Friday 28 August 2009

Garth and the Bubble Man

Used with permission

In the national newspaper, the Daily Mirror, from the 16th August 1975 through to 28th November 1975, Frank Bellamy illustrated the 15th story in his 5 year run on Garth. Episode numbers J192-J281 - that's 90 daily strips, tell the story of how the Bubble Man is sent by the Warlord of the Universe to retrieve his daughter who had run away with her lover. Garth is taken aboard the spaceship (shown below) and encounters the Bubble Man. The story has all those quirks that you expect in a daily episodic newspaper strip. A highlight is that Garth meets again with Astra his immortal girlfriend whom he meets when time travelling.

Used with permission

The Bubble Man's companions are beautifully drawn and this story contains a lot of the famous Bellamy 'swirls' to shade space, in lieu of the more time consuming stippling which was a trademark. The only three other times, that I know of, when Garth appeared in colour were the two annuals, The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, with original Bellamy covers and the cover of the Disc newspaper If you click on the above picture you'll agree with me, I think, that John Ridgway has done a brilliant job on what could be seen as a controversial move. I find the projected cover somewhat busy but what do I know!

In these Internet days it's great that Rod Barzilay is still able to publish such a gorgeously glossy magazine. I recently moved my stack of the magazines and realised they must be the weightiest tomes I own - and I don't mean content. To order Spaceship Away click here, and here for the list of what's appeared in previous issues and finally here for summaries of stories.

Here for your enjoyment are 2 of the orginal non-coloured strips:

Episode: J272
Garth © 2009 The Daily Mirror

Episode: J273
Garth © 2009 The Daily Mirror

I read this was due to occur, but thank John Freeman and Lew Stringer for highlighting the new coloured strips and look forward to seeing some of this glossy version

Sunday 16 August 2009

REPRINT: Century 21 Volumes 1 and 2

Chris Bentley and friends are to be congratulated for producing an absolutely gorgeous work. This year we have seen so much Bellamy work reprinted, but the reproduction on this is amazing. The original art from the archives has been used where possible. Some of the art will appear publicly for the first time ever as it was meant to be seen. Even photogravure cannot do some of this justice and the modern digital process has been used to great benefit.

Both volumes are available via the usual sources, but if money is no object, go to the publisher's website and order a hardback with Gerry Anderson's autograph. (You'll need to scroll down the page a bit)

The cover reproductions are nice too and some of the black and white Noble work inside has a positive shine on it. Below is the page taken from Reynolds and Hearn's website but obviously a scan of a website graphic based on original art isn't doing Bellamy any justice. Trust me on this one, the two hardbacks are well worth the money even if you still have the original TV21s.

Lastly, just for fun, I've copied what was the provisional cover for one of these two books, but was not used. This was originally published in the Thunderbirds Poster Magazine No.3, I think.

Lastly which of the Bellamy strips are reprinted?

Volume 1
reprints Thunderbirds: Chain reaction and Thunderbirds: The Devil's crag as well as 2 Captain Scarlet covers #185 (3/08/68) & #186 (10/03/68). The Thunderbirds stories come from TV21 #227-234, #184-187

Volume 2 reprints Thunderbirds: Operation Depthprobe and Thunderbirds: Secret of the iceberg from TV21 #105-109, #155-161

All this information has been added to the website

Friday 14 August 2009

Frank Bellamy's David the Shepherd King

ADDITIONAL NOTE: See update by clicking link

I have just been alerted to some more exciting news - Titan are publishing Jesus & David: Tales of Two Kings: The Road of Courage & David the Shepherd King in hardcover next March (2010). Although I liked Hampson's art from his trip to the Holy Land in 1959 (shades of Holman Hunt!), it's the other half I'm excited about. After all Hampson's Road to courage has been reprinted before. There's a copy on Abebooks at the moment but don't rush as I'm not sure it's worth £932!!

David the shepherd king ran in Eagle volumes 9:37 - 9:52 and continued in 10:1 - 10:15, between 13 September 1958 and 11 April 1959. A full colour back page with some beautiful portraits by Bellamy, and these hastily uploaded pictures do NOT do him credit. Trust me the strip looks fantastic.

If you want to see how glorious the original art is head over to Terry Doyle's Gallery at ComicArtFans. In the mean time here's a better scan. I'll soon have to start listing new Bellamy books, in the Steve Holland manner if this carries on. What with the next volume of Dan Dare reprints due next year, and the World War One at the end of this year!

#Jesus & David: Tales of Two Kings: The Road of Courage & David the Shepherd King (Hardcover) by Frank Bellamy (Author), Frank Hampson (Author)
# Hardcover: 112 pages
# Publisher: Titan Books (UK) (9 Mar 2010)
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 1848565259

# ISBN-13: 978-1848565258

Thursday 13 August 2009

REPRINT: The Happy Warrior (USA edition)

I thought I'd quickly add a note, thanks to Brian for the alert, that a new reprint of the Winston Churchill biography has appeared in the USA.

The price on the Levenger website is a very reasonable $38 plus shipping, which, after several emails I have found to be, for a single copy, $68.32. So by current reckoning that's a total of £64 in UK money for this book!

If you get a copy please do contact me with more information about it. Perhaps you have a kind friend in the US who might send it to you. But at that price, I shall be hanging onto my copy of the 1958 and 1981 reprints, as well as my original Eagle comics. But I'm here as a public service, so just letting you know.

Thanks again Brian - who incidentally said he saw this whilst in the USA recently, so presumably it's in stores! Maybe a wholesaler over here might consider looking into it....are you listening Geoff?

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Frank Bellamy and the floating mine

Wham Annual 1972, p.15
Richard Sheaf has sent me a new bit of information showing a reprint of Bellamy's work which gives me a good excuse to show you some more unusual Bellamy artwork. The above piece, sent by Richard, comes from the Wham Annual of 1972, so interestingly would have been on sale while Bellamy was still alive.

He created two covers at the end of his Eagle work before moving onto his 4 year stint on "Thunderbirds" in TV21. The first was for Eagle Vol.16:35 (28 August 1965) titled "Arms Through the Ages: No. 5: The crossbow"
Eagle Vol 16:35
It was for 16:36 copy dated 4 September 1965 he created his "Arms Through the Ages: No. 6: The floating mine".

Eagle Vol. 16:36
This lovely example of a Bellamy explosion shows his professionalism - just because he was leaving didn't mean he would stint his employer. Wikipedia has a long article on the subject of floating mines, but obviously Bellamy would not have had access to the Internet in the early 1960s. He had previously visited the Imperial War Museum when researching Churchill's life so it does not seem unreasonable to assume he repeated this experience.

And here's what the cover to the Wham Annual 1972 looks like: