Sunday 18 February 2024

Frank Bellamy and OA Dan Dare


Eagle Vol.10:36 (24 October 1959)

Having just had the holiday that was planned many years ago I quickly added the latest Comic Book Auctions entry as a placeholder here. Here now are the full details for future reference.

Frank Bellamy's beautiful front page cover for Eagle Volume 10 issue 36 (dated 24 October 1959) is up for auction. It's Lot #38 on and the opening bid will be £1260 with an auctioneer's estimate of £1400-£1800. This is from Bellamy's first story "Terra Nova".

The description goes like this:

Lot # 38:
Dan Dare/Eagle original cover artwork (1959) painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol. 10 No 36
'On Terra Nova Professor Jocelyn Peabody and Lex O'Mally are carried off by 'Nagrebs’ giant, man-eating ants. Dan's spacesuit is infused with 'Oro' - a vine-juice which repels Nagrebs and might protect him...'
Bright Pelikan ink on board. 15 x 13 ins

Here's my scan of the printed page to compare but you can see the original is so much brighter.

This is quite an iconic page with Dan himself featured and will be interesting to see what happens with the bidding next week - as it appears many bids are placed at the last moment. I'll update the spreadsheet when the auction is over as well as completing the details below.


DAN DARE: Eagle 24 October 1959 (Vol. 10:36)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £1,260 (Estimate: £1,400-£1,800)
END DATE: Sunday 25 February 2024

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Frank Bellamy and Family Favourites


Radio Times (19 December 1970 - 1 January 1971), p.99
"Family Favourites" was always on in our house on a Sunday lunch time. We weren't great radio listeners but the charts and "Family favourites" were always heard. 

It began as a request programme called "Forces Favourites" - connecting those serving in the Forces abroad - which the Boyd family were. It later became "Family Favourites" and lastly "Two-Way Family Favourites". I was surprised to learn it began in the wartime and continued all the way up to 13 January 1980! It was a great way of ensuring that Forces personnel felt a connection to their homeland of the UK. Quite a technical feat back then as can be seen from Frank Bellamy's illustration here.  Although Malta isn't shown, I know we listened to the programme in our house there in the mid-60s. Interestingly Gibraltar is shown as a rock in the middle of the ocean - completely detached - unless the rest of the Iberian Peninsula is behind that view. But Singapore too appears as a strange outline - unless Bellamy was focussing on the island of Sentosa?

Cover to the Radio Times (19 December 1970 - 1 January 1971)

To listen to some clips, tune into this website where you can read more about it. Youtube has a few more - I enjoyed putting this one on in the background while writing this article (thank you Peter Preston for making an elderly man smile)! The specific programme advertised by Bellamy's feature, was hosted by Michael Aspel (brilliant likeness) and connected with Graham Webb, of ABC Australia, Don Durbridge BFBS Gibraltar, Bill Paul CBC Canada and Stephen Withers, BFBS Far East. It was produced by Jack Dabbs. It began on 12:01 and ended two hours later! BFBS Malta didn't feature in the listing but does appear in other Radio Times listings! For those that don't know BFBS stands for British Forces Broadcasting Service

For completeness sake, here are two photos taken by Bellamy of his artwork before sending it off to David Driver. Thanks to Alan Davis for rescuing them. we know that Bellamy was paid £30 for this piece.

Colour Polaroid

Black and White Polaroid

Monday 15 January 2024

When is a title not a title? When it has no date!

Undated cover
Richard Sheaf, a good friend of the blog, runs his own blog collecting together all sorts of ephemeral comics and comic art materials in one handy-dandy place, "Boy's Adventure Comics". I'm surprised how obsessive he can be - but love the fact he is!

Recently he noted that some annuals - which look to be published in Britain for the non-UK market - had no date on their covers (or spines, I might add).

So here's where Frank Bellamy comes in. For years I called the  "Daily Mirror Book of Garth" just that. That is until, to my surprise, I saw the 1975 (portrait) book was dated 1975! That sent me to correct the checklist!

For your collectors among you, here are the two covers sans date plus an unusual advert for this book showing the date.


Top Secret Picture Library #11-p.68


Undated spine - thus the gap at the end!

Undated - first page
No prizes for guessing what's missing from the end part of the scroll


And just for good measure here's the original art for the later 1976 book  which sold in May 2008 for £1089. If anyone knows who has the art for 1975 do let me know!

