Friday 30 October 2009

Escape from Aquatraz Volume 3 of the new series

John Freeman kindly passed on the following information from Marcus Hearn, which I hope he won't me quoting:

We're putting the finishing touches to Volume 3 now. I don't have a press release but I've attached the contents page and the jacket so that should give you what you need. It's restored to the same standard as the first two volumes and approx half the pages are scanned from original artwork.

The latest volume contains the following stories drawn by Bellamy:
ATOLL OF DOOM #197-202

The first was reprinted once in the 1990s Thunderbirds comic (numbers 25-27 for those completists) as "Nuclear threat" and if you are Dutch in TV2000 # 1 - 3, 1969
The second was also reprinted once in the same Thunderbirds comic (#25-26) as "Hawaiian lobster menace"
And lastly Thunderbirds #42-45 had the only reprinting of the story titled "Danger in the deep".

I, for one, will be really pleased to see these stories again - especially if they contain a lot of the original artwork. The first two volumes (mentioned here) are absolutely gorgeous. Paul Holder and I spent an evening looking at each page and deciding how 1) the original artwork did not get reproduced so well in photogravure (surely the best there was at that time) and 2) deciding which pages were from the originals and which weren't. The reproduction in the first 2 volumes is so crystal clear that I couldn't believe how muddied some of the original TV21s were!

Saturday 17 October 2009

Fans of Frank Bellamy: Jon Haward

I tripped over an interview between Jon Haward and Terry Hooper with loads of fine examples of Jon's artwork, in which he praised Frank Bellamy. Click on the link and spend time there after you finish here!

I took the liberty of emailing Jon (via his website) asking if he could say more about the influence that Frank Bellamy had on him. He very kindly agreed to me publishing the following:

'What does Frank Bellamy the artist mean to me?'' Well firstly, he's my all time favourite artist full stop, he wasn't just a artist who worked for comics he was a all round illustrator who could draw beautiful nudes in stipple nib pen , he could illustrate film stars, animals, machines, planes, basically anything the Editors wanted he could draw.

He could design fantastic covers for magazines, he was a all round artist who had a terrific graphic design sense with shadow and colour and he used lettering to good effect too he was a master craftsman of his trade.

Radio Times 1st January 1972 - 7th January 1972 "Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks"

He was copied by other artists of his generation but none of them could match him , he was a one off, his work still has a freshness to it even after 33 yrs since he passed away

When I was at art college in 1981 my art history thesis special project was a book all about Frank Bellamy where I put interviews /art and my reasons why I liked his work I got a 70% pass for my efforts

Over the years as a comic pro I've been very lucky to draw Dan Dare and Thunderbirds and draw the odd Dr Who illustration all three Bellamy had drawn in his career, my work never touched his for style and impact, I admit my Dan Dare was one of my first jobs so I was a green horn learning as I went along , Thunderbirds was difficult I tried drawing it on cs10 board with coloured inks like Bellamy but it was a lot of hard work and being forced to draw the characters in puppet character proportions didn't help me either and I was never really happy with my efforts . Dr Who was a storybook so I could not go too wild with the artwork or design so you see I just couldn't match the master craftsman.

Eagle 7 November 1959 Vol 10:38 "Terra Nova"

Bellamy still inspires me I put little nods to him in my layouts with the odd character pointing to the reader and when I draw things in outer space I draw stars like Bellamy, my explosions I try and draw a Bellamy blast that breaks out of the panel box.

His work was very clever he could draw fantastic atmosphere with black figures and a one colour tone over them for background and it still looked terrific, he could draw fantastic fight
scenes and amazing battle spreads (Heros), but what hooked me first was his work on Garth a black and white story adventure strip in the Daily Mirror. As a young boy I would copy and copy the art from my brothers scrap books of the strip my all time favourite is The Bubble Man a ''Mekon'' type alien who's ship had crewmen like giant insects I'm thrilled Spaceship Away are reprinting this work for a new generation to discover, I'm also pleased Book Palace books are reprinting his Swift work which is new for me to discover being a 60's child not old enough to see it first time round.

Eagle 3 August 1963 Vol 14:31 Heros the Spartan: The Eagle of the Fifth

Bellamy never handed in a bad piece of work ,he shows that the art form can be exciting and fantastic, dynamic and to me that marks him as a all time great of the medium of Art not just comics.

He died when I was only 11 yrs old before I could send him a fan letter or one of my drawing but he'll never be forgotten thanks to the Internet, publishers and fans like me who will always marvel at his wonderful body of work . Jon Haward

I must mention Jon's involvement with the Classical Comics project. I've read both his Macbeth and Tempest as well as some others in the series, and have enjoyed them enormously. Mike Collins, who kindly contributed to this blog recently, has done a title in the series - Christmas Carol and a contemporary of Bellamy's John Burns has two titles in the series. And no, I'm not on commission! All the graphic novels are published in three simultaneous editions (see an explanation here) and are available in the usual virtual and physical bookstores.

Here's an example of a comic frame where Jon might have been influenced by Bellamy's habit of shaping the frame to enhance the breaking action! For the curious, it's Ariel, Propsero's sprite in the Tempest

Jon Haward's art from The Tempest