Eagle (1960s)

a.k.a.: Eagle and Swift; Eagle and Boy's World

Publisher: Hulton Press; later Longacre, then Odhams, finally I.P.C.

Format: Weekly anthology comic

First Issue: 14th April 1950

Last Issue: 26th April 1969 (#991 or Vol.20, #17)

Absorbed: Merry Go-Round (as of Vol.1, #1 - 14th April 1950),  Swift (as of Vol.14, #10 - 9th March 1963), Boys' World (as of Vol.15, #41 - 10th October 1964)

Absorbed into:  Lion (3rd May 1969)

Strips: Because its creator, Reverend Marcus Morris, wanted Eagle to be more educational than other comics, many Eagle strips, especially in its early days, were educational or instructional. Several of these early strips were also only a page or half page, so that the earliest issues are jam-packed with a surprising number of strips covering the widest range of topics. The first issue alone has twenty different stories and strips squeezed into only 20 pages of comic.

Strips below are listed as close to debut order as I can figure out, and with a list of issues they appeared in, again as far as I have been able to piece it together.

Comments: Created by Reverend Marcus Morris, who sought to create more wholesome fare for British youths than the American comics that were coming across the Atlantic. Thus Eagle featured not only adventure and humour strips, like many British comics of the era, but also bible tales, historical and biographical dramas, educational strips on science, sport, and nature, model-making advice, and in the centre pages an ongoing series of impressive cutaway drawings of vehicles and machinery, one of the magazine's longest running and most memorable features. The unquestionable star of the comic was interplanetary pilot Dan Dare, created by Frank Hampson. Dare was Eagle's cover star for the majority of its 19 year run, and his eventual departure from the front page was arguably the first sign of the once-great comic's decline.

A mock-up for the first issue shows that Dare was initially conceived of as being a space chaplain; of the other strips showcased on the cover, only The Great Adventurer made it to the final, published version of the comic.

Issue numbers reset each year, so after the first 52 issues the next issue was Vol.2, #1. Because Eagle had launched in April, for the first three volumes April was the month where the numbering changed; however, Vol. 4 only had 38 issues, so that Vol. 5 could start with the first issue of January 1954.

Volume 4 No.1, cover dated 10th April 1953; up to this point, prior volumes, including vol.3 ended with No.52 in early April

The last issue of Vol.4, No. 38, ending with the year 1953 and the 24th December

The first issue of Vol.5, the first volume whose first issue also coincided with the new year's start.

Unusual for most British comics, Eagle also enjoyed a number of tie-in novels related to various series (the only other British comic I know to have done this is 2000AD).

Ironically Eagle is the only U.K. title which can be considered to have incorporated itself - Eagle was absorbed into Lion in 1969. In 1974, Lion in turn became part of Valiant, which was itself absorbed into Battle in 1976. In 1988 Battle breathed its last, and was in turn absorbed into the new version of Eagle, effectively coming home.

After Egmont Fleetway and IPC were split into separate companies and similarly split their ownership of their comic characters in the mid-1990s, many of the Eagle (old and new) characters became the property of the Dan Dare Corporation. The exceptions, who belonged to Egmont and have now, as of August 2016, been sold to Rebellion, appear to be those strips that began in other titles which subsequently merged with Eagle - so, for example, The Thirteenth Floor, which originated in Scream.

More on Eagle.

Superhuman Characters

Blackbow the Cheyenne

Dan Dare

The Mekon

The Iron Man

Tommy Walls


Billy Binns

The Waxer

Nick Hazard

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