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Published March 31, 2018 Updated July 05, 2022

Dan Dare

Dan Dare sci-fi card game based upon Frank Hampson’s pictures in the Eagle comic, published in 1953.

1953 United Kingdom Castell Bros Pepys Frank Hampson Sci-Fi Space Card Games Add to Collection

This very popular card game featuring Dan Dare, the pilot of the future, was first published by Pepys Games in 1953. The pictures are based upon Frank Hampson’s illustrations which were part of the front page of the Eagle comic between 1950 and 1952, with a breathtaking storyline which spoke vivdly to readers still living on food rations after the second world war. The first story begins with Dan Dare as pilot of the first successful flight to Venus which at that time was presumed to have extraterrestrial life and alien inhabitants. See the Box

Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson, Pepys Series, 1953 Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson, Pepys Series, 1953 Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson, Pepys Series, 1953 Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson, Pepys Series, 1953 Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson, Pepys Series, 1953

Above: Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson (1918-1985), Pepys Series, 1953.

Some History

Marcus Morris published and Frank Hampson illustrated a Parish Magazine called “The Anvil” in Birkdale, Southport. Morris had been ordained as a priest in 1940 and first published “The Anvil” in 1945. He became increasingly dismayed by the influence of imported American so called Horror comics and determined to publish a comic with role models with a strong moral code. In 1950, after many financial difficulties, the Eagle comic was finally published; much of it illustrated by Frank Hampson. Dan Dare Pilot of the Future was the lead strip in the comic being on the cover and inside the front page in full colour. A huge publicity campaign was mounted to launch the comic and proved to be very successful as the first issue on 14th April 1950 sold over 900,000 copies one of which was the copy I bought. It was the leading topic of conversation at school and at home and I and many others placed a regular order at the newsagents.

1st copy of Eagle, 14th April 1950

Above: 1st copy of Eagle, 14th April 1950.

New Edition

Dan Dare sci-fi card game with illustrations by Frank Hampson

Above: comparison between the original 1953 version (top row) and the new reproduction made in China and distributed by Ecotronic Ltd, 2009.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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