Tuesday 4 November 2014

Frank Bellamy's MANHUNT reprinted

Tuesday 4 November 2014 © Daily Mirror
Martin Baines is a great guy as I'm sure I've been telling you since 2011, when the Daily Mirror newspaper first reprinted Frank Bellamy's run of 'Garth' stories and asked Martin to colour them. I've been waiting to see whether the only two stories drawn by Bellamy not yet reprinted in colour in the Daily Mirror  - 'Freak Out to Fear' and 'Manhunt' - would appear, and here's the first of the two...The Manhunt.

K239 Original art
I wonder why they've chosen to colour over the ladies' cleavage in this story (compare the colour to the black and white strips above) and not the previous stories, which have shown plenty of cleavage. Fans of Bellamy will want to see unadulterated artwork - some don't even like them being coloured - but why reprint a story and change the artwork? The reason I think, is that it shows how much society has changed since the Seventies - forty years ago!

The Daily Mirror has done this before when they reprinted a group of Bellamy's 'Garth' in annual form in 1975. This, I think was understandable, as in the 1970s only children bought annuals that had comic strips in them - the old argument, "comics are only children's ephemera". However, very strangely the Daily Mirror, at that time, issued a second annual (1976) , but left it uncensored in terms of naked ladies - see my previous thinking on this!
The story was previously reprinted in Mirror Classic Cartoon Collection, edited by Mike Higgs, London: Hawk 1998

Here's an example of Martin Asbury's art - having taken over from Bellamy due to his death in 1976, in which we see an example of what's on show. It will be interesting to see where this goes and whether a story on drugs ('Freak Out to Fear') appears which I for one think it should. This is a really great story that is very similar in tone to the Garth story 'The Chiller Connection' that was run in the Mirror recently last year. Come on Daily Mirror let us have the last story to be reprinted by Frank Bellamy....PLEASE!.

K268-K269 Art: Martin Asbury

Anyway getting off my soap box and back to Bellamy's art, he drew 15 episodes for the story before his early death. Martin Asbury took over, doing a great job of emulating Bellamy's style for a while, before signing his own artwork and starting to lose some of the restrictions of following another artist.

Bellamy's last signed strip is K254 (25 October 1976), however the credit above the strip as printed in the paper is Martin Asbury. Bill Storie asked Martin about this and wrote (in the Gopherville Argus #1 June 1992 in his John Allard interview),

"Martin has since confirmed to me that Frank left no pencils or unfinished artwork and Martin took over 'from scratch', although he admits to drawing the first few strips in the Bellamy style"

It will be interesting to follow this story and see how fans react!

Once again MANY thanks for Martin's generosity in sharing this work with us

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