SELLING EAGLE TO HULTON PRESS
DUMMY NUMBER TWO

In Spring 2008 Dominic Book Auctions in Cirencester offered for sale ten volumes (1950-60) of Eagle and Girl. Although provenance was unknown - the collection passed through several hands before going to auction - the comics were bought by London’s Cartoon Museum.

Unknown to the Museum (or the auctioneer) the lot also contained a copy of the second Eagle dummy, prepared to show Hulton Press the Eagle idea wasn’t just a ‘one-off’. The museum, surprised and delighted by their find, provided us in July 2008 with a copy of the dummy. The pages here are shown with their permission.

Eagle was substantially changed. It now had 12 pages, eight in colour. Out was the montage of characters on page one. In was the crimson masthead with giant lettering (FH’s line drawing of an eagle came later). Out was Chaplain Dan Dare. In was pilot/colonel Dare, plus batman. Still remaining were two pages of The Great Adventurer, the biblical story of the life of Paul of Tarsus. The secret city strip Rob Conway, was in colour (the final version was black and white).

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Who instigated the changes we don’t know. It’s possible Hulton gave Hampson and Morris advice on what would be an effective masthead and front cover. It’s possible they thought Hampson’s futuristic art across page one was a better way to lure buyers. No-one would argue losing chaplain Dan Dare was a bad thing, but why he went is a mystery to which Morris’ biography Living with Eagles provides no clues.

Much of the art in the second dummy was used in issue two of the printed Eagle. Six frames from the Dan Dare strip were re-drawn and the whole strip re-coloured. This wasn’ t too difficult since Hampson’s original Dan Dare was rendered in black and white. The Southport Visiter printed copies of the black and white pages, which thereafter could be coloured any way Hampson chose. Some of these Visiter pages still exist.

The pages from Eagle Dummy No.2 were provided by, and are shown here with the permission of, the Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street, London. All images from the second dummy are copyright the Museum.

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FRAME COMPARISONS

This is a comparison between the first frame from the second dummy, and the first frame from the comic. The text is virtually the same.

 

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In the fire frame, the top section of the final version has been redrawn and the speech balloon has been reduced.

 

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The published frame has more sophisticated colouring, but italic lettering makes the speech more emphatic.

 

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Comparison with the frame in the dummy and the frame that actually appeared. It looks as though the artwork has been redrawn. Also notice in the top frame right there is a signature. I have bleached it to make it readable and framed it in black and white.

 

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Three of the frames on line two have been redrawn.

 

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