Wednesday, 28 July 2021

The Art of Frank Bellamy: Illustrators Special #11 IT'S PUBLISHED!!!!

"A unique British trailblazer"

The Art of Frank Bellamy (Illustrators Special #11) Front Cover

In March 2020, I got a phone call while walking in my local town. I ducked down an alleyway to be able to hear Geoff West of Book Palace, (I'm not as young as I used to be and that background noise of traffic is hard work!). He asked me if I fancied writing an Illustrators Special on ......Frank Bellamy! Some of you may know I've been part of the Illustrators team in a minor way since about issue 3. Now issue 34 of this quarterly 'bookazine' has just been published as well as, along the way, eleven Special issues focussing on a topic or artist! (you can see a full listing here). 

But the focus today is on the Frank Bellamy Special

"Robin Hood" from Swift Vol. 3:25 (23 June 1956)

The work includes a page introduction by Oliver Frey, who I have quoted at the head of this article, who also explains how Bellamy was truly British, with no influence from America or Europe (which I liked and suspect Bellamy would too!). 

"Thunderbirds" from TV21 #115

Then you get an overview of Bellamy's life and career from the start to the end, written from scratch by yours truly. I decided this would be a great opportunity to discipline myself into focussing on essential information only - not everyone cares that Frank and Nancy were great lovers of all things Spanish and took a trip there in May 1959, taking in the southern region of AndalucĂ­a! I double-checked all my facts - as this is likely to be the longest biography of Frank Bellamy for a while, depending on who takes up the baton! Experience taught me that many errors slip into narratives about the artist over time, so I was extra careful!

"The Winged Avenger" from "The Avengers" TV series

We managed to get a load of scans of original artwork - and here I have to say a HUGE thank you to Paul Holder and many others too numerous to repeat here, but who are listed in the book. If they hadn't come forward, the work would be full of work scanned by me from my collection of books and magazines, tears, thumbed pages and all! I've sampled some work here, but the print versions are at a higher resolution which you can't appreciate until you see it! You will see loads of things not seen before- even on this blog - which illustrate how Bellamy was so talented, flexible, imaginative and inspirational.

"The Doomsmen" - Garth J161

Lastly I re-wrote this website's listing of Frank's work so you can have a bibliography of his works which fits legibly on three pages due to the brilliant designer who put this all together, Diego Cordoba - thanks Diego for being so amenable to design suggestions. 

Portakabin (4 sided 2 page colour advertising brochure)
I got my copy this morning and thought, although "un-boxing" is fashionable, I'd just do a flick through in my back garden, thus the birds, kids and car noises! Book Palace have one on the Art of Frank Bellamy page which gives a great overview, click on Take a Peek


And finally here's the back cover. Any other variants you've seen only exist electronically as early drafts! Yes, including the one with my name in a speech bubble!

Here's the true back cover:

The Art of Frank Bellamy (Illustrators Special #11) Back Cover


BOOK PALACE BLURB

Frank Bellamy is an artist whose work reflects much of the century that he inhabited. Born a year before the end of the First World War, his art documented an age of conflict, exploration, technological advancement, social change and an age which could envisage worlds as yet undiscovered as well as worlds long departed deep beneath the sands of time.

His story follows the course of many of his contemporaries, a driven determination to secure a living as a illustrator, bolstered by sporadic exposure to art tuition, stints in a provincial studio “learning on the job”, and the “pilgrimage to London” and more specifically Fleet Street, which in the 1950s was a veritable Mecca for aspiring illustrators.

What makes Bellamy's story so particular is his development into a pre-eminent graphic artist. (Robin Hood, King Arthur, Heros the Spartan, Montgomery, Churchill, Fraser of Africa, Thunderbirds and Garth.)

From a relatively staid and unremarkable (yet highly competent) artist to a ground-breaking master of the comic strip, his rise to fame presents not just a fascinating tale about his life and work but also the story of UK comics from what was a golden age through to the influencing of the next generation of comic artists—and creatives in other fields—who would succeed him.

Typical of those who fell under Bellamy's spell is Oliver Frey who graces this edition with his introduction to the work of Frank Bellamy.

More like a book than a magazine, illustrators is the art quarterly devoted to the finest illustration art ever published. It guides you through the stories behind the artists and their art, with features written by some of the leading authorities on this important art form.

As well as building into an indispensable reference library, illustrators gives readers an insight into the creative process, from idea to sketch to painting, and from painting to the image seen by millions.

Truly fabulous artwork abounds in every issue, much of the art taken from scans of the original work.

This illustrators Special Edition limited to just 1000 copies worldwide. A Book Palace Books publication.

Authors: Norman Boyd, Oliver Frey (intro)
Artist: Frank Bellamy
Publisher: Book Palace Books, July 2021
Number of pages: 144
Format: Soft Cover; Full Colour illustrations
Size: 9" x 11" (216mm x 280mm)
ISBN: 9781913548087

Buy here: The Art of Frank Bellamy (UK) (USA)




Thursday, 1 July 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy #17 & 18: Aliens

Continuing our look at the 'unknown' Bellamy artwork with thanks to Alan Davis for giving permission to use these images

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Used by permission of Alan Davis


Alan Davis' images above, show how he found two of Bellamy's Polaroids which were 'snaps' of the TV screen when Bellamy's images appeared and Alan added them to the photo of the original art. This gave me the clue that these two aliens appeared on the BBC.  But so did the following correspondence, addressed to Bellamy:


Letter addressed to Frank Bellamy 18 May 1960

So here we have proof Frank Bellamy was asked to produce artwork of two aliens. In the Radio Times edition  (15 May 1960 - 21 May 1960) on the 13 May 1960 (p12 of the Radio Times) we find:

FOCUS at 5:10pm
  • Vera McKechnie introduces Your Monday Magazine.
  • Life on Other Worlds examined by Tom Margerison
  • An Introduction to Make-up with Richard Blore
  • Fencing: A demonstration of electric epee, electric foil Hungarian sabre and classical Japanese sword play. - See Junior Radio Times
  • Would You Believe It? Illustrated by Bill Hooper.
  • Robin Adler's Camera Club
  • The Ideal Four

Contributors

  • Presenter: Vera McKechnie
  • Item presenter (Life on Other Worlds): Tom Margerison
  • Item presenter (An Introduction to Make-up): Richard Blore
  • Artist (Would You Believe It?): Bill Hooper
  • Item presenter (Robin Adler's Camera Club): Robin Adler
  • Performers: The Ideal Four
  • Producer: Leonard Chase

Focus ran for 50 minutes, so  therefore 5 (or is it 6?) items listed would likely mean the space article was ten minutes long. You can also see that the letter above came from the person who produced the show in which Bellamy's drawings appeared. Interestingly, he is not credited, but I expect that's because he wasn't the "artist" that week but the "illustrator" for a topic that was difficult to film without images!

The Junior Radio Times section, mentioned in the listing often featured an article from the Focus programme, but not in this particular issue - which is a shame, because that would have been Bellamy's first work for the magazine, if the aliens had been reproduced in print. But "Star Trek" was his first.

Interestingly Frank Bellamy's aliens came from "the same design lineage as those at the close of [his] tenure on "Dan Dare"", said David Jackson when we talked about this article.

The Bellamy "Dan Dare" aliens were designed for the "Project Nimbus" story, first in the form of a machine-robot weapon, which made its appearance in Vol.11 No.20 (14 May 1960)

Bellamy's alien tech - Eagle Vol 11:20

Bellamy's alien tech - Eagle Vol 11:20

There is another design in the next issue and the aliens themselves appear in No.22 to No.26.

 

Bellamy's aliens - Eagle Vol 11:22

More bellamy Alien tech, from Eagle Vol 11:21

Thanks to David for reminding me!


Monday, 14 June 2021

GARTH STRIPS ANALYSED: SUNDANCE

To start what might become a series, David Jackson and I were discussing what involvement John Allard had in the Garth strips which Bellamy illustrated. We've looked at the first story, "Sundance". It's been fascinating examining Garth panel-by-panel and seeing that John Allard added stuff to every strip in the story (except six, we think). I should add I am not about to show you every single episode - for copyright reasons. So I should get through a 'fair use' argument if it ever comes up! 

