Monday, September 24, 2012
Ian Kennedy's Eagle covers
During the 1980s Ian Kennedy had a stint as the artist of Dan Dare for the revived Eagle comic, replacing Gerry Embleton. The comic had been relaunched in 1982 and presumably its initial use of photo covers hadn't proven too successful because in 1983 the new Eagle underwent a few tweaks. As well as new strips debuting, it also meant that the Dan Dare strip featured on the cover, just as it had with the original Eagle in 1950.
I always liked the idea of comic strips on the covers of comics, mainly because it showed that the publication wasn't trying to hide the fact that it was a comic. However I understand the reason publishers used them was the theory that if casual readers were hooked by a cover strip, and picked it up to read, they'd be more likely to purchase the comic. (Sadly it probably doesn't work in this day and age of covers being swamped by free gifts.)
Ian Kennedy produced some excellent covers for Eagle during this period. His skill at illustrating aircraft and suchlike had been known due to his work on various boys comics, but Dan Dare allowed his imagination to expand, rather than being confined to accurate depictions of existing hardware. One can only guess at what fantastic pages he could have illustrated for TV21 had he been on the team back then. Anyway, here's a few of his Eagle covers from 1983 for you to savour. (The scripts for these strips were by Pat Mills.)
Ian is still working today providing occasional covers and feature pages for Commando.