Monday, 13 June 2022

Frank Bellamy and The Thunderbirds Duvet!

 Yes, you read the title right. I received this from David Finchett:

Hi Norman,
I read your Frank Bellamy article about this duvet cover on your website and thought you might be interested. It was a limited edition duvet cover of 1000
so not many are about. I enclose a photo. I am going to put it up on ebay when I get time.
At 200cm x 220cm it's awkward to photograph!
Kind Regards
David Finchett
Original advert 1992 (Thanks to Shaqui)
The original story - as credited on the quilt - was written by Alan Fennell and drawn by Bellamy.
TV21 #146 p18

TV21 #146 p19

I have stored some other images from this quilt which I've found over the years, so here you go for those interested! As the advert suggests these 1000 limited edition were autographed by Gerry Anderson. I presume no-one dared wash these!

Credit for the story

Actually autographed by Gerry Anderson

There have been other duvet covers but not with Bellamy's art on them.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Frank Bellamy and John Tornado

 JOHN TORNADO: der Mann mit den tausend Masken [The man with a thousand masks]


John Tornado #1 cover by Ertuğrul Edirne
An old friend of the blog, Bill Storie asked about German reprints of Garth. I list all known international instances of Frank Bellamy and his artwork so you'll see that "John Tornado" is what Garth was called in Germany when he appeared between 1979-1981. There were only 20 issues of the 50 page comic published fortnightly by Bastei Verlag, which included a second strip "Stargo", more on that later. The last 4 issues were illustrated by Martin Asbury so fall outside the scope of this blog, but I've listed them below for completists.

Firstly, notice the sub-title "The man with a thousand masks", which I presume is how the German Editor (named as Manfred Soder) at Bastei Publishing explained the English time-traveller who goes to all points of the compass and travels through time!

There are 24 pages of Bellamy strips in each issue but - and here's the interesting thing - the strips are coloured red (with the black and white left as is - mostly!) and cut up, shrunk and enlarged and also 'foreign' panels added by another artist. The single colour is not unusual in UK comics (even the 1970s Marvel comics first appeared like that in the UK). 

John Tornado #1 p.1
My translation of the paragraph above - which appeared in each issue (with a new introduction on the relevant story):

A balloon floats out of the steel-blue sky over Tibet and lands on the roof of the world. A young man lies unconscious in the gondola. Where does he comes from? From a European country? Maybe even from the starry world? The man remembers nothing. They give him the name JOHN TORNADO. Soon he has to realize that the laws of space and time do not apply to him... The man who came out of nowhere experiences breathtaking adventures in the past, present and future. Are his fights dream or reality? John doesn't know himself! Perhaps the beautiful goddess from the world of stars knows the secret of the man who has to face ever new dangers in a thousand masks. She always encounters John when he is in grave danger. But in human form she cannot intervene. The moments of reunion are only short, then she has to go back... to where, maybe, JOHN TORNADO came from...?

The following is the opening page of the strip in issue 1 which you'll no doubt have identified as "The Women of Galba". There is only a piece of Bellamy's original drawn title - obviously because the original is in English. Then note the top 'banner' which fills space. There are four of these collage images which rotate through the 24 pages. Also of interest is that nudity is covered by bikinis and other underwear! It was a children's comic after all, but surprising as I remember the 70s magazine displays in Germany as showing a LOT more than Bellamy's drawings portrayed!

John Tornado #1 p.2
Here are the first three episodes of the original publication in the Daily Mirror  to make your own comparison

Later in the story we see other panels enlarged, I assume to justify the first page's enlargements.

John Tornado #1 p.12

For those who are keeping track, I looked at Issue 10 (The Wreckers) in case the Daily Mirror sent Germany the Daily Record strip and the answer is no! Ditto for issue 8 (People of the Abyss).

Here are some more assorted pages, note particularly the large panel in issue #6 :

John Tornado #2 p.16

John Tornado #4 p.9

John Tornado #5 p.25

John Tornado #3 p.27

John Tornado #6 p.7

Here are some more pages by, I suspect, the cover artist  Ertuğrul Edirne which are interesting as they show the Garth characters

John Tornado #2 p.28

John Tornado #11 p.1

John Tornado #2 p.35 pin up of Stargo


To read details of who did what on the strip, you can't do better than RalfH. I also wrote to Peter Mennigen on Facebook - an author of an extraordinary amount of German comics including the excellent "Malcolm Max" which ironically, being a Victorian demon-hunter in London, is not available in English...yet! 

