Friday 18 March 2011

The spaceship explodes


Art by Frank Hampson, assisted by Don Harley, Eagle volume 6 #21. 27 May, 1955

I knew I wanted a British image fairly early. And I knew it had to be something by Hampson from Dan Dare. Dare's place in the British cultural landscape has slipped a long way in recent years, alongside other similar icons such as Action Man and Blue Peter, but in the strip's heyday of the 1950's and 1960's Hampson and Dare were influential in the development of the British landscape, both culturally and literally.

Hampson's art here is probably a little rigid, there's a slight lack of movement in the scene, and the energy is hampered somewhat by the colouring and the stars detailed in the background. On the plus side of the ledger we are treated to Hampson's iron grip on draughtsmanship and perspective. He captures the total directionality of space with thrusts from the blast in every direction and smaller spaceships adding grounding to contrast with the silver cigar fired at the reader. The caption placements are impeccable too, one over the art and one under. A solidly constructed image working hard to draw the reader into the story.


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