Friday, 18 September 2015
The Eagle (1990)
The Eagle with it's main star Dan Dare is probably one of the most famous comics ever produced. Although the original title had been merged with Lion (back in the seventies), Dan Dare had survived both in that comic until the merger with Valiant and then was revived for 2000AD.
When the new Eagle was launched in 1982 Dare came home. I do recall picking up some of those early issues but was not impressed with the "photo stories" that were originally used in "girls" comics to great effect. They were eventually phased out as the editors realised these didn't appeal to their mostly male readership.
However by the nineties the Eagle was one of the few surviving boys comics. The boom in the American comics industry which was taking place after comics "grew up" with Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Millers Dark Knight was matched by the sad decline of the British comics industry.
By this time the Eagle had absorbed several other comics including the short lived Scream, the long running Tiger, Battle and the much newer Mask and Wildcat. The writing was on the wall.
Like many others I had given up on British comics and for a while even took a break from collecting American comics as reckless cashing in on comics popularity and the money grabbing speculators wrecked the hobby.
I recall being mightily pissed off by someone picking up the last two copies of a comic in The Forbidden Planet (then in Denmark Street) when he only really needed one. The other was to wrap in plastic and gamble on it increasing in price.
The Eagle was very much an anthology which I probably appreciate more now as an oldie than I did back then. Like many men I seem to be going through my "second childhood"!
There were eight strips in the Eagle at this time leading off with Computer Warrior which seems to have drawn in readers who were featured in the story based on computer games. Never been one for games consoles but these things are very popular and have probably contributed to the decline of the comics market.
Next up was Toys of Doom. I just love tales involving toys coming to "life" through evil machinations. There had been others, this one involved more "nineties" toys whilst the others seemed to mechanise those old Airfix kits we all used to build.
There was a strip called Storm Force whose origins I would guess might be from Mask (open to information from readers on this) and the gritty Charley's War set in the trenches of World War One and a survivor from Battle.
Dan Dare got the colour treatment in the centre and back pages with a tale of a crashed UFO in the shires of England. There be monsters!
Doomlord, a creation for the new Eagle continued. I always found him a wee bit to omnipotent, but his popularity was clear. Rounding off with the rather bizarre Rat Trap in which readers were invited to send in ideas on how to catch this rodent based criminal.
The last story featured Loner, a strip from Wildcat slugging it out with bandits on some god forsaken planet..
One last thing I noticed was that Max, the computer from The Thirteenth Floor (an excellent feature in Scream!) had become the "Editor".
The Eagle was to remain a weekly comic until May 1991 when in a last ditch attempt to save it, became a monthly.
Sadly even that came to an end with an issue cover dated January 1st 1994.