Sunday 23 October 2011

Original Art: Garth on eBay - Freak out to fear H180

Another Garth for sale on eBay, ending 26 Oct, 2011, 21:57:03 BST

This is from the story Freak out to fear which appeared in the Daily Mirror from 6 June 1974 - 27 September 1974 (H132-H227). This story has only been reprinted in 2 obscure places: the All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips No.17  and in the American reprint title Menomonee Falls Gazette from number 218 (16 February 1976).  If you can help me identify which exact issues this story was in I'd be grateful for an email

UPDATED 27 Oct 2011- £85 (3 bids)

My own scan of H180 - click to enlarge

Thursday 20 October 2011

Frank Bellamy and King Kong

King Kong 1933
I love the simple story of King Kong, whether told by Merian C. Cooper, John Guillermin or Peter Jackson. I remember my teenage eyes moistening after seeing Jessica Lange looking at Kong dying and I also remember some of the people I went with laughing at me! But I didn't care. I'm still touched by the story - stop motion, monkey suit or CGI, don't care. It's a simple old story wrapped in a monster theme which goes back to Beauty and the Beast if not further

DC Comics used to use loads of ape covers as the DC editors believed that sales increased whenever there was a giant ape on the cover of a comic. Twomorrows published "Comics gone ape!" in 2007 and featured comments by several DC creators such as Infantino, and Cardy who used the ape motif many times in their cover careers.

So what does this have to do with Bellamy? Well, by now you'll have learned my style is to not get straight to the point.

King Kong 1976

The excellent MagForum site, about magazines and magazine publishing, is written by Tony Quinn, founder of he tells us:

19 magazine was published by IPC, monthly, from 1968 - May 2004
Young women’s glossy aimed at 16- to 19-year-olds. The established magazines in this sector all steadily lost sales after 1980. 19 was the last survivor of the three big IPC titles: Honey merged with 19 in 1986 after circulation almost halved in five years; a similar fate befell Look Now in 1988. These mergers helped 19, but its sales were still down by about a fifth in 1990 over the decade. When it finally closed, IPC said: 'Over the last few years, the face of the teenage market has changed. The boundaries between the teen market sub-sectors have become blurred and sales patterns suggest that readership at the older, young women’s end appears to have migrated to the fashion and celebrity markets.' Final editor was Helen Bazuaye. The publisher launched Teen Now, a spin-off from its celebrity weekly Now in spring that year and in March Emap had closed The Face and J-17 (Just 17) Taken from: and used with permission 
King Kong 2005
When I flicked through every issue from the start, trying to find an illustration I knew to exist, I was stunned by how it changed over the 6 years I browsed. The end of the 1960s was a liberating time - especially regarding sex and sexuality. 19 appeared to me to be mostly about fashion, and short articles of interest to the 19 year olds it was named for. However as time went on and I turned more pages I found articles on sex and attracting a mate more numerous. It was a real journey through the transition in time - the editor must have been very 'with it'. I liked the short story illustrators - among many others - Jill Watkins, Margaret Power, Julian Allen, Mick Brownfield, and Alan Cracknell. The latter two were also prolific in the Radio Times of the period (for whom Bellamy also illustrated). Chris Achilleos's early work appeared here - Achilleos was obviously hugely influenced by Bellamy when creating his classic Doctor Who covers for Target Books (have a look at this page to see what I mean)

The contents page of the February 1975 issue of 19 contained the black and white image from the main double page spread Bellamy drew. Keith Jones, was the Assistant Art Editor for IPC magazines at that time who paid Bellamy £86.40p for the colour spread commissioning it in May 1974. Bellamy's King Kong appears on the celluloid which is melting, and twisted strands of wire is shown in the background of the montage. A hand carefully pulls the 'i' from Kong's name. I've read the article and can't see what this represents so would love to generates some comments below

Cropped contents page

19 "King Kong", pp.66-67
Another coincidental link to Bellamy (and if anyone can find these it's me - just ask my family!)  is that 19 magazine carried an article in March 1976 on Gerry Cottle's Circus for whom Bellamy drew three posters


To read about the history of the films - (I didn't realise Linda Hamilton did one!) see KiKn (Kong is

Saturday 15 October 2011

A visual view of the FB Blog

In the interest of sharing, just a quick note about something new in the bloggersphere - at least to me!

