Sunday 14 December 2008

Various items

I have had several emails from my kind friend Richard Sheaf since I started this blog. I'm trying in this email to let you know about changes and scans I have added to the Frank Bellamy site as a result, as well as some general tidying up.

  • From Articles to Advertising - Comic Media News No 25 Mar-Apr 1976 with scan in the Note This is the black & white advert for Comicon '76. But interestingly this advert appears cropped from the 1975 event poster which I have added too
  • Deleted the entry on the Advertising page to my guess work on BOAC and added full entry to 'Welcome Aboard' in the Magazine page as outlined in my previous blog entry
  • Added to Advertising Comic Media News No. 21 plus scan of the (B&W plus red) poster for Comicon '75
  • Added to Books Two romance novel covers (with thanks to Steve Holland) - glad they're out in the open now
  • Added FB's complete adventures of King Arthur to the Books page

Saturday 29 November 2008

Frank Bellamy welcomes you aboard BOAC

I am always on the lookout for any new Frank Bellamy information. Thus I keep alerts providing updates from all over the web. I had a fantastic surprise when a search I had been doing for many years, said "BOAC's in-flight magazine Welcome Aboard"

I had a reference to Bellamy's BOAC work, but no idea what it was. I knew he had provided some illustrations for a poster to be used at Farnborough Air Show in 1970 and at the same time he did some BOAC work. I wondered whether the two references had got mixed up, as often happens when dealing with memories of 38 years ago - including my own! But getting back to that alert...

"The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) is the online resource for visual arts. It has provided services to the academic community for 11 years and has built up a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in teaching, learning and research in the UK."

One such service is the digitisation of Design magazine from 1965 -1974. DESIGN was published by the Council of Industrial Design, 28 Haymarket, London SW1 4SU. As luck would have it, one of the articles in this archive is titled: "Flight reading" in the issue dated 1st October 1971.

"So is this where Bellamy's work appeared?" I hear you ask. Sort of, is the answer!

The article written by Doug Blain is on pages 48 - 53 and deals with the history of the publication of the bi-monthly in-flight magazine "Welcome Aboard" given out on BOAC flights.

The most amazing coincidence - and why I chased this down - was that in illustrating this obscure article, 8 spreads were chosen as examples of the design work. Amongst those by Bellamy's contemporaries Charles Raymond, Pauline Ellison, Alan Aldridge, Nicholas Thirkell and Alan Cracknell (some of whom, like Bellamy, had illustrations in the Radio Times) appears one by, on close inspection, Frank himself!

Unfortunately the article tells us "John Adams in Birth of a nation" is by Bellamy but not in which of the "Welcome Aboard" (published bi-monthly since 1968) it appears.

Here life's serendipity intervenes. I set up a search immediately on eBay and just two weeks later what appears but a rare "Welcome Aboard" booklet. The answer to my question came back "yes, there is an article on 'John Adams in Birth of a nation' in it". Imagine my joy on receiving my win!

I have scanned the cover of "Welcome Aboard" - not shown in the article mentioned above - as well as a scan of "John Adams in Birth of a nation"

I realise that our American friends hold Adams in very high regard, so I hope they'll forgive Bellamy entertainingly portraying him as a semi-superhero in the last panel! But also notice that whoever wrote the script spelled 'Harbor' in the American way

Frank Bellamy art appears on pp20-21

Cover by Tony Meeuwissen

I'm off to lie down now - too much excitement for one day.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Frank Bellamy and life class sketches

Bellamy ran a life class whilst at Blamires' Studio in Kettering - his first art job - which was a modest affair (in both senses of the word!) and also later for the Studio Club, Piccadilly, London. The club was run for artists and musicians, and was situated in the basement of 15, Swallow Street, and was founded in 1915. I believe it was during the late Fifties and early Sixties that he committed loads of sketches of the female form to paper (I'm trying to avoid words that web-blockers will block!).

I don't own much Bellamy art myself, but I couldn't turn down these pieces when offered to me some years ago. One day I'll get them protected, particularly as you can see I managed to get a fold in one piece! At least I know not to let the light near them, so they haven't faded.