WE COULD REALLY DO WITH YOUR HELP - can you scan any ORIGINAL artwork you have? It's so much easier to analyze the artwork if we can. 

 
"Garth: Sundance" E150 John Allard art

To start let's get the first 12 strips in this story out of the way as they are solely John Allard (E150 through to E161). In the one above we can see a trademark Allard device - the 'dashes' in the sky applied through ink but also a lack of white space.

Here's the first Bellamy drawn strip E162 with E163 and E164

"Garth: Sundance" E162-E164 Frank Bellamy + John Allard art


However, as you'll soon see, Allard's imprint is on almost all strips in the Sundance story. As David said to me, Allard appears to add:
  • Screentone: A mechanical tint to shadows, background, skies and as 'local colour' to fabrics
  • Background elements: sky-tone 'dashes'
  • Background elements: Landscapes including lines of hills; waterfalls; trees and wigwams!
Taking the three images as an example, which are the first three where Bellamy joins the strip:
  • E162 - Panel 1 and 3 have a screentone added to clothing and also the trees in Panel 3 are drawn by Allard.
  • E163 - Panel 1  and 3 have the same tone added to Garth's trousers and Panels 1 and 3 have trees and background landscape added by Allard.
  • E164 - Panel 3 has background trees added by Allard. Also Panel 3 has tone added. Having had access to the original art in the past here's my photo to show that added tone/tint/Zip-A-Tone/Letraset that Bellamy never used in his career. 

"Garth: Sundance" Panel 3 of Garth E164
 
Artwork in newspaper strips tends to be drawn in pencil, followed by ink (Bellamy tended to sketch in outlines for himself and do the detail when inking) and the process can include ways the artist wishes to lighten from dark to light (or vice-versa) such as cross-hatching, 'spattering' (with a toothbrush for example) drybrush, or, as Bellamy brilliantly did in his artwork - stippling. But another way of showing texture might be to add Zip-a-Tone or Letratone, both screentone effects. Allard used it quite often as we shall see - and even misses it on Garth's trousers in E195!
 
"Garth: Sundance" E175
E.175 is interesting in how Bellamy left blank space only to have Allard add two pieces of mechanical tint. The sky-tone tint in panel #3 solidifying the background framing device, is otherwise so minimal to be hardly worth doing. As David said to me, Bellamy could have left the vegetation out of the first panel and also the background in the third, but didn't.  I wonder if his aim was to stymie Allard, but as can be seen he didn't succeed! Also have a close look at panel #3. Bellamy appears to have drawn the 'foreground' wigwams and Allard appears to have added more behind them! - Well spotted David - who also mentioned that stray ink blob in panel #3 which we guess is a shield.

Also that framing device in panel #3, which David pointed out to me, was like a device Fortunino Matania used (for example in Great Stories from History illustrated by Fortunino Matania. Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd, 1970: pages 56-57). I can't find anything else like it in Matania's work but would love to know if anyone has seen anything similar or have you seen it in other artists' works? Bellamy uses it again in E175 #3, E180 #2, E183 #1, E186 #2, E188 #1, E190 #2, E191 #1, E205 #3, E216 #2, E234 #3. Allard added a similar effect in E194 #2 with just tint behind Falling Leaf's portrait! In E226, Bellamy adds his 'swirls' in the same framing device, presumably to stymie Allard again!


Garth: Sundance E182 - Letraset on Garth's face (or FB stippling?)
Was Bellamy able to produce any strips by himself in the Sundance story? We're pleased to say 'yes'!E180, E182, E183, E184, E185 and E203 - so that's 6 strips out of 75 - drawn by Bellamy where we can't see any Allard artwork or tone being added.  [He could also have drawn of E222 but we're not sure using the reproductions we have - again the original art may be easy to 'read' ]
 
If you've followed us to this point, you must be interested in details too We also counted 21 individual strips without the addition of Allard pen and ink drawing (- i. e. where he only applied mechanical tone and no linework) were 21
Garth: Sundance E186 - Allard hills and sky 'dashes'

In E186 frames #1 and #3 we see Allard's hand in the added hills, clashing with Garth's profile; but in the second frame the background hills by FB are overlayed by 'overspill' Letratone over the middle-ground cavalry, presumably in error. In E208 we see Allard draw tracks, and as David said to me "though looking down on the Indian tracker, from the point of view of the officer on horseback, the b/g could have been completely blank (readers don't need to see the tracks to follow the story).

