Sunday, 10 January 2010

Myths debunked

I was reminded of the above piece as I watched, for the first time, the film "The Battle of Britain" over the last week.

Over the years there have been many artists who have imitated Bellamy and some of his techniques and I'm sure he would be very flattered. But those who know his work don't generally argue over the provenance of original art ...much. (Have a look at my notes on the Swift cover). The reason for this is that with his regular commissions in comics taking most of his time (and therefore easily accounted for) and also his clear style it's rare something comes up to argue over, and Nancy his widow, is still with us too to corroborate some works.

There are two pieces I'd like to bring to your attention.

The first is above. This comes from the excellent Look and Learn website (search for B000067-00.jpg) but also from an enquirer to my website asking where this piece by Bellamy was published. I had to inform him that this wasn't by Bellamy. I have also seen a piece from the strip "Montgomery of Alamein" from the Eagle called "the Battle of Britain" and sold as a print, but this seems to have now disappeared so maybe this was another mistake that someone buried before the lawyers moved in!

On enquiry Steve Holland said he knew this was Neville Dear (I totally agree) and that this link gives the right attribution, which it does

The second piece which was forwarded to me by, I think Shaqui, is the following game

Taken from Look-in Annual 1971

The central Masai is 'borrowed' from TV21 issue 59, p12 (the Thunderbird strip "Mission to Africa")

The elephants come from the same story (issue #60, p.10)- here's the original

The rhino comes from - again the same story - #63, page 11 - here's the original again for you to compare

Where do the gorilla and lion come from? I can't find them so I'm guessing either copied from photos of the time, or 'borrowed' from elsewhere. If you can trace a Bellamy antecedent, let me know.

Now why was this hotch-potch of images used, when Bellamy could have been approached to create something in 1971? Especially as, at that time, Alan Fennell, his old friend, was the Editor of the Look-in comic (before Colin Shelbourne took over from his position of Art Editor)?

Well, at that time Bellamy did contribute one piece, - more of which at a later date. But I suspect he was trying at this point to break away from comics (despite creating Garth for the Daily Mirror every day) and therefore was reluctant to 'go backwards'

But why did the creator of the game above rip-off another publisher's material? Another mystery that may never be solved


Anonymous said...

So what did you think of the film?

B Smith

Norman Boyd said...

Hi "B"

I loved the film. I hadn't realised that real aircraft had been used for the dogfights or I might have laid prejudice aside and watched it ages ago. It was actually filmed on the airfield my Dad was stationed at in the late 60s. My Dad, and the airfield have been gone a long time! And I can't now remeber why I didn't watch it being filmed!

Anonymous said...

If you can find a copy, there's a very good book by Leonard Mosley about the making of the movie that's well worth reading.

B Smith

Norman Boyd said...

Thanks for the suggestion, B.
I'll hunt it out as it has personal interest