Reading the start of "The Man from Nowhere" is, for me, deeply nostalgic. I remember these issues from when I was seven, and reading them to the background of 'Lilibolero', the BBC's World Service signature tune. We were then living in Nairobi, Kenya.
"The Man from Nowhere" was a new departure in style for Frank Hampson - lighter, cleaner, and the long collaboration with Don Harley, who had joined the studio team in 1951, was bearing fruit.
Among its more extraordinary features was the build up to the mystery man himself, Lero the Crypt. The range of pictures here span eight weeks, and even then we are unsure as to what Lero wants. I have followed through the way FH gradually introduces Lero, and teases his readers week by week. This is how he drew in his audience ...
Many of you will have seen the picture from the Venus Embassy which starts "The Man From Nowhere". But in the middle of the party, Dan and the others are summoned away by an alert. The Spacefleet interceptors are scrambled, and close with this alien craft. But as they approach, it blows up ... And the strange torpedo like object, which is seen only by Digby, comes down to Earth. This is the very last frame on the page, which was the issue for 27th May 1955.
Dan and the others return to Earth to search for the wreckage. The very last frame of next week's issue - 3rd June - ends with this frame :
This half page is from 10th June : Digby is being grilled by Spacefleet scientists, whilst just a little bit more is revealed of the Man from Nowhere ...
And in the village in the Amazon jungle, the doctor is baffled [17th June]
... and takes him by air ambulance to Rio de Janiero [24th June].
Dan, meanwhile, is occupied under water, but on the 8th July, the creature is brought to the viewer.
In the background behind Dan are Digby, Lex and Flamer. You can also see the composite signature FH was using to acknowledge the work done by Don Harley.
And now, for the first time, on 15th July, eight weeks later, we see the Man from Nowhere. This frame is, though, a little disappointing after all the buildup.
I prefer these later frames, which gives the Crypts an oddly feminine look - but that fits with their pacific nature.
These two frames are from 19th August. You can now see where the story is going. The Crypts are a peaceful race being preyed on by the warrior race, the Phants. Lero has come to Earth to ask for Dan's help in the latest invasion ... which takes us through to Rogue Planet.