I asked David about E209 as I wasn't sure that Allard drew the wigwam and waterfall as he would have had to 'grab' some space from the Bellamy drawing. He replied  
"Not that John Allard couldn't insert 'negative' white space with his use of process white.  I'd think the background marks indicating fir trees at the left edge of the first frame are John Allard (the FB figures and horse, ground and trees read clearly  without any further b/g) - the waterfall is in optical competition with the flank of the horse, so the falls would not be FB in this frame (as with middle frames of E.204 and E.207 and the first frames of E.208 and E.213) - compare the established design by FB in E.199 to E.201 and looks also to be FB (except the sky dashed tone) in E.212.
 
I wonder if Allard didn't see value in leaving white space as, a glance at earlier stories illustrated by him appear very 'cluttered' at first glance, in my opinion, where Bellamy left white space, or added circular 'cameos' to highlight, or enclose figures. Every space seems filled by something where Bellamy was a consummate designer, in the service of legibility, leaving balancing elements to his strips and illustrations. We should add that John Allard definitely did all the lettering on this strip all the way through to Bellamy's death in 1976.

David also pointed out:
I notice E179 has (seemingly, to me, redundant) the identity trope about Garth and the surname "O'Hara" in this story; although Falling Leaf calls him Garth (and Pehizizis in E191 for example) many times, as does Sitting Bull (e.g. E227).
 Some of our discussions were around how difficult it is to identify who did what - which isn't surprising. I thought in strip number E166 the left-hand side wigwams work as a composition  but on the right of this frame and the other frames' wigwams looked awful. I mentioned to David that 
"Allard did the poles in a linear frame in one of his episodes at the start of the story (E152) which appears in panel #1 of E166 and I wonder if maybe Bellamy would have emphasized the 'sundance' Indian, and so left out the wigwams on the left. However, if he did, that space would be too tempting for Allard! But then, Allard added the one on the right of the frame and maybe that linear pole frame too! Oh dear!" 
David replied
"All that, exactly spells out the problem.  It seems impossible that the same hand could have drawn the wigwams at the right and those on the left.  Same goes too for the linear poles structure in this FB frame compared to the second of JA's Sundance opening centre frame.  I doubt FB would have pencilled those in for JA to ink or as reference". 
Norman: "E222 = hills query?"
David: "Difficult.  Line and stipple hills look FB, as also dark hatch above wigwams, but vertical hatch hill at right obscure/ blend heads of soldiers as does in next frame horses and figures profile"

You get the idea, how we went back and forth!

E218 caused a lot of back and forward discussion - see below

Garth: Sundance E218

Enlarge this image (excusing the "spine curl" on the left in my scan!)  and you'll see an interesting effect, Custer and the men in the foreground are visually distanced from the rest of the column and the trees. It's  perspective shown by changing the tone, much like in a colour painting, where hills at a distance are a lighter colour than those in the foreground. To me it looks like some Letratone placed over Bellamy's original artwork. it also occurs in strips  E219 (#1), E221 (#1 and #2), [E224 (#1)?], E225 (#1) , E227 (#1) and looks to be transparent to allow the artwork through. We explored Letratone on the Internet until our eyes went all funny, but couldn't find any proof. Can you help? Was/Is there a Letratone that allows the user to place a tonal pattern over the art but not hide it completely?  We know that some Letratone was available in WHITE.

We found some awful examples where Allard added backgrounds which just weren't needed and worse detracted from a nice frame. But we also suspected there are places where Bellamy left some space after seeing how Allard performed and that's what Allard did -filled that space. We also spotted E177 #3 where the background appears to be unfinished!
 
