Friday, June 3, 2011

Two Space Heroes You Might Not Have Heard Of - In America

Ah yeah Perry Rhodan, my experience with him began back in the early days of  Palladium Game's first Robotech series of games. A friend brought the VHS tapes of the series over my house & tucked inside were some of the first of Perry Phodan series of  books translated into English! His Dad had been reading Perry while station in Germany during the cold war. I devoured each & every book I could get my hands on. The basic plot of Perry is sort of this:
The story line starts in 1971 with the first manned moon landing by U.S. Space Force Major Perry Rhodan and his crew, who discover a marooned extraterrestrial space ship. Appropriating the alien technology, they proceed to unify Terra and carve out a place for humanity in the galaxy and the cosmos. (The concepts for two of the technical accomplishments that enable them to do so—positronic brains and starship drives for near-instantaneous hyperspatial translation—are direct adoptions from Isaac Asimov's science fiction universe.)
As the series progresses major characters, including the title character, are granted relative immortality. It is Relative in the sense that they are immune to age and disease, but could suffer a violent death. The story continues over the course of millennia, including flashbacks thousands and even millions of years into the past, and the scope widens to encompass other galaxies, extremely remote parts of space, parallel universes and weirder cosmic structures, time travel, paranormal powers, weird/cute/aggressive aliens, bodyless entities (some with sheer god-like powers).
More found Perry_Rhodan

Dan Dare is well sort of like coming home for me. The series art is & has been retro cool way before retro was cool. Here's some of the wiki entry on Dan:


Dan Dare appeared on the cover of the first issue of the weekly comic strip magazine, Eagle, on 14 April 1950. There were two large colour pages of his story per issue. The artwork was of a high quality, the product of artists in a studio called the Old Bakehouse in Churchtown, Southport, Lancashire. The Eagle's founder, the Rev Marcus Morris, was vicar of the Southport church of St James at the time. It had scale models of spaceships, and models in costume as reference for the artists. Occasionally, Eagle incorporated "centrefolds" of the fictional spaceships, such as Dan's ship the Anastasia, reminiscent of cutaway drawings of aircraft in aviation magazines or even Eagle itself. The storylines were long and complex, sometimes lasting more than a year. Later, artwork was produced at a studio in Hampson's house in Epsom, Surrey, where his production line techniques were continued.
Attention was paid to scientific plausibility, the science fiction luminary Arthur C. Clarke acting as science and plot adviser to the first strip. The stories were set mostly on planets of the solar system presumed to have extraterrestrial life and alien inhabitants, common in science fiction before space probes of the 1960s proved the most likely worlds were lifeless. The first story begins with Dan Dare as pilot of the first successful flight to Venus.
Hampson's working habits twice caused him to suffer serious breakdowns in health, leaving his assistants to continue the series. The first occurred after two episodes of "Marooned on Mercury" (1952), which was taken over by Harold Johns, from scripts by Rev. Chad Varah, a clergyman who had known Marcus Morris in Southport. Hampson returned to start the following story, "Operation Saturn" (1953), but suffered a relapse after 20 weeks. Principal art was taken over by new chief assistant Don Harley, who completed the story and its successor, "Prisoners of Space" (the only series to feature extensive work by an artist outside the studio, finishes being provided by Desmond Waldeck.
Hampson returned full-time in 1955, starting "The Man from Nowhere" trilogy, which took Dan and his companions outside the Solar System for the first time.
Cut away of the Anastasia thanks to Sapce Ships Away! magazine  
The quality of the strip and its popularity remained high throughout the 1950s. In the late fifties Eagle's new owners objected to the cost of the studio and the complexity of the stories. The conflict caused Hampson to leave the strip in 1959, in the middle of a long plot that saw Dan searching an alien planet for his long-lost father. Production fell to Frank Bellamy, whose modern 3-dimensional style contrasted with Hampson's, despite efforts to smooth the transition by alternating the two pages of the weekly strip between Bellamy and the team of Don Harley and Keith Watson, and freelance artist Bruce Cornwell.

I discovered Dan the same day that I watched Doctor Who on PBS because there was a bit on him in Star Log Magazine. Dan was awesome & still is. Check out this model of the Eagle!

More info here Dan_Dare
Both series are perfect inspirations for games like Human Space Empire & Terminal Space! Tight stories,excellent art, nice technical references as complex as anything seen in Star Trek or Babylon 5
Coming up tomorrow night! Another Sanity Shattering Game Of Human Space Empires! 
Expect another exciting Actual Play Report! Will The Heroes Survive!  Stay Tuned !!! 


  1. Dan Dare rocked! He was supposedly based off a couple of the jet test pilots who were major celebrities(!) in post WW2 Britain.

    Warren Ellis' "Ministry of Space" is an extended love letter to the "Dan Dare" stories (albeit with Ellis' usual 'everyone is compromised' theme).

  2. Thanks for the tips..the Perry Rhodan 2 player game now makes sense to me! I found a lot of the old ace books on ebay CHEAP and can't wait to start them! Thanks!

  3. Thanks guys! More science fictional goodness coming tomorrow!


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