You can see a month's worth of Frank bellamy Checklist blog by clicking on this URL
and if you have a blog, substitute your web address instead of mine and there you go! Blogger have even introduced "seven new ways to experience your favorite blogs"

Using's Flipcard feature
 Next: King Kong!

Saturday 1 October 2011

The last great invention

Last Great Invention - panel
In the 1960s publishing saw more and more magazines that were partworks published in numerous countries as co-editions to bring down costs. The format of a weekly partwork caught the public's imagination -but not often their mathematical skills - total costs of a partwork could far exceed any total price for the equivalent book, but it did allow families to buy weekly rather than lay out a lot of money up front! This was in the days before 'easy credit'. I remember my Mother loved 'The British Empire' with its glossy appearance and colour throughout. I preferred 'World of Wildlife' as it contained animals in their natural surroundings. You have to remember back then - no Internet and colour had only just come to UK TV and we had three terrestrial (what other sort were there?) channels! So colour glossy magazines - great!

Cover of Sunday Times
23 August 1970

Bellamy contributed to this in two places that I know of and the following relates to the more famous one: The Sunday Times (Colour) Magazine (23rd August 1970). "Last of the Great Inventions" was, as it says in the magazine "Drawn by Frank Bellamy and written by Tony Osman".

The Sunday Times was forging ahead in Britain in displaying innovative colour in a giveaway weekly newspaper magazine. It all started in 1962 when the owner Roy Thomson wanted a way to sell colour advertising at a time that newspapers could only print black and white (it was 20 years later that Eddie Shah shook up the newspaper industry with a colour paper) Its first editor Mark Boxer was joined a year later, by Michael Rand as Art Director.
"It was 12 months before it was voted a huge success – by the readers and advertisers (due to editors Mark Boxer, Godfrey Smith and its design guru Michael Rand). It was Smith’s idea to produce another innovation, the part-work series which could be collated, at the end, in a special binder: A Thousand Makers of the 20th Century remains a landmark" (Evans, H, 2008. I wish we could have done this in my day. Sunday Times [London, England] 6 July 2008: 9.)
Many artists and photographers praise Michael Rand as being an inspiration in allowing them to push the boundaries and Rand knew Bellamy's work well (confirmed in an email from Robert Lacey - yes I contact all sorts of important people!), but he is not credited in the series itself instead it appears Arnold Schwartzmann was the Consultant art Director on the project. .

Binder cover
First part

 Eureka!: The Sunday Times Magazine "A history of inventions in 10 parts" was published weekly between 21 June 1970 and 23 August 1970. The pages were not numbered but a note appears in each 'supplement' saying "To prepare for the Eureka binder cut out pages down centrefold" Bellamy produced only the last installment.

Last episode includes a competition
The commission was to show  the President of America being woken to be told that the ballistic Missile Early warning System had detected missiles approaching and the President's reaction and conversation with the USSR (This was Nixon and Brezhnev)

Bellamy draws Nixon again!
I personally found the whole piece awfully confusing. The script is not written by someone who knows comic strips and I suspect that (unlike earlier Sunday Times work) Osman was glad to be getting to the end of this piece. Mind you any quick search shows that Osman - who was elected to the committee of the Association of British Science Writers, has written many factual articles and books.

Anyone want to buy me an A3 scanner?
As an aside, to this already wordy blog post, my copy of the bound Eureka series also contains the Bruce Chatwin partwork "One million years of art". having read the excellent biography by Nicholas Shakespeare, I was not surprised to see no comic art in the partwork, let alone any Bellamy, after all Chatwin was an ex-Sotheby's man so 'art' means 'fine art', not illustration or comics!