Original Art
If anyone has a non-dated 1975 book, could they send me a copy of the spine and also the first page - where the scroll device was again used? Thanks

Friday 22 December 2023

Frank Bellamy "Ghost World" soon to be reprinted

Boys' World Vol2:16 (18 April 1964) - my photo of the comic
 In case you haven't heard Book Palace are reprinting another Frank Bellamy strip - one often forgotten as it appeared in a short-lived comic Boys' World - that's "Brett Million and the Ghost World" - to give it its full title. There aren't many details yet - price and cover to follow but it's scheduled for Summer 2024. But I can tell you Geoff West asked me to supply an article on the series for inclusion in the book. Each of Bellamy's pages are in a single page format and in full colour, unfortunately not many original artworks still exist and some of those are faded, so these will be high quality scans from the comics.

It's being published in one volume together with "Wrath of the Gods" a series that's well remembered by those who loved "Heros the Spartan" by Bellamy. It was drawn by Rob Embleton and John Burns and apparently will be in foldouts - thus eliminating the problem of double page spreads being cut in two over two separate pages. I'm looking forward to seeing what this looks like.

Different colour printing!

It also be interesting to see how the colours hold up as I'm aware that even one comic printed at the same time could appear different.

John Freeman has an article with links (one being to one of my earlier blog articles)

 If you want to know more about "Boy's World" see Steve Holland's excellent history, overview and index including a complete list of artists and writers plus details of all the corresponding annuals - which unusually went on far longer than the comic!

When the book is published I shall of course highlight it here. 

May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


Friday 1 December 2023

Frank Bellamy and Farnborough Airshow 1970


Farnborough Poster

Did you know Frank Bellamy drew for the Farnborough Airshow in 1970? Thanks to Peter Hansen for sharing this scan of the poster which measures 21 inches high by 14 inches wide. Besides this poster, I have yet to discover exactly where this was used as the programme booklet - which was published from 1948 - in this year, 1970, has no representation inside or on the covers of Bellamy's work. Below you can read how we know the Farnborough poster by Bellamy appeared on the London Underground - which might explain why, having searched many an aviation magazine, I have not yet found a copy - other than that bought on eBay by Peter Hansen!

Three planforms - Black and White Polaroid (Thanks to Alan Davis)


On the 20 April 1970, an agency wrote an artwork order to Frank Bellamy for 

  • "A/W for handbill B&W illustration Aeroplanes as agreed 30 gns" 
  • "A/W for P/C adapted to Quad/Crown full colour illustration agreed fee 100 gns" 

It was signed Stuart Newman of Wilkinson, Scott-Turner Limited of Dover Street London W1 and the client SBAC. I wonder if this Stuart is the same who co-authored The Creative Director's Sourcebook with Nick Souter in 1988 and more recently The Poster Handbook : a guide to the world's greatest posters again with Nick Souter in 2007. If anyone knows Stuart, I'd love to track him down, - the British Library states this Stuart was born in 1947 so I guess he must be around 76 years of age!

Wilkinson Scott-Turner was a small newer agency which managed to represent some longstanding brands - such as Eau de Cologne and Ingersoll and their client, on this occasion,  SBAC is the Society of British Aerospace Companies who were very involved in the industry - but finally wound down in 2023 after submitting final accounts to Companies House. Unfortunately Frank had to chase the advertising agency and didn't pay in a cheque (for £136/10) until October 1970, six months after the commission and one month after the show took place! Considering he was getting commissions left, right and centre, Nancy and Frank must have spent hours keeping a track of due payments!


A succinct history of the Farnborough Airshow is archived here and interestingly it informs me that Concorde was on display that very year. The show is now run by Farnborough International who have an overview of the show here, and it's celebrating its 75 birthday this year. Once again I'm grateful to Alan Davis who saved so many Polaroids when clearing Frank Bellamy's studio after his death in 1976 and I've highlighted some of them previously here, including the subject I wish to focus on today.

Eagle 15 October 1960 (Vol.11:42), p22

In October 1960 Clifford Makins,(editor) reported he'd visited the show in Eagle in the comic dated 18 May 1963 (Vol 14:20)  L. Ashwell Wood drew a lovely cutaway for the Concorde

Eagle 18 May 1963 (Vol.14:20), p20 by L. Ashwell Wood


Russell Jenkins at age 12

Russell Jenkins at age 12 - Polaroids thanks to Alan Davis

 In May 1970 Bellamy completed the commission using life models I'm fortunate to have corresponded with Russell Jenkins, who tells me that:

The boy featured on the poster was me at around 11 years old. I can remember my uncle Frank taking several photographs of me looking upwards. Uncle Frank later sent me a photograph of a poster at a tube station and my sister has one of the photographs he took of me looking upwards. My Mother Lillian Jenkins (formally Caygill) was the elder sister of Nancy Bellamy.

The modelling was done at the side of the house in Morden, 26, Hatherleigh Close. Only myself and Frank there. I seem to remember Franks camera was an Instamatic but not the cheap plastic version, This one had an amount of adjustability and I think, a bellows front. [See below ~Norman].

