Saturday 31 December 2011

The Wolfman of Ausensee starts today in the Daily Mirror

Martin Baines, has now coloured several of Frank Bellamy's black and white Garth strips from the 1970s. I thought the colour in "The Bubble Man" particularly good and the 'other-wordly-ness' reminded me of seeing the original Star Trek in colour for the first time -vibrant colours contrasting with each other and adding depth to the set.

Martin has kindly sent me a copy of today's strip which is the fourth that Bellamy drew in the  Daily Mirror (23 May 1972 - 6 September 1972 (numbers F122-F210). I know it's a particular fan favourite,so I have shown a few versions of the opening for your pleasure, and as usual click to enlarge!

Happy New Year! See you in 2012

Courtesy of Martin Baines - 31 December 2011 © Daily Mirror

 My scan of the published version 31 December 2011 © Daily Mirror

Black and white reprint  © Daily Mirror

Black and white reprint  © Daily Mirror

Original art photo

ADCC reprint cover

Sunday 25 December 2011

Frank Bellamy - Tough Ghosts and Old Bones

Tough Ghosts by William J. Elliott (Pub: Gerald G. Swan),
Originally 1941; this edition c.1950

Mike Higgs wrote to me recently and asked if by chance I had a cover of "Tough Ghosts" published by Gerald G. Swan, the publisher who hoarded books during the run up to the Second World War and had a field day publishing during and after the war. (Take a look at Bill Contento's list). Quite a few Swan books are available via the usual sources, but it's hard to find hardbacks with dust jackets intact.

I did have the cover and sent him a copy saying I was intending adding it to the blog when I could discover any other information on it. Nothing arose and I forgot all about it. Now Mike has given me the incentive to write something and I'll tell you why, in a moment.

William J. Elliott was born, according to, in 1886 and published many crime books. He was quite prolific at Swan's as a cursory search on the Net will show. That's it! That's all I can find. No wonder I didn't write anything. Even though Steve Holland mentions him, I suspect that's taken from a contents page and if I hadn't wanted to rush this for Christmas, I would have asked Steve beforehand!

I asked Mike about his interest in Swan publications. "When I received the cover, I saw that it was a paperback edition with a 1/- price tag. I have seen an early ad for a paper edition but it was priced at 2/-  Add to this the fact that there is a hardback edition with dust jacket and it makes you wonder how many editions there were. All would have used the same cover artwork of course. With all these variations, it's no wonder that Swan checklist compilers can often be found in quiet corners banging their heads against brick walls."

Anyway, why the rush to publish this now?

Old Bones by Herman Petersen (Pub: Gerald G. Swan), 1950

Mike has kindly sent me the cover of a book that I didn't know existed which actually - unlike the above, to my knowledge, is signed clearly by Frank Bellamy. I quickly bought my own copy. Another interesting fact: many dust jackets were cut in different places. Mike's scan has half of Bellamy's signature cut off - so I have used my copy above.

He wrote to me "In fact, it was because I had a chance to see Frank's work on that particular Swan novel that made me take a closer look at "Old Bones" because I suddenly saw a similarity in technique."  

"Old Bones" we know a lot more about, as it's an American novel from 1943 - this copy was published 1950. As this excellent review of the actual book tells us:
Herman Petersen was a prolific contributor to the aviation, adventure, and detective pulps of the Twenties and Thirties; one of his stories appears in the famous “Ku Klux Klan Number” of Black Mask (June 1, 1923). Between 1940 and 1943, he published four crime novels advertised by the publisher of three of them, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, as “quietly sinister mysteries with a rural background.”
Luckily the dustjacket appears to have survived - I wonder if it is because the design is so startling in that 'death' green? It's a very strong design by Bellamy - especially when one considers at this time in his career, he had designed billboard posters and advertising for films, but had not started on a regular weekly comic strip. He had produced a weekly cartoon for the local paper illustrating local football matches. Follow the above link to Mystery*File to see the Dell cover version of this book. I prefer the Bellamy!

If you want to know if Mike is thinking of doing a Complete Cloak - you heard it here first. He is!  He asked me to emphasise that he hopes it will be in 2012, but bear with him. And whilst writing he answered a few questions about his involvement in the Hawk Book reprints (an article for another day) and mentioned "If Hawk Books had continued, we may well have featured more Bellamy material. I know that one thing I wanted to do was reprint those"Heros" strips in a landscape format."

And finally if you want to see some of Mike's work, which I too loved in the Power Comics of the sixties, take a look at Lew Stringer's affectionate tribute to Christmas comics

Happy Christmas readers!

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Original Art: Garth on eBay - The Beast of Ultor

H93 "Beast of Ultor"
The latest piece of art by Frank Bellamy to be made available for sale on eBay is of Cayutis and his sister Cyrene who starred in the story "Beast of Ultor". I never thought I'd be doing this, but I see that this sold for £137 in May 2011!

The seller writes:

Original daily strip of GARTH by FRANK BELLAMY (pen and ink), dated 22-March-1974. It is the "The Beast of Ultor" strip H93, story that appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was also reprinted in "The Daily Mirror Book of Garth 1976" compendium (Fleetway Publications). Artwork is drawn much larger than the printed size. Size 21 x 7 inches (53 x 17,5 cm). Signed with his distinctive signature and drawn on heavyweight "CS10 Line Board". The blacks are very dense.
Page 66 of the landscape book to be exact!

Detail from H93 "Beast of Ultor"

I'll update in a few days with the price if sold
First Update: Unsold but relisted at a better starting price.
Second update: sold at £116.14 with 19 bids (December 2011)

Wednesday 7 December 2011

The reprint collection you've all been waiting for....