I hope you enjoy these simple speedy sketches done in pencil and coloured pencil. The lady who has her back to us, has a notation worth mentioning: 8.45

Now whether this is the time it was done, or the minutes and seconds the drawing took, I don't know. But I've been in art classes where we had a set time to complete a sketch, so maybe it's not too fanciful to assume the latter. I have seen other sketches in this 'series' from his art pad, and I've listed others I've found on Unpublished Bellamy webpage 

Bellamy proves here that he is adept at fine art and I'm certain his visits to Italy will have inspired his love of the naturalistic poses in these sketches.

If anyone has any others - with notes on - I would appreciate scans and details, thanks

Sunday 21 September 2008

King Arthur, Merlin and Frank Bellamy

I have missed two events this weekend.

The first was meeting Steve Holland for the first time at the excellent "The London ABC Show" which features amongst other things original art, British comics, newspaper strips, pulps and paperbacks but also book signings. I've been to a few now, seeing John Bolton, Graham Bleathman, Sydney Jordan and Al Davison amongst others.

If all went to plan Steve should have been signing specially flown in copies of the latest Bellamy reprint, Frank Bellamy's King Arthur and His Knights: The Complete Adventures. The book is due out shortly (presumably when copies arrive from China). The reprints are taken from the Swift comic (Vol. 2:31 - 2:53, 3:1 - 3:18 dated 30 July 1955 - 31 December 1955, 7 January 1956 - 5 May 1956) . I make that 41 episodes, 2 pages each.

The story of King Arthur here, was written by Clifford Makins (later editor of the Eagle) Bellamy shows great skill in depicting the knights and their armour, horses and weaponry. He shows long shots of British castles, and battlefields. Bellamy must have been extremely worried when he read "Merlin says to Arthur, “You must build a great Round Table to seat 100 men”". However, Bellamy pulls it off admirably in such little space – the 70 or so knights depicted around an enormous table are amazing. Comparisons with Foster's Prince Valiant, can't be helped, but they are two different products created for different markets.

The second event this weekend, that I'm not worried that I missed, is the BBC's new production for Saturday night, Merlin. I'm fairly sure Steve Holland and the Book Palace did not aim to have the Arthur book available because of the launch of this, but I'm sure it can't hurt. The BBC's modern take on the old story has been hyped a lot and is obviously important to the BBC Saturday evening schedule, but I found the earlier Robin Hood, done in the same vein, bored me so I'm a bit prejudiced. But I'm sure that won't stop you making up your own mind!

Used with permission

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Frank Bellamy licks the Daleks into shape

Shaqui and I had some email correspondence recently after I alerted him to the fact that Frank Bellamy had produced some Dalek material for Wall's Ice Cream around September 1975. Even research in the Unilever Archives showed me they do not retain any part of this series except the front part of a wrapper!

"The Dalek Death Ray wrappers was a revelation - I was kicking myself for not recognizing the style but then the repro is mushy at best and I didn't think Bellamy would do stuff like this!" Of course when he says 'mushy' I don't think he was making a pun - these wrappers were covering ICE lollies, after all and had a tendency to make the wrappers mushy! However, in his usual helpful manner, he supplied some examples so we could see what they looked like.

Shaqui tells me that Wall's Ice Cream published two series of Dalek material in the first half of the 1970s. The first series was called 'From the world of the Daleks...', while the second, non-Bellamy, one is called 'The Incredible Daleks...' The titles from the first series are:

The Grenium Invisibility System

Daleks and the Ancient Britons

The Swamp Creatures of Terroth
When the Daleks Flooded the Earth!
The Cyclops Z-Ray
A Dalek Deep Space Battle Cruiser
Dalek Officer

Shaqui then told me something that I didn't know about this series: "The other interesting trivia note for the Bellamy series is all bar one ('Dalek Officer' although I think some notes come from some cutaway seen but the approach is quite different) are taken from the 1976 Dalek annual: 'Terroth' and 'Flooded' are based on the two strip stories, while the 'Cruiser' appears in a text story. 'Transmol', 'Z-Ray', and 'Grenium' are from one of those 'amazing Dalek facts/technology' features, while there is a mention of Daleks on Earth in AD42 in another."

