Thursday 17 January 2013

Frank Bellamy appeared in Lion

Steve Holland's new comics index

Not many people realise that Frank Bellamy's work appeared in the Lion comic, which ran in the UK from 23 February 1952 to 18 May 1974.

I discovered this fact solely because someone mentioned it in their eBay listing years ago and I won the comic - ironically shipped from the USA!

The art in question isn't worth spending money on! I bet you never thought I'd say that about Frank Bellamy's art!

The Lion Holiday Special (undated but published in 1977) pp36-48 reprints the gloriously coloured Fraser of Africa in a horrible blurred black and white!!! And to add insult to injury, the panels were cut up and rearranged for the different sized page. It's a good thing Frank didn't see this travesty!

Lion Holiday Special [1977]

The original ran from 27 May 1961-12 August 1961 (Vol. 12:21 - 12:32) of the Eagle comic and looked like this

Eagle 27 May 1961

Why do I mention this now?

Because when a book is published (see the image at the top) that contains data on the run of Lion comics (and Annuals, Specials etc.) the librarian in me needs to check its validity. And once again I couldn't fault Steve Holland's dedication to his profession as National (Comics) Treasure!

If you pop along to Steve's Bear Alley Books website, you see his description and details of how to purchase it.

If you think £25.99 sounds expensive, it isn't. This work is not likely to ever be published again and especially in such detail with accompanying articles and pictures. It's a great read in itself and has sent me back to the Lion comic to re-read some of my childhood favourites.  The pictures are reproduced crystal clearly and even this old man can read the original art

262 pages is not stressed enough on the site. That's more pages than Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (and Lion: King of Picture Story Papers is eminently more readable IMHO). It's a gorgeous book and if we are snow-bound as the media has been saying for weeks, I have plenty to keep me amused this chilly January weekend!

Go and buy it and support this great work. I get no commission, I just love an excuse to praise and highlight brilliant comic scholarship and especially British comic scholarship...but it must connect to Frank Bellamy in some way as this did!

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Frank Bellamy and C. T. Stoneham

Charles Thurley Stoneham (1895-1965) Thanks to Richard Simms for the photo

Watching the fantastic David Attenborough series 'Africa' I was bowled over by the image of rhinoceros groups greeting each other under the starlight and it brought back memories of Bellamy's work on C. T. Stoneham's writings. 
I'm not sure if this works internationally but this link includes the clip I'm talking about. Sorry, if it doesn't work for you, but never mind here's Bellamy's cover for Boy's Own Paper March 1953. For a larger scan follow the 'More information' link on the website
Boy's Own Paper March 1953 Cover
Bellamy's internal illustration shows the rhino by moonlight (again follow the 'More information' link for a larger scan)

Pages 20-21
Besides the four Stoneham stories that Bellamy illustrated in Boy's Own Paper, he also did a cover for a Stoneham paperback reprint of Wanderings in Wild Africa  As Simms tells us "This volume includes chapters detailing Stoneham's experiences on five safaris, as well as practical information on how to hunt big-game and organize an expedition. This book was reprinted in 1957 under the title Wildest Africa."

Wildest Africa - my copy scanned and joined
Photo of the original art (thanks to Jeff Haythorpe)

The reverse of the original art (again thanks Jeff) - note the date

Interestingly Richard goes for 1957, where I took 1958 from the British Library's accession record. However looking again I see they have two copies of the Digit Book dated 1957 and 1958. If only Brown & Watson had included the publication date, we scholars would have less work! If Bellamy, in his own writing says he completed it in December 1956 it seems likely it was published 1957. So I have amended the webpage listing accordingly. I'll add these to my list for when I visit the British Library again. Fortunately they are printed covers not dustjackets, which the BL used to dispose of before adding books to stock. Tough luck illustration art researchers!

For larger scans see the 'More Information' link on the Book listing page

Lastly, Bellamy actually wrote to and received a reply from Stoneham when Bellamy was interested in going on safari. It never came to anything, but an interesting side note!