Sunday 19 August 2012

Fans of Frank: Andy Walker

By Andy Walker
In my continuing series (where I unashamedly ask fans of Frank to tell me why they are) I had my attention drawn to this interesting piece on eBay which at first glance made me think of Orson Welles and then I realised it was in a style like Bellamy's. I wrote to the seller - Andy himself - and he replied:

I have just listed my Frank Bellamy inspired comic strip artwork on eBay. I think I first encountered his amazing artwork in the form of reprints of his THUNDERBIRDS comic strip in the pages of Polystyle's COUNTDOWN comic. The artwork that really struck me however were the illustrations he did based on DOCTOR WHO for the RADIO TIMES in the early to mid 1970s. He was one of those very gifted artists who had that almost indefinable extra something that always shone through all of this work. This artwork of mine is a humble nod to an amazing talent that has inspired an entire generation of artists across the globe!
 His description on ebay explains a bit further:

"THE TRAVELLER" ORIGINAL COMIC STRIP ARTWORK SIGNED BY UK ILLUSTRATOR ANDY WALKER. This is a high quality, full colour double page comic strip rendered in black Indian ink, coloured inks and gouache on thick watercolour board. It was originally commissioned in 1987 as a promotional piece of artwork for the "Traveller" series of books which failed to be published. My brief was to produce a double page comic strip splash in the style of the hugely popular British comic strip artist Frank Bellamy. "The Traveller" books were a series of 5 novels that sadly remains unpublished, however all 5 covers won me many future commissions and formed a crucial part of my original portfolio.The 5 stories concerned the journeys through time of a mysterious character known only as "The Traveller". Sound familiar? Perhaps that's why they remain unpublished!
Take a look at Andy's other sales to see more of his more mature artwork including another Traveller artwork which shows he had Brian Blessed rather than Orson Welles in mind (in my opinion!)UPDATE: and of course have a look at his website which I almost forgot to mention!

So for Andy here's the first Bellamy story form Polystyle's Countdown comic which was the 1970s answer to TV21 in which Frank Bellamy's Thunderbirds strips were reprinted (and Don Harley drew new art for Thunderbirds stories too). The editor was the former Art Editor of TV21, Dennis Hooper. Read more about it on Lew Stringer's ever interesting blog. I have reproduced the reprint of the first part of the story from TV21 #59 (5 March 2066). Presumably the reprint was cheap, but after hacking Bellamy's artwork from 3 pages to 2 and in black and white, surely it would have been easier just to reprint as was!

Countdown, #24, 31 July 1971

Countdown, #24, 31 July 1971

Andy mentions his love of Doctor Who too so here's a set of those famous cameos that were printed at size12/16 inch width by 1 inch tall - yes I checked! The paper of the Radio Times at that time was of a pulp feel and therefore reproduction wasn't superb. Here are three of the Doctors up to that point - from left to right Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell
Radio Times - various

Lastly, just because we mentioned Countdown here's the cover of the issue that saw Bellamy's reprint start which shows, what I think must be Roy Cross artwork for the Airfix Saturn V - let me know if I'm wrong. A very iconic image for little boys my age - and covered later by Mike Noble on a cover of Look-In (where the former TV21 editor Alan Fennell was resident!)

Art by Roy Cross?

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