Concepts for Bellamy work from this annual - Artist unknown

It should be stressed that no Bellamy artwork appears in  Dalek Annual 1976, and this would have been published at the end of Summer 1975 for Christmas sales in 1975. 

An eBay seller helpfully put some of these up for sale and here is one to show what the back looked like complete

Front and rear of a Bellamy Dalek's Death Ray
Bellamy had correspondence with Eric Fletcher of "Scheme", (presumably the agency creating the designs for Wall's). In it he mentions that "we could sit the creature with the fangs on a sort of 'all-seeing' eye." Could this be the design Alan Davis has on his website? Why was it not used?

 Lastly, in the correspondence mentioned above, a series called "Solar System" is mentioned. Did Bellamy do it? - We have no other reference to it

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Peter Cushing liked to read Bellamy!

'Ian from The Receptacle Group', as he wants to be known, recently posted an article that made me smile and with his permission I have adapted it here for you!

The film, Doctor Who and the Daleks, was released in 1965 starring
Peter Cushing as the cinema Doctor (Hartnell was on the TV at the time) . In the opening scene, the camera pans around the Doctor's living room. First we see Susan reading 'Physics for the Inquiring Mind' by Eric M. Rogers. Then we see Barbara reading 'The Science Of Science'. And what’s the Doctor himself reading?

Eagle and Boys' World Vol.16 No. 12, 20th March 1965.

As the Doctor puts down the comic, we see that he has been reading 'Heros The Spartan' from the centre pages, which of course was illustrated at that time by Bellamy.

And then we see him reading the next pages, 12 and 13, before he stands up when Ian arrives.

Anyway.. according to Mark Campbell's 'Dimensions In Time & Space' book, the movie was filmed from 8th March to April 1965, then the premiere was 24th June 1965. This issue would have been on sale in the newsagents from 17th March to 23rd March, in the middle of filming, so it could well have been picked up specially for this scene, filmed during that week?

You would have thought that Terry Nation would have wanted a copy of TV Century 21 to be advertised in the movie, what with the Daleks strip appearing on the back cover of that comic. [Issue 9 would have been out at the same time as this issue of Eagle]. Although I suppose its best as it is, otherwise kids and Doctor Who fans would have been saying that how come the Doctor didn't know about the Daleks when he'd just been reading about them!

Thanks for this Ian, great stuff, and for Bellamy fans, here's the actual strip that held Cushing's eye. It's part 4 of the last story of Heros that Bellamy did (he was followed by Luis Bermejo) and Bellamy has used many, almost psychedelic, colours for backgrounds.. The story was called The Slave Army

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Thunderbirds unpublished art for TV21 & Joe90

Shaqui has pointed out to me that I have omitted a piece of work that Jeff Haythorpe showed him. I'm ashamed to admit I did know about this already and had indeed left it out of my listing. This allows me the opportunity to tell you about it.

Frank Bellamy drew Thunderbirds in assorted formats for the comic TV21. He started by creating a double page spread in colour with an additional page in black and white halftones for the first 14 episodes. He then dropped the black and white page and completed a weekly colour centrespread for 76 episodes. Reproduction of these centrespreads was difficult in the international market and from issue 141 he created two separate colour pages. This method carried on for 102 more episodes until TV21 merged with Joe90 after which Bellamy drew, for issue 1 one page in colour, for issue 2, 2 pages of colour and finally for issues 3 and 4 he drew his first Thunderbird pages in black and white (x2)

At this point in 1969, Alan Fennell the editor of TV21 could see the writing on the wall and encouraged Bellamy, who quite frankly must have been really fed up with Century 21 Ltd to jump the sinking ship. Fennell let him know that Century 21 would no longer be publishing TV21 from 2nd of June 1969. The editorial packages would be passed to City Magazines Ltd who nominated Martspress to fill the pages. Bellamy, who must have been very frustrated with the changes in formats during 4 weeks, went on to lucrative work with the Sunday Times, Look and Learn, Radio Times and then moved to the prestigious work on Garth, the daily strip at the Daily Mirror

However, the story does not end there. Bellamy seems to have produced one more black and white page of Thunderbirds. Jeff Haythorpe, one of the many kind souls to display their collection of original art on, has in his collection a copy of the Thunderbirds shown below.

