The Treens are green-skinned lizard-like, North Venusian humanoid beings and are Frank Hampson’s masterfully imaginative creations from his first Dan Dare story in the 1950s Eagle comic.
Their capital city is known as Mekonta named after the Mekon, their ruthless lord and master; a wizened, 272 year-old genetically-engineered, swollen-headed foetal version of the Treens, seated permanently on a tiny hovering boat; interested purely in the ends of science and bent only on universal domination and ultimate power – and whose every word his automaton-like minions the Treens unquestioningly obey.
The Mekon and his personal retinue of armed Treens pop up in more of Frank Hampson’s Dan Dare stories: Marooned on Mercury, Prisoners of Space and Reign of the Robots.
Towards the end of the 1950s just before the Hulton Press [the Eagle’s publishers] were taken over and Frank Hampson left in disgust at the changes taking place, the style of the Dan Dare story was completely revised and a new artist Frank Bellamy took over the strip. Although an excellent artist, Dan Dare and all the characters, the spacecraft, the buildings and settings were virtually unrecognizable – and in mine and doubtless so many other reader’s opinions, the strip was completely ruined.
After the demise of the Eagle comic in the late 1950s and during its reinstatement in a new, less impressive version of the comic, The Treens reappear in new Dan Dare stories, drawn and devised competently by Don Harley and particularly Keith Watson [a faithful adherent and copyist of Frank’s style] with input and scripting by ex-members of Frank Hampson’s former team, Bruce Cornwell and Eric Eden. American artist Bruce Cornwell was initially employed to join Frank’s original Bakery Studio producing highly-finished renderings of future machinery, technology and spacecraft designs.
In addition to the first two pages of Dan Dare Pilot of the Future in the Eagle comic of the early-fifties, Frank Hampson started off providing nearly half the strips in the Eagle. He and editor Marcus Morris, aimed high and soared head and shoulders above other productions of the times.
Frank Hampson’s first Dan Dare story was Voyage to Venus, in which the Earth in the parallel world of 1995 is running out of food supplies through bad farming in the past exhausting the soil, and Earth’s Spacefleet sends Dan Dare and his crew to Venus in search of fresh supplies.
Despite the fact that this never happened in reality, Frank Hampson’s future world is nevertheless, a far better and more integrated world than our one of such plentiful food supplies that food waste occurs in the First World while the Third World often experiences famine.
I have set a slideshow here, showing a 14 page illustrated Dan Dare spoof that I devised in 2001. It’s original title is ‘On the Buses with the Mekon’, which I otherwise refer to as ‘Mekon on the Buses’. To make the story more readable, I have broken down some of the pages into separate panels making a Gallery of 28 ‘more viewable’ images.
Dave Draper Spring 2014
Treens is located in the Art section under the Fantasy and Space Art categories
THE MEKON: located in the ART section under Portrait, Fantasy and Space Art
DAN DARE: Located in the ART section under Portrait, Fantasy and Space Art
Two Dan Dare stories that I have written are set in text form in the Writing section of this website under Stories. They are listed by their titles:
DAN DARE Pilot of the Future, The Prime Minister Syndrome
DAN DARE Pilot of the Future, The Nutwood Affair.
THE MEKON and TREENS are each set with the aforementioned 24-panel slideshow.
The first 13 panels in the slideshow of this entry are pencil visuals drawn over in pen-and-ink and colour-pencils. The remaining 16 panels are also visuals drawn in pencil that have not been embellished further. Some of the pencil visuals towards the conclusion of the story are more finely finished, particularly the final panel which I use as the ‘Showcase’ or ‘Featured Image’ introducing my ‘Treens’ entry.
Updated August 2014