Thursday 11 July 2019

Frank Bellamy Apollo 11 anniversary

Daily Mirror 11 July 1969
Note the added numbering in each panel

JULY 1969 A.D.
(The plaque left on the Moon after Apollo 11 departed)

That was 50 years ago today and I first wrote about Bellamy's brilliant double-page spread (plus single illustration) of the Moon Landing 10 years ago here!  The original was published Friday 11 July 1969 - yes 10 days before the most historic moment - the first landing on the Moon! It showed the stages of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's stay over 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface plus their lift-off from the Moon

Frank Bellamy artwork from 11 July 1969 Daily Mirror 
 Thanks to Alan Davis for the clean artwork
But I thought to celebrate this momentous day I'd share some of Alan Davis' brilliant archiving of Bellamy's work and add to the story.

Firstly we have this lovely - unfinished - drawing where we can see a sketch of the height of an astronaut worked out (on the right) plus a pencil sketch of an astronaut climbing the steps. All artists use reference material for things like this and whether Bellamy was supplied with photos etc., we don't know. However we do know he owned a model just like the one I had as a child.Did he get it fully assembled? Did he build it himself? We don't yet know.

Lunar Module by Frank Bellamy - thanks to Alan Davis
Note the difference from the LM above
Photo rescued by Alan Davis

Photo rescued by Alan Davis
Compare the top left of the double page spread

Vintage Airfix states the Airfix Lunar Module kit first appeared in 1969:

Complete with astronauts, lunar surface experiments and the American flag, this intricately detailed kit builds into an exact replica of the Lunar Module on its moon base.    - From 8th Edition (1970) Airfix catalogue
3 March 1969 was the date of Apollo 9's flight with an LM in low orbit around Earth so the design was fairly fixed by then so I'd guess Airfix had designs from NASA to produce the model. The "Britmodeller", Ventora3300, shows the stages of his build of the kit here which is far better than the one I did!

Taken from Mike Cavin's Flickr

Taken from Mike Cavin's Flickr
Anyway back to Frank Bellamy. In two interviews we know of Bellamy mentioning the Moon landing piece, of which he was rightly proud. The first is from Fantasy Advertiser:

FA:  "You also did some work for the Daily Mirror, before you started Garth, I believe?"
FB:  Yes.  The first job I did for them was a centrespread at the time of, and about, the first moon landing."
David Jackson wrote to me about this and said
The salvaged studio photos of a model lunar lander, in themselves, have none of the dynamic and nuanced special qualities of the finished drawings, and, whatever visual references of NASA astronauts were provided for this task, again by some inspired means FB brilliantly envisioned and realized what was not there in the reference pictures, and rendered the spacesuits in action on the moon infinitely better than they ever actually looked in real life!

When Anglia TV's Chris Young interviewed him, Frank said:

FB:  "This one is pre the first moon landing.  I must tell you it's the first strip I've ever done minus balloons.  It would have been lovely to say 'We made it' but it is the first time drawing a strip minus balloons, and in this case for real, because after drawing for years science fiction, seemed funny to draw it actually happening."
CY:  "But that was done before the moon landing?"
FB:  "Before the actual moon landing."
CY:  "And were you fairly accurate?"
FB:  "All the way through, I understand."
CY:  "It all came true...ha ha!"
David Jackson commented to me:
His Apollo 11 moon landing work for the Daily Mirror had, uniquely, no stars in it whatsoever - though drawn before it was established by the actual landing that no stars could be seen from the daylight surface of the moon -  I can recall the media prior-speculation as to whether or not stars would in fact be seen - despite the 'ink black' daylight sky there. Frank would create really black areas of black in all his original art even it meant going over it half a dozen times.

Below is the poster that newsagents will have had at the time and many papers and magazines used the opportunity to run special features on this momentous event. The image is taken from Bellamy's centrespread but notice how effective that one panel is even when blown up to this size

Newsagents poster
David Jackson has noted (in Eagle Times 1995, Vol 8: 1 pp.39-44) when writing about Bellamy and his understanding of science and mechanics:

It is not an unreasonable view that "Bellamy . . . had no real interest in science fiction", but to argue from that, [...] that he "had no understanding of science and mechanics", is unreasonable.  Consider FB's graphics for the Daily Mirror 18 [sic] July 1969, published prior to the launch of  Apollo 11. Bellamy correctly anticipated visual reality before it actually occurred or was proved, eg:
  1. No stars visible from the daylight surface of the moon
  2. Blast-off of the LM ascent stage - which was not actually seen until a later mission left a camera transmitting from the lunar buggy.
It is something of an oversimplification to say FB "drew everything out of his head", but he had the capability of remembering and internalising - comprehending - and the ability to visualise, rotate and articulate geometric solids in three-dimensional space. Quote: Dennis Hopper, art editor TV21 (STRIPS '78/COMICS 103 booklet): "Heros [the Spartan]" must rate highly . . . but this strip ignored two of Frank's greatest gifts. His conception of geometric form and his vision of the future."


On the 1 August 1969 Bellamy paid a cheque for £145 into his bank account which he labelled "Daily Mirror: Apollo 11" and in October a cheque for £75 was paid in labelled, mysteriously, "Daily Mirror Moon Map". I've looked through an awful lot Daily Mirrors from that time and not found this map, but here's what I did find in case anyone else can help.

The amount he was paid for this "moon map" is the same as for a later large black and white image in the Daily Mirror.

A large (two separate double pages) moon map was published in the Daily Mirror Friday 18 July 1969 - a  "Mirrorscope Moon Special". I have a copy and the credits are on the map:
"Moon Map copyright Hallwag, Berne, Switzerland.  Additional graphics by Roy Foster and Roy Wright.".  The map used was created by Hans Schwarzenbach and published by Hallwag, known for cartographic tourist materials, in 1969.

David Jackson also has a copy and adds:
The named lunar places are typeset; plus additions of lettering in "UNO" pen stencil looking style indicating various moon landing sites, with map 'key' text.
Tellingly you might think (I know I do!) the lunar 'seas' on this lunar map consist of stipple and scribble shading...
So David can't see anyone else doing the stippling on the maps below but Bellamy.

 I felt maybe this couldn't be the case - no credit and the price he was paid. But David thinks this a red herring as:
The way the industry and Mirror could have been looking at it, might have been that it was two double-page spreads, and in newsprint terms (purely as square feet+inches) would be a way to quantify things  - or that would be natural when it came to selling advertising space for example...
If Bellamy did the stippling and adaptation of the shading to newsprint he might not care about being credited. But being tenacious I looked further.

In the Daily Mirror 4 October 1969 there is mention on page 7 of "The great moon game"
Daily Mirror 4 October 1969, p.7

"BLAST-OFF! Get into orbit today with the Mirror's Great Moon Game competition" [...] "Hundreds of consolation prizes await successful entrants in our Moon Game You could win a superb forty-eight page Moon Flight Atlas, a huge full colour Moon Map. or a fascinating Moon Globe"  -Emphasis mine
Results were to be published in the Daily Mirror for Monday November 3 but I haven't seen that and don't expect to see the moon map there. I imagine as they used the Hallwag map, they bought/were given some copies to distribute. A full colour piece in the Daily Mirror fetched a larger income than the suggested amount of £75so I suspect that David might be right.

What do you think?

Frank Bellamy artwork from 11 July 1969 Daily Mirror


When I was a kid in 1969 on the cusp of becoming a teenager, the only experience of the Apollo mission was via television or in books, magazines, model kits and slides. Now we can hear the whole mission spoken by the people who took part and watch video on The First Men on the Moon: The Apollo 11 Lunar Landing.
This project is an online interactive featuring the Eagle lunar landing. The presentation includes original Apollo 11 spaceflight video footage, communication audio, mission control room conversations, text transcripts, and telemetry data, all synchronized into an integrated audio-visual experience.
Turn your PC speakers on, click GO and sit back! And remember Bellamy got there a manner of speaking

The Map House has an exhibition which ends on August 21 2019 - read more here - and see the Hallwag map

Don't forget Alan Davis' site of Bellamy's work

If you want to know more about those experiments that appear in the Airfix kit and Bellamy's illustration, - EASEPs (Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package) and ALSEPs (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package) see Brian J. O'Brien's site