Monday 13 April 2009

Frank Bellamy Lifetime Achievement Award (Part 3)

On Tuesday, 18 September 2007, I first mentioned I had learned about the "Frank Bellamy Lifetime Achievement Award" and my good email friend Richard Sheaf added a bit of information on Friday, 11 January 2008.

Subsequently Richard has sent me several scans from various fanzines which have articles on this award. Although not directly related to Bellamy, except in name, I felt this pieces of history might interest a few people.

Eagle Times #22:1 (Spring 2009)

James Slattery of Dragon's Dream for 'Most outstanding contribution to strip illustration' says Alan Vince in his interesting article just published in this quarter's ET. The magazine celebrates its 21st birthday this year and long may it continue. Alan's memories of 1970s/80s comic conventions, when Embleton, Hampson, Lewis et al were still with us are really interesting. Who is James Slattery? He worked on the reprints from the Eagle, including Bellamy's never since reprinted "High Command" which had the brillaint Churchill and Montgomery strips in full colour

Comics International #127 (Christmas 1992) - Alberto Breccia - interesting choice as he's not really appreciated much in the English language
Comic World 12 February 1993 - same announcement in a different form

Comics International #139 (February 1994) - Jack Kirby, whom I think you will all know!

Comics International #153 (March 1995) - Alex Toth, again you should know him!

Comics International #178 (February 1997) - Julius Schwartz, and if you're as old as me he needs no introduction either.

Want to add anything, please comment below...till next time

Sunday 5 April 2009

SWIFT Cover update


See my post and notes on the website regarding the Swift comic cover in question. I bounced a few emails to Steve Holland at the time and I don't now how but I missed the full story. Fortunately, having visited and met Steve for the first time a few weeks ago, I plied him with food and beer and found out the following. Steve kindly said I could quote him which helps me post this a bit quicker than normally do!

GUEST: Steve Holland:


Frank Hampson had finished working on "The Road of Courage" in Eagle in early 1961. It takes a few weeks to get the finished comic through the printing process so there's usually a lead-in period. The last episode of "Road" appeared in the issue dated 8 April 1961 but was probably completed by Hampson in February at the latest. This was shortly before the Fleetway took over the Odhams/Hulton group of comics. The deal was officially brokered on 22 March 1961.

To quote "Living with Eagles", "In May Leonard Matthews wrote that he would be 'taking up residence' at Longacre the following week." So you can see that various changes would have occurred during the summer of '61.

Hampson, meanwhile, was still drawing a regular paycheque from what was now Fleetway Publications. New editors and sub-editors began to arrive and the various titles began to reflect these changes. In September 1961, a new style of covers began to appear on Swift, each cover based around an event (the first Sputnik, the Battle of Hastings, the Gunpowder Plot, etc.). Some were new, some were reprints of old Thriller Picture Library covers.

Again, lead time for printing dates the decision to change the covers to around June/July 1961. Someone, possibly Alf Wallace or (more likely) Val Holding, who had been installed at Odhams by Matthews, realised that Hampson was still on their books and commissioned three covers from him.

The first (General Custer) was delivered and published in December 1961 (it would have been painted by Frank in September or October). Frank then fell ill and could not complete the second commission. This was passed on to Frank Bellamy who painted the cover featuring Amundsen reaching the South Pole which appeared the week after Hampson's General Custer cover on 16 December 1961. Hampson recovered and was able to complete the third cover (the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I) which appeared in January 1962 and was probably painted in November 1961. This has been confirmed by David Slinn who was working for Eagle and Swift at the time, although the rough dating of events is mine.


Thanks Steve for clearing that up.

Click on "The Lost Characters of Frank Hampson" by Alistair Crompton & Wakefield Carter to see the Hampson covers mentioned above. Now how can I illustrate the blog without repeating a previous picture, well here's a bonus for you. An odd black and white picture from earlier in the year, but around the same period of time published in the Eagle 26 August 1961