Saturday 9 June 2012

Next Garth story Martin Asbury!

© Daily Mirror

"The People of the Abyss" has finished and today you'll notice in the Daily Mirror that the new Garth coloured strip is drawn by Martin Asbury - not Frank Bellamy. It was Asbury's first strip after he completed "The Man-Hunt" which Bellamy started before his death. This story ran from the 17 January to 29 April 1977 that's 88 episodes so that takes us upto the end of July for this reprint by my calculations.

Martin Baines, the colourist, once again has come up trumps and sent this beautiful example of the opening panels, of which he says "I personally think is one of the strongest Jim Edgar scripts so hopefully you will not be too disappointed."

Certainly not Martin, and for the fun or reading a daily strip I've decided to continue buying the Daily Mirror. However as this is a Bellamy blog I'll take this opportunity to say a few words about the previous story - any guest writers apply now! 

I liked the look of "The people of the abyss" with Garth swimming underwater, meeting octopus-like creatures and the beautiful Liuba, who always appears with a simple thong-type outfit - when not completely naked. Now those of you who knew Nancy, Frank's widow, will know she was happy to tell everyone what a great body Frank thought she had. And in my opinion and awful lot of Frank's women took their details from his wife! Liuba looked so like Nancy it highlights what a great portrait artist Bellamy was.

© Daily Mirror
And in the following scene where she is ill she appears at first with a modest blanket to cover her as she lies on the stretcher, but mysteriously it disappears in the next panel - I'm not complaining! Perhaps it was the fact that they didn't want to waste a blanket as Liuba is about to be lowered back to the deep abyss.

© Daily Mirror
One problem I had as a teenager - when I first read Garth - was the scale of his head and shoulders versus the rest of him - and this is illustrated nowhere better than in the following strip. I was used to my superheroes being drawn by Curt Swan and other DC pals. Or in that perspective foreshortened Kirby way - which exaggerated the action enough for me to like it. These days I find a lot of standard comic art uses worse exaggeration than Bellamy did in this picture

© Daily Mirror
I loved what Martin did in this second strip. The swinging action of Garth sending a live lamp at the wet frogman which Bellamy drew really hits home with Martin's colouring - wonderful.

© Daily Mirror

And here to show you what I mean is the original black and white version - scanned and cleaned up a bit. Remember back then this would have appeared on pulp paper and been nowhere as nearly as clean as this!

F281-282 © Daily Mirror
I look forward to seeing what happens after Martin Asbury's story to see if we return to Bellamy again. I will let you know


Anonymous said...

Great story!
I can vividly remind the first time I read it, here in Portugal. A dark tone to the story, great artwork by the great Asbury.
Very well crafted all in all.

I cannot stop recommend the reading of this tale.


Norman Boyd said...

Good to hear from you again Alberto