (1919-2016)

The well-known and respected Eagle and Ladybird Books artist, Martin Aitchison, died peacefully on 22 October 2016 at the age of 96. He had a full life, remaining fit and well until 6 months before his death. He will be best, and most fondly, remembered by Eagle readers as the artist who drew the strip 'Luck of the Legion' from 1952 until 1961.

Born in Birmingham in 1919, after an early education at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, he attended Birmingham School of Art and the Slade School of Art. During World War II he enrolled with Vickers Aircraft at Weybridge, Surrey, as a technical illustrator and afterwards he became a free-lance commercial artist. 

His first published work was for Hulton Press' Lilliput. This was followed by work for Girl, when he was called upon to fill in for artist Ray Bailey on two pages of 'Kitty Hawk', and to draw 'Flick - and the Vanishing New Girl' for Girl Annual No 1

He became one of Eagle's major non-'Dan Dare' artists. For nine years he produced weekly strip artwork for 'Luck of the Legion', which was scripted by Geoffrey Bond. 'Luck of the Legion' was one of the few strips in Eagle that had the same artist throughout its run. He also drew for Swift and Swift Annual. When 'Luck' was dropped from Eagle, Martin drew a further three strips for Eagle, plus one for Eagle Annual, before leaving in 1963 to work for Ladybird Books. He became one of their principal artists and produced artwork for around 70 titles, until 1990. 

For members of the Eagle Society, their first acquaintance with the man, rather than his work, was when in 1996, Martin attended an Eagle Society Annual Dinner at Sparsholt, as Guest of Honour.

From 1998, although "retired", he teamed again with writer Geoffrey Bond and drew 'Justin Tyme - Ye Hapless Highwayman', a humorous strip, which ran for over 5 years in Eagle Times.

There is a list of Martin's Eagle work and references on our earlier blogpost: Eagle Artists - Martin Aitchison (from which some of this post has drawn).