Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Collecting Eagle Comics

The Eagle must be one of the most collectable of comics due to its unique approach to the whole concept of children’s literature, certainly in the weekly comic genre. It was founded by a Christian clergyman and, particularly when viewed from a 21st Century British perspective, that does show. Arguably it was none the worse for that since it attempted to instil sound moral values rather than religion as such.

Marcus Morris was the Lancashire vicar whose brainchild the Eagle was and he finally found a willing publisher and got the comic launched in April 1950 with the assistance of the brilliant illustrator, Frank Hampson. It was an immediate success and Hampson’s creation, the Eagle’s most famous character, Dan Dare, pilot of the future, became a hero to thousands of British schoolboys. Dan Dare’s adventures, usually involving his arch enemy The Mekon, leader of the Treens from Venus, filled the front page right from issue one to the last issue on 26th April 1969.

The Eagle’s other famous feature and one which probably makes it particularly appealing to collectors today was the beautifully executed and incredibly detailed cutaway drawings of ships, aircraft, railway engines and other cutting edge engineering marvels of the time. L. Ashwell-Wood was the creator of these amazing works of art up until 1961. In that year a new artist took over, John Bachelor who carried on the good work up until 1969. Most were of existing machines though some were of projects under development.

So highly respected were the creations of both Ashwell-Wood and John Bachelor that they were allowed access to several projects in both Britain and the USA, details of which were actually secret at the time which sometimes rather constrained what he was able to show! The fact that they managed to produce such detailed drawings without betraying any secrets is a mark of their genius.

Marcus Morris left in 1959 after a dispute with the publishers and Frank Hampson soon followed. Editorial standard slipped and the Eagle went into decline. It ceased publication in 1969. The Eagle was revived in 1982 but was never the same success and the publishers finally killed it off in 1994.

Series of the original cutaway drawings have been published in book form and have become collectibles in their own right. Dealers in classic British comics and on-line auction sites are fruitful sources of copies of both these books and the Eagle itself. Collectors can sometimes find copies at car boot sales too and they have been known to come up at auction sales around the country.

The Eagle makes a great collectable, with its unique blend of adventure stories, articles of interest and of course those astonishing cutaway drawings, all done by hand with such superb clarity prior to printing. I know this to be true because I had the privilege of attending a talk by John Bachelor on the subject in February 2006. Mr Bachelor was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2013 in recognition of his outstanding work in producing these drawings.

The following is a list of live auctions for "Comics Eagle Comic" currently listed on eBay. Hover the mouse cursor over the current price for details of postage and packaging. If you would like to see more information on a particular piece and maybe even bid on it, simply click on the item description to be magically whisked away to the wonderful world that is eBay. Alternatively you may use the search box to look for a specific piece for your collection.

Please also check out the Comics Eagle Comic Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed at the end of this page.

Useful Resources

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