Shaqui tells me that the story Bellamy started to illustrate here appears so similar to that of TV21 & Joe90's issue 35 that the script must have been put on the shelf for a later date after Bellamy had left the comic.

I have just been tidying up and found I actually have TV21 & Joe 90 New Series No. 35
So here is the awful version of the same story for you to compare with the Bellamy. John Tracy appears over the page, but I couldn't be bothered to scan that too!

Sunday 1 June 2008

Blogger comments FIXED


I have discovered that comments have not been working properly.

I immediately called International Rescue - they're very Net savvy and fixed the problem.

If you sent a comment recently and didn't get a reply, please feel free to send it again. Don't worry if you're repeating yourself.

Monday 26 May 2008

Walls Wonderman and Frank Bellamy

I wanted to show two pieces of Bellamy's work that is little known but was seen by millions of boys and girls in 1969 and 1970: Wall's Wonderman! I know it appeared in Smash, Lion and in Valiant, but can you add to the list?

In January 1970 Lintas Advertising Agency approached Bellamy to produce two comic strip adverts for their character Wonderman, a superhero who doles out lollies and confuses the name of his super-powers! He meets Jimmy Carter - no, not the ex-President! - and a Walls Van driver and saves the day!

Walls Wonderman and the Martian Inferno

Walls Wonderman and the Bridge of Terror

Bellamy also produced some Point-Of-Sale material and fortunately Alan Davis saved a photo from destruction. It's obvious Walls Wonderman's right arm is vanished because something would be placed over it such as a label which is local to the shop selling it, or maybe some other purpose.

Walls Wonderman photo from Bellamy's studio - Thanks to Alan Davis
Although the three illustration adverts below show they were commissioned by Lintas, and elements look to be by Bellamy are they his work?
Foreign Stamps offer

Moon Stamps offer

Wonder-Kite offer
If you look at the comments below you'll see Peter mentions an animation. The History of Advertising Trust have one on their site.

Here are some other images, just to make sure you see them all. Which are Bellamy and which are influenced by his initial concepts is hard to say. I'm open to comments.

Funundrum competition
Thirst-quenching Woppas
Walls advertising tin sign


Friday 25 April 2008

Bellamy starts drawing Paul English in Swift

In my last post I highlighted the difficulties in trying to identify Bellamy artwork. None more so than the early material.

I have an early run of the Swift comic that enables me to scan two pages for your perusal of the strip that was illustrated by Giorgio Bellavitis. That much is agreed by sources over the Internet, but when exactly did Bellamy take over?

Above are  The Exciting Adventures of Paul English from 2nd and 9th April 1955. comparing the two weeks, I think I'm right in seeing one artist (Giorgio Bellavitis) and then another (Frank Bellamy) a week later. Why do I think that?

  • Compare the musculature and the ways it's drawn on the boys
  • Look at the lines to denote wooden beams
  • Look at the window in the room and how it differs
  • ...and most important of all, look at the horizontals and verticals that are drawn in the room in the first and not in the second!
Let me know what you think...

Monday 31 March 2008

Identifying art can be hard...or FB or not FB!

***UPDATE*** - See later piece

That great guy Steve Holland sent me a scan recently that staggered me. It is the front cover of the Swift comic from 16 December 1961 featuring
"Amundsen-the first man to reach the South Pole".
So what's the mystery?
Steve writes:
"I can't find the attached illustration on your site and maybe you're not aware of it. It's the cover of Swift vol.8 no.50 (16 December 1961), part of a series of covers celebrating various anniversaries ranging from the Battle of Hastings to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I. ... The cover is reproduced (about 2" wide) on page 4 of the same issue in b/w along with a brief article:
The Story of our Front Cover This Week's Anniversary Amundsen First man to reach the South Pole"
When I saw the cover, I really wasn't sure who did it, but it appeared to me to be a Bellamy lookalike. However, the only name I could think of was Eric Kincaid.
I wrote back to Steve and he replied:
"Why do I think that Amunden pic is Bellamy? Because it looks like him. I sent a copy over to David Roach and he agrees... and I quote:

"Well it looks like a definite Bellamy to me too. The inks are a little rougher than he often did but then I've seen the odd job in this style - on a few Heros' for instance so it's not completely unknown." David's probably the best artist-spotter around so if he thinks it's Bellamy you can be 99.9% certain it is."

