Monday 27 March 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - People of the Abyss (F243)

F243 Garth: People of the Abyss by Frank Bellamy

Wayne Keil has alerted me to an upcoming Heritage Auction (thanks again Wayne!) which starts March 27 and ends April 2 for a Garth strip by Frank Bellamy from the excellent story "People of the Abyss" written by Jim Edgar - episode F243.

Heritage describe the piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth #F.243 Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 10-14-72 (Daily Mirror, 1972). Frank Bellamy had a long and rich career before he took over the long-running comic strip Garth (1943-97) in 1971. He handled the art for this UK series until his death in 1976. Previously Bellamy had illustrated tales in Mickey Mouse Weekly, Swift, Boy's World, Look and Learn, Eagle, and TV Century 21 (where he illustrated many Gerry Anderson creations including the Thunderbirds). This piece is a wonderfully hyper-detailed study in light and shadow created in ink over graphite on Bristol board with an image area of 20.5" x 5.25". 

I wondered what else to add to this page and decided to Google the title of the story and what a surprise I got! Wikipedia informed that Jack London, H. G. Wells and London slums are all connected to this story title. In fact once I followed that thread I was reading Jack London's description of London slums with great interest. Dr. AndrzejDiniejko writes:
Jack London (1876-1916) made a significant contribution to Victorian slum literature. In the summer of 1902 he arrived in England to report the coronation of King Edward VII from the perspective of the London poorest inhabitants. Initially, he wanted to spend a few days in the slums but eventually he stayed six weeks in London’s district of Whitechapel disguised as a stranded American sailor, sleeping in cheap doss houses with the poor and destitute, and as a result of his unique investigative literary journalism he wrote the slum non-fiction novel, The People of the Abyss (1903), which was a first-hand critical account of the life of the British underclass by a foreigner. 

I'll leave you to follow the links. But I'm guessing that the phrase must have been known to Jim Edgar when he drafted the script for this Garth strip. If you know the story you'll know that the name is the only connection, as the story is about Garth visiting an undersea world where the Azlans, are fighting octopoid creatures called Homads in a war "of extinction". The fact that all the women are naked in this society is irrelevant but enjoyable to 70s Daily Mirror readers - well at least one half!

Want to read more? Here's a few strips before and after the one on sale (Thanks to "Pete the Pipster").

Garth as it appeared in Menomonee Falls Gazette #104

WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121714
No of bidders: 9
END DATE: 26 April 2017


Kid said...

Looks good. I'll have to see about expanding my impoverished collection of Garth strips. Not original art, just the printed product. Thanks for sharing, Norman.

Norman Boyd said...

Thanks for your comment Kid. It's certainly easy enough to get printed stuff, only if you're not after obscure stuff. I suspect we are going to start seeing more come on the market as the generation above that great art studio in the sky!