If you want to explore further and follow along, I've created a spreadsheet showing the details with some added notes where pertinent. These are always up for debate, especially as we are working on printed copies, not originals - the best reproduction so far has been the Titan book published in 1984, Garth Book One: The Cloud of Balthus (London: Titan Books, 1984) which had 96 pages, an introduction and checklist of Garth strips. It reprinted Sundance, Cloud of Balthus, The Orb of Trimandias, Wolfman of Ausensee. In some paces we found backgrounds a bit faded, which is odd given the great reproduction elsewhere. Note that Titan reprinted the original strips (including nudity). The second Titan book is listed in detail here.

Do feedback as to whether this is worthwhile as we have started on the other stories in which Allard participated but as you can appreciate they take a lot of time and work. I must say a huge thank you to David Jackson and Paul Holder, true friends, whose eyesight is still functional enough to do such a detailed analysis! If you have any originals from this story or hi-res scans I'd love to see and share them?

Monday, 7 June 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy #12: Astronaut

Alan Davis (in his Unknown Bellamy section of his website) shows this one image which I have numbered #12 for convenience.

Used by permission of Alan Davis

To me this looks to illustrate a story. An astronaut is being manipulated by an astronaut 'pulling his strings' - a metaphor for "to control someone or something often in a secret way". A beautifully designed spaceship takes off and we see the manipulating astronaut, who has no shirt, let alone spacesuit on,  and the face of an astronaut. On the right in the background is a executive (?) with dollar signs surrounding him and at the bottom another emphasis on dollars. An ECG reading shows tension across the face and background

Bellamy illustrated the Moon Landing in 1969 and we have seen 2 designs for rockets (produced for T-shirts) appear recently. Also we see an upright rocket in the Comicon '71 image and various bits for an animated ice lolly film. He also drew an astronaut for Letraset. But I can't see any connection beyond the space theme. It's a very bold design and I wonder whether it was drawn for a magazine feature? I have no other information or thoughts.

The reason for showing this is to see if YOU can see anything else I'm missing which could give us a clue where to look next.

Any thoughts please contact me. 

NEXT: Unknown Bellamy # 13 - Castrol GTX advert

Saturday, 22 May 2021

ORIGINAL ART: Thunderbirds from TV21 #206 and some statistics

"Thunderbirds" page 1 from TV21#206

Phil-Comics has more than 18,000 positive feedbacks on eBay (and no negatives!) and has been selling comic related materials since 2000. I have sold some stuff through him and found him to be nothing but polite, efficient and an all-round nice guy. He often has obscure British material, such as advertising flyers for annuals, free gifts (which sell so well these days - why did I throw all mine on a bonfire?!?).

Anyway, you don't come here for my charming repartee. Phil is selling an original board on eBay which we have seen come up for auction before, back in 2011 when it sold for just £550. I've said something about the change in colour from original art to printed version (but can't add anything to what I said then).

Here's Phil's description of the piece: 

Thunderbirds Original Artwork (FRANK BELLAMY) for TV21 comic #206 (1968)

A wonderful single page of original artwork, drawn and painted by Frank Bellamy, for TV21 comic #206 - Dec 28 1968. It appeared on page 11 and was the first page of the strip in this edition, but Part 4 in the overall story.

The art board measures 47 x 37.5 (18.5 x 14.75 inches) and is rigid, so will be posted flat.

Vibrant colours and incredibly crisp lines, this is a joy to behold. A few very small brown spots (of paint?) have somehow landed on the page at some stage in its 53 year life, but don't detract and are hardly noticeable. There's also a 2 inch brown line of the same substance to the right edge, which is more noticeable but only slightly goes across 1/2 inch of one panel edge. A bump / scuff to the lower corners but artwork unscathed.

Frank Bellamy's work is highly sought-after and this is the first time we have bought a page of his original artwork to market.

UK buyers - This will be posted flat between several sheets of  sturdy cardboard (and quite possibly in a large box to really protect it) and sent by Special Delivery. Cost £14.95.
I suspect those "very small brown spots" have appeared in the last 10 years as the image from Comic Book Auctions didn't show them back in 2011, and if I had been the buyer then, and discovered they weren't on the image, I would have kicked up a fuss. [UPDATE: The spots ARE visible back in 2011]. It will be interesting to see what this reaches with a the staring bid is £1,250. 

Out of interest, I thought I'd look at statistics for the single Thunderbirds pages that I have recorded in the spreadsheet - you can all play along if you like. 