Funnily enough, a mate of mine did a post grad Fine Art degree at Wimbledon a couple of years back and rented a room in a house in the next street to Hatherleigh close. He sent me some photos of number 26 which hasn’t changed much. I think a blue plaque would be warranted? [And David Bellamy went to Wimbledon around 1965! ~Norman]

The house was amazing. It was full of African taxidermy (dining room) and souvenirs from their trips to Spain. All very tasteful and before most people in the UK went abroad. Frank’s studio was in the back bedroom with his drawing board at the side of the window. This had an attached circular shaving mirror for facial expressions.(Hence the revolutionary circular frames. There is one of Fraser and it’s definitely Frank's face) The walls were covered in shelves with lots of military textbooks. There was also a shelf with plaster heads of all the Thunderbird characters. David had the box room which had copies of paperbacks with his cover designs on. Plus toys that looked like they’d never been played with!

This was a massive influence to me coming from a Council estate and I’m sure this helped in that I went to Art college as well. This was rarely done where I came from.

Anyway, Thanks for getting in touch and please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes,


I'd thought Robin Bellamy, Frank's grandson might have been the model but Russ corrected me and pointed out Robin wasn't born then!  

Russell added in a later email:

[The photos] he took of me were taken outside the back door down the side of 26 Hatherleigh close. No lighting, just daylight.

The paperbacks [mentioned above] were David’s designs. He worked for various commercial art studios and I know he worked for Mary Quant for a time. He knew Jeff Beck from either school or Art school and had a friend who was keen on the circus. He later went on to buy one! This was Gerry Cottles Circus and you will note from the archive of Franks work that he did posters for this circus too.
Another memory was, we went on holiday to a caravan in Winchelsea near Rye. The caravan belonged to their next door neighbour in Hatherleigh Close. We went their for several summers around 1969, Myself, my Mum, Aunty Nancy and Frank. One time we went into a second hand bookshop in Rye and Frank bought two (might have been one?) books on anatomy. They were very large format and German I think. He was just about to start work on Garth.


The aircraft are shown in an outline of the thin nosed and basic ‘triangle’ shape of the Concorde. Concorde’s prototype was first flown in March the previous year and Concorde 002 (G-BSST) appeared at the SBAC show on the 1st September 1970 so it was wholly appropriate for Bellamy to use the basic triangular design to reflect the novelty aircraft and previous Airshow programmes had indeed included similar shaped aircraft. 

Blonde with no hairband -
Landscape art made eventually into portrait

Blonde with hairband

The existing Polaroids show two versions of Bellamy’s finished artwork – one as produced for the portrait poster (thus eliminating the two sides of sky that Bellamy painted on a landscape canvas) and the alternative – presumably not used where the blonde woman has a hairband and the gent on the right looks up.

Knowing Jeremy Briggs knew a thing or two about aircraft, I asked his opinion about these images:

Farnborough Airshow programme 1970
Your images are interesting. The planes are just generic aircraft shapes but the wing planform is based on Concorde (which made its first Farnborough appearance in 1970) whilst the four single jet engines are based on the B-58 Hustler (a favourite in the Century 21 model shops as many guest planes in Stingray and Thunderbirds amongst others use the Hustler engines).
I can see an image of the cover of the SBAC Farnborough 70 brochure with a photo into the sun of two Lightnings tanking off a Victor. It isn't unusual for air shows to use the same image for their posters and their brochures but then Farnborough is also a major trade fair so it is possible that the Bellamy image was used for posters and leaflets, or adverts in something like Flight International or RAF Flying  Review (possibly renamed Flying Review International by then). [Various ebay listings] show that the 1960s Farnborough brochures had pretty generic aircraft shapes on them so the photographic 1970 one is quite a change. 

But alas not by Bellamy!


Bellamy using a 100 or 101 Polaroid land camera

Facebook groups can be very useful as I found out when I asked the question about Frank's camera - described by Russell, above and seen in some of the Polaroids saved by Alan Davis. On the Historic Camera group, Victor Smith identified it as "Definitely a land camera. I would say 101 model" and Hollis Hall added "Polaroid Land Camera probably a 100 or 101"


So we know Bellamy was paid for 

  • "A/W for handbill B&W illustration Aeroplanes as agreed 30 gns" 
  • "A/W for P/C [publicity? ~Norman] adapted to Quad/Crown full colour illustration agreed fee 100 gns"

So we have yet to see the handbills - a piece of ephemera that you hope at least one Bellamy fan has stuffed away somewhere. PLEASE do let me know if you find one. 

