Saturday 15 July 2023

Frank Bellamy in Rugby Exhibition

Information panel by Paul Holder

I was going to write about a great exhibition entitled "KAPOW –The Art of Making Comics and Films" which runs until 9 September 2023 at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Little Elborow Street, Rugby, CV21 3BZ which has been reviewed on DownTheTubes 

James Bacon has not only done a better job than I would have done, but his photos are better too. Respect James!

Here are some of my images which at least record which Bellamy artwork what was displayed along with my ramblings.

"Sequential visual storytelling is the art of our time" it says on one bit of blurb on the wall, and film and comics go so nicely together but have differences - so well shown here. "Colour is like the soundtrack of a film" The exhibition's strength is that it really set me thinking when 'exclaiming' like this but also demonstrating what it meant. I couldn't help but think Mike Noble's excellent example would have worked well here to show sketch to finish to colour and how colour added so much more. "Thumbnails and roughs are like the building blocks of a story"...but of course not everyone needed to do either of these. Bellamy drew rough sketches and then went straight to inks. There are some great examples of comic art methods, styles, workings using artwork by Jock, Ian Churchill, and fantasy artist Bob Cheshire in this exhibition and the artists' generosity has made this an excellent exhibition.

Bellamy's Thunderbirds at Rugby
The double-page spread is a high quality print from the original art (TV Century 21 # 125 10 June 1967) and the single page is the original art from TV Century 21 # 217 15 March 1969

Models and Supermarionation

I felt this information panel would have been better placed near the "Dan Dare" board by Frank Hampson et al (but with that common error "The Eagle" corrected to "Eagle") as his studio used many maquettes and models to draw from. But we do know Frank Bellamy also had puppet heads to draw from and also visited the APF studio in Slough when the filming of "Thunderbirds" took place - so I suppose this works here too. 

Round the corner we see the section labelled "Comic Styles" with a wonderful selection to illustrate the many forms of comics (including "Danger Mouse" with an "Unknown Artist" attribution - isn't this Arthur Ranson, who is credited later with "Duckula"? It is indeed - checked with Arthur!). I suspect Bellamy, in his usual modest style would have been awed to be right next to Berni Wrightson and one of the latter's most famous works! I remembered copying one of those panels in my A Level art class!

"Comic Styles"
"Comic Styles" explained

The two pieces here are both from "The Wolfman of Ausensee" 'Garth' story. F170 + F171 are the consecutive strips, for those who want to know and below them, the Hampson "Dan Dare".

'Garth' F170 & F171

I came away having been challenged to think further about comic art -and I've been no slouch over the last 60+ years! There are many models and TV elements I haven't mentioned as well. Wallace & Gromit artwork and models brought a smile to an older man, and the 'Van Gogh' room as I called it was excellent!

Go and read James Bacon's review


Kid said...

I'd like to have seen that exhibition, NB, as I'd have found it interesting. I wonder what the chances are of it ever working its way up to Scotland?

Kid said...

For some reason, NB, your link goes to MY blog, not the James Bacon review.

Kid said...

Actually, after investigating a bit more, it goes to my blog only when I'M signed into my blog. If I click on the link when I'm signed out, it goes to the Blogger home page.

Norman Boyd said...

I think it's Rugby's own, so unlikely, but why not ask them?

Norman Boyd said...

Well spotted Kid. Now corrected. Refresh your version of my page. Thanks for pointing it out

Norman Boyd said...

Thanks for that. You know how easy it is to foul-up creating blog posts.

Kid said...

I don't know what you mean, NB - I NEVER foul-up when creating blog posts (he shamelessly lied). Hee-hee.