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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.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Eagle - How it began

The Eagle magazine was the brainchild of the Revd. Marcus Morris, the Southport Lancashire vicar who became its first Editor. Having engaged a young Southport-trained artist, Frank Hampson, and then others, in enlivening his parish magazine, The Anvil, and turning it from local church magazine to a nationally distributed periodical, he sought Hampson’s assistance in creating a Christian-based comic strip. The idea, fuelled by both men’s enthusiasm and Hampson’s artistic creativity, and not a little influenced by another man of the cloth (the Revd. Chad Varah), eventually resulted in not a comic strip but a complete magazine for boys. The Eagle, comprised a mix of comic strips, factual features and text stories. Rather than a Christian padre, as originally intended by Morris, the Eagle featured on its front cover the stirring science-fiction adventures in full colour of Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future. Inside it featured a variety of black-and-white, and colour, strips plus illustrated text stories and factual articles. The first “dummies” that sold the Eagle idea to its publishers, Hulton Press, were almost entirely the work of Frank Hampson, but soon a large team of writers and artists was needed to keep up with a weekly publication schedule.

There have been several fairly detailed accounts of the birth of Eagle, including (in order of publication):
  • Best of Eagle, compiled by Denis Gifford and edited by Marcus Morris, Michael Joseph and Ebury Press (1977). This contains in an Introduction, Marcus’ own account – which can be read online, courtesy of Nicholas Hill’s Eagle and Dan Dare site.
  • The Man Who Drew Tomorrow by Alastair Crompton, Who Dares Publishing (1985) is a Frank Hampson biography and the story of the Dan Dare studio, published the year of Hampson’s death.
  • Before I Die Again by The Revd. Chad Varah, Constable (1993), is the autobiography of 'Eagle’s third man'.
  • The Frank Hampson Interview by Alan Vince, Astral Publications (1994) records and updates an interview made by Alan with Frank Hampson in 1974. The interview has since been republished (further updated) in Dan Dare: The Voyage to Venus, part 2, Titan Books (2004).
  • Living with Eagles, by Sally Morris and Jan Hallwood, Lutterworth Press (1998), is a biography of Marcus Morris by two of his daughters.

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