Friday 27 July 2012

Frank Bellamy and logos

The last blog entry about Thunderbirds original art led to my old friend Jeff Haythorpe writing with some information that jogged a few memory cells. He said:

"Just to give you some background on the original Thunderbirds spreads mentioned in your latest blog. I bought a couple form a guy who worked in the TV21 office in the sixties and these had the Thunderbird logo on them too. I've never bothered checking them against the comics but I suspected he added them after he got them rather than at the time of publication. The main reason I think this, is that most logos I've seen have been painted onto clear plastic – presumably for re-use. Also quite a lot of Thunderbird spreads don't have any logos on them at all. But who knows? It's all getting on for nearly 50 years ago now."
and then after he made a comparison himself with the original art he owns, he wrote:
"Further to our earlier emails have a look at these two examples of the comic compared to the art from TV21#79. Sorry about the quality of the art scan. There is a definite difference between the two so the logo seems to have been added afterwards. I have two other boards with similar logos but there is no noticeable difference."

Jeff's art from TV21 #79

TV21 #79

Fans, on receiving artwork sometimes crudely photocopy and add a logo to 'complete' their artwork, but as can be seen below, Bellamy did not add the logo, a standard overlay was used.

TV21 #209 - without logo

TV21 #209 with boring logo!

Lastly I also have stored on my computer this little addendum and here's the perfect opportunity to use it.

Logo for TV21 #215 onwards
On eBay in 2008 a seller was auctioning an original logo overlay from Thunderbirds and checking my TV21s s/he is right that it started in issue 215 to the end of the original run in 242 and is actually used in the combined TV21 and Joe 90 comics and ran in colour there in issue 1 and 2 (horizontally) but is reproduced in black and white from then onwards.

The saddest part is that Bellamy had to give up - by my calculations - 15% of the vertical in his artwork because the logo ran vertically, from issue 215!

TV21 #215 with vertical logo

The seller's description read:

This is an absolutely unique chance to obtain a small piece of British comics heritage and Gerry Anderson collectable. What is being offered is an ORIGINAL piece of artwork from the legendary 1960s "TV Century 21" comic measuring 365mm x 127mm and comprises the logo for the equally famous "Thunderbirds" comic strip as featured in "TV21" as from Issue 215, page 10 [as marked on the art itself].

To achieve the effect the artist [and we don't know for sure this was Frank Bellamy but it looks like it might be] has painted a swathe of dynamic red/orange paint on art board. This has then be overlaid by a stencil with the legend "Thunderbirds" carefully cut out so it looks like the letters have been individually painted. Very clever stuff. The stencil can still be lifted to view the colour swathe beneath.

In terms of condition this is very good with only very minor staining on the stencil. This has suffered a small measure of stress and tiny tear to the part which separates the "R" and the "D" but, as you can see, when carefully prepared looks absolutely fine.

OK, this isn't a page of actual finished comic strip story artwork but, by the same token, whilst seen many times in the comic it was only prepared once and is totally unique ! "TV21" original material is becoming increasingly hard to find and is like the proverbial gold dust ! Seize this opportunity whilst you can !

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to make sure you see an image of the complete item we have had to pass it through the scanner twice and spliced the two images together. This has resulted in colour differences and shadow to the right of the image. This DOES NOT exist on the actual artwork itself. Must buy a bigger scanner !!!

I didn't make a note of how much it sold for but am grateful to Jeff for raising the issue. Nothing too minute for my attention

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