On the website "Papersizes" I learned that:

  • Double Crown paper is also known as 1 Sheet for billboard posters, probably being called Double Crown for movie posters to avoid confusion with the One Sheet movie poster specific size.
  • Quad is also known as two sheet and may take its name from Quadruple Crown (i.e. double the size of the Double Crown paper).

Thanks to so many people - mentioned above - for their help with this article.

Sunday 12 November 2023

NEWLY DISCOVERED: Fraser of Africa artwork


Over on Facebook Dan Dare group, Douglas Kirk shared this piece of original art he owns. He mentions that 

"Fraser of Africa" Dedicated to Douglas Kirk
I was twelve when Frank Bellamy drew an original for me. The most exciting result of my nagging letters to my favorite comic illustrators. I've seen these poses by Bellamy in online posts, but these examples here are inked and coloured by him for sure.
Alas, I could never persuade Frank Hampson to do likewise, although he did sign some DD photographed artwork for me.

Douglas has promised some more information and a better scan, but I'm so excited to see a new piece, never shown before. Thanks so much to Douglas for permission to share this.

The letter from Frank to Douglas

Wednesday 8 November 2023

ORIGINAL ART : Compal Auction November 2023 - Heros, Dan Dare and a cartoon


Eagle 27 March 1965 Vol 16:13, pp10-11

This time round we have three pieces of original art and lots of comics with Frank Bellamy's art up for auction.

The latest Compalcomics auction is now live. The listings at both on Compalcomics and TheSaleroom

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 27 March 1965 (Vol. 16:13)

The image at the top of this article shows the 5th episode of the story "The Slave Army". It looks very bright compared to the printed version but that's nothing as the print versions under Longacre were a far cry from the wonderful photogravure of the earlier Eagle comics. The blues are still bright which is normally where we see these artworks fade first.

It is described as:

Lot # 114:
Heros the Spartan original double-page artwork (1965) painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol. 16: No 13
'After a revolt in the gold mines of Libya, Heros was captured by the escaped slaves - led by a Briton called Garthac - and forced to lead them across the desert. Suddenly they are attacked by an army of strange horsemen...'
Bright Pelikan inks on board. 28 x 20 ins. The Heros title lettering and rectangular text boxes are laser copy additions to complete the look of the artwork
I remember David Jackson pointing out to me an error in the story. The cry of the attacking group, the men of Raschid, is "By the Prophet!"

As Wikipedia tells us, Muhammad was born c. 570 and died on the 8 June 632 A.D., as we would have said back then. So the founder of Islam was born approximately 100 years after the initial sacking of Rome which led to the fall of the Roman Empire. But I notice that throughout Tom Tully's writings, he loves expletives - "By Mithras!" in this episode; "By the Gods!" and "By Tanarus!" in the previous one, so it's not too surprising he messed up here. I suspect if the Reverend Marcus Morris (Eagle's co-creator and first long-serving Editor) was still in post, he might have spotted this. Anyway, a lovely bright piece with a classic Bellamy battle scene.

DAN DARE: Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)

Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)
During the year in which Bellamy drew "Dan Dare" he was 'assisted' mostly by Don Harley, Bruce Cornwell, Keith Watson (and occasionally Gerald Palmer). The above page is undoubtedly Bellamy - the cover page this issue was by Harley. Bellamy hasn't signed this page but he didn't when he felt the whole thing wasn't his work and particularly while he was getting used to this peculiar work arrangement. His first signature on Dan Dare was three issues later in Eagle Vol.10:33 (3 October 1959). Take no notice in the following description where it says 'gouache'. These are all inks!

This auction is described as:

Lot # 65:
Dan Dare/Eagle original artwork (1959) by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol 10, No 30 pg 2 with original comic
'As the rescue party follows along the Terra Nova Jungle trail, Dan, Sir Hubert and Digby are mysteriously given the freedom of Pax, The Novad central city ...'
Bright gouache colours [sic] on board. 15 x 13 ins

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be

"To be or not to be"
This sketch originally was in the Bob Monkhouse collection and been moved around a bit since it was first sold. The valuation, in my opinion, is correct for an original Bellamy with such provenance. 

Frank Bellamy original signed sketch (1940s) 'To Be or Not to Be' The Catering Corps Sergeant in a dilemma over the troops tinned rations menu (Probably hung in the Sergeant's Mess!) From the Bob Monkhouse archive. Indian ink and wash on card. 14 x 10 ins

I have never seen this original in person but is it really ink "and wash"? I thought the paper just looked aged - and there was a war on!

Finally check out the complete runs of TV21s and some volumes of Eagle in the auction!


HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 27 March 1965 (Vol. 16:13)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £2,700 (Estimate: £3,000-£3,500)
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023

DAN DARE: Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £1,360 (Estimate: £1,500-£2,000)
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £70 (Estimate: £80-£120
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023