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Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations Manual (Owner's Workshop Manual) (Haynes Owners' Workshop Manuals) Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013
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About the Author
Rod Barzilay grew up with Dan Dare and Eagle magazine and is a lifelong enthusiast. In 2003 he launched Spaceship Away magazine, which features new Dan Dare stories illustrated in the original style along with other sci-fi stories. Graham Bleathman, an illustrator famous for his detailed cutaway drawings, has previously provided artwork for the Haynes Thunderbirds Manual and two Wallace & Gromit Cracking Contraptions Manuals.
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The book is stuffed full of cutaways (I suppose it was a bit unrealistic to expect them all to be colour) of spacecraft from Dan's adventures over past decades. The illustrator Graham Bleathman has done a brilliant job creating these vehicles and a really nice touch is that they not super slick digital images as you would expect from, say, Daniel Simon but sort of up-to-date contemporary versions of those great Eagle centre-spread cutaways. All of them have numbers and captions explaining what everything does, there must be several hundred of these throughout the book.
Apart from the cutaways there are plenty of pages covering what's going on in space: Treen craft; alien identification; hand weapons, Space Fleet equipment; space stations; commercial craft (including one with pin-up nose art) and near the front of the book a couple of spreads with mug shots of the twenty-five leading characters, including Digby's aunt Anastasia.
Overall a lovely bit of nostalgia for those of a certain age.
***LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
But for the sale price it's great stuff.
It shows just how good the original Eagle comic was, each relaunch of the comic or the Dan Dare stories getting progressively lower, in quality of the artwork and poorer in story line.
A real tour down nostalgia lane.
My only complaint is not about the book, but that it took a second attempt to get the order to me, still not heard what happened to the first one just disappeared once it was in the hands of the delivery (well none delivery) service.
Space suits, weapons alien races and the major characters are well covered, and the history of the Space Fleet is very convincingly described. As might be expected, the author is well-versed in the Dan Dare canon, and readers will get a great deal of pleasure from the text.
It was a pleasant surprise to re-live the days of Dan Dare, Digby, Sondar the Treen, and of course the evil Mekon. It was even more surprising to see how futuristic the author's ideas were 60 years ago. Well done Haynes!
The invention of Frank Hampson, the lead Creator/Artist at that time, just after WWII, was fantastic, just think, if the UK had continued with the Rocket projects, instead of being stopped by the bigger players. The ESA (European Space Agency) could have been first to the Moon! then maybe Mars! A better Future?