Thatcher in Cartoons: Maggie as The Mekon

Private Eye included a selection of their covers and cartoons of the former Leaderene in their edition marking the Finchley Fascist’s death two years ago in 2013. One of them was a panel from the ‘Dan Dire’ strip parodying Dan Dare and other SF serials, which ran in the magazine from 1987 onwards. The panel came from the issue marking her tenth anniversary in power in May 1989. It portrays her as the Mekon, or in this instance, the Maggon, declaring ‘We are a megalomaniac!’, whilst around her the weird creatures of the Tory legions complain about having had to put up with her over several billion years.

I’ve posted a number of pieces recently about comics and social satire, including Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd and the ABC Warriors from 2000 AD. 2000 AD also tried for a time to revive Dan Dare for the Punk and Glam Rock generation, but it didn’t work out. Nevertheless, Frank Hampson and the Rev. Marcus Morris’ creation remains one of the great, classic British SF heroes. And this is a suitable, if backhanded compliment to the character’s enduring legacy, as well as the pernicious evil of the former Prime Minister.

Maggie Mekon

A few years before, I recall 2000 AD had also run a spoof strip parodying the early, Golden Age SF serial heroes, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in the form of Dash Descent, drawn by the great Kevin O’Neill. This paid a kind of homage to these square-jawed space heroes from the 1930s, while joking about their shoddy special effects and contrived cliff-hangers. Unlike ‘Dan Dire’, this SF parody was purely for fun, and didn’t have the barbed political and social undercurrents that informed some of the other strips.

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