Saturday 13 August 2011

Original art for sale - Thunderbirds, Look-in and Garth

The title of today's blog post is a bit like the chant from the Wizard of Oz! "Thunderbirds, Look-in, and Garth, oh my!" And it certainly is a magical day for Frank Bellamy fans.

The latest Comic Book Auctions Limited catalogue is out and bidding closes on Tuesday 6 September at 8pm UK time.

I have copied the details below as it turns out this blog is one way some buyers keep a track of sales! Or so I was told by a gentleman recently! I'll update this entry with the sale prices as soon as they are known UPDATED 10 Sept 2011 - see below 

TV21 #133
Lot # 187 is described as
Thunderbirds original double page artwork drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for TV Century 21 No 133 Aug 5 1967. Bright Pelikan inks on board. 19 x 27 inches £2,000-2,500
UPDATED 10 Sept 2011 Winning bid incl. 10% Buyer's Premium: £3,025 
TV21 #206
Lot # 188 is described as
Thunderbirds original artwork (1968) by Frank Bellamy from TV 21 No 206 Dec 28 1968. Bright Pelikan inks on board. 18 x 15 inches
UPDATED 10 Sept 2011 Winning bid incl. 10% Buyer's Premium: £550 

Lot # 221 is described as

Southerner original double page artwork painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for Look-in #23 June 12 1971 with original magazine.
On the night of Friday October 3 1970 the 42,000 ton Liberian oil tanker, Pacific Glory was transformed into a blazing inferno after a collision with another tanker off the Isle of Wight. Southern Television's film news were the first TV units to reach the scene as Southerner, the world's first outside broadcast vessel sped to the area. The newsmen and technicians later carried off six major news film awards. The true story of the Pacific Glory Disaster was dramatised and painted by Frank Bellamy for the centre pages of Look-in eight months later
Pelikan inks on board, some fading to the blues. 24 x 18 inches (Removable laser colour copy text boxes added to complete the story) £550-650
 UPDATED 10 Sept 2011 Winning bid : U/S (Unsold?)

Lot # 223 is described as
Garth original artwork (1971) by Frank Bellamy for The Daily Mirror 14 July 1971. Entitled Sundance, this was Bellamy's third board
Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 inches
UPDATED 10 Sept 2011 Winning bid incl. 10% Buyer's Premium: £203

Now what do I think of all this? Well funnily enough I am excited by this episode of Garth (don't forget it's being reprinted in the Daily Mirror right now!). This is the 15th episode of the story 'Sundance' (Jim Allard preceded Bellamy's fondly remembered run). It's only Bellamy's 3rd episode of the story.  What's interesting, and you can't really see it here, is that Bellamy did not use zip-a-tone, or letraset/letratone but it does appear here on the fallen soldier's trousers. And worse there is white-out / Tippex! FB was proud of never having used the stuff, so who did it? The answer: John Allard, who was kept on to do various things on the strip.

Below is a photo I took when I had access to the owner's original artwork. Hopefully you can see this interesting fact. It certainly doesn't mar the original delicate linework of Bellamy.

E164 - Note the zip-a-tone - click to enlarge
I suspect the estimate on this particular board is low.

And secondly the very rare Look-In piece. The description mentions faded blues, but I think even with that fact this should fetch a good price as it's the only piece that Bellamy did for his former editor on TV21 (Alan Fennell) in this comic. Having the work on Garth as well as many other individual commissions, Bellamy didn't have time, even if he wanted to go back to weekly comic strips! Having the "Removable laser colour copy text boxes" makes this a very interesting piece. One wonders why the text was not on the original board, but if you look at the scan below you'll see that it's not hand lettering but type

Look-in 12 June 1971
That leaves just the Thunderbirds to comment on.....They look brilliant and the colours vibrant.

One curiosity - I notice that the colour in the comic shows a pink sky in places - but a natural blue in the original. Anyone know anything about this? I have discovered other adjustments (certainly not improvements!) to Bellamy's artwork in the Thunderbirds strips. I expect he wouldn't have seen the published art - David, his son, was born 8 December 1944 so was a bit old for TV21 at that time (that's rich from the guy who still owns a complete set!) and I have no knowledge that he received a gratis copy

Here are the two compared:

Anyway, I still owe money on my house so I'll leave you all to bid!

Monday 8 August 2011

Comicartfans - Original art: Garth - Beast of Ultor

WARNING! Following this link could serious put a dent in your free time!

If you've never heard of Comicartfans site, you haven't been reading the detail of my blog. It's grown enormously since its first appearance. Various people share their pictures and some trade on there. That's swap and sell in other words.

'Zaalxx' has put up for offer a beautiful example of Frank Bellamy's Garth. It's an episode from the Beast of Ultor

H93 The Beast of Ultor

To see the original at Comicartfans click here and if you want to make 'Zaalxx' an offer you'll need to register with the site first but can then use the form provided.