And there I might choose to rest my case as these two cannot be beaten in their knowledge of British comics (amongst other things!).

However, I can be stubborn - if you don't believe me look at the website!

Below is Bellamy's drawing (FB signature bottom right) of a similar snow scene and heroic man- Sir Edmund Hillary from EAGLE Vol. 12:46 (18th November 1961). If you look at the Swift piece, it appears very similar to Bellamy's work, but certain pieces make me wonder.
In the Everest piece he blends the colour of a boot into the snow without drawing an ink line to show the boot appearing through the snow. In the Everest piece, his snow colouring is distinctively sharp. There is evidence of a wind (as you'd expect up Everest) as there is in the Swift piece, but in the latter the snow looks fairly 'smudged'. The lines around the main figures and the clothing appear different.

I think the artist for the Swift piece is the same person who drew some of the Arms through the Ages series in the 16th volume of Eagle.
However, Bellamy did actually do Arms Through the Ages: No. 5: The crossbow and No. 6: The floating mine
To see a fuller version of my thinking and what I mean click on the note corresponding to the entry on the comics page of my website.

So all said and done, I have added an entry to the relevant spot on the website with corresponding note! A good British compromise!
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Friday 15 February 2008

Frank Bellamy original artwork sales

Heros the Spartan
for a mere $8000 on ComicArtFans! If the link doesn't work search for 'Heros the Spartan' here. The piece has kept its colour very well

If my collection wasn't so buried I'd tell you which particular issue of Eagle it comes from. Anyone want to race me to their collection?

Edited on 27 July 2009

THUNDERBIRDS from TV21 July 29 2067 #132

I think a visit to eBay right now would be worth doing if you'd like to see a really good colour Thunderbirds strip. This is likely to sell for an enormous amount of money. The colour is superb and I think demonstrates how devoted Bellamy was to using inks properly in his colour strips. The story it comes from is one set around the terrorists who ram a liner called the President in the narrow Nicaragua Canal. It ran for 7 parts and this is part #3

Auction ended 21 Jun, 2009 at £827 - 20 bids - reserve not met! These are indeed hard times as I would have predicted at least £1000 would be bid!

Edited on 28 June 2009

I have avoided pointing to sales and auctions in the past, as any eBay links will date very quickly. But so much has come out of the woodwork recently, I couldn't resist and have copied the pictures from the auction sites so you can see the actual items. (If anyone objects for copyright reasons let me know and they will be removed!)

On eBay we have seen several items raise surprisingly better prices than usual, which is encouraging.

Currently you could spend that spare £1500 and buy an original Thunderbirds from TV21
Tweedacademy is also selling a rare Heros
for a snip at £2000!
...and lastly rush over to Comic Book Auctions Limited where Lot#136 (The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, 1976) will see a lot of interest in my opinion. The estimate of £450-£500 seems modest as this is a totally one off piece. The auction ends on 4th March - so hurry!
Winning bid incl. 10% Buyer's Premium: £1,089

An original single page from Thunderbirds recently was for sale at a starting bid of £300 but petenovitch ended the auction early because the item is no longer available for sale, normally meaning it was sold outside eBay before the auction ended
petenovitich also sold a nice single page with 9 bids for a low price of £404.95 - a bargain in my opinion.
Someone in the USA had 18 bids on the original Marco Polo page raising a nice £1,116.80
Garth original come up fairly regularly for a wide variety of prices. Three sold recently £72.70, £150.91, and £125.76. Why the range of prices? - no idea! It's basically what the buyers were willing to pay!

Also one range of books has always had interest; that's the reprints of Garth strip published by John Dakin in the late 1970s The Doomsmen raised £24.02 for the seller - a good price!

Well that rounds it up for now. I've managed to post something at least once a month since launch! Hopefully with the new Robin Hood book coming from BookPalace in March we might see some new stuff!