Hi Norman, the original title of "Stargo" is "Tenax". But Frank Bellamy has nothing to do with it, his series "John Tornado" appeared first in "Stargo" before he got his own 15-issue series. The author of "Stargo" is Pedro Muñoz. The artwork is by José María Ortiz Tafalla (who also drew many of my "Phantom", "Ghost Stories" and some "Vanessa" Comics.) The cover artist of the "Bastei" books is Ertugrul Edirne. More information may be found in a " Bastei Freunde" magazine, which deals with the topic "Stargo" in detail. Unfortunately, I don't have the magazine here, so I don't know how helpful it could be. - Kind regards and have a nice weekend - Peter

Lastly I should mention the indicia state that copyright is held by Bulls, Frankfurt am Main and Syndication International, London. ("Stargo" is copyright Imperia/Graphlit)

Back page of John Tornado #1
Translation of the "breathtaking" adventurer's next episode in 14 days!:

Nobody knows the secret of the fighter with a thousand masks. As a lone wanderer
he is chased through space and time by powerful opponents. JOHN TORNADO has to face incredible dangers in the past, present and future.
In the next adventure, JOHN TORNADO stays in a ghost town of the Wild West. The wind howls eerily through the shattered windows of the Star Saloon... A swinging door creaks... Suddenly the ghost town awakens to new life. And JOHN TORNADO wears a new mask: As the sheriff of Silver City, he hunts down a ruthless gang...
And as a bonus, just for Bill, here's the pin-up from the centre pages of issue #1 where we can see some of Bellamy's art and the rest, I suspect is by Ertuğrul Edirne.

John Tornado #1 centrespread


John Tornado #1-20
Covers by Ertuğrul Edirne

  1. Die Gefangene des Gladiators [The Gladiator's Prisoner] = The Women of Galba
  2. Duell in der Geisterstadt [Duel in the Ghost Town] = Ghost Town
  3. Der Dämon in der Zauberkugel [The Demon the Magic Bubble] = The Bubble Man
  4. Im Hinterhalt der wilden Horde [Ambushed by the wild horde] = The Bride of Jenghiz Khan
  5. Die Schreckensreiter von Montana [The Horror Riders of Montana] = The Angels of Hell's Gap
  6. Aufstand der Galeerensklaven [The Galley Slaves Uprising] = The Orb of Trimandias
  7. Die Verräter von Soho [The Traitiors of Soho] = Freak Out to Fear
  8. Die Ungeheuer von Azlan [The Monsters of Azlan] = People of the Abyss
  9. Die Meuterei der Roboter [The Robot Mutiny] = The Doomsmen
  10. Fluß ohne Wiederkehr [River of no return] = The Wreckers
  11. Der Fluch von Atacama [The Curse of Atatcama] = The Mask of Atacama
  12. In der Arena des Tyrannen [In the Arena of the Tyrants] = The Beast of Ultor
  13. Das Rudel der grauen Wölfe [The Grey Wolfpack] = The Wolfman of Ausensee
  14. Die Verschollenen des Alls [The Lost Ones of the Universe] = The Cloud of Balthus
  15. Die Menschenjäger von Ikonos [The Manhunters of Iconos]The Beautiful People
  16. Die Galeone des Teufels [The Devil's Galleon] = The Spanish Lady
  17.  Der Hexer von Darkville = The Long Sleep
  18. Die Sendboten des Unheils = Sapphire
  19. Die Wächter des vergessenen Sterns =  Finality Factor
  20. Die Garde des Teufels = Power game

Thanks to's John Tornado thread here's the chronological reading order for Garth in German:
14, 6, 13, 8, 1-2, 11, 10, 12, 7, 4-5, 9, 3, 15-16, 18-20, 17 but of course you are missing Sundance (Bellamy's first Garth story and "The Man-Hunt" his last.

I'm grateful to the German Comic Guide and for their information.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Happy Birthday Frank Bellamy

Crosse & Blackwell advert 1971

It's the 21st May and in 1917 one of Britain's greatest artists was born in Kettering 105 years ago - not "600 years ago"! I'm happy to remember this date every year, but what to show you?

I've decided, for no other reason than these are images with a subject of "many years ago" to show you three pieces you will enjoy

The first (at the head of this article) comes from an advert drawn by Bellamy for the agency Lonsdale Crowther Ltd whose client was Crosse & Blackwell. Bellamy was paid £115.50 for the full colour battle scene titled "Life as it was 600 years ago". Notably there is no signature. This advert appeared in various comics (where they were printed in colour) including, but not exclusively Countdown No.12 (Week ending 8th May 1971) and Look & Learn No. 485 (1 May 1971). If anyone knows where the original artwork is, I'd love to know and if you spot the advert anywhere else, I'd add that to the listing. 

