Monday 31 January 2011

Original Art: Garth on eBay - Sundance

I noticed our old friend 'tweedacademy' has another unique Bellamy for sale on eBay. He is auctioning E173 of the Sundance strip.

UPDATE: Sold for £227 (February 2011) with 32 bids

As Nick Landau explains in the Titan reprint "The cloud of Balthus" Steve Dowling the creator of Garth took on a young assistant John Allard in 1943. "On Dowling's retirement in 1968, Allard took over Garth until a permanent replacement could be found." which of course happened in 1971 with the 13th strip in the Sundance story.

The strange thing was he stayed on making amendments to Bellamy's art, by changing ballon layouts or by adding something Bellamy never used to my knowledge, Letraset, or what the Americans call 'zip-a-tone' In reply to a letter received by the editors of the newspaper reprint title "Menomonee Falls Gazette" Bellamy said
You ask about the functions of Jim Edgar and John Allard. Well Jim Edgar is the scriptwriter. John Allard was on the strip for a number of years before I was called upon to draw it. He sometimes letters the balloons. However, I now do all the drawing, but the credits remain. Sounds confusing... it is!
Follow the link to read the full story on that.

I thought this might be the opportunity to share something I scanned crudely many moons ago. I really wish I had been more careful with my references, but all I can tell you it's definitely Boy's Own Paper and page  451 - and comes from around the early 1950s. I think it's  author is Godsell (the excellent Fiction Mags Index site says "GODSELL, PHILIP H(enry) (1889-1969); Canadian writer; spent 20 years in Hudson’s Bay Company and wrote about his experiences" soi it's not unlikely to be the same guy

Wikipedia has an article on the Sun Dance (two words)and at the Native People of Canada site you can see a portion of this very photograph.

For those who think I'm going too far off track, here's a selection of the story reprinted in the afore-mentioned  "Menomonee Falls Gazette" (with thanks to Pete the Pipster for the scan)

Click to enlarge 
Garth © Mirror Newspaper Group PLC

Sunday 16 January 2011

Recent references to Bellamy

This time's blog is about Bellamy's appearances in the media this Christmas - yes I know that's impossible but it's my way of highlighting that Bellamy, although no longer with us, is still being mentioned by lots of people in one way or another

MIKE TRIM: Designer of many Gerry Anderson vehicles

In 1964, young Mike Trim answered a newspaper advertisement seeking modelmakers for a film production crew and began an odyssey that would last for more than 40 years. Beginning in the final days of Stingray, Trim would work as a modelmaker and designer for Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's television series Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, The Secret Service, and UFO, as well as their feature films Thunderbirds are Go, Thunderbird 6, and Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (a.k.a. Doppleganger).
Starting out in the model shop, Mike eventually became Special Effects director Derek Meddings' assistant in designing the fabulous futuristic vehicles, buildings, and look of the Andersons' imaginitive series. Eventually, he would take on the bulk of design work for the series as Meddings became more involved in feature films.
Contributing a single (unused) vehicle design and model to Space: 1999, Trim then moved into freelance illustration, creating an iconic cover painting for one of the best selling albums of all time; Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds, in 1978. Today, Mike is a freelance illustrator and conceptual designer for film and television. He lives in the south of England.
Taken from his website

The website is well worth exploring. But let me point you to YouTube where "ACthelegend" has uploaded many of his films from last year's Fanderson convention. He says about Trim "he's a really nice guy" and gave me permission to link to his video. The video is worth watching (as are the others listed) but the reference to Frank Bellamy starts at 3 minutes 35 seconds. I've transcribed it below (so if I ever need it I can search for it on my PC).

INTERVIEWER:"You're a big fan of Frank Bellamy's artwork..."
MIKE: "Yes indeed"
INTERVIEWER: "What was it like reading the Thunderbird stories in TV21 and Captain Scarlet - especially with your designs in there?"MIKE: "Again that's quite weird, seeing someone else doing your designs. For me [one of my great regrets was that] Frank Bellamy did come into the studio with the original first spreads of Thunderbirds and I did meet Frank very briefly and I would have so loved to have sat down and had a chat with him. Having sat as a lad looking at his comic strips, it wasn't just the Dan Dare strip, which he also did [reference to earlier part of the interview on Hampson's creation] but he did strips before that which were absolutely brilliantly drawn, he just had this dynamic style that was superb, but I never got the opportunity but he carried that on through and the thing that struck me was none of the strips that he'd done before really ever called Frank to venture into the realms of science fiction"

JOHN COOPER: Fellow TV21 artist

The second piece was published by Terry Hooper in his interview with John Cooper (a fellow TV21 artist) on the interesting ComicBitsOnline

TERRY: I just realised there is a question I should have asked you earlier - has anyone influenced you great –art-wise- in comics and why?
JOHN: I always admired Frank Bellamy in comics. The man was a genius.

