Thursday 29 March 2012

Shameless plug

Just a quick plug for Geoff West and friends at Illustration Art Gallery. They have some new Frank Bellamy artwork which you have to see to believe......

Unfortunately I still have a mortgage on the house, but some of you may like to view these for free on his website.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Original Art: Garth on eBay - Bubble Man & Manhunt

J197 The Bubble Man
'Tweedacademy' is selling a copy of one of the Bubble Man strips as well as one from the last Garth story Bellamy illustrated Manhunt 

Again they look beautifully preserved as the piece that has just finished on eBay, fetching a nice £168 does too.

The seller says of the Manhunt strip:

This is from 'The Bubble Man' (J197) published in The Daily Mirror newspaper in 1975 and being re-run currently in said paper. Here we have a vibrant action piece with Garth about to be kidnapped by the eponymous Bubble Man's henchbugs. 'Space Bugs!' cries our hero. I'd be a tad more salty if I were in his position! Bellamy again makes a virtue of the outlandishness of the creatures and their scale shows that even Garth would be hard pressed to take on two at a time, even with crow bar (they don't fight fair anyway). He'll get the better of them before the story is done I'll wager :)
Good example of Bellamy techniques in one panel!

UPDATE: £181 with 17 bids (March 2012) 

Tweedacademy obviously read too many Stan's Soapbox columns in the sixties Marvel Comics - where hyperbole was always under done! But looking at the close up of the last panel, it does show those famous 'Bellamy swirls', and his lovely lettering in the balloon - where usually Jim Allard lettered the other speech balloons.

K247 Manhunt

The second piece is from Manhunt. This is the last story that Bellamy illustrated and  the seller says:

I believe this is one of the last strips Bellamy did (strip number K247) before his untimely death, from the story 'Manhunt' published in The Daily Mirror newspaper in 1976. This particular work is, in essence, a complete panel with all the narrative complete in the transition from the aircraft in cloudscape through to the amazing work on the eyes as our protagonist (plus, of course, charming companion) dissolve to another dimension in mid flight. Remarkable stuff. A true 'Bellamy' effect and very poignant in retrospect as we know what was to come.
This is indeed a beautiful example of Bellamy's Garth work. Tweedacademy is right in saying it was "one of the last" but in fact Bellamy's last signed strip is K254 (25 Oct 1976), however the credit above the strip as printed in the paper is Martin Asbury who stepped wonderfully into Bellamy's shoes. The crude copy below is taken from the Mirror's online database, but it shows the credit above the strip.
UPDATE: £315 with 39 bids (March 2012) - a phenomenal amount for a Garth!

Bellamy's last Garth strip # K254
And lastly a clearer idea of how the art changed from Bellamy to Asbury can be seen in this only reprint of Manhunt, taken from Mike Higgs' compilation Mirror Classic Cartoon Collection, London: Hawk 1998. Visit Martin's site to see his work since Garth as well as the opportunity to buy original art including, yes you guessed it, Garth strips

The last 2 Garth strips by Frank Bellamy & the first 3 by Martin Asbury

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Original Art: Garth on eBay - The Doomsmen

J191 - The Doomsmen
UPDATE: £168 with 14 bids (24 Mar, 2012) 

'Tweedacademy' is selling another Garth original and it looks to be beautifully preserved with a lovely portrait of Garth's looking surprised. It comes from the story - yet to be reprinted in the Daily Mirror -  "The Doomsmen", where Garth tackles humanoid looking robots. It looks to be in excellent condition with the usual beautifully clear line work. The seller says:

A wonderful example of a character study of our time travelling hero Garth, from the story entitled 'The Doomsmen' published in The Daily Mirror newspaper in 1975. This strip (J191) is actually the last episode of the story, before we moved onto the magnificent 'The Bubble Man' (being reprinted in The Daily Mirror as we speak). It shows Garth, much to the amusement of ourselves and Professor Lumière (did David Suchet read Garth I wonder?) being taken aback by the forward nature of the young lady. I'm reminded of Bellamy's remark in the highly enlightening interview in Fantasy Advertiser International, that 'sometimes as an artist you find yourself captured looking for an expression in the mirror'. The last panel of this strip 'is' Bellamy to my mind. What do you think?
I'd agree - I can just see Bellamy, who we know, like most artists, used a mirror to get just the right expression, acting the part he drew.