Eagle 28 August 1965 (Vol.16:35
The second piece appeared in Eagle in the summer of 1965 and shows one of the "Arms through the ages" series. You can see the others here. What's interesting is the missing panel which appeared bottom left on the printed cover. As it contains a somewhat violent image(!) it may have been cut out and omitted in a further reprint, but I've not found one yet! Bellamy was paid £44 for this.

Eagle 28 August 1965 (Vol.16:35

 And lastly, again through the kindness of collectors, I have another original art to show you. This comes from Swift Vol2:37

Swift Vol.2:37 (10 September 1955)

The seventh episode of "King Arthur and his knights" - copies of the whole story can still be found on Book Palace's website.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

More Original Art for auction! garth, Robin Hood and Heros, oh my!

Eagle 10 Nov 1962, Vol:13:45

The Compalcomics auction just gone live features loads of Frank Bellamy original artwork - all captured here for your delight! It's mirrored on Thesaleroom where you can bid and see live bids too. I've placed the direct links to Bellamy's wonderful artwork below.

That's enough of the technicalities. Let's get to the artwork....

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 10 November 1962 (Vol. 13:45)

The image at the top of this article shows the 4th episode of the first "Heros" story. the colours are very vibrant and it seems the piece has not been displayed and allowed to fade and the presence of the lettering in such perfect condition is explained in the blurb below. The estimate is £4,500-£5,000. 

It is described as:

Heros the Spartan original double-page artwork (1962) painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol. 13 No 45 centrespread, 10 November 1962. Caesar has sent Heros, with a hundred men, to conquer the mysterious Island of Darkness. But Heros's cohort is ambushed by animal-like warriors. Luckily the survivors reach a stockade, built by previous ill-fated legions. That night, from the mountainside, an awesome figure taunts Heros and his men to battle ... Pelikan inks on board, 28 x 20 ins. The Heros the Spartan title lettering and square text boxes are laser colour editions to complete the look of the artwork and may be removed if required.

There are loads of Garth strips in this auction, but the most exciting, for its historical significance is this one:

GARTH: Sundance - E164

Garth: Sundance - E164

This is the third episode of Garth that Bellamy drew. I've used it in previous blogs to illustrate how Allard added pieces to the early Garth strips after Bellamy took over. Technically it should be credited to Bellamy and John Allard as the latter added the trees in the third panel and the Letraset on the soldier's trousers. It's described as:

Garth original artwork by John Allard for the Daily Mirror 14 July 1971. Two light bends to the board, not breaking the ink. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

The estimate is £100-£150 but i suspect might be greater than that as Sundance does not come up that often.

GARTH: Freak out to fear - H182+H214

Garth: Freak out to Fear - H182 and H214

"Freak Out To Fear" ran in the Daily Mirror originally from 6 June 1974 - 27 September 1974 - H132-H227 and these two strips show strong figure compositions in a small space. The auction is estimated to reach £450-£500 which seems reasonable to me for two original Garths, these days. It's described thus:

Garth: 'Freak Out to Fear' (1974) two original artworks drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror, 6.8.'74 and 12.9.'74. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins (2)

GARTH: The Angels of Hell's Gap - J35

Garth: The Angels of Hell's Gap - J35

Bellamy's Western Garth strips are always popular and this one is estimated to reach  £250-£300 which seems reasonable too. 

Garth: 'The Angels of Hell's Gap' (1975) original artwork drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror 13.2.'75. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

GARTH: The Bubble Man- J278

Garth: The Bubble Man - J278

This strip has a bevy of beautiful ladies which tends to bump up prices, but there's no nudity here, so who knows. The estimate is £250-£300 (and at the time of writing this is the first of the Garths in this sale to get a bid) so let's see what happens. I love the devices like the shading in the first panel and the way Bellamy portrays the building in panel 2

Garth: 'The Bubble Man' (1975) original artwork drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror 25.11.'75. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

GARTH: The Spanish Lady - K136+K160

Garth: The Spanish Lady - K136 + K160

"The Spanish Lady" is a story that is fondly remembered by Garth fans, as Garth (as John Carey) travels in Elizabethan times and with Sir Francis Drake tackles a Spanish galleon with - you guessed it - a Spanish lady aboard, with whom he has his dalliance! One of the strips offered is the last strip of the story which ran 17 March 1976 - 7 July 1976 - K65-K160. These are estimated to sell at £450-£500, but I wonder! Bellamy passed away on 5 July 1976 and began the next story's artwork - there being a lead time between completing the artwork and its publication.

Garth: 'The Spanish Lady' (1976) two original artworks drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror No K 136 (undated) and 7.7.'76. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins (2)

Lastly we have an unusual piece in a series that does not come up often.

