Thursday 8 September 2016

Frank Bellamy and Star Trek

Thank you Gene Roddenberry!

As it's the 50th anniversary I thought it was time we celebrated Star Trek. I remember the day I found out it was due to be broadcast in the UK. I was laying some newspaper on the table where I sat, in school, with three others in anticipation of doing some painting. No idea what we were painting, but a photo (in black and white of course - no colour then-  stopped me in my tracks. What day was this auspicious day? Monday 2 June 1969. And the paper? The Daily Mirror (yes, the very same one that would be publishing the Bellamy-drawn "Garth" strip). How am I so certain of this? Well God bless the "Space Doubt" blog run by one Sham Mountebank, which I suspect is not her/his real name!

Radio Times 27 June 1970, p.49
My very own cut out copy (GULP!)
It s often reported that Frank Bellamy drew a comic strip of Star Trek in the UK. Well if you were trying to win on a TV quiz show the answer is he didn't! The above is the nearest we get to one and it was a single colour page in the bestselling TV (BBC only) listings magazine, Radio Times. Was that all the Star Trek he did? No! But people often get confused as there was a Star Trek comic strip in the comic Joe 90, as is reported better than I could do, here on Lew Stringer's brilliant blog. When I saw that newspaper piece I was interested to see the emphasis on Mr. Spock as we all had been reading Joe 90 since January 1969 when it was launched with Captain Kurt at the helm. Go visit Lew for an explanation! And Bellamy's piece shows someone somewhere wanted to emphasise Spock's looks.

I must thank the excellent Star Trek Comics Checklist site (nice name!) as I realised I don't actually have a copy of the picture below of Kirk and Spock, and thus stole this from them. Bellamy was paid £12 for this drawing and £10 for the last one on this page (on 19 October 1971)

Radio Times 3 October 1970 - 9 October 1970, p.35
The third and last illustration that Bellamy did, was the brilliant shot of Spock and the Enterprise

Radio Times 11 Sept 1971-17 September 1971, p34

I understand that the single colour page above was part of the reason Frank Bellamy got the "Foreign Comics Award" from the Academy of Comic Book Arts in 1972 - for work published in 1971 he was awarded "Best Foreign Artist Frank Bellamy (Star Trek)". I'm sure Barry Windsor-Smith had a hand in recommending him for this and I know Archie Goodwin was in contact with him. Bellamy told Goodwin that Chris Lowder had informed him the Academy had seen a sample of his "Heros the Spartan" work and judged him more than worthy of the award. therefore his actual comic work for 1971 was concocted for the purposes of giving him the award. There were communications with Marv Wolfman regarding FB doing some work for the Marvel black and white horror comics line, but this never happened as Bellamy had his daily comic strip, "Garth", to do as well as many other assignments! Imagine, what if...!

Incidentally if you are interested in the UK Star Trek strips they were recently reprinted and included Mike Noble's gorgeous work. Volume 1 and soon to be Volume 2

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