It was the spring 1995.
|'Kingfisher' Takes Off|
In the Command centre, Sir Hubert Guest, Controller of Spacefleet, conferred with Chief Pilot Colonel Dan Dare.
'Kingfisher‘s' launch was crucial for two reasons: firstly, a planet that had united under a single World Government, that had eliminated War and Disease, faced the onset of Famine for an expanding population on exhausted soil.
Kingfisher was launching for Venus which, under its impenetrable clouds, was believed to be an Earth-like planet, capable of growing the food that could sustain the human race.
Kingfisher had to succeed.
But two previous expeditions had failed, succumbing to explosions in space in the vicinity of the planet.
If this expedition were to meet a similar fate, Sir Hubert would resign rather than order more men be sacrificed in a fourth.
Dan Dare was fretting because, as Chief Pilot, at the young age of 27, he had been passed over for command of this mission.
His Chief, Sir Hubert, was a rocket flight veteran, part of the first landing on the Moon, the second man to walk on a surface not of Earth.
Sir Hubert Guest was born in 1943.
The boys who flocked in their almost-a-million to buy the first issue of the new, glorious, colorful comic, Eagle, were also mostly born around 1943.
Not only were they being offered a vision of a future, but the future held a similar problem to that which Britain still faced, five years after the Second World War: food rationing.
And each and every one of them might well grow up to be Sir Hubert Guest, and take part in adventures such as those which were to come.
Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future was to become one of the most popular and enduring characters ever to appear in British comics, and the only series to appear in every issue of Eagle from its debut in the color and excitement-starved 1950 and its dismal fade into oblivion and merger with Lion in 1969.
Though the series had been in reprint for over two years by that point, Dan Dare still appeared in every single issue.
He’d survived a long attempt by new owners, in 1962, to diminish his glory and diminish his audience, and had returned to the front cover solely through readers’ demands.
Nearly fifty years after his original demise, Dan Dare has been revived countless times, with differing degrees of success.
For the last ten years, a three-times a year magazine, 'Spaceships Away !', licenced to produce new stories set in the classical Fifties era, has added to the mythos, some of which has been drawn by artists who worked on the original series.
Despite the wish once expressed by his creator, Frank Hampson, in a very low state, Dan Dare will never lay down and die.