Eagle and Swift 20 June 1964 Vol 15: 25

Geoff West, of the Book Palace and IllustrationArt Gallery, let me know that he has finally signed the paperwork that allows him to go ahead with a reprint collection of Heros the Spartan. On his team he has Peter Richardson

Now, if you've been lucky enough to see their reprint of Embleton's Wulf the Britain, you'll know that they are both committed to quality reprints. By my rough calculations, if you tried to buy every Bellamy copy of Heros (that's 95 episodes plus the Eagle Annual 1966) in the original Eagle comics you'd be paying (at roughly £3.50 each) £332.50 (plus the annual) and that's if you could find them - they are increasingly rare to find. So a reprint is well worth looking at particularly with the commentaries and introductory articles

The Bellamy stories appeared in:

  • EAGLE Vol. 13:43 - 13:52, 14:1 - 14:9 (27 Oct 1962 - 29 Dec 1962, 05 Jan 1963 - 02 Mar 1963)  Heros the Spartan: The Island of Darkness by Tom Tully  
  • EAGLE  Vol. 14:10 - 14:43 (09 Mar 1963 - 26 Oct 1963)  Heros the Spartan: The Eagle of the Fifth by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE  Vol. 15:23 - 15:42 (06 Jun 1964 - 17 Oct 1964)  Heros the Spartan: Axe of Argath by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE  Vol. 16:9 - 16:30 (27 Feb 1965 - 24 Jul 1965)  Heros the Spartan: The Slave Army by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE ANNUAL 1966 pp.89-96 "Heros the Spartan" [No title]  

And because I can't publish a blog entry without pictures I scanned the episode from Axe of Argath story and you can see that I show the folds in the comic, the patchy blacks etc. This is the stuff that Geoff and friends have to contend with, but they did it with Wulf, I'm sure they can do it with Heros. I know that various famous comic artists quote Heros as an influence on them including Dave Gibbons, John Byrne and Barry Windsor-Smith and I'm sure I have missed a whole raft full. If you detect some excitement on my part there's a good reason. The biggest query I get to the website and blog is "where can I get reprints of Heros?" and i have had that in several languages - thank Google Translate!

I will keep you informed but start saving those pennies, cents, euros, etc

Eagle and Swift 20 June 1964 Vol 15: 25

Monday 5 December 2011

Frank Bellamy and Captain Cook

****UPDATED JUNE 2024****

For a long time I suspected that Bellamy had done some odds and ends in Look and Learn beyond the recently reprinted "Frank Bellamy's Story of World War One" -(with intro by yours truly).

Steve Holland's writing for the Look and Learn blog gives me a good excuse to show you Bellamy's Captain Cook illustration.

© Look and Learn

It comes from LOOK AND LEARN #422 (14 February 1970) and is titled "The man and the moment: James Cook" I'm glad we have some authority on this one, as I would be hard pressed to say it was Bellamy - except by the faces of the 'gentlemen' in the rear. Cook's pose is odd, in my opinion, the colouring looks as if Bellamy used a different medium from his normal inks.

Interestingly the left hand portion of the artwork seems to have vanished

Look and Learn #422 14 February 1970, pp4-5

Here's the Polaroid that Bellamy took of the artwork before sending it to the publisher (thanks to Alan Davis for rescuing it)

Frank Bellamy's Polaroid of the original artwork

Here, for completeness, is the first page of the article

Look and Learn #422 14 February 1970 p.3

"The Man and the Moment" series had lots of lovely art by Doughty, McBride, Hardy, Embleton, and Richard Hook.Here's a list of the Look and Learn issue numbers with their subjects:

412 6 December 1969 = #1 Jellicoe of Jutland
413 "Bravest of the Brave" = Marshall Ney
414 "'The Flyer' flies" = The Wright Brothers
415 "Tommy Atkins - his first Christmas at the front" = Christmas Eve 1914
416 Jameson and the Night raiders
417 "First across the Channel" = Jefferies and Blanchard
418 Sir John Moore at Corunna
419 James Watt and the Steam Revolution
420 The lat days of Charles I
421 Charles Dickens - friend of the needy
422 James Cook and his voyages of discovery
423 Tamerlane's Last battle
424 William Cody - the Greta Showman
425 First across the Antarctic Wasteland = Dr Vivian Fuchs
426 Alexander Graham bell - the first telephone call
427 They called him Ivan The Terrible
428 Admiral Cunningham of H.M.S. Warspite
429 Trenchard - father of the RAF
430 Dick Turpin - his last ride
431 Trevithick and his Puffing Billy
432 The Mounties - they always get their man
433 Opening day at the Zoo - Sir Stamford Raffles
434 Captain Turner of the Lusitania
435 Nansen - Conqueror of the Arctic ice
436 First hero of Everest = Colonel C.K. Howard Bury

Issue #437 (30 May 1970) was the start of the long running "Story of World War I" illustrated by Bellamy

Over the years this illustration has been reprinted including in the 10th Look and Learn Book of 1001 Questions & Answers 1977 (1976), on pages 42-43 an illustration accompanying a general quiz article called "They Discovered the Earth" (which I've listed under the "Books" section). Thanks to Richard Sheaf for alerting me to this.

Thanks to eBay seller 'newgolddream' who provided the photos from which I 'stitched' this photo.

10th Look and Learn Book of 1001 Questions & Answers 1977 pp42-43

Geoff West had the original art for sale on his site, but it eventually sold (2024) (Archived here)

And I should also mention Captain Cook and many other explorers were written about many times in Look and Learn's 20 year history. But here's a very similar scene used in the magazine's first year - Look and Learn #37, 29 September 1962 (pp. 8-9)

Look and Learn #37 29 September 1962