In the 1950s astronomers knowledge of the geography, terrain and conditions existing on the planets in the Solar System was quite limited.
For Frank Hampson this was all to the good, because he was therefore free to speculate.
And so he was able to create various exotic environments where he could set his adventures for Dan Dare and his colleagues.
The moon, of course, was already considered barren, airless and probably lifeless, but Hampson proposed that there would be a base on the moon, protected with its own earth-style environment, and used as a staging post to the other planets.
Mars, Hampson decided, was at the time of Dan's adventures, without life, but with tourist potential, with hotels under transparent domes, and facilities for skiing, with suitable breathing apparatus, at the poles, - and it was during such a skiing holiday that Dan was taking with Digby, that 'Red Moon Mystery' began.
Dr. Ivor Dare, however, Dan's uncle and an archaeologist, had found the remains of an ancient Martian civilisation that had apparently been wiped out many centuries before (or so everyone thought) – apparently by the self-same 'Red Moon'.
|the Real Planet Venus|
The next nearest planet, of course, is Venus, and Venus becomes the focus of the first, great Dan Dare adventure.
Early on in the story, Dan and Digby, along with Hank and Pierre, discover that there are three distinct species living on Venus – the Treens, the Therons and the Atlantines.
These are all humanoid (the Atlantines originally came from Earth), and are colored, in order, green, brown (or deeply suntanned) and blue.
|Your Average Treen|
The Treens are the least human, and we learn that they have reptilian origins.
Like reptiles, they appear to lack emotions or any sense of empathy.
They lack initiative, being unable to think for themselves, and rely for direction almost completely on their specially bred leader, the Mekon.
|The Mekon Makes a Point|
The Mekon is a little green skinny guy, with a huge head (and presumably a huge brain), but a tiny body and spindly little legs.
He is apparently unable to walk or run (he can crawl on all fours), and he gets about on a boat-shaped, floating seat.
It appears that the Mekon was born in around 1750, and there will not be another one for some considerable time.
|The Mekon - by Zac|
Mekons are, it seems, specially bred, as they are physically totally unlike your average Treen, who is about seven foot tall, and quite muscular.
What is odd about the Treens is that Hampson never shows any baby or young Treens, or female Treens for that matter, which sets one to wonder how they reproduce.
The fact that they all look alike, and look the same age, seems to indicate that they may be 'clones'.
The Mekon and the Treens are devoted to science and to understanding the universe from a scientific and logical perspective.
The problem is that they have no sense of morality, as we would understand it, and will use any means, however, unpleasant, to achieve their goal.
It is, however, possible to become a 'good Treen', as Sondar proves.
Originally detailed to guard and transport Dan and co, Sondar – after a brief fight – comes to realise that Earthmen are 'cool', and becomes an ally, and eventually Governor of the Treen.
The Therons live separately from the nasty Treens.
In the past the Therons and the Treens were in conflict with one another, but by the time that Dan arrives they are divided by the 'Flame Belt' that encircles the planet, and live as two, distinct and separate civilisations.
The Therons look very much like Earthmen, and Hampson seems to show the Therons as aliens who are very similar to those described by Adamski, in his book 'Flying Saucers Have Landed'.
lots to follow - please be patient