has attempted two biographies of Frank Hampson. The Man Who Drew Tomorrow
was published in 1985, not long after the artist’s death. Tomorrow Revisited, a wholly
revised and updated version, read in manuscript by Hampson’s son Peter, was
published by PS Art Books in 2010. Both are on sale at Amazon.
I became a devotee of Frank Hampson about ten weeks into the life of Eagle in June 1950. I had never seen the future the way Hampson depicted it in Dan Dare, and to my mind no comic-book artist has seen it with such inventive clarity since.
Now aged 77, I am older and wiser. I dip into astronomy as a hobby and every member of our class remembers Dan Dare. Of course our perceptions of the solar system have changed utterly. Venus, which my tutor calls ‘the hell planet’, never could have been inhabitable. The atmosphere is thick with sulphuric acid, the average surface temperature is 460 degrees Celsius (compared with 14C on Earth) and one day there lasts 243 Earth days.
Saturn is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium and has very little gravity (bad move Blasco). It is true, however, that Monatomic Hydrogen might have some potential as a rocket propellant, were it not so absolutely, terrifyingly unstable.
I believe Hampson died sad, bitter and broken. I am sure his torturers never felt the least remorse at their treatment of him. And, as is the way of things, there was never the remotest chance they would be called to account. I regret he refused to write his own story (I begged him to in the nineteen eighties) and I would be very pleased indeed if a few young people discover my two books and have the chance to marvel at his work.
Alastair Crompton. 2013.