Bring back...: `The Eagle' comic

Marcus Morris started The Eagle because he wanted to escape the format of normal comic strips. When The Eagle was first published in 1950, its rivals were characterised by intense jingoistic murmuring and unadventurous design. Instead, The Eagle put characters such as Colonel Dan Dare, square- jawed, clean-cut and strangely eyebrowed, into the Solar System, and occasionally beyond. Dan Dare had adventures with a variety of humanoid aliens, distinguished mainly by their different colour skins, and, of course, evil personified, the original, Tefal-headed Mekon.

One of the most impressive features of The Eagle was the centre page cutaway pictures of technical wizardry. In 1962, The Eagle was suffering falling readership figures, which were not saved by new management and a complete overhaul. Supernatural stories started to replace fantasy, and they became shorter and more perfunctory. Reprints appeared and stories were bought in. The Eagle ceased publication in the early Eighties.

Nowadays children's choice of comic is likely to be a comment on reality rather than escape from it, such as Viz, the most popular comic - even though it is not meant to be read by anyone under 16. The Eagle made the imagination fly to places it had never been before; now the virtual game flies there for them.