Friday 28 October 2022

Comparing unedited artwork with published art

TV21 #111
Thanks to the response to my last post which included some photographs kindly given to me by Alan Davis, I decided to go through the photos a bit more carefully and discovered something rather interesting.

In TV Century 21 (TV21 to its friends!) issues 110 - 117 (25 February 1967 - 15 April 1967) Alan Fennell wrote an eight part Thunderbirds story which I've called "The Bereznik Zoo Rescues" but is better, and more accurately known as "The Trapped Spy". 

To set the scene, U.S.S. Agent 39 has become trapped in an Eastern bloc country - often used in Anderson material - Bereznik. The World Security Council meet and ask Jeff Tracy's outfit to intervene, but receive an unexpected answer: "International Rescue is an organisation sworn to neutrality. Under no circumstances can it become involved in political problems".

This particular story is interesting in that we see some crossover with the wider Gerry Anderson universe - Commander Shore sits in the foreground of a panel(!) on the World Security Council. I can't imagine Frank Bellamy would have added him unless told to. After all he wasn't illustrating Stingray. 

TV21 #110 (cropped)

To Shore's left (our right) are 5 other figures, but who are they? Who do you think they should be? I would say besides the head of World Aquanaut Security Patrol, it might be good to have World Space Patrol  send Commander Zero, or Lieutenant Ninety or even Steve Zodiac. How about Colonel White, of Spectrum? Well, Bellamy's original art shows he delivered Steve Zodiac (and I think Commander Zero)

Same panel from Bellamy's photo of the original art

Then in the following issue #111 we see a different gentleman again! But this time he bears a resemblance to TV21's Brent Cleever, who has been known to readers since issue #21 as "Secret Agent 21". This began as an editorial and morphed into a proper comic strip which ran throughout TV21's initial run - drawn by Rab Hamilton - occasionally changing the title of the strip ( 21 / Agent 21 / Mr. Magnet and Secret Agent 21). But here, I'm guessing he is just some higher up in the U.S.S. as he sends for two agents to discuss a plan to force International Rescue to save their agent on the ground.

However it gets even more strange. Compare the man we have just been thinking about with the man - as delivered by Frank Bellamy - below in issue #111 

TV21 #111 - The printed panel

TV21 #111 - The delivered panel

You'll have to forgive the colour differences, because post-production can change anything and we are looking at a scan of a photo of original art. But that doesn't explain the changed figure next to Commander Shore. This figure is changed further on in #111 too.

TV21 #111 - The printed panel

TV21 #111 - The delivered panel

My guess is Alan Fennell realised he hadn't directed Bellamy to tie this in more accurately, and then got an in-house member of staff to paint over the moustache and bald head. We may never know. 

TV21 #125 "Thunderbirds"

This isn't the first Bellamy artwork we have seen which has been changed. Issue #125 shows the Goliath aircraft (labelled DT19) from the TV series "Captain Scarlet". It was broadcast as the second episode in October 1967. The issue Bellamy drew was published for the 10 June 1967 and shows Bellamy's version of this plane. If we go with the usual 6 week lead time, it was likely delivered around the end of April 1967 so he had access to some studio photos or visited the studio (which we know he did at least once), 6 months prior to broadcast.   

The DT19 coloured over

The DT19 coloured over BUT badly!

However unless you see the original artwork you will not notice that Bellamy actually drew the ‘DT19’ and very unusually someone has tampered with his art by colouring –clumsily – over the number in blue to try to match Bellamy’s blue. Why is anyone's guess as I can't imagine they'd be worried that a viewer would later moan about seeing the same aeroplane in a Thunderbirds strip!

TV21 #125 Photo of delivered artwork
with DT19 on the plane
Finally here's the whole Bereznik story in photos that Frank Bellamy took before delivering the finished artwork. As TV21 strips were seen abroad, the balloons and captions were added in-house not added by Bellamy (although he did do his own on many comic strips). Pay attention to the opening panels, many of which would have a text "catch-up" block placed over them somewhere.
TV21 #110 Original photo of the art

TV21 #111 Original photo of the art

TV21 #112 Original photo of the art

TV21 #113 Original photo of the art

TV21 #114 Original photo of the art

TV21 #115 Original photo of the art

TV21 #116 Original photo of the art

TV21 #117 Original photo of the art