Sunday 12 February 2023

ORIGINAL ART - Thunderbirds from TV21 #72

"Thunderbirds" from TV21 #72

I was speaking to my friend and fellow Frank Bellamy fan Paul Holder about the latest artwork to appear on eBay - a Thunderbirds episode from TV21 #72. We both mused what a shame it was that it's so faded. For those who don't know, Paul was the one who inspired me to get this blog and listing together when we first met in 2000. He has been scanning original artwork by Bellamy for many years and has assisted in many projects to display Bellamy's work at its best - (for example in my "Art of Frank Bellamy", still available, as they say, in good bookshops everywhere - or direct from The Book Palace.)

The shocking thing is Paul has a much better version of this piece, from the time before it faded. He photographed it on 10 x 8 inch large format film (which he subsequently had scanned), so was able to capture the artwork before it faded If any of you have Bellamy artwork you'd like scanned, he does a great job and we'd have artwork in its best condition to share with future generations when they mention the mythic Frank Bellamy and you'd have a true scan for your use. 

Here's the version Paul photographed before it faded, you'll see clamps holding the artwork as there wasn't much room to hold it as it had been cut down for some reason, perhaps framing.


Transparency of TV21 #72 before fading

I suspect the last line of the seller's description gives us a clue why he's decided to sell now:

Stunning 1966 TV Century 21 comic Double page
Rare chance to own a piece of ORIGINAL artwork from this very poplar [sic] comic .
Frank Bellamy art is highly collectible

The image is amazing Thunderbird 1 Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird 4 included in the action
Sadly this double page has gone the way of most pages with fading to the overall image. The artist used cheap inks which do fade over time

Fantastic artwork by the late GREAT Frank Bellamy
faded pages are rare and fetch premium prices
Two individual unfaded pages sold at Heritage auctions in US for over £10000 each last month 

I have to mention that "The artist used cheap inks which do fade over time" isn't the case with Frank Bellamy at any time in his career. He was meticulous in using prescribed Pelikan inks for his work and even visited printers to ensure his work with those inks would remain true when printed. 

David Jackson, helpfully sent me this:

John Grant & Ron Tiner's The Encyclopedia of Fantasy & Science Fiction Techniques says:
TIP The great advantage of coloured inks is their transparency; you can get clear, delicate effects by overlaying successive glazes of colour.  But remember that artwork done in coloured inks is not lightfast.  There is no way a picture in this medium can be preserved. 

This piece is indeed faded and I'd warn everyone reading this - KEEP YOUR ART OUT OF SUNLIGHT. Art galleries cover display cases for a reason with cloths and museum glass (when added to a piece BEFORE fading occurs) works very well, but I still would treat any artwork carefully!

Here's the scan of the published comic to make a rough comparison.

"Thunderbirds" TV21 #72


WHERE?: ebay - d.g100
No of Bids: 5
END DATE: Saturday 18 February 2023

Thursday 9 February 2023

ORIGINAL ART: Dan Dare from Eagle

Eagle 14 November 1959 (Vol 10:39)

***UPDATE February 2023***

This original is in beautiful condition and not at all faded, thanks to the owner storing this out of the sunlight. A more action-packed scene would be hard to find. It comes from Bellamy's first story "Terra Nova" for the Dan Dare strip in the Eagle from 14 November 1959.

The artwork appears in this quarter's Compalcomics auction ending 26 February and already two bids have bumped this piece (which I personally think has been under-valued), to £1,380.

As usual the listings for the auction appears at both Compalcomics and TheSaleroom with the latter showing current bids.

Lot #65 is described as:

Eagle/Dan Dare original artwork (1960) drawn, painted and signed by Frank Bellamy. From the Eagle Vol. 10, No 39 page 2. The missing panel texts are pasted to the back board. Anastasia zooms down towards the mound city of the fearsome Nagrebs… Bright Pelikan inks on board. 14 x 12 ins

The estimate is £1,500-2,000 but I predict, it will go for more, as the last one to appear (mentioned here) went for £2,050 and I'd say this was a lot more iconic.

Below are both pages from the story as printed in Eagle   - and you'll remember the famed American artist Al Williamson borrowed one panel from this very strip. The cover page with the Eagle logo looks to me to be drawn by Gerald Palmer (and a bit of Don Harley) but the second page is definitely pure Frank Bellamy whose middle initial was A - for Amazing?, no, just Alfred! 

If you want to see more of Bellamy's "Dan Dare" use the blog search box (or Google, please search Norman's blog for "Dan Dare")

Eagle 14 November 1959 (Vol 10:39) Page 1

Eagle 14 November 1959 (Vol 10:39) Page 2

UPDATE: Bill Storie provided this amazing Star Wars strip. Have you seen this explosion anywhere before? For more of Williamson's love of Bellamy start here

Al Williamson "Star Wars"

Anyway as Malcolm Phillips states:

Our UK artwork section continues with two action-packed Dan Dare boards, one by Frank Hampson, the other by Frank Bellamy. There’s also an iconic Daily Mirror piece from 1976 introducing the Garth comic-strip by Martin Asbury.

If anyone knows where the latter was published (if at all) I'd love to know as it's listed as having various art from the garth strip and being published in 1976 which is when Asbury took over from Bellamy, so seems unlikely to me, but who knows?

And don't forget there's a single Bellamy Garth strip on eBay that ends this weekend on the 12 February


DAN DARE: Terra Nova
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 26 February 2023

Monday 6 February 2023

ORIGINAL ART: The Spanish Lady (K125)

The story Frank Bellamy illustrated for the Daily Mirror (17 March 1976 - 7 July 1976 - #K65-K160) was Garth: "The Spanish Lady"

Garth: The Spanish Lady" K125

Silver-Acre are selling another original art board. This time it's K125 of the "The Spanish Lady" which started at £6.99 and is - as of writing - at £29.

The rear of the artwork
The rear looks terribly messy but is mostly a wrapper that's been placed on it. The important thing is has the artwork suffered in any way? I suspect the wrinkles I can see on the front artwork are actually cellophane of some sort.

9 strips from this story have been sold since 2011 and the average price has been £283.15 for one strip. However another one didn't sell at auction - and it was this particular one. Anyway what does this price mean as it's based over 12 years? And this is Francis Drake warning Garth (sorry I mean "the roistering Elizabethan gallant John Carey"!) .


Whilst talking of ebay auctions there's an unusual one there now. It's Bellamy's autograph and I have no reason to think it's not authentic. I'm guessing somebody got it back in the mid-1950s as Bellamy illustrated four strips before "Robin Hood" between 12 May 1956 and 17 August 1957 (as well as some illustrations) in Swift, the "junior" Eagle comic. I'm guessing the photo of Bellamy is for illustrative purposes. Before anyone asks, "is it worth anything?" I'd say no, not really, but there is a bid on it!.  [UPDATE: Frank Bellamy's autograph is worth £48.00 (7 bids)!]

But it certainly made me asks some questions. Did FB ever attend the Hulton's Boys and Girls Exhibitions? See Getty Images who have a photo of the 1956 Exhibition - if the creation date can be reconciled with the dates in the image! And my friend  Richard Sheaf has covered the topic well. But I suspect someone living in Kettering asked him for the autograph and Bellamy knew to give his signature some context by adding what his current assignment was.

GARTH: The Spanish Lady
WHERE?: eBay
No of bids: 24
END DATE: Sunday 12 February 2023