Dan Dare in Italy

Disco Volante Nr.1 (10 Jan 1954)
Il Giorno dei Ragazzi
Willy West strip by Nevio Zeccara
Jeff Arnold comic
L'Avventuroso
L'Avventuroso Colore - 1977

The first appearance of Dan Dare in Italy, and indeed the first foreign language edition anywhere, ran from the 10th January to 16th March 1954 in a short lived comic (only 10 issues) called Disco Volante (Flying Saucer). Dan appeared in his usual front page spot, whilst Luke (Luck of the Legion) and Jeff (Riders of the Range) were also included. The familiar "red box" on the cover had a picture of a flying saucer rather than the familiar eagle.

The longest running Dan Dare strip appeared in a weekly comic called Il Giorno dei Ragazzi (The Day of the Children) from March 1957 to December 1968 - a total of 549 editions. This superbly produced comic was actually a weekly give-away with the daily newspaper Il Giorno (The Day), hence no price was ever indicated on the cover. It was inserted inside each Thursday's edition for over 11 years, which must in itself be a world record for a continuous free comic paper. The quality of the paper used, the reproduction, the inking and general attention to detail are absolutely top notch and would have made even Marcus Morris happy.

Dan was the front page lead until the end of 1963 when a home grown space hero called Willy West took over. This was rather a well drawn strip by Italian artist Nevio Zeccara, but was an obvious attempt to emulate Dan - the style and settings were very close to Hampson's vision - and after 6 months Willy disappeared, and Dan returned for the rest of the run. Nevio Zeccara, however, went on to draw Battler Britton and Phantom Force 5 (in Buster) for the Fleetway Group (see biography).

Il Giorno dei Ragazzi featured many of the Eagle's components, including exploded drawings, Jeff Arnold (Riders of the Range), Luck (Luck of the Legion), Kid Tempesta (Storm Nelson) and many others. As usual the British humour strips like Harris Tweed did not translate well, and were never included, replaced instead by home grown comical strips, such as the very popular Cocco Bill.

News of this comic must surely have reached the ears of British toy makers J & R Randall (trading as Merit) who produced a number of Dan Dare related toys for the UK market during the 1950's and early 1960's. Merit's Dan Dare toys were also marketed in Italy and still turn up from time to time. The box art (drawn by British artist Walt Howarth) was exactly the same as the British original, only the text was translated.

As if this was not enough Riders of the Range was also re-printed in Italy in the sixties. Jeff Arnold featured original artwork by Humpris, and was presented in a pocket-book format with colour covers, and alternate pages in colour. This ran for 34 monthly issues between 4th August 1963 and 15th June 1964.

Following the demise of Il Giorno dei Ragazzi there was a brief Eagle hiatus, until Edizioni Boss Periodici of Milan started a series called L'Avventurosso (The Adventure) in 1973. Unfortunately this is not an easy series to document as you will see from what follows. There were actually eight different versions of L'Avventurosso published during the 1970's, and these took their name from an earlier series of comics published in the 1930's. I have documented them beneath:

L'Avventurosso (March- December 1973 - 6 issues)
Black and white reprints of various popular strips, Bellamy's Garth, Caniff's Steve Canyon etc. No Dan Dare or Eagle content.

L'Avventuroso Gigante, (January-July 1974 - 6 issues). Again there was no Dan Dare or Eagle content. Measuring 18.5 by 13 inches and containing both colour and black and white pages. The Trigan Empire (Laurence/Butterworth) was featured on the front page with such strips as Bob Morane, Steve Canyon, Radio Patrol and Jerry Spring inside.

L'Avventurosso - new series (1975 - 12 issues) Issued as black and white stories within coloured card covers. Dan Dare reprints as well as Bellamy's Garth, Holdaway's Romeo Browne, Alfred Mazure's (MAZ) Jane - Daughter of Jane as well as Paul Temple. All in all a nice publication.

L'Avventuroso Colore Gigante (1975 - 8 issues). No details known.

L'Avventuroso Mensile (monthly), (September-October 1976 - 2 issues). No details known.

L'Avventuroso Mensile - new series (monthly), (November 1976 - October 1977 - 12 issues). No details known.


L'Avventuroso Colore
(1977 - 12 issues)
This was, in my opinion, the best of the lot. These comics were not bound at all (not even a staple). The glossy colour paper was inserted loosely into card covers so that the Dan Dare story, for example, could be taken out and placed with the proceeding weeks issue to form a complete run of one character/story. So what one had was basically pages 1 and 2 of the particular Eagle adventure with the two pages from the next weeks Eagle adventure (think of it as removing an Eagle cover and then having Dan on all the pages). One of the quirks of this endeavour was that ONLY the story text was translated, leaving the top banner "Britain's Number One Paper" and "On Sale Every Friday - 3d" intact. The danger about collecting them today is that one can never be sure that the stories inside were originally from that particular number. Other strips featured in glorious colour were: Axel Munshine, The Trigan Empire and Blueberry.

L'Avventuroso Grandi Albi (September 1973-January 1974 - 5 issues)

Issue 2 - November 1973 - reprinted the whole of The Red Moon Mystery in colour, but without Eagle logos, thus pre-dating the Dragon's Dream reprints by several years.

Issue 4 - January 1974 - reprinted the whole of Safari in Space in colour, but without Eagle logos, thus pre-dating the Dragon's Dream reprints by several years.

These two stories were reprinted together in a special one-off 130 page album called Super Albo de L'Avventuroso in July 1974.

All this is very confusing, and although I have some copies of the above, I am still trying to work out exactly what is what.

Dan Dare appeared in his own annual in 1976 (Dan Dare - L'eroe del Cosmos), this was a reprinting of the UK IPC Dan Dare Annual of 1974. A year late the French publishers Les Humanoides Associes would republish it as Quatre jours pour Sauver la Planete. Dan also featured in a tremendous book called Almanaco della Fantascienza in 1998. This was a generalised look at SF stories, unfortunately all the stories were published in black & white, but the overall effect was still very good. Other stories included in this volume were Space Masters, Dr. Who, and Star Wars. Only 800 copies of this book were printed for ANAFI members (Associazione Nazionale Amici del Fumetto / National Association of Friends of the Comic) and is quite hard to come by.


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Last updated :
16/06/17

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