In 1975 he was declared 'Prestigioso Maestro' - the best comic artist since the Second World War - at the
Comic Art Convention in Lucca, and awarded the Yellow Kid Award. He is still regarded by many as one of the
finest comic artists of the 20th century.
When I was nine, having a large green spaceship parked in my back garden seemed perfectly normal. But
then, my father, Frank Hampson, was the creator of Dan Dare, one of the most popular comic strips of all time.
The space ship in question - a Treen interceptor - had flown across the roof of Hulton's Boys and Girls
Exhibition at Olympia before landing in leafy Surrey.
A superb draughtsman as well as a story teller (the first stories were written by him) my father drew the strip in a
completely new 'filmic' style with vertiginous perspectives and close-ups. Most importantly, it offered a future
that was adventurous, exciting and optimistic. Unsurprising then, that the comic was an instant success.
Dan Dare is still rightly regarded as the ultimate space hero. The quality of the artwork, intelligence and sheer
hard work which went into every episode still shines through, and the phenomenal detail of his futuristic world is
as fascinating today as it was when it was first created. In its heyday, Dan Dare's adventures were followed by
over a million boys each week and now, more than half a century later, he still battles on in a totally credible
My Father and His Work
My father stopped drawing Dan Dare in 1959 and his final work for Eagle was the story of Christ, The Road of
Courage, which appeared in 1960 and 1961. He travelled to the Holy Land to research this strip and the
artwork he produced was some of his very finest.
Studio reference sheet of Dan's Profile
My father with some young fans
Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie
Dan Dare and the Birth of High Tech Britain at the Science Museum
We hope to show a wide range of the art work created by my father during his life. The boards offered for sale
will be primarily from the first Dan Dare story, which was produced in 1950 when the Eagle was launched, and
from Ladybird books. New illustrations will be added from time to time. A longer article about my father's life
and work can be found by following this link: The Birth of Dan Dare and Eagle
Detail from Road of Courage
He died in 1985, and in 2001 his achievements were commemorated by the erection of plaques both at
Audenshaw, his place of birth, and the Epsom studio from which he worked.
Spaceship in the garden of Bayford Lodge
Blue plaque at 488 Audenshaw Road
White plaque on Bayford Lodge in Epsom
The Yellow Kid Award
When he left Eagle he returned to working as a freelance commercial artist, and in 1964 was commissioned by
Ladybird Books to produce illustrations for The Stories of Our Christmas Customs. Over the next six years he
worked on a further nine titles, including three books of Nursery Rhymes and two of the Kings and Queens of
He remained a stickler for accuracy and his historical illustrations were always meticulously researched. The
love of detail that he brought to Dan Dare is also very apparent in the Ladybird illustrations.
This Pathe News clip gives a fascinating glimpse
inside my father's studio at Bayford Lodge,
Epsom, in it's heyday.
My father's artwork is much sought after and has been displayed in many exhibitions and galleries,
including The Cartoon Museum in London which features his work in their permanent display.
THE ARTWORK OF FRANK HAMPSON
It would be difficult to overestimate the impact of Eagle and Dan Dare on the schoolboys of post-war Britain.
England of the early 1950's was a dreary place; bombsites still littered many cities, most publications were in
black and white and the atomic bomb and the cold war were uppermost in people's consciousness, bringing an
atmosphere of technological pessimism. Into this world Dan Dare exploded in bright colour. The world he
occupied was different from the present but clearly derived from it, and rendered with such care and detail as to
be completely believable. Aware that boys would love to pore over the drawings and see the minutiae of the
technology he knew that it was essential to get this right and insisted on rigorous research and attention to detail
from all the artists in his studio.