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 an A4, 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, 23 March 2022


Only a small number of artists and a single writer worked on both the original EAGLE and the 1980s revival. This was principally because of the thirteen year gap between the end of the original and the start of the new version. The writer was Tom Tully, who wrote Heros the Spartan for the original between 1962 and 1966 and some Guinea Pig stories. He   wrote Thunderbolt and Smokey, Robo Machines, The Avenger, the later adventures of Dan Dare's great great grandson and subsequently the adventures of the original Dan for the 1980s EAGLE.

The work of three of the artists was featured in the very first edition of the 1980s version, despite the fact that there were only two illustrated strips and one that was partly illustrated as the others were photo strips. Gerry Embleton illustrated the Dan Dare strip, having illustrated a few episodes of the Riders of the Range adventure Last of the Fighting Cheyenne in the original in 1961. He also illustrated a four page strip about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called The Royal Riders for the EAGLE Annual 1963. The second artist whose work appeared in the first issue was Jose Ortiz, who drew The Tower King. He had illustrated most of the U.F.O. Agent / Smokeman saga for the original EAGLE from 1966 - 1968 and then Sky Buccaneers, the strip which replaced it. For the 1980s EAGLE he also drew The House of Daemon, The Fifth Horseman, News Team, The Thirteenth Floor (initially in Scream but then for 130 episodes in EAGLE), Survival, Kid Cops and Kitten Magee (initially in Wildcat but then in EAGLE). The final artist was the veteran Ron Smith who drew part of The Collector, a photo strip which included some illustrated aliens! These were drawn by Smith, who later drew MASK and Wildcat for those comics which were subsequently absorbed into EAGLE and he continued to draw some of those strips for EAGLE. He also drew a single page feature Max's Fly Game for the EAGLE Annual 1987. His contribution to the original EAGLE was a series of half page strips about Sporting Personalities which appeared right back in 1950! He signed his work on this strip as 'Ross' and I am grateful to Richard Sheaf and David Slinn, who identified him as artist.

The prolific artist John M. Burns illustrated Wrath of the Gods for Boys' World and then for its final six episodes in the original EAGLE when the two papers combined. He also drew a few non fiction strips for the original, including several instalments of Bids for Freedom. For the 1980s EAGLE he drew The Fists of Danny Pike, Dolebusters and a single Dan Dare adventure. Luis Bermejo, who illustrated a Mann of Battle story in 1962 and several Heros the Spartan adventures between 1963 and 1966 for the original EAGLE, alternating with Frank Bellamy before taking over the strip, also drew two episodes of U.F.O. Agent in 1966. He later took over the News Team strip from Jose Ortiz after the first seven episodes, in the 1980s EAGLE. With Vicente Alcazar, Carlos Pino illustrated the final Guinea Pig story in EAGLE in 1969. Later he drew the second series of Bloodfang for the 1980s EAGLE and also some MASK strips, when EAGLE absorbed the MASK comic. 

Although he did not contribute to the original EAGLE weekly, Wilf Hardy drew covers for The EAGLE Book of Modern Wonders, published in 1958 and The EAGLE Book of Cars and Motor Sport, published in 1963, before illustrating Data Files, which were the equivalent of the old Cutaway Drawings in the early issues of the 1980s weekly. Jim Baikie drew the Dan Dare strip in the 1974 EAGLE Annual and illustrated the first series of Bloodfang which ran from issue 116 to 127 in the 1980s EAGLE.

When the original Dan Dare was revived for the 1980s EAGLE in 1989, Keith Watson, one of the original Dare artists from the 1950s and 60s EAGLE was employed to bring him back. He drew two full adventures and the first episode of a third. He had been employed as a member of Frank Hampson's team producing the Dan Dare strip from the mid fifties, before taking over the strip himself from 1962 until 1967. Another member of Frank Hampson's team, Don Harley, who joined in 1951, remained with the strip to assist Frank Bellamy when Hampson left in 1959 and took over the strip himself a year later, working with Bruce Cornwell until 1962. Although he did not produce any artwork for the 1980s EAGLE weekly, he illustrated a Dan Dare strip for the 1991 Dan Dare Annual. 