Unfortunately he says no more on the matter, but again shows Bellamy is far from forgotten.


Thirdly, many mailing lists and blogs mentioned the rather excellent programme over Christmas Eagle: The Space Age Weekly which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 23rd December 2010. I managed to capture the comment on Bellamy within the predominantly Hampson programme (fair enough!) where Tim Curry says:

"Frank Bellamy, who inherited Dan Dare after Frank Hampson left, drew the gripping 'Heros the Spartan' about a Roman warrior. With his attention to fine detail Bellamy was as great a perfectionist as Frank [Hamspon]"

The programme was written by Roger Dobson and is produced by Stephen Garner and featured among others David Britton who produced the wonderful Eagle Exhibitions for the Eagle Society a few years back, one of which, in Northampton, featured a talk on Frank Bellamy by Paul Holder. This review by Steve Winders sums up my opinion of the programme nicely

Lastly for now in this catchup on Bellamy's appearances I hope you all saw the wonderful bio/documentary on Bob Monkhouse, a well known Bellamy collector. BBC Four broadcast this 90 minute documentary "The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse" on Monday 3 January 2011. A nice review can be found at Suite101: Television Review: The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse  The interesting thing for me was the fact that in one dolly shot through a corridor we see original art (which was not, to my recollection, mentioned at all) and clearly visible are three framed Garths by Bellamy from the first Sundance story. He also had to my knowldge a wealth of Thunderbirds and other Bellamy art.

Perhaps we'll see this hit the market one day - but better still wouldn't it be great to see his work hanging in a public area for all to enjoy.

Monday 3 January 2011

Bellamy, Thunderbirds and the Royal Mail

I received news today, when catching up with my email from the Christmas period, that Gerry Anderson's creations are about to star on British stamps from 11th January! What a new year's surprise.

These photographs look really nice and Royal Mail have done some lovely items for the launch date of 11th January 2011. Click on the link to see presentation sets, first day covers and so on.

So where's the Bellamy connection?

Scificollector @ The Stamp Centre, who are based in the Strand, London, produce many Anderson, Doctor Who and other products and their signed First Day Covers have always appealed to me. As I'm sure a lot of you philatelists will know the Royal Mail produce special First Day Covers for the launch event of any new set of commemorative stamps. But The Stamp Centre have gone one better by inviting Gerry Anderson to sign their unique covers.

As they say on the website:
Gerry Anderson 2011 Limited Edition First Day Comic Strip Covers
On January 11th 2011, the Royal Mail are issuing a set of 6 stamps to celebrate the genius of Gerry Anderson M.B.E..
We are immensely proud to have been exclusively authorised by Gerry to produce a range of fan dedicated collectable First Day Covers to complement the 10 stamps.
There are six 'comic strip' covers each featuring one of the main six stamps and combine to create a comprehensive set, which is stylistically consistent and inspired by the works of, amongst others, Frank Bellamy. Each cover also features a special postmark, dated on the day of issue and each piece is individually marked with its unique edition number. All the covers will also be signed in person by Gerry Anderson, making for a truly wonderful collectable.
The set of six is available to pre-order now for £80 post-free UK or they can be pre-ordered individually by making your selection/s below for £15+£1 P&P each.
Also released by the Royal Mail is a Thunderbirds Miniature Sheet, featuring for the first time a lenticular moving image design showing the Thunderbirds countdown sequence. A separate cover adorned with this sheet is also available, as are 3 different 'behind the scenes' covers which carry the full set of the six main stamps.

 For the Thunderbird cover they've used Frank Bellamy's drawing from TV21 (plus Embleton, Noble and others for the remaining covers). If you're visiting them, take a look attheir other Anderson set too

The Stamp Centre's covers