SCANTASTIC! ‘Operation Eagle’ feature from Eagle Annual 1983
Following on from my post on getting into Eagle, here’s a great little feature on the rebooted title’s genesis, taken from the pages of the first ‘new’ Eagle annual, coverdated 1983…
There are some great photos of the team responsible for the relaunch, including editors Barrie Tomlinson, Dave Hunt and Gil Page, plus behind-the-scenes IPC artists and designers like Jack Cunningham, Brian Wagland, John Jackson, Paul Blensburg and Pat Reynolds,.
Perhaps best of all are the try-out sheets for the revived ‘Dan Dare’, with great splash pages from John Gillatt (yes, I know I did later critique his ‘DD’ work) and Ron Smith, as well as sketches by eventual launch artist Gerry Embleton.
OPERATION EAGLE was the most secret project ever to be planned by the Boys’ Sport and Adventure Department of IPC Magazines. For months, Group Editor Barrie Tomlinson and David Hunt, the man destined to be Editor of the new magazine, worked on their plans for the re-launch of EAGLE, the most famous name in children’s comics.
The original EAGLE, first published in 1950, had gained a reputation of being a quality magazine that was ahead of its time. It had been a very special title to millions of boys… and today those boys were fathers themselves. They would demand that the new EAGLE was at least as good as its predecessor! The new EAGLE also had to be very special!
It was decided that the new EAGLE would be different would be for most of its stories to be presented in photographs, rather than drawings. Some thought that boys’ adventure stories would not successfully transfer to photographs… but it was tried… and it worked! World War Two stories, Westerns, school stories, science fiction… all were featured in the opening issues. There were some doubts from the older generation… but the new-style stories were voted a hit by the people they were meant for… the children of 1982!
As well as stories, the new EAGLE had to have high-quality feature material. ‘Cutaway’ drawings, Daley Thompson articles, interviews, Glamorous Teacher competitions… and many more. They were all planned during the secret sessions, along with lots of other features. When put together, they became the success story of 1982… the new EAGLE!
» ‘Operation Eagle’ (Eagle Annual 1983) (PDF from 300dpi CMYK TIFFs)