I’ve had a couple of lucky trips into eBay this past month that have resulted in some scores for my collection of the original Eagle. First, there was the acquisition of the complete Volume 3, April 1952 to April 1953, which I sat down and read in a single day a couple of Sundays past.
It was a very interesting day. Even the last of these comics was still published two and a half years before I was born, so the nostalgia effect was lowered. And the Dan Dare stories consisted of the last ten episodes of ‘The Red Moon Mystery’ and the first half dozen of ‘Operation Saturn’, bracketing between them the entirety of ‘Marooned on Mercury’, the story drawn (principally) by Harold Johns and written by the Reverend Chad Varah: far from Dan Dare at his best.
But this windfall locks onto my existing acquisition of Volume 4, giving me a straight run of 80 issues, and still twenty-two months shy of popping into existence!
This last week, I had two very useful purchases, both of which arrived, by courier, together on Saturday, so not only did I have some extensive reading to be done, I also took the opportunity to reorganise the collection, getting everything into order once more, and adding a couple of boxes to house it all.
The first of these was an impulse purchase last Sunday. This was a bundle of thirty-three issues, volume 14, nos 10 – 52 inclusive. The buy was definitely an impulse: the auction had hit my preset limit, beyond which I won’t go, but at the last moment, I shot in with an extra fiver and stole it.
It was an unusual step for me as there were only six issues among that thirty-three that I actually needed, but it proved to be a fruitful decision. Not only were the vast majority of these issue in better condition than those I’d already collected piecemeal, but the seller had other, later Eagle‘s awaiting being offered, and I was able to agree with him to acquire the five issues that were all I needed to complete both Volume 16 and 17.
So the bottom end of my wants list is looking very healthy at the moment, with only four issues separating me from a complete six Volume run!
And the top end’s not too bad, as I have the first half of Volume 2, and the aforementioned complete Volumes 3 and 4. For once, it’s the middle that’s the ‘top-heavy’ bit.
The other acquisition was a surprise Buy It Now at an incredibly low price. It consisted of sixteen facsimile reprints of Eagle series: one Dan Dare, two Storm Nelson, three Luck of the Legion, nine Riders of the Range plus the Frank Bellamy drawn life story of Montgomery of Alamein. There were also three of the four Eagle Classics softbacks published in the Nineties, all four of which I bought at the time, but frankly the above list was already worth much more than was being asked for it, and I can re-offer these on eBay myself.
Reading the reprints was a rare opportunity to immerse myself in stories other than Dan Dare itself. All three series were strong, well-drawn, well-written series, and in the case of Riders of the Range, this was a classic Western story, written and (after a couple of early alternates) drawn by men who were Western enthusiasts, and tremendously knowledgeable about their subject. Indeed, the longer Riders went on, the more its stories focused upon true-life incidents, into which the insertion of Jeff Arnold and Luke was often otiose.
I’m starting to feel closer to the point at which I know enough to write on Eagle‘s other series. Perhaps just one more affordable complete Volume, just to thin out that bulge around the middle of the list. eBay sellers out there, I’m waiting…