Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Seasonal Spaceship Away!
Issue 22 of Britain's thrice-a-year SF comic Spaceship Away was published recently and sadly it's the last one that editor Rod Barzilay will be dealing with. The comic isn't going away though. From next year Desmond Shaw will be taking over distribution from issue 23, although Rod will still be handling back issues. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Rod for all the hard work he's spent on the comic over the past several years. It's a great achievement that he can be proud of.
Rod certainly bows out with a sensational issue, with an increased content to 52 pages, a wraparound cover by Ian Kennedy, a seven page feature by Don Harley and much more. For me, the Don Harley article was the highlight of the issue, as it focuses on Don's clear recollections of working on Eagle in the 1950s and 1960s, accompanied with the corresponding images that he mentions drawing. There's a few new illustrations by Don as well!
Don's article is worth the cover price alone but there's plenty more besides that adds to the enjoyment of this issue. The long running original Dan Dare serial Green Nemesis reaches its conclusion and artist Tim Booth even supplies a retro Christmas Eagle cover for the final chapter. However, before Colonel Dan can catch his breath there's a new Dan Dare story, Parsecular Tales, starting in the same issue, with a huge 12 pages to kick it off.
Another serial beginning this issue is Shadow Over Britain! - a Jet Morgan reprint from Express Weekly in the 1950s. There's also an item by Pat Mills on his recollections of working on the Dan Dare strip in the 1980s with a new page illustrated by Gerry Embleton.
If that wasn't enough Dan Dare for you there's a reprint of episode one of the Syd Jordan / Theyan Rich Dan Dare strip from the ill-fated Planet on Sunday newspaper (it lasted one issue!) plus the unpublished artwork to chapters 2 and 3.
There's also a dose of light relief with two strips from the pen of Ray Aspden, Our Bertie and Mikki. Good stuff as always. (For some reason Ray thinks I dislike his work and I've never found out why he would think that. It's good quality work and Our Bertie in particular manages to capture the right feel of a classic humour strip.)
The classic Frank Bellamy Garth strip The Bubble Man continues, nicely coloured by John Ridgway. Sadly the strips have once again been "narrowed" to fit the page proportions which gives a distracting distortion to the artwork. I found myself thinking of the old joke "Why the long face?" whilst reading it.
Add a 1950 Rocket Ship Cutaway by Bruce Cornwell, a brief interview with Rian Hughes, a Mekon's Flying Chair cutaway by Don Harley and Graham Bleathman and an item about current Dan Dare artist Tim Booth and you have a very fine issue indeed. Copies can be ordered from the Spaceship Away website here: