Tuesday, 8 February 2022

IAN KENNEDY (1932 - 2022)

The popular Dan Dare artist Ian Kennedy has sadly died aged 89. Ian illustrated the strip for the 1980s EAGLE, taking over from Gerry Embleton in 1982 and quickly establishing himself as one of the greatest Dan Dare artists. He drew the adventures of the original Dan's great great grandson, but his work successfully captured the spirit of Frank Hampson's original. He also drew a strip for the 1979 Dan Dare  Annual featuring the 2000 A.D. version of Dan. He drew the original Dan on two occasions. First in several episodes of the 1986 EAGLE serial Nightmare on Dreamland, where the original Dan meets his great great grandson and then in a 1990 EAGLE Dan Dare Summer Special strip. Above are his interpretations of all three versions of the character. Highly regarded by fans of the 1950s EAGLE as well as the 1980s version, he was Guest of Honour at a memorable EAGLE Society's Gathering in his native Dundee in 2019, when he spoke with great enthusiasm about his work and visited all the tables at the Annual Dinner to talk with every group of attendees. At this meeting we discovered that he had actually made a contribution to the original EAGLE, producing 'drop in' illustrations for an article about the gunfighters of the Old West called Quick on the Draw, for EAGLE ANNUAL No. 5. using the name 'Charles I. Kennedy'.

Over more than seventy years Ian produced a huge body of work for D.C. Thomson's comics and magazines, who are based in his native Dundee. He became a freelance artist in 1954, continuing to produce art for Thomson's as well as Amalgamated Press (later Fleetway and I.P.C.) and other publishers. He drew strips for Thomson's Hotspur, Rover, Victor, Wizard, Judy, Bunty and Diana weekly titles among others and also their Commando, Red Dagger and Starblazer complete story comics. He produced the cover art for more than 1200 issues of Commando. For Amalgamated Press he illustrated several of their Picture Library titles, including Air Ace, War and Thriller. He also worked on Knockout, Buster and Lion. In the 1970s he produced strips for I.P.C.s Battle, Starlord and 2000 A.D. In the 1980s he drew the Blake's Seven strip for Marvel's magazine of the same name, before taking over Dan Dare. Later he worked on MASK and Wildcat comics, which merged with EAGLE. 

Ian's great love was aircraft and he was able to indulge his enthusiasm for illustrating them in his many contributions to comics. He was able to develop his expertise in drawing aircraft further in his science    fiction strips, including Dan Dare, where he designed convincing spacecraft and created exciting action scenes. He will be greatly missed.                                                                                      

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