If you want to see some of the beautiful Bellamy art that Jeff, Paul, Chris, Terry, John, Stephen and many others have shared, click here. But don't say I didn't warn you that you'd find this a 'sticky' site!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Bellamy's influence on others

UPDATED - see the bottom of this post

Recently Bill Storie sent me a scan of an old J. T. Edson paperback making the comment that "not Bellamy art of course but...does the pose look familiar? Not the first time I've seen other artists swipe Frank's poses - maybe we should start a new section (just kidding!! We'd need an entire separate website for that!!)."
JT Edson cover 

I did a bit of trawling and found the following examples in Bellamy's work to illustrate this point so just for a bit of fun have some Bellamy pictures pointing at you!

Ghost World

Ghost World


Eureka reprinted and sepia-ed!

and then there's Thunderbirds where he repeated this motif so many times

and just in case you thought I couldn't find any cowboys - Edson's stock in trade!....


Marvel Western Gunfighters
The image above is taken from Western Gun Fighters: A Marvel Special 1980. This was originally given to Dez Skinn as a 21st birthday present (see and is used here with permission. Dez tells the story that Bellamy pointed out his own error in the way he has drawn one belt buckle correctly and one wrongly!

There you go. I could have added Heros, Montgomery and so on but I think the point's made. However before I leave this alone I saw this advertised recently....

Art by Tim Keable

I'd love to know if Tim is a fan of Bellamy. Just in case Tim thinks I'm implying it's a swipe, here's a review of this anthology I think that's enough meandering! Back to work.

Of course if you find any more, let me know

UPDATED: 09 August 2011

Out of the blue, I received this from Tim Keable - which at first I thought might be a lawsuit on:

I noticed you used a recent comic cover of mine in your latest article. Well, in answer to your query I have to confess to being an absolute Bellamy buff.

The cover art was indeed a swipe.

When we started doing the West comics with colour covers, Andy Cheverton (the writer) and I decided that each cover would have a different design.
With this in mind we've done one in the style of Saul Bass and we have one coming up with a kind of '50's horror comic type look.

When it came to Stray Bullets I really wanted to do an illustration in homage to Frank Bellamy. I decided to stick as closely as I could to the techniques I know he used.

I've still got some CS10 lineboard left so I cut a piece at around A2 size.

Using black india ink for the lines I then coloured it with FW acrylic ink applying it in layers the way Frank did. Highlights and corrections were done using an ink rubber and scalpel. No process white was used!

I was generally pleased with the result and it made me realise even more just what a craftsman he was. Those inks on that surface are a real nightmare!

May I just take a moment here to commend you on your site. Truly a labour of love.
I had to leave the last bit in as I, like all bloggers, need the encouragement!

I wrote back to Tim to thank him and he replied:

CS10 isn't made any more but I've seen people selling it on ebay for £75.00 a sheet!
There is a company called Paper People who manufacture something which they claim is as close as they could get to the original.The interesting thing about Frank and also others like Mike Noble is that they developed these techniques out of necessity due to the printing processes involved.
I could bang on for hours about such things!
One question before I go.
Are you going to do any more articles about Frank's Sunday Times Magazine work?
Yes, Tim, keep your eyes peeled on the blog and many thanks for your comments!

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Beautiful People starts in Daily Mirror

The bad news: Spanish Lady has ended

Did anyone notice that the word 'blackamoor' was blanked out in one balloon? Strange, from the paper that brings us all sorts of "interesting" stories each day!

The good news: Once again that fantastic Martin Baines has shared the fact that the next story in the Daily Mirror to be reprinted and coloured is "The Beautiful People". This story ran from 29 November 1975 - 16 March 1976 (numbers J282-K64) and has only ever been reprinted in a very rare fan publication.

I'd love to get some feedback on what you think of the art in this story as I can see that maybe (and please don't burn me at the stake) that Bellamy -after 4 continuous years - might have been a bit tired. Let me know.

And for 1970s glam rockers - do you think the lead in this story looks like a certain Mud lead singer?

Click on the image to enlarge to full size

© Daily Mirror

Monday 1 August 2011

Frank Bellamy and all things African

Click to enlarge

In the list of 'Unpublished' works - which I confess is a mixed bags of things I've seen, but have not necessarily got scans of, there are several animals of Africa, scenes from Africa and also Masai warriors (my best description). I know that Bellamy exhibited in various top shows in London with pictures listed with African names and unfortunately I haven't been able to match names to pieces. For example, he listed 'Oluwaru' which a quick search on the Net tells me is Masai for 'wild animal'. I have seen lions with Kilimanjaro in the background, but this sounds grander.

Anyway, Adrian Fear has contacted me to share a " drawing [which] actually belongs to my brother. He bought the drawing at a flea market about 10 years ago. The pictures dimensions are 530mm by 610mm. It is a pencil and pastels drawing on black paper/card then mounted."

I know that Nancy Bellamy proudly displays one such piece, of a head in profile, and others, on her walls in her home in Kettering, but this is a new one to me. I'm very grateful to Adrian for not only making contact but also sharing this photo.

The piece is the same as those I have seen and shows another side to Bellamy, who most people know as the comic artist and who Sir William Russell Flint respected for his African work. Praise like that does inspire!