Finally, Ian Kennedy, who illustrated the Dan Dare strip in the 1980s EAGLE from 1982 - 1985 and later drew MASK and Wildcat strips when those comics were absorbed by EAGLE in 1988 and 1989 respectively, did not work on the original EAGLE weekly, but produced 'drop in' pictures for a text feature Quick on the Draw' for EAGLE Annual Number 5, produced in 1955. He was credited as Charles I. Kennedy for this work.  

Sunday, 20 March 2022


Today is the fortieth anniversary of the 1980s EAGLE, which was launched on March 20th 1982. Featuring the adventures of Dan Dare's great great grandson in strips illustrated by Gerry Embleton, Oliver Frey, Ian Kennedy, Carlos Cruz, John Gillatt and Manuel Carmona, it also included several photo strips in its first year, notably Doomlord, about an alien sent to judge humanity's right to exist. Unfortunately he judges us unfit, but is killed in an act of self sacrifice by the hero. A later Doomlord judges humanity favourably and becomes mankind's protector. Other strips included Sergeant Streetwise,about an undercover police officer and Manix, about an android working for British Intelligence. In a mostly successful effort to capture the spirit of the original EAGLE, it ran several features, such as a sports page and cutaway drawings of planes, tanks and other vehicles. From issue 79 the photo strips were wholly replaced by illustrated ones, with Doomlord, illustrated by Heinzl and then Eric Bradbury, continuing to be popular with readers. A later popular strip was Computer Warrior, in which a young boy was absorbed into his computer and forced to play computer games for real. Over the years EAGLE featured a wide range of strips. It ran school based stories, war stories, supernatural stories, sports based stories, superhero stories and even a western 

EAGLE ran until 1994, absorbing several other comics during its life. It absorbed Scream in 1984, Tiger in 1985, Battle in 1988, Mask in 1988 and Wildcat in 1989. 

(The picture above shows artists' agent Tony Kelleher as Dan Dare and the wrestler 'Big Daddy' with Pip Warwick's ceramic sculpture of the Mekon at the press launch of the 1980s EAGLE at the Waldorf Hotel on March 17th 1982)

In 1989 Dan Dare's great great grandson's adventures were replaced with new stories of the original Dan. Keith Watson, who had illustrated the strip in the original EAGLE, drew two stories and part of a third, which was completed by Andrew Skilleter. Keith Page, John Ridgway and John M. Burns also illustrated new Dan Dare strips before David Pugh took over as artist, with some stories drawn by Jon Haward.

By the late 1980s, the heyday of British comics was well and truly over, as young readers embraced computer games. The number of other comics that were merged into EAGLE reflects this decline. In May 1991 EAGLE changed from weekly to monthly and apart from new adventures of Dan Dare and Computer Warrior, was mainly filled with repeats of popular strips. These included Charley's War, the celebrated First World War strip which had come from Battle weekly when it merged with EAGLE. Finally in January 1994, EAGLE's last issue appeared and the decline in sales of comics is made clear by the fact that there was no similar publication for it to merge into. Apart from 2000 A.D. which by then was aimed at a much older audience, EAGLE was the last survivor.

Writers who worked on the 1980s version included Pat Mills, John Wagner, Tom Tully, Alan Grant, Alan Hebden, Fred Baker, Scott Goodall, Gerry Finley-Day and Barrie Tomlinson. Contributing artists not mentioned earlier included Rex Archer, Mike Western, Robin Smith, Sandy James, John Cooper, Carlos Ezquerra, Jose Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, Mike Dorey and Mike White. The 1980s EAGLE is fondly remembered today by its readership and celebrated by several Facebook groups and a regular podcast called Where EAGLES Dare, run by Dave Ronayne and Pete Adamson. There was also an excellent fanzine, EAGLE Flies Again produced by Ian Wheeler in the early years of this century.

