Sunday 30 June 2013

Frank Bellamy, Lilliput and W. R. Burnett

Lilliput 1954 (please excuse the crude joins!)
I have now produced 200 posts for this blog - frightening! If you had asked my teachers they would not have thought I could write the copy on the back of a [choose your favourite sweets/candy] let alone 200 articles!

I have mentioned the magazine called Lilliput in the past and felt it was time to show you some more of that artwork by Frank Bellamy.  The magazine begun by Stefan Lorant, photojournalist, was bought out by Hulton Press Limited who are best remembered for publishing Picture Post (which Hulton and Lorant created), and the famous and well-loved Eagle comic. But they also had Farmer's Weekly, Housewife, Electronic Engineering, Power Laundry and The Leader among others.

"War Party" by W.R. Burnett - Drawn by Frank Bellamy
The list of Bellamy's work in Lilliput:
  1. LILLIPUT Vol. 34:4 #202 (April 1954) "Que-Fong-Goo" by Gerald Durrell
  2. LILLIPUT Vol. 34:5 #203 (May 1954) "War Party" by W.R. Burnett
  3. LILLIPUT Vol. 35:1 #205 (July 1954) "The drifters" by John Prebble
  4. LILLIPUT Vol. 36:3 #213 (March 1955) "The raid to get Rommel" by Sandy Sanderson
  5. LILLIPUT Vol. 36:5 #215 (May 1955) "Trick justice" by John Prebble
  6. LILLIPUT Vol. 37:1 #217 (July 1955) "The demon bushranger" by Dal Stivens
  7. LILLIPUT Vol. 39:6 #234 (Dec 1956) "Men with horse" by Allan Swinton
In his interview  with Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons, Bellamy stated:

As soon as I gave [International Artists] permission to represent me, I had a commission to do two love story illustrations for Home Notes, a woman's magazine, regular commissions from Boy's Own Paper - covers and inside illustrat­ions, Lilliput - where I did my very first western illustration for a story by John Prebble

He wasn't remembering quite right. His first western story was by W. R. Burnett and his third commission and second western story for Lilliput was by Prebble. William Riley Burnett (November 25, 1899 - April 25, 1982) wrote many of the screenplays to films which I loved in my youth - well, now actually! I remember seeing The Great Escape and Ice Station Zebra in the 60s and loving the characters and stories, but this guy was writing back in 1930s with Little Caesar, Scarface, and High Sierra, all films I remember vividly (when they were broadcast on BBC1 back in the late 60s and early 70s - noir on a black and white TV - lovely! A very full bibliography appears here and many of his works can still be purchased
on Amazon Here are all the illustrations by Bellamy to accompany "War Party"

Lilliput 1954 Page 53

Lilliput 1954 Page 57

Lilliput 1954 Page 61
That's all the illustrations for this story, but one of them appeared again. Burnett states at the end of the story in an 'Author's Note': "The character of Walter Grein was drawn in part from the famous Chief of Scouts,of the Apache Wars, Al Sieber".

On the letter page of Lilliput August 1954, the following appeared:

The Internet is wonderful and has details for you (via Wikipedia) of Al Sieber, who was apparently born in Germany before moving to the States and you can even see his gravestone on Find a grave!

Saturday 8 June 2013

Heros reprint story continues.....

There's no need for me to add anything to the Book Palace / Peter Richardson blog but to say I've been fortunate enough to see the electronic version and they are superb! The colour is so vibrant - many having come from originals. Go over there now and read more.

I will scream loudly when the book actually reaches these shores!


Monday 3 June 2013

NEW GARTH REPRINT - The Orb of Trimandias

Monday 3 June 2013 © Daily Mirror

Today we start the latest coloured by Martin Baines reprint originally produced by Jim Edgar, Frank Bellamy (and John Allard?) where Garth, our time-travelling hero heads back to Venice and the time of the Borgias. I know nothing of this era in Italian history, so this gives me the opportunity to have a rummage around the Net on your behalf.

Machiavelli, Da Vinci and Cesare Borgia

Machiavelli, Leonardo & Borgia: a fateful collusion: what happened when a philosopher, an artist and a ruthless warrior--all giants of the Renaissance--met on campaign in northern Italy? How's that for an article title? Written  by Paul Strathern in History Today. (59.3 (Mar. 2009): p15), he explains:  

During the latter half of 1502, when the Italian Renaissance was at its height, three of its most distinguished yet disparate figures travelled together through the remote hilly region of the Romagna in northeastern Italy. Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), backed by his father Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503), was leading a military campaign whose aim was to carve out his own personal princedom. He had hired Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) as his chief military engineer whose brief was to reinforce the castles and defences in the region as well as to construct a number of revolutionary new military machines, which he had designed in his notebooks. Accompanying this unlikely duo was the enigmatic figure of Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), who had been despatched by the Florentine authorities as an emissary to the travelling 'court' with instructions to ingratiate himself with Borgia and, as far as possible, discover his intentions towards Florence whose position to the west, just across the Apennine mountains, left it particularly vulnerable to Borgia's territorial ambitions.

Detail from F28 of Professor LumiƩre, Garth and Cesare Borgia

We see a portrait (in the fourth strip) of Borgia shown to Garth by Giovanni Cometti in the present day. The portrait looks to be the one by an anonymous artist, and is held at Palazzo Venezia, Rome, rather than the one shown above (with Machiavelli and Da Vinci). In this  tale Leonardo Da Vinci befriends the English Lord Carthewan (Garth) and the Orb's name, Trimandias, refers to "the Greek mystic and prophet", Borgia tells his sister later in the tale. The Orb allegedly has "strange occult powers - it can even conquer death!" At one point Leonardo suffers from the plague. It's difficult to pin down exact dates for the plagues occurrence in Venice but it certainly devastated the city during the same period as Britain (14th Century) and was last seen in Venice in 1630, so it is feasible - in story terms. I imagine Jim Edgar got the idea to include the plague and Leonardo because of the famous story of the artist/inventor's designs for the 'ideal city' as he surmised, whilst in Milan  - ahead of his time - that urbanisation might be to blame for the spread of the plague. The city, as designed by Da Vinci was never realized.

The Titan reprint, Garth: Cloud of Balthus - Comic Strip Bk. 1 has an introduction in which it states that this is the first strip in which Bellamy flies solo on the art. John Allard handled the lettering, but upto now also added bits to the art. Bellamy was always happier working alone and he certainly hits his stride in this story

The list of Garth stories to which Frank Bellamy contributed is growing shorter - well, in reprint form in the current Daily Mirror newspaper anyway! The table below shows that we have only two more which haven't yet been coloured by Martin in this reprint form.

TITLE Reprinted?
Sundance YES
The Cloud Of Balthus YES
The Orb Of Trimandias Ongoing
The Wolf Man Of Ausensee YES
People of The Abyss YES
The Women of Galba YES
Ghost Town YES
The Mask of Atacama YES
The Wreckers YES
The Beast of Ultor YES
Freak Out To Fear NO
Bride of Jenghiz Khan YES
The Angels of Hell's Gap YES
The Doomsmen YES
The Bubble Man YES
The Beautiful People YES
The Spanish Lady YES
Man-Hunt NO

For the purists, this tale was previously reprinted in The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, London: IPC Limited, 1975; Titan's Garth Book One: The cloud of Balthus London: Titan Books, 1984 and the American Menomonee Falls Gazette #67 (26 March 1973) - #83 (16 July 1973)

Let's see what's next after this brilliant tale - which Martin Baines, who supplied the superb artwork at the top of this page, says is his favourite Bellamy Garth. Thanks once again Martin,

Norman Boyd