The average price - where I have data - of a single Thunderbirds board (remember they were double page spreads until TV21 #141) was an amazing £1,544! Bear in mind this is over 17 years when I could, and did record data. So we need to look at outliers and maybe median prices. 

The lowest price was in 2008 (TV21 #146) £404.95

The highest price was in  2018 (TV21 #90) £4,550.00

So you can see, just as with some of the Government statistics, you really do need to ask some questions about how things are counted. 

The median price over those years (and where recorded) is £1,080

I haven't done the mode (most commonly recurring amount) as it means nothing here at all!

If you want to see the pages, just click on the links under the dates on the spreadsheet

Lastly I've added all of Phil's images below and there are some nice close-ups.











AUCTION SUMMARY

THUNDERBIRDS TV21#206
WHERE?:phil-comics on ebay
STARTING BID: £1,250
ENDING PRICE: £1,250
No of bids: 1
END DATE: 30 May 2021

Friday, 21 May 2021

It's Frank Bellamy's Birthday

 


On 21 May 1917, Frank Alfred Bellamy was born to Horace George Bellamy (born in 1885) in Rothwell, Northamptonshire and Grace Winifred Ashley (born 1887) in Kettering. Frank had one sister Eva born in 1912 (so 5 years his senior).

The image above comes from Ally Sloper, a new comic he contributed to in the year he died, 1976. It was published two months after his untimely death.

 Gone but never forgotten.  Happy Birthday Frank!

 

 


Thursday, 13 May 2021

ORIGINAL ART: 8 Garths

 

Garth: People of the Abyss F246 and F266

Compalcomics are offering more Garth strips this month, drawn by Frank Bellamy. The images are gorgeous and clear and make me re-appreciate his work here. 

As Malcolm Phillips, the Director of Comic Book Postal Auctions Ltd,  says:

Welcome to our May/June catalogue. The catalogue is open for bidding. You can place realtime bids at The Saleroom. Click here to visit our catalogue at The-Saleroom. You can also browse lots here and fill out a fax or mail bidding form.

The fact he still gets faxes (is that the plural?) is amazing to me. It's been years since I sent or received one!

Onto the Garth strips

GARTH: People of the Abyss - 2 episodes: F246 and F266

Garth: 'The People of the Abyss' two original artworks (1972) by Frank Bellamy for the Daily Mirror 18.10.72 and 10.11.72. Indian ink on board. 21 x 17 ins (x2)

That's the description for these two strips in Lot #103 (see top of article for the image). Please click on these images and view them in detail. Bellamy's gorgeous linework is sublime. And for those who want to know it's a torch and an electro-gun he's holding in that first strip!  Notice those famous Bellamy swirls which add tone in a light-handed way. In the second strip he creates a bubble of light.

Garth: The Women of Galba: G22 and G26

GARTH: The Women of Galba The Beast of Ultor - 2 episodes: G22 and G26

Garth: 'The Beast of Ultor' [sic] two original artworks (1973) by Frank Bellamy for the Daily Mirror 25/30 January 1973. Indian ink on board. 21 x 17 ins (x2)

These two strips are actually not from "The Beast of Ultor", but from "The Women of Galba" story. I'll let Malcolm know so this may change before you see it. Nevertheless they are lovely drawings. Look at the third panel in G22 and how Bellamy uses diagonals and cuts them off, to show a background of some sort. 

 

Garth: The Wreckers G280 and G283

GARTH: The Wreckers - 2 episodes: G280 and G283

The third lot (#107) has two strips from "The Wreckers". I've always wondered who Bellamy used as a model for his version of Andromeda, a recurring character who meets and helps (and loves) Garth in his time-travelling adventures. Malcolm's brief description:

Garth: 'The Wreckers' two original artworks (1973) by Frank Bellamy (both signed) 24/28 Nov 1973. Indian ink on board. 21 x 17 (x2)

These two strips have some usual Bellamy devices: beautiful woman, the sweeping thrust of an arm,  the frame behind Garth and Andromeda in G283 (the middle panel). 