Thursday, 3 March 2022


When EAGLE was absorbed into Lion in 1969, Dan Dare was joined by three other strips from EAGLE in the combined comic. These three were all recent arrivals in EAGLE, specially created for the merger. However, the front cover featured What Would You Do? which had also run on the front page of Boys' World,  the paper that EAGLE itself had taken over in 1964. The pictures were redrawn for Lion and the text was reduced and simplified, but they were exactly the same problems for readers to solve that had featured in Boys' World.  

As EAGLE's companion paper, Boys' World featured the work of many artists and writers who contributed to EAGLE. Artists included Frank Bellamy, Harry Lindfield, George Bowe, Roy Cross, Frank Humphris, Ron and Gerry Embleton, Eric Kincaid, Roland Fiddy, Reg Parlett, Luis Bermejo, Colin Andrew, Alexander Oliphant, Gerry Haylock and Brian Lewis. Martin Salvador, Bill Mainwaring and John M. Burns crossed over to EAGLE with The Iron Man, Billy Binns and Wrath of the Gods respectively, when the papers merged in October 1964.  

Writers who worked on both included Tom Tully, Ken Mennell, Edward Cowan, David Motton and Willie Paterson and the papers were both edited by Bob Bartholomew. There is evidence that the EAGLE and Boys' World merger was hurried and therefore enforced from above by the controlling Mirror Group. Nearly all the strips were in mid story when the merger took place and the combined paper briefly included eight colour pages to accommodate the already coloured Wrath of the Gods. The sixties EAGLE and Boys' World had both carried six colour pages and when Wrath of the Gods ended in EAGLE six episodes later, this situation was resumed.


In his autobiography Comic Book Hero, Barrie Tomlinson, the former Group Editor of Fleetway’s Boys’ Sports and Adventure Comics, who launched the 1980s EAGLE, describes starkly the attitudes of senior management to their publications in an anecdote about his apointment as editor of Tiger, earlier in his career: “I was the eager, enthusiastic new editor of Tiger comic. I had worked out lots of new ideas for the title. I rushed into the office of the managing editor and listed my plans for Tiger. A few minutes later, I left the office somewhat deflated, having been told ‘It’s only a comic!’”

Inspired by the example of the original EAGLE that he had read as a boy, Barrie established a Tiger Sports Star of the Year Award and signed famous sports stars to write for the paper. He also began to sign the editor’s letter to establish a real link with readers, as Marcus Morris had done in EAGLE, a practice prevously unknown in Fleetway’s comics.

When EAGLE was relaunched in 1982, Barrie again signed up famous names to write for it, as the original had done These included the athlete Daley Thompson and the disc jockey Mike Read. He also followed the original in introducing reader participation features. A popular one was the Glamorous Teacher feature, which would no doubt be considered sexist today! There was also Superdad, where readers would write about their special dads and Big Mouth,a chance for readers to sound off about issues that concerned them.  



The classic railway poster above was painted by the Italian artist Fortunino Matania and shows patrons leaving the Garrick Theatre in Southport, mentioned by Dan Dare in the original ‘Venus’ story in 1951. Matania’s work never appeared in EAGLE, but in 1973, four years after the original weekly folded, Fleetway published The EAGLE Book of Amazing Stories (dated for 1974) which was full of illustrations he had originally produced for Look and Learn. Matania's original painting can be seen in Southport's Atkinson Arts Centre.

After a decade when the only EAGLE related books were the EAGLE Annuals, 1973 also brought the 1974 Dan Dare Annual. Why Fleetway unexpectedly produced these books is unknown. Both were reprints, with the Dan Dare Annual consisting of heavily edited versions of The Red Moon Mystery and Safari in Space. The Dan Dare Annual was put together by former EAGLE editor Bob Bartholomew, who probably also edited the Amazing Stories volume. After EAGLE, he had edited World of Wonder magazine for Fleetway and would certainly be most familiar with and have access to Matania’s work. Amazing Stories only contains artwork by Matania, although all the pictures are black and white. The book also reprints the articles that accompanied them, which are famous events from history.  

Matania died in 1963, while still working on A Pageant of Kings for Look and Learn. In a busy life he had originally made his name producing illustrations for magazines in Italy and France and later Britain and America. He became famous for his detailed pictures of life in the trenches during the First World War and later for a range of historical scenes and his paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy.