The first appearance of the Mekon - issue number 30, 2nd November 1950.
The Mekon is the "Supreme Scientist", the ruler of the Treens, who live in the northern hemisphere of Venus. He is specially bred for his intellect. He uses a flying chair, which is mind controlled, to carry around his atrophied body.
The Mekon is rather like SPECTRE does in the James Bond films - a villain who is capable of almost any wicked action. There is another similarity - when Dan has been captured by the Mekon, or James Bond by the villain of the latest film, then various ingenious methods are devised to kill them off - nothing as simple as a knife or a gun - and this gives them enough time to devise an equally ingenious escape.
Thus in Marooned on Mercury, the Mekon allows Dan to reach orbit before cutting off his power; in Solid Space, Dan and Digby are dumped in space to die of oxygen starvation ....
And so that he could re-appear in the future, the Mekon always has to be given some sort of escape route at the end of each story!
Here the Mekon is demonstrating his latest weapon - the telezero projector - to Sir Hubert, Digby and Prof, from the same issue. This is to show what he is capable of!
Effectively, almost every alternate story in the first ten years would be a Mekon story [I'm stretching a point and taking Man From Nowhere and Rogue Planet as one story]. Next was Marooned on Mercury ... And altho most of this story was drawn by Harold Johns, this was still FH.
And yet again the Mekon was foiled ....
After Operation Saturn came Prisoners of Space, drawn almost entirely by Desmond Walduck, and scripted by Alan Stranks. A lot of the story revolves around Dan prefering death to dishonour in a way that was a bit too much to take even in the 50s. The Mekon believes that Dan has left a bomb on his spaceship because Dan never breaks his word, or tells a lie ....
Next came Reign of the Robots.
This has come to rank as a classic Mekon story, with a plot that has twists and turns which are more credible than usual. But then Safari in Space, coming after Phantom Fleet, broke the sequence ... and FH resigned.
After Bellamy's year was over, the new team consisted of Don Harley and Bruce Cornwell, with Eric Eden as script writer. They attempted a minor Mekon story, Solid Space Mystery, but for me the storyline lacks tension. And then the back and white Keith Watson stories came along, severing almost all the links with the past.
Then a new editor decided to build up Dan Dare again, and the Mekon was to re-appear in Wandering World. But much more successful was All Treens Must Die, which in the early part had the potential to become another classic. Sadly, tho, the script lets us down, and the story comes to an abrupt end.
Two more Mekon stories follow, before the script and the illustration become more and more bizarre, and the reprints begin ... the first of which was "Prisoners of Space" ... a Mekon story!
And let us end with two of Keith Watson's portraits of the Mekon. Keith could be very variable - partly, no doubt, due to pressure of time - but I like these two.
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