Garth: The Bride of Jenghiz Khan H245 and H250

GARTH: The Bride of Jenghiz Khan 2 episodes: H245 and H250

These two strips come from "The Bride of Jenghiz Khan" story (Lot #110) are described:

Garth: 'The Bride of Jenghiz Khan (1974) two original artworks by Frank Bellamy (both signed) 18/24 Oct 1974. Indian ink on board. 21 x 17 ins (x2)

 

If you want information on reprints of the strips travel to the menu on the website "Garth Reprints" and I'll add these to the spreadsheet, where I record sales of original art by Frank Bellamy. 

Lastly I NEVER ask for money for the website or blog but gifts are very much appreciated, check out the Mike Noble Fireball XL5 - I suspect it might sell for the higher end of the reserve! And also there are lots of Eagle comics which have Bellamy artwork - but I have those!

AUCTION SUMMARY

GARTH: People of the Abyss - 2 episodes: F246 and F266

WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom -Lot #103
STARTING BID: £450 reserve
ENDING PRICE: £450
END DATE: Sunday 6 June 2021

GARTH: The Women of Galba The Beast of Ultor - 2 epsiodes: G22 and G26 

WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom -Lot #105
STARTING BID: £450 reserve
ENDING PRICE: £920
END DATE: Sunday 6 June 2021

GARTH: The Wreckers - 2 episodes: G280 and G283 

WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom -Lot #107
STARTING BID: £450 reserve
ENDING PRICE: £520
END DATE: Sunday 6 June 2021

GARTH: The Bride of Jenghiz Khan 2 episodes: H245 and H250 

 WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom -Lot #110
STARTING BID: £450 reserve
ENDING PRICE: £840
END DATE: Sunday 6 June 2021

Monday, 10 May 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy #9: Comic strip

 UNKNOWN BELLAMY #9: COMIC STRIP

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Thanks to Alan Davis for permission to use the above image. as he states on his website:

I was simply one of the guys lucky enough to help Nancy Bellamy clear Frank's studio when she was moving home. AND enough of a fanboy to ask if I could keep the rubbish.
Compared to new images recorded and created in our digital age none of the source material I have is good, some is very poor but I believe it offers a unique and valuable insight to any true Frank Bellamy fan.
Thanks to Nancy Bellamy for giving me the two bags of studio debris, permission to use it here and for her time in relating anecdotes and tales of Frank's life and career. 

I have no information to provide for this unknown piece. It's done in a comic strip form, yet there is space for a libretto text beneath the first row - but as with all this material I am arguing from silence! We have to use what we have, to see if we can move this further. 

  1. The story looks to open with three or four people mounted on horseback in a fenced field.
  2. A farmhouse with walled garden appears to be watched from on high. 
  3. Four people walk towards a helicopter
  4. What appears to be the pilot (with cap and sunglasses) appears to be held at gun point
  5. Two men, prone on the ground are secretly watching the horse-riding party pass by with rifles aimed at them
  6. As three people head towards a rope ladder dropped from the ascending helicopter a guard stands by facing away from the copter
  7. The helicopter takes off from the same farmhouse grounds
  8. The last shot shows a military build-up showing helmeted soldiers with rifles, an armoured vehicle and jeep plus two jet aircraft flying over a village

I have no correspondence that fits this strip and can only guess it's from later in Bellamy's career. The structure of the panels is lovely and clear - but note they do seem to sit on top of each other with that space between the rows. Perhaps a newspaper article might have some text between them? Is this reportage of a kidnapping incident? We had the IRA bombings, Bader-Meinhof Red Army incidents in the 70s - when I think this was drawn. Could it be one of these?

Alan kindly let me scan the photos he recovered - which I'll show in later blog articles - here's a scan I have converted from TIFF to JPG - perhaps this might give another view of Alan's photo?

Used by permission of Alan Davis - version 2

Bellamy did "try-outs" for newspaper strips before landing "Garth" for the Daily Mirror. I have seen copies of "Modesty Blaise", "The Saint", "Wes Slade", and earlier, "Antony Falloway" Could this be the opening of a character's strip before the lead enters the scene? Which strips in the late 60s-early 70s were of the secret agent / political thriller type?

Let me know your thoughts!