ROBIN HOOD: Swift Vol3:41 (13 Oct 1956)

Swift 13 Oct 1956 (Vol:3:41 p.2)

If you haven't seen Book Palace's reprints of "Robin Hood" (and "King Arthur" - and I should mention immodestly, my "Art of Frank Bellamy" with loads of artwork and my bio of Bellamy's work and life), then hop along there. 

But back to the above "Robin Hood". Malcolm describes this lovely piece:

Robin Hood original artwork (1956) by Frank Bellamy for Swift Vol. 3, No 41 pg 2 (1956). Black ink and wash on board. 18 x 14 ins

I'd say a bit more. Pause for a moment and gaze at that first panel - the servant is in the shade (a lovely ink wash)  and perspective is shown by the light in which the Normans stand compared to him. The second panel shows intricate brickwork and Bellamy could   have made it much simpler for himself, but gloriously didn't! And in the last panel I'm reminded of dioramas with the foreground cut out and an image placed behind it. Did he really have to add the bird scattering its way through the forest? Beautiful and dedicated work.

For your pleasure and because. like me, I'm sure you want to know what led to this page and what happens next, I give you.....

You might also be interested in this lot of assorted books and fanzines

I'll update the spreadsheet as usual after the auction. Happy Bidding!


WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: Sundance 
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022
GARTH: Freak out to fear (2 epsiodes)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Angels of Hell's Gap
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Bubble Man
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (2 episodes)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

Monday, 25 April 2022

Frank Bellamy and Brian Lewis and Captain Condor

Eagle Vol.11:9 (27 Feb 1960)

You may have seen adverts for Hibernia Comics latest collection in their "Fleetway Files" series. It contains three "Captain Condor" stories illustrated by another artist I like, Brian Lewis. Bellamy and Lewis were contemporaries and I always say Bellamy's demise was too soon, but Lewis was only 49 when he passed away (3 June 1929 - 4 December 1978) but he left us with some superb artwork

The character Captain Condor was created in February 1952 as a direct competition to Eagle's "Dan Dare" by Frank S. Pepper, a stalwart of story papers and Tiger and Lion - the latter is where Condor first appeared.

Hibernia Comics "Captain Condor"

I bought the Hibernia comics book and was reading quite happily in my nostalgic place when I was brought up sharp - some of these images looked similar to Bellamy's "Dan Dare" - what irony as the two were seen as competitors!

Taking each image that I spotted in order - there are likely to be a few more  as so many faces and groupings of people look very familiar but as a quick glance I couldn't find their immediate references so i thought I'd publish this and see if others can play along! 

The first I spotted was on page 5 of the Hibernia version (originally published in Lion 30 December 1961)

Lion 30 December 1961 -
scan of original comic

Compare the bottom row to the Eagle comics - firstly at the top of this article (where we see the helicopter devices strapped to Dan Dare and friends' backs) and then the following where Dan Dare is looking somewhat shocked (bottom right)!

Eagle Vol.10:30 (12 December 1959)

On page 62 of the Hibernia book we get our first glimpse of the aliens in the story "The Slave Hunters from Space", and they appear very similar (to me at least) to the aliens from the Dan Dare "Project Nimbus" story.

Lion 21 July 1962 -
scan of original comic

And here is the Bellamy version from 2 years earlier!

Eagle Vol.11:22 (28 May 1960)

Next we have (on page 93 of the new book) what some think might be a predecessor to Thunderbird 2 - which I cannot prove or disprove as I don't know if Derek Meddings - its designer -or one of his children read the Eagle comic. But I'm certain Brian Lewis did. He contributed to that comic too, drawing fill-ins on "The Guinea Pig", a long run on "Mann of Battle", and even a spoof strip "Blunderbirds" in 1966!

Lion 3 November 1962 -
scan of original comic

Eagle Vol.11:2 (9 January 1960)
A note to the unwary that only the lower row (in the above image) is by Bellamy as the main frame had been drawn up on the fly by Gerry Palmer without Frank's knowledge or consent..! [Thanks for the reminder from David Jackson]

Of course I started to see other influences - even what I thought might be based on Frazetta's cover to Famous Funnies #214 on page 94! At that point I thought I'd better stop. There's a Facebook group if you'd like to see more of Brian's work, and I uploaded some rare images of his work in "All about science" - a part work from the 70s - to Flickr.

Let me finish by quoting John Freeman from his review of the new collection:

The team at Hibernia have again done a cracking restoration job on the pages featured in this 120-page collection, treating us to three three enjoyable SF-inspired romps, "The Push Button Planet", "Slave Hunters from Outer Space" and "The Unseen Invaders".