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|Created by||Frank Hampson|
The Mekon (of Mekonta) is the arch-enemy of the British comic book hero Dan Dare, first appearing in 1950 in the Eagle comic strip Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future and created by Frank Hampson. Apart from Dan Dare himself, he is the only character to appear in every one of the numerous versions of the comic strip that appeared in the Eagle, 2000 AD and Virgin Comics. In the 1950s, roughly every other story featured the Mekon.
The Mekon was the ruler of the Treens of northern Venus, although he was ousted from this position at the end of the first story and had no fixed base of operations. He was created by scientific experimentation, engineered for a very high intelligence. As such he had a swollen head containing his massive brain and atrophied body, and moved around on a levitating chair. He typically invented new superweapons in the pursuit of his goal: the domination of the universe for the purpose of scientific research. In some stories he also sought personal revenge on Dan Dare.
In the animated Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future television series (first aired in 2001), someone took his nickname "Melonhead" literally and showed his cranium as not shiny smooth green but wrinkled like a cantaloupe. The voice of the Mekon was portrayed by Richard Pearce.
The Mekon returns in Virgin Comics Dare miniseries by Garth Ennis, leading a regrouped war fleet with genetically-engineered monsters (based on Treen mythology) and a controlled black hole as a weapon. By issue #3, the Mekon has been almost entirely off-screen, operating remotely, and a source of fear among human and Treen alike. His only appearance was a two-page sequence at the end of #2, where he psychically communed with the British Prime Minister (a servant of his) and showed a detached, dispassionate persona.
Later in the series he attempted to capture Dare, and on doing so ordered him tortured. This proved to be a trap that allowed a group of Royal Marines to attack his ship and soon after a massive naval engagement occurred over Neptune. In the ensuing battle the Mekon's ship was rammed by the HMS Trafalgar and boarded by British troops led by Dare who engaged the Mekon in personal combat before defeating him and leaving him near death. The traitorous prime minister rescued the Mekon and they attempt to escape in a small craft only to be sucked into the Mekon's black hole.
In the final issue of the series, he displays personal hatred for Dare and refers to him as "the Earthman who taught the Mekon how to hate".
In popular culture
Elton John, in his "Rock of the Westies" album recorded in 1976, had a song called "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future.)" One of the key repeated lines in the song is "Dan Dare doesn't know it, he doesn't know it, but I like the Mekon."
British rock band The Mekons named themselves after the character in 1977.
- The Hugo Young Papers: Thirty Years of British Politics – Off the Record
- "Obituary: Patrick Cosgrave". The Daily Telegraph. 22 November 2001. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- David Butler, "Time and relative dissertations in space: critical perspectives on Doctor Who", Manchester University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-7190-7682-X, p.151
- Dudley Jones, Tony Watkins, "A necessary fantasy?: the heroic figure in children's popular culture", Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0-8153-1844-8, pp. 166–168
- Mike Conroy, "500 Comicbook Villains", Collins & Brown, 2004, ISBN 1-84340-205-X, p. 334
- Maurice Horn, "The World encyclopedia of comics, Volume 1", Chelsea House Publishers, 1976, ISBN 0-87754-042-X, p. 194
- Wright, Norman; Higgs, Mike (1990). The Dan Dare dossier: celebrating the 40th anniversary of Dan Dare, pilot of the future. Hawk Books. ISBN 0-948248-12-2.
- Tatarsky, Daniel (2010). Dan Dare: the biography. Orion Books. ISBN 978-0-7528-8896-5.