NEXT: Unknown Bellamy # 12 - that astronaut picture

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Bellamy Life Studies

Tony Smith, appears in the Frank Bellamy Checklist as he interviewed Frank Bellamy, shortly before Frank died and also published various articles in the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. His articles helped keep Frank's name in the limelight - just search for his name on the Articles on Frank page.

Anyway he was inspired by the start of the new series I'm doing based around Alan Davis' findings amongst Frank's studio 'detritus'! I'm so glad the series has prompted such a response. Tony sent me three images by Frank I have never seen before and with Tony's permission I present them here. As Tony explained they are all behind glass and therefore not the best representations of the master's work! But I'm more than happy to spread the love!

Tony added that the middle one is, according to Nancy Bellamy herself, Frank's drawing of her!


Nancy Bellamy kneeling





Thursday, 29 April 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy #6-8: Bell and Howell

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Alan Davis (in his Unknown Bellamy section of his website) shows three images next to each other (numbers 6-8 as I have labelled them here). I can reveal they are actually advertising for a cine-camera as you might guess. 

Movie Maker June 1967 cover

Movie Maker - note the two separate words (unlike MovieMaker in the USA) was a magazine that began as a new title in March 1967 (and ran till October 1985) and was published by Fountain Press Limited, publishers of many books on photography too. I confess I have only ever seen the one I own - June 1967 - and you know why I have that issue in particular! The cover shows a woman - hardly visible, ironically - behind a film projector and the magazine cost 3/6d.

The title began life through the incorporation of Amateur Cine World, 8mm Movie Maker and Cine Camera. The British Library states it also incorporated Film Making as well, but that's not in the one I own, and they say its later title was Making Better Movies. This glossy black and white magazine is 28 x 20.5cm and was published on the second Thursday of the month "preceding the month for which it is dated"- well, in June 1967 anyway! The Editor was Tony Rose, the Assistant Editor Alan Cleave and the Art Editor Anthony-Brian Grant. The Advertising Manager was John Patrick. It contains loads of advertising but also "How-to-do-it" features, Special Features, News and Reviews- one of which is by Denis Gifford: "Films to Buy"! Gifford commissioned Frank Bellamy for his comic Ally Sloper, which became Bellamy's last comic strip ever in 1976, so is too far-fetched to assume he put a word in for Bellamy? Or maybe it all went through an agency and is just coincidence!

Anyway our focus today is on Bell and Howell's "The Optronic Eye: Report on the Bell and Howell Optronic Eye Super 8 camera in action" which appears over three right-hand pages (which any advertising person will tell you costs more than any left-hand page) - p309, 311, 313.

The first thing I notice in Alan Davis' rescued Polaroid (see top of article) is the lettering is surprisingly not by Frank Bellamy but added later. However it seems obvious Bellamy left space in the designs for boxes containing text.

Movie Maker June 1967 p.309

The first page introduces us to this simpler Super 8 camera with cartridge loading capability. I felt the way the guy is holding the device in the first panel looked awkward but this is demonstrated properly by the lady on the instruction manual below


The script is a bit stilted in order to show off all the features and our protagonist uses phrases like ""I don't tolerate mistakes, I gritted" and ""Nix", I grunted"!

Movie Maker June 1967 p.311

The second page ignores "Uncle Arthur" and moves to the father of the bride who obviously knows how to do it properly but is outdated. I'd love to know who the model for this was, as he looks like a politician to me, but I suspect he can't be. The last panel is empty of text.


Movie Maker June 1967 p.313

The last page has Bell and Howell's technical sheet  for three versions of the camera at £49.19.0, £79.15.0 and lastly £125.0.0 The advert states the camera was developed as a result of "cooperation with official U.S. Government Moon-shot experiments" - whatever that means. The Bell & Howell Research Center in Pasadena certainly looked at spectroscopy at this time. I like the line on this page that seems to thing we are, I presume, secret agents: "Further Classified Information: All agents to memorise"!

Unfortunately, despite having access to the Bellamy's financial accounts for the period (for which I'm ever grateful to Nancy Bellamy) I can't find anything attributed to the brand or any agency that can be identified.

So we can tick off those three images now! 

NEXT: Unknown Bellamy # 9 - that comic strip.