Showing posts with label Life story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life story. Show all posts

Sunday 21 May 2017

Frank Bellamy's Centenary


Frank Bellamy (21 May 1917- 5 July 1976)
100 years ago today on Monday 21 May 1917, one of Britain's legendary comic artists and illustrators was born.

Frank Alfred Bellamy came into the world at a very hazardous time. Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George were respectively, U.S. President and the UK Prime Minister. The King of the United Kingdom was George V (who two months after Bellamy was born changed the German sounding family name from House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the House of Windsor). The United States had severed relations with Germany three months earlier and joined the war on April 6 1917 with conscription starting a few days before Bellamy was born.  The First World War was in its third year with unprecedented casualties in Europe. Two months before Bellamy was born Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown when the Russian Revolution ended the Russian Empire.

The (Manchester) Guardian of the day was eight pages of solid text, editorial and text adverts. "The remains of the shells spent on Vimy Ridge" being the only photograph which appears on page 4 with three drawn adverts. The photo puzzled me as it appears to be Canadian but research on this battle told me that the main combatants were Canadians.

The Observer, for the day before (20 May 1917) is completely the opposite with a bright front page of adverts

The Times too shows a few more illustrated adverts but is also fairly solid text - especially on its front page.

The most interesting though are the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express of the 21 May.

Daily Mirror 21 May 1917
The cover tells about the fact the British and allies were not being starved of bread as a result of increased U-Boat activity; General John J. Pershing takes command of the American Expeditionary Forces; a young girl looks at medals awarded to her dead brothers; three men who moved from Privates at the start of the war to higher ranks (including Lieutenant Palmer V.C.)  and Queen Mary visited the North and receives a bouquet from a munitions factory worker.

Daily Express 21 May 1917

The Daily Express majors on "Another line hacked out of the Hindenburg Line" and tells of how the munition workers have called off their strike.

Frank Bellamy's The Story of World War 1

Mike Butterworth (10 January 1924 – 4 October 1986) and Frank Bellamy's series from Look and Learn (#437 - 462,  30 May 1970 - 21 November 1970) was called "The Story of World War 1" in which text wrapped around illustrations by Bellamy. It must have been interesting for Bellamy to do this for the younger man. He must have taken quite an interest in the years around his birthday (53 years later)

In 2009 (was it that long ago?) Geoff West and Steve Holland worked to create a reprint and asked me to write an introduction, which I did. On the day we all stood around lots of boxes containing the reprint I felt so proud! We were there to inscribe our names into the hardback copies. As it's Bellamy's centenary the story can now be told that if you open your copies now and read the limited edition number, you are looking at my wife's fair handwriting! I was nervous enough and had to sign my name and as she'd taken the journey with me to Book Palace's Crystal Palace HQ, I thought they'd look better if she did them. I've always been quite good at delegation!

To tie in with the birth of Bellamy and all the reminiscences of World War One at the moment, I thought it worth highlighting this fantastic book once again by pressing my wife to help me video a brief overview of the book - and yes, those are her hands! She's flicking through the book and skipping sections - after all we had better not show you it all! You need to buy copies!

The Limited hardback edition is now only £25 in Geoff's sale but if you don't have Robin Hood, King Arthur or this book, you could go for all three for only £39. The Story of World War 1 is the paperback version. The complete book sale is here

I started this blog ten years ago today! I launched the Checklist website 10 years ago!

I thought, as many bloggers do, I'd take a look at the statistics on the blog.

307 articles published since 21 May 2007
207,002 pages views since day 1
Top 5 Articles:
3324 pageviews Frank Bellamy and King Kong
1782 pageviews Fans of Frank: Will Brooks and Frank Bellamy
1775 pageviews Frank Bellamy - first past the post!
1419 pageviews Frank Bellamy appeared in Lion
1271 pageviews Frank Bellamy and Doctor Janet Brown
If you can explain why King Kong to me I'd be grateful as I own a copy of the 19 magazine it appears in, which could be worth liquidating for cash to add to my retirement fund!!!
The Top 5 countries that visit:
United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France. I wonder about one of them!
29% of users use Chrome
24% IE
23% Firefox
18% Safari
1% Opera
and others
56% of users use Windows
19% use Macs
Top 5 Keywords used to get to the blog are:

  1. king kong
  2. frank bellamy
  3. king kong and woman
  4. frank bellamy garth
  5. heros the spartan
So remember to be careful what you tell your search engine people! You're revealing more than you think!

The graph below shows a big spike which I suspect is our friend Will Brooks' article
Blog pageviews from 2007-2017
and lastly, I'm grateful to everyone that links to my blog from theirs and these include in the top 5: and .com! Blogger's way are mysterious - but thanks Steve!
but there are others - thanks Kid!


I'll be doing further special centenary articles (what? you hadn't noticed the others?) over the next few months in this centenary year starting with David Jackson's offering about how Bellamy worked. Watch for that later today!

I also have some new Bellamy works to show you and this year seems the appropriate time to reveal things I've held onto until now!

And lastly I am re-vamping the Checklist website - yes, I wonder how I have the time!


Saturday 21 May 2016

Happy Birthday Frank Bellamy....

Kettering Leader and Guardian 1955 Nov 11 p.3

Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Wednesday Feb 15 1939, p4
Frank Bellamy was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire 99 years ago today.  As a special treat I'm sharing some of his earliest known work published in the local newspaper and also an article about him. Unfortunately the latter has a few errors.

The first is from the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Wednesday Feb 15 1939 and shows some rough sketches Lance-Corporal Bellamy submitted with a report on his 'actions'. Bellamy did lots of cartoon work whilst in the Blamire Studio in Kettering, so these sketches reflect this humorous turn.  Obviously this helps us see that Bellamy started his National Service some time around the beginning of 1939. Unfortunately I would have to be a member of the family to request his Army record to confirm exactly when, but this is closer than I previously had.

Interestingly he is not credited as Lance Bombardier, (the Royal Artillery equivalent of Lance Corporal, the lowest Non-Commissioned Officer grade i.e. one above a Gunner (Private)). I'm not that au fait with Army ranks so need help here. Am I missing something? He went on to become Corporal and by the time he left the Army, after the Second World War, he was a Sergeant.

Click to enlarge

Bellamy writes and draws in 1939
The second clip comes from when Bellamy had established himself and comes from the local paper Kettering Leader and Guardian 11 November 1955 and is titled "R.A. praises local artist". This refers top the much quoted fact that Sir William Russell Flint, the brilliant watercolourist was very impressed with Bellamy's illustration in Everybodys Weekly (published 1 October 1955 - click here for more details). 

Kettering Leader and Guardian 1955 Nov 11 p.3
The article is spot on except, to my knowledge, when it mentions he illustrated Girl comic, the sister paper to Eagle and Swift - which he did strips in. I'm hoping someone out there proves me wrong as I'm always looking for more Bellamy!

Anyway, have fun reading these - and remember you can see Russell Flint's version of the dancers he mentions at the above link - thanks to the wonderful Jim Vadeboncoeur.

Happy Birthday Frank, you are missed!