Dan Dare in Spain

Dan Dare Spanish Incarnations
1952, ALCOTAN published by Cliper. 12 issues: size 18 x 26 cms
1954, DIEGO VALOR 1st series published by CID. 124 issues: size 21 x 10 cms. See gallery.
1955, DIEGO VALOR ALMANAQUE 2055 published by CID. 1 issue: size 21 x 10 cms.
1956, DIEGO VALOR 2nd series published by CID. 44 issues: size 21 x 16 cms
1957, DIEGO VALOR published by CID. 3 extra editions: size 21 x 16 cms
1979, DAN DARE published by DALMAU. 15? issues: size 10 x 27 cms
1986, DIEGO VALOR published by Ibercomic-Man. 20 issues. Reprint facsimile of the first 20 CID series of 1954.

If one looks at the Spanish comic guides you will find no entries for Dan Dare until 1979, when Dan Dare was published by Dalmau Socias of Barcelona. This comic featured reprints from the new 2000 AD Dan Dare rather than the original, so we will draw a veil over this.

The Gran Mekong, Beatriz Fontana and Commander Diego Valor.

However, the full history of Dan in Spain is quite interesting. Back in 1953 the Spanish radio station Cadena SER started airing the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare series, with Spanish actors taking over the roles - Eduardo Lacueva and Joaquín Peláez both played Diego. The series proved a success, but seeking a more Iberian content, the British scripts were dropped and the Dan Dare character was given a name change - becoming Diego Valor. The series was a huge success and eventually went off the air in 1958 after 1200 performances.

What follows is a synopsis from the first adventure of Diego Valor:

Commander Diego Valor was born in Madrid, Spain in 2000, (a hero admired by all of humanity - wow!), who undertakes a trip to Venus. Amongst the crew members (including the American Portolés and the Frenchman Laffite) there is a woman, Beatriz Fontana, and although his relation with Fontana starts on an antagonistic note, Valor soon finds himself falling for this exceptional companion who is so different from the other women of her time. The Fontana character does not limit herself to the role of passive companion to the hero, but takes an active part in the plot and is an intelligent and able woman (scientist and space pilot), and demands complete equality with the men of the crew.

On Venus the terrestrial travellers find three races: the brutal Wiganes, led by the Gran Mekong, who dominate practically the whole planet; the Artiles, more intelligent but little equipped for war, who resist - with difficulty - the attempts of conquest by the Wiganes; while the Atlantes, a third race of terrestrial origin, are in a worse situation, as they are the slaves of the Wiganes. Diego Valor places himself on the side of the Artiles and with their collaboration defeats the Wiganes after a great battle on the Moon. But it does not stop there and Commander Diego Valor and his pals have many more adventures throughout the Solar System......

Sound familiar?

Diego and Beatriz Fontana in an obvious "State of Alarm".

The first Diego Valor comic (Publ. Editorial Cid) was released a year after the radio series began on 20th June 1954 and ran until March 1956 (a total of 124 weekly issues). The following year Editorial Cid released Diego Valor 2nd series, which ran for another 44 issues until closing in 1958. These were all drawn by Bayo (Braulio Rodriguez Ferran) and Buylla (Adolfo Alvarez-Buylla Aguelo) with original stories by Jarber (Enriques JarnÚs Bergua). These comics were in the format generally refered to as "piccolo" - that is to say small oblong editions, which are still very popular in Germany and Italy.

Aided by the radio series as well as the comic book, the series was a phenomenal success and spawned several stage productions, a television series, as well as records, cards and toys. As both the radio series and the comic finished in 1958, one ponders on the symbiotic affect that one had on the other.

Ibercomic-Man of Madrid tried a revival in 1986, with a Diego Valor monthly comic. This folded a year later with issue 20.

Whilst perhaps not being strictly Dan Dare, the inspiration and pedigree for this popular character are rooted in the Dan Dare tradition.

As a footnote, the Diego Valor comics were translated and distributed in Germany.

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