Dan Dare in France

Dan Dair No. 1 Dan Dair No. 2
4 Jours pour Sauver la Planete (4 Days to Save the Planet) Humanoid Album (Dan Dare) Sept. 1983
DPE's Dan Dare Album 1 DPE's Dan Dare Album 2
French version of Sergeant Luck Takes Over French version of Carry On, Sergeant Luck

The French attitude to Dan Dare was somewhat mixed, probably because they had (and still do) so many home grown heroes to choose from that something so quintessentially English as Dan never really caught on. In fact the Eagle's companion comic for girls (Girl Comic) had a far better reception in France. (More on that here).

A short lived monthly comic called Dan Dair, (Publ. LUG) similar in size and format to the UK Picture Libraries, was published for 12 issues between April 1962 and March 1963 - see LUG Gallery. This was a digest size monthly comic containing three stories: Hampson’s Dan Dare, Storm Nelson by Richard Jennings and Edward Trice, and Kinowa, an Italian cowboy/indian strip drawn by Andrea Lavezzolo. An unidentified Italian artist drew the covers - possibly Franco Oneta who had started working on many projects for LUG in 1960. Publisher’s remainders were bound in sets of four with new covers and re-released as a Dan Dair Album, and numbered 1 to 3.

Interestingly, this was LUG’s first venture into SF, and it was not received very well. They re-printed the first three Dan Dare stories to appear : Dan Dare Pilot of the Future (nos 1-6) , The Red Moon Mystery (nos 6- 9), and Man from Nowhere (nos 9-12).

In 1977 the French publisher Les Humanoides Associes (famous for publishing Metal Hurant magazine) published Quatre Jours pour Sauvez la Planete (Four Days to Save The Planet). This was a large hardcover album that was originally printed in Italy in 1976 by Piero Dami, under the title Dan Dare:L'eroe del Cosmos and featured various Dan Dare stories from the Eagle Annuals.    

Other album style Dan Dare stories were published sporadically. Publisher DPE released a book that appeared in three different formats and was based on the UK Hamlyn edition of Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future (1981 - which in turn had re-printed Dan Dare stories from the Eagle Annuals). The French publisher took the Hamlyn original and re-printed half of it as Dan Dare Pilote du Futur Vol. 1 (1982) and the second half as Dan Dare Pilote du Futur Vol. 2 (1982). They also released a full (single edition) version as Dan Dare Pilote du Futur (1983). All were softcovered, with coloured strips. Stories published:

The Men of PSATP

The Eagle with Two Heads

The Fire in the Sky

Operation Triceratops

The Gold Satellite

The Invisible Enemy

Also in 1983 Les Humanoides Associes released a second album called, yes you guessed it, Dan Dare Pilote du Futur.

Other Eagle characters proved equally as popular in France as Dan himself. Two novels by Geoffrey Bond featuring Luck of the Legion, were republished in the series Signe de Piste. These were called Tigres de Chaï-Fang (1968 - Sergeant Luck Takes Over) and La Garrison Fantôme (1969 - Carry On, Sergeant Luck). Signe de Piste was a very popular and long running series in France that published Scouting stories. By the sixties they started to reprint such popular UK authors as John Robb and Geofrey Bond (much to the latters surprise when he eventually found this out). The novels were released in both softback and hardback (with dustwrapper) at the same time. The veteran artist of Signe de Piste was Pierre Joubert who died in October 2003.

An as yet unconfirmed rumour has it that Dan Dare also appeared in a paperback novel (by Basil Dawson?) published by LUG (who had released Dan Dair) during the 1960's. This apparently bears the astonishingly un-original title Dan Dare - Pilote du Futur.

Frank Hampson's story Road of Courage about the life of Christ, was also published in album format under the title Jésus du Nazareth (Lombard - 1983).

Various French comics reprinted Eagle stories, notably Pilote, famous for its stories of Herge'sTin Tin and Giraud's Blueberry.

    Jeff Arnold (Riders of the Range: Pilote 1961 - 1963);
    Frank Bellamy's Frazer l'Africain (Fraser of Africa: Pilote Nr.88 (29th June 1961)- Nr. 100 (21st September 1961));
    Winston Churchill - Histoire d'un lion (The Happy Warrior: Pilote Nr. 152 (20th September 1962) - Nr. 198 (8th August 1963));
    Marco Polo (Marco Polo: L'Intrepide-Hurrah! Nr. 588 (1st February 1961) - Nr. 595 (1st April 1961)).

And finally, for Dan Dare completists, the Corgi Dan Dare car that was advertised in Corgi's 1981 catelogue, but never actually sold in Britain WAS sold in France, although even there it is still scarse.

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