The opening bid is 1p and the auction ends 24 March 2012and I'll update this page with the sale price

Below is a scan of the last three parts of the story with a beautiful Bellamy explosion, for your enjoyment.

© Daily Mirror

Monday 12 March 2012

Garth reprints

The reason I wanted to do a blog post on Garth reprints is primarily because I noticed that someone who has been kind to me in the past and who could use a little financial help himself, is selling several of his collection that I thought I'd highlight.

If you visit eBay <> you'll see some of the Daily Strips reprints of Garth which were produced by the All Devon Comic Collectors Club. They are particularly clear reproductions so worth considering purchasing. He also has the reprint in full colour of the strip Montgomery of Alamein which ran in Eagle from volume 13:10 - 13:27 (10 March 1962 -7 July 1962). This is unlikely to be reprinted any time soon due to licensing costs so head over to eBay and bid. While there grab the RSS feed at the bottom of the page and add it in your favourite way to a reader or Favorite toolbar etc so you can see what else comes up from this seller.

I don't usually highlight such sales, normally sticking to just auctions of original artwork, but felt that this needed highlighting and it gave me the opportunity to thank my friend and to mention other reprints.

For those who didn't know, Garth was beautifully reprinted in Menomonee Falls Gazette and during Bellamy's lifetime. He even wrote to the guys who produced the fan reprint

MFG 67

I noticed recently that someone in India is posting Hindi reprints of Garth - shows how far he travelled and how widely Bellamy's Garth is known. The quality of paper in India has always been of a pulp unbleached nature - thus the pink hue.

Ghost Town

People of the Abyss

And don't forget to follow the current coloured reprints in the Daily Mirror. For a listing of reprints (excluding the Hindi ones as my knowledge is very thin on this), see the website listing

Thursday 1 March 2012

Les Lilley and Frank Bellamy

Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph 17th July 1990

Richard Sheaf has once again alerted me to a tiny corner of 'Bellamyland'!

He was reading a copy of Les Lilley's book "It's all there in black and white", Lilley's account of the creation and history of the Cartoonist's Club and noticed that a piece by Bellamy will have been exhibited alongside some of Prince Philip's personal collection of cartoons.

The British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent has an archive of the cartoonist's 'Giles' papers in which mention is indeed made of Prince Philip's loan of materials for the exhibition which took place on 2 August 1977 on board the "Tattershall Castle" - read on to find out more, in Lilley's account. UPDATE: The floating gallery had other exhibitions and the Ally Sloper launch took place on 1 September1976  - see Ally Sloper #2 for details

I have discovered that this book is online

The Cartoonist's Club says:

The Cartoonists' Club is the UK's oldest and largest organisation for cartoonists. Established in 1960, [...] celebrating [their] 50th anniversary in April 2010 and plans are in progress to continue and expand our primary role which is to promote friendship and interaction between cartoonists via the medium of events, meetings and social gatherings both in our original home, London, and throughout the United Kingdom. Visit our website and say hello.
They have kindly shared -in full -  this witty account online and you can read about the exhibition on pages 55 onwards in Chapter 10:

Click on image to see publication

Lilley, of course, was a popular writer of cartoon gags as well as comic strips in national newspapers. His list is too big to do justice here but amongst others, "Tiffany Jones" for the Daily Mail, and the sexy science fiction strip "Scarth" for The Sun, "The Seekers" drawn by John M. Burns in the defunct 'Daily Sketch' and Les Lilley also wrote "The Sun's Whodunnit Strip" in the 1980s with Pat Williams illustrating. The Vision On site (by Ralph Morris) has an interesting perspective on Lilley for those old enough to remember the Tony Hart programme. His obituary in the Independent is still available online.

Now, if you're thinking this is a tenuous link, read the obituary which mentions,

Later he was instrumental in the creation of the Society for Strip Illustration, formed by a small group of professional strip cartoonists including the brilliant "Garth" artist Frank Bellamy, who died before he could take the post of chairman.
Do we have any clues what the piece by Bellamy that was exhibited?  No, I'm afraid not. If anyone can help, please get in contact. The header piece above is to show that Bellamy started his first continuing public work career in cartooning!