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Dan MacGregor Dare

And now for something completely different but with a MacGregor theme!

As a boy in the late 1950s and early 1960s I was an avid reader of the Eagle comic and its leading fictional hero, Dan Dare fighting and always defeating his arch enemy the evil Mekon, ruler of the Treens from Venus. Recently I discovered he was actually named Daniel MacGregor Dare!

Dan Dare was a British science fiction comic hero, created by illustrator Frank Hampson who also wrote the first stories. Dare appeared in the Eagle comic story "Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future" from 1950 up to 1967 (and subsequent reprints). The stories were set in the late 1990s, but the dialogue and manner of the characters is more reminiscent of British war films of the 1950s. Dan Dare has been described as "Biggles in Space" [Biggles was a heroic British fighter pilot in both WW1 and WW2] and as the British equivalent of Buck Rogers. Dan Dare was distinguished by its long, complex storylines, snappy dialogue and meticulously illustrated artwork by Hampson and other artists.

Dan Dare (full name Colonel Daniel MacGregor Dare) was chief pilot of the Interplanet Space Fleet. He was born in Manchester, England, in 1967. Although not a super-hero, he sometimes pulled off exceptional piloting and often proved extraordinarily lucky. He excelled at jujitsu, but he most often found non-violent solutions to predicaments. He was bound by a sense of honour, never lied, and would rather die than break his word.

His lean-faced character was recognisable by the outer tips of his wavy eyebrows. His uniform looked like a typical British Army type (Frank Hampson used his own World War II army uniform as a model), though a lighter green. In place of British rank insignia it had coloured stripes and circles on the shoulderboards. His cap badge was a vertical, antique rocketship in a circle with one five-pointed star on either side.

According to the website Dan was the son of William Dare and Jean Dare (nee MacGregor). A paragraph on his ancestry recorded that "Dan Dare comes from a family of warriors. An Ensign of Horse, Jacob Dare, fought in Cromwell's regiment at the battle of Edgehill. Captain Richard Dare of the 43rd Foot fought at Waterloo, where he sustained injuries that resulted in the loss of a leg. Dan's father, William Dare, was a noted climber and explorer, and became the first man to fully explore the Matto Grosso of Brazil. William Dare disappeared whilst employed as a test pilot by Cosmic Space Lines. Dan's mother's side of the family too had fighting blood in its veins. Her MacGregor ancestors had fought under Prince Charles in the 1745 Rebellion.