Sunday 12 November 2023

NEWLY DISCOVERED: Fraser of Africa artwork


Over on Facebook Dan Dare group, Douglas Kirk shared this piece of original art he owns. He mentions that 

"Fraser of Africa" Dedicated to Douglas Kirk
I was twelve when Frank Bellamy drew an original for me. The most exciting result of my nagging letters to my favorite comic illustrators. I've seen these poses by Bellamy in online posts, but these examples here are inked and coloured by him for sure.
Alas, I could never persuade Frank Hampson to do likewise, although he did sign some DD photographed artwork for me.

Douglas has promised some more information and a better scan, but I'm so excited to see a new piece, never shown before. Thanks so much to Douglas for permission to share this.

The letter from Frank to Douglas

Wednesday 8 November 2023

ORIGINAL ART : Compal Auction November 2023 - Heros, Dan Dare and a cartoon


Eagle 27 March 1965 Vol 16:13, pp10-11

This time round we have three pieces of original art and lots of comics with Frank Bellamy's art up for auction.

The latest Compalcomics auction is now live. The listings at both on Compalcomics and TheSaleroom

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 27 March 1965 (Vol. 16:13)

The image at the top of this article shows the 5th episode of the story "The Slave Army". It looks very bright compared to the printed version but that's nothing as the print versions under Longacre were a far cry from the wonderful photogravure of the earlier Eagle comics. The blues are still bright which is normally where we see these artworks fade first.

It is described as:

Lot # 114:
Heros the Spartan original double-page artwork (1965) painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol. 16: No 13
'After a revolt in the gold mines of Libya, Heros was captured by the escaped slaves - led by a Briton called Garthac - and forced to lead them across the desert. Suddenly they are attacked by an army of strange horsemen...'
Bright Pelikan inks on board. 28 x 20 ins. The Heros title lettering and rectangular text boxes are laser copy additions to complete the look of the artwork
I remember David Jackson pointing out to me an error in the story. The cry of the attacking group, the men of Raschid, is "By the Prophet!"

As Wikipedia tells us, Muhammad was born c. 570 and died on the 8 June 632 A.D., as we would have said back then. So the founder of Islam was born approximately 100 years after the initial sacking of Rome which led to the fall of the Roman Empire. But I notice that throughout Tom Tully's writings, he loves expletives - "By Mithras!" in this episode; "By the Gods!" and "By Tanarus!" in the previous one, so it's not too surprising he messed up here. I suspect if the Reverend Marcus Morris (Eagle's co-creator and first long-serving Editor) was still in post, he might have spotted this. Anyway, a lovely bright piece with a classic Bellamy battle scene.

DAN DARE: Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)

Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)
During the year in which Bellamy drew "Dan Dare" he was 'assisted' mostly by Don Harley, Bruce Cornwell, Keith Watson (and occasionally Gerald Palmer). The above page is undoubtedly Bellamy - the cover page this issue was by Harley. Bellamy hasn't signed this page but he didn't when he felt the whole thing wasn't his work and particularly while he was getting used to this peculiar work arrangement. His first signature on Dan Dare was three issues later in Eagle Vol.10:33 (3 October 1959). Take no notice in the following description where it says 'gouache'. These are all inks!

This auction is described as:

Lot # 65:
Dan Dare/Eagle original artwork (1959) by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol 10, No 30 pg 2 with original comic
'As the rescue party follows along the Terra Nova Jungle trail, Dan, Sir Hubert and Digby are mysteriously given the freedom of Pax, The Novad central city ...'
Bright gouache colours [sic] on board. 15 x 13 ins

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be

"To be or not to be"
This sketch originally was in the Bob Monkhouse collection and been moved around a bit since it was first sold. The valuation, in my opinion, is correct for an original Bellamy with such provenance. 

Frank Bellamy original signed sketch (1940s) 'To Be or Not to Be' The Catering Corps Sergeant in a dilemma over the troops tinned rations menu (Probably hung in the Sergeant's Mess!) From the Bob Monkhouse archive. Indian ink and wash on card. 14 x 10 ins

I have never seen this original in person but is it really ink "and wash"? I thought the paper just looked aged - and there was a war on!

Finally check out the complete runs of TV21s and some volumes of Eagle in the auction!


HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 27 March 1965 (Vol. 16:13)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £2,700 (Estimate: £3,000-£3,500)
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023

DAN DARE: Eagle 12 September 1959 (Vol. 10:30)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £1,360 (Estimate: £1,500-£2,000)
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £70 (Estimate: £80-£120
END DATE: Sunday 19 November 2023

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Boy's World Annual 1971 - J. T. Edson

You can subscribe to Rebellion's newsletter at their Treasury of British Comics website and that's where I saw this (with thanks to Richard Sheaf for the nudge!). Boy's World Annual 1971 had the J. T. Edson story "Johnny Boyland and the quail hunters" on pages 23-27 and Rebellion still have the original art which is a joy to see. 


Boy's World Annual 1971 p.27

Boy's World Annual 1971 p.26

Boy's World Annual 1971 p.25

Boy's World Annual 1971 p.24

Boy's World Annual 1971 p.23

 Rebellion added this short piece:

This month, the Rebellion archivists have found a quintet of stunning original Western illustrations by the legendary Frank Bellamy. Produced for the Boy’s World Annual 1971, the story 'Johnny Boyland and the Quail Hunters' was written by J. T. Edson.

Born in Kettering in 1917, Bellamy is renowned for his stunning work for Eagle and TV Century 21. With a radical approach to page layouts, and a sophisticated and innovative use of graphic effects and colours, his work truly stood out against the more staid and formulaic comics of the era. For Eagle he illustrated 'Heros the Spartan' and 'Fraser of Africa', as well as working on the lead 'Dan Dare' strip. He also drew 'Thunderbirds' and the splash center spreads [sic] of 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' for TV Century 21, and the Daily Mirror's 'Garth' strip 1971 until his sudden death in 1976 at the age of 59.

Although fondly remembered, Boy's World was rather more short-lived than intended. Published from January 1963, Boy's World was meant to be an Eagle for the new decade, with full bleed magazine-style layouts and an impressive roster of creators, including writers such as Harry Harrison and Michael Moorcock, and artists like John M. Burns, Ron and Gerry Embleton, Gerald Haylock, Frank Langford, Brian Lewis Harry Bishop, and Luis Bermejo.

However, the project was beset by problems. Its original editor was replaced before launch and the first issue had to be substantially revamped in under six months. In the end, it lasted just 89 issues and in October 1964 it was folded into Eagle, the comic it had been intended to replace. The title continued as an Annual until 1972.

However, these small examples of Bellamy's work for Boy's World had a curious second life – the story and its illustrations were reprinted in exactly the same way in the Gold Star Gift Book for Boys from 1972, which reused material from the Boy's World Annuals from 1970 and 1971.

Bellamy only produced covers for five Captain Scarlet strips in TV21 - no centrespreads! It only takes a minute to count them in my index and the full details are there. The rest of those stories were drawn by Don Harley (2) and a further three drawn by Jim Watson - none on the centre pages.

Here's a link to the Gold Star Gift Book mentioned and isn't interesting that all these were reproduced at "same size" in the printed annual?