Friday 13 January 2023

Frank Bellamy's work in TV2000 - in the Netherlands

TV2000 #35 (31 August 1968)
Artist unknown (R. Franco?) -Image taken from Lastdodo

Over Christmas I thought I'd have a look through some long outstanding emails. I'm very good at acknowledging emails and answering them, it's just the actions from them, where I fall short. BUT I do try to make good and this article is one such instance.

TV2000 1966 #36

 J. Lester Novros II, or Lester for short, has a superb website on Supermarionation which contains an overview of Gerry Anderson related materials and I'm concentrating on the comics section. Ronald Kroon gives a nice overview of the reprints in the Netherlands of TV21 and later comics. Famous Gerry Anderson collector Theo de Klerk has written an outline of the comic magazine TV2000 on Lester's site so I don't need to say much about that except browsing Lastdodo - from where I pulled a lot of these images - thus the 'L' watermark bottom right of some images - I could see how disjointed the comic must have seemed to any child reading it during its 3+ year run from #36 (1966) to #52 (1969) - when citing the comic each year is quoted and then the issue number so for example "66/32" would be the 32nd issue in 1966. 

TV2000 began as a tabloid size (like TV21's first series)  and then A4 and went from 16 pages to 32 in the following year and ending up with 40 pages in the third year. Bellamy's work started out being presented as it was in the UK in photogravure and over a centrespread, but later some double page spreads were shown as two pages within the comic (see #14 (1967 below) and then they reprinted some of the single Bellamy pages as they were in TV21, but then...! 

There were also three Thunderbirds Extra published in Dutch.

TV2000 1967-#14
Note that the "Tommy Gun" advert has been replaced
by an advert for a Thunderbirds Extra

I wrote to Lester for some clarification on some points, I believe Bellamy's art did *not *appear in Thunderbirds Extra 1 or Thunderbirds Extra 2 (except the cover!) but I wondered about TB Extra 3 (1967)? Is this his work or is it from UK TV21 Annuals? 

Lester replied 

I take it you are referring to the Dutch 'annuals' [as the Dutch did not have such a phenomenon in the strict sense of the word].

It's hard to say since, at that time, the Thunderbirds hype was dying down over here and so the third Extra album was made on the cheap. This involved some sort of redrawing of the artwork which makes it basically look like a six year old used tracing paper to produce these. Add to that the fact I'm no comics expert, Bellamy's or otherwise, but judging on my meagre skills I would say that Bellamy's brilliant work was spared this demeaning treatment.
What does Lester mean? Let me show you!:

TV21 168 vs TV2000 1968 #31

TV21 168 vs TV2000 1968 #31

The painted cover below, I suspect is by R. Franco - see the part signature. The artist has used two panels by Bellamy to create the cover. But the internal artwork leaves a lot to be desired. Panels re-arranged, left out and simplified! Theo chipped in with:

Bellamy’s artwork was destroyed/re-traced/recoloured and refitted for the last set of small TV2000 issues printed in Italy in an -as cheap as possible- way.
The Extra albums (especially Extra 3) did not use Bellamy so his potential contributions were spared the debauchery it might have had. Although I don’t think any of the three Extra albums modified the page they originated from in the Specials of Annual 1966

TV2000 1969 #27 cover

TV2000 1969 #27 vs TV21 225

I mentioned earlier that there were three Thunderbirds Extra publications, which emulated those 'summer specials' we had in the UK. In fact, the first issue uses the same content as the one published with the same title in the UK and "Flight to Destruction" text story with Bellamy illustrations appears as "Vlucht naar vernietiging" on pages 52-54 with one image (of Jeff Tracy) replaced with a photograph of a hand holding a puppet head  [Thanks to Theo de Klerk for the page numbers and the scan].

Thunderbirds Extra [#1]


Thunderbirds Extra [#1] p54
- Note photo of Jeff Tracy

The second one used the Thunderbirds Annual cover [1967] by Bellamy which I've talked about before. There is no Bellamy content otherwise.

Thunderbirds Extra 2

The third and final Thunderbirds Extra has no Bellamy strips, and most contents come from the Thunderbirds Annual [1967] therefore no Bellamy.Theo confirmed this for me.

Thunderbirds Extra 3

I've concentrated on the Thunderbirds reprints in TV2000 here but have listed other materials reprinted in the Netherlands on my International > Netherlands page. Feel free to suggest additions, amendments and deletions.

Lastly some Bellamy Thunderbird strips were published later on in 1994.  Meerten Welleman let me know about how these Ravette albums were translated and published in the Netherlands:

Oberon as an individual publisher stopped altogether and so the staff of Eppo decided to go it alone in a new company, Big Balloon. They published the Dutch edition of four of the six Ravette albums, mainly with Frank Bellamy material.

I want to say a huge thank you to Lester, Meerten Welleman, Theo de Klerk, John Wigmans and Rob van Eijck for help with the facts of this article - any mistakes are mine. Also thanks to Thunderbirds Wiki.

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