Friday 22 March 2013

Heros the Spartan edges ever closer!

Heros the Spartan is nearing completion. This book not only has an introduction by yours truly, but also by John Byrne, a long-time fan of Bellamy, and a reprint of the most famous Bellamy interview by Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons - lucky fellows met Frank! You'll notice that many pictures accompany the interview, several of which you don't often see. For a look at low-res scans of some example pages, follow this path

£95 / $142.50 / €109,25 HARDBACK

The hardback will be 272 full colour top quality pages and has a limited print run of 600 copies  The size is 11" x 14" (that's 270mm x 360mm for non-imperialists!)
ISBN: 9781907081194

Geoff West and colleagues have also decided to produce a leather embossed slipcase edition too. If it's anything like the previous "Complete Swift Stories", which is still available. These scans don't so the book justice - trust me, it'll be great.

£265.00 / $397.50 / €304,75 LEATHER
 This will have an additional 24 pages of original art and this edition is limited to 120 copies

Monday 18 March 2013

Unexciting but necessary

This post is my way of catching up with myself and letting you know what I've been up to.

1. Steve Rubin let me know  a while ago about two gaps in my information regarding Garth reprints in Menomonee Falls Gazette - "MFG reprinted H132-H225, which was the final issue. Unfortunately, in addition to not printing the last two strips in the story, they inexplicably skipped H160-H165" He also mentioned "On the same subject, Sundance started in MFG 38, not 40". Checking my archive I see that the Garth story Sundance, the first in MFG, actually started as a story in #38 - see cover below - but Bellamy's strips started in #40 with a Bellamy panel on issue #38!
The first appearance of Bellamy's Garth in MFG
MFG #40 the first Bellamy Garth strip appearance in the USA
 2. I've realised that in keeping this complex machine going I had not updated Steve Holland's comments on the controversial Amundsen Swift cover. Follow this link to read all about it!

3. My old friend David Jackson mentioned that this reminded him of a Bellamy character...Fraser of Africa. The film is Never So Few and starred Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Steve McQueen amongst many others and was released in 1959. I've read the plot summary and still don't think I've ever seen it. It's actually set in Burma in WWII but knowing Frank & Nancy Bellamy's film-going habit they are likely to have seen it - especially as it featured these three popular actors.

EAGLE 1960 Dec 10 p6

That's all for this time, but I have other 'little bits' to add soon...

Friday 8 March 2013

Frank Bellamy tribute art in comics

Not wishing to turn this blog into an advert for Richard Farrell (who does Andersonic) but he inspired me to dig out some pictures from my collection to see what his article on Bellamy was about. I warned you all to buy it when his new fanzine came out, but it's obviously a collector's item due to #1 and #2 being sold out already!. It's called  Plaything of Sutekh and had an article called "Frank's Who: Bellamy's influence on the art of the Doctor" by Richard Farrell (Issue #1 April 2012, pp 24-27)

Issue 1 Art by Richard Farrell

Richard's idea is that he has seen Bellamy's influence in several places and being the detective I am, (well, librarian actually!) I decided to hunt them down- quite easy when Richard gives the references!

"If you're a real geek you'll notice that [Bellamy's] drawing of Pletrac for 'Carnival of Monsters' is based on a rehearsal shot of Peter Halliday in his braces"

Radio Times 3 Feb1973 - 9 Feb1973, p.13
I'm not enough of a geek/detective to ask how he knows that! His references to Gerry Haylock are interesting and I can access the art so here you go...

Countdown #5
Farrell sees Bellamy's art from his Sunday Times piece "Last great invention" (see my blog entry on this) particularly the last panel second from the bottom row

Here's the Bellamy to compare:

Yes, I agree, with the orange colour it's obviously a 'tribute'. Richard also mentions the launching of the Polaris missiles in Countdown issue# 52

Countdown #51
and again the Bellamy:

I can see the inspiration too. It's a shame Gerry's artwork hasn't been collected or at least a website created dedicated to his work. Anyone up for the challenge? His work appears in Hulton Press' Eagle, Girl, Look and Learn, World of Wonder and Schoolgirls Picture Library amongst many others.

Richard then goes on to mention Brian Lewis and his Thunderbird strip in TV Century 21 Thunderbirds Extra (1966).

TV21 #52

TV21 #55

TV21 #53
TV Century 21 Thunderbirds Extra (1966) Page 6

TV Century 21 Thunderbirds Extra (1966) Page7
I had never noticed this before and as Steve Holland recently said to me regarding this 're-use' or tribute to another's artwork, if you're asked for an item, you'd immediately look at what had been done and use that. In this case I think Lewis would have easy access to Bellamy's accurate drawings and use them instead of photos or models etc.

I have posted a few similar comparisons on my Frank Bellamy FaceBook page. I use this infrequently to put smaller stories, thoughts, links, but many thanks to Richard for writing an article that inspired me to do a longer piece - oh! and he mentions several other inspired artists such as Chris Achilleos. Hope you enjoy the art of these brilliant UK artists! Any other examples gratefully received. Email me:

Friday 1 March 2013

Frank Bellamy and The Sunday Times

Sunday Times17 August 1975

Richard Sheaf pointed out to me a comment by Terry Bave on Frank Bellamy. He saw it in the new book by Terry, which is published on Who's Terry Bave you might ask? Well like many of the artists who worked for D.C. Thompson and Fleetway in my youth, their artwork was very familiar across many comics and characters, but their name was never known to me - one reason I liked Frank Bellamy, he signed his work and got away with it! Thank God for enthusiasts who uncover this stuff!

Lew Stringer wrote about Terry's exaggerated demise (he's still with us...check out his blog which hopefully will grow with many examples of his art!) and shows off some examples of Terry's gorgeous artwork. [Update: Unfortunately Terry passed away on 6th December 2018 aged 87, his blog is stiill there ~2022] Any search on the Web will garner enough examples too. (Try and type in "Terry Bave"). George Shiers has reviewed the book here

"In August 1975 I was invited by The Sunday Times newspaper to assist with the preparation, followed by the final judging, of a super comic strip competition for children. The competition was divided into three age groups between five and fifteen years, with each group invited to complete a short comic The first frame had already been completed by a professional cartoonist. In the five to seven age group the first frame was drawn by John Ryan (of Captain Pugwash fame), in the eight to eleven age group I drew the first frame, for the twelve to fifteen age Frank Bellamy (who sadly died in July 1976), drew the first frame. At the outcome I had warned the organizers that there could be an enormous response from their young readers, would they be prepared? The weekend that the competition appeared thousands of children filled in the blank frames and sent them in, the editor's office was inundated"

Fortunately I have a photocopy of the item in question (see the top picture) from the Sunday Times (p.27 in the Weekly Review section) "Who will win our comic strip competition?"

The brief biography of Bellamy in this cutting has so many errors I shan't comment, but one would hope that the quotation is not incorrect. David Bellamy tells us in his book Time View: Complete "Doctor Who" Illustrations of Frank Bellamy that he used to sit with his father sometimes at night when he worked.

The single panel Bellamy drew shows "Captain Min headed for galactic planet Tosca when electric storms force him to dock on a worn out satellite" with Captain Min thinking "I get a creepy feeling we're not alone…" The monster looks very similar to others Bellamy drew in TV21 and for Doctor Who in the Radio Times

This frame was also reprinted in Fantasy Advertiser #57 (October 1975) as an advert for the New Cartoon Review

Fantasy Advertiser #57 p. 27

Thanks to Richard for prompting my blogging once again and David Jackson for reminding me about the reprint.