Showing posts with label Spaceship Away. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spaceship Away. Show all posts

Thursday 9 December 2010

Don Harley talks about Bellamy

Cover of Spaceship Away Part 22 by Ian Kennedy (Used with express permission) 

In the latest Spaceship Away, (Part 22 Autumn 2010) Rod has secured an autobiographical "sketch" by - what I consider to be - Frank Hampson's key co-worker on Dan Dare, Don Harley. To view his work browse the excellent ComicArtFans.
Don retells his first meeting with Hampson and his first job on the story "The Red Moon Mystery" in October 1951 at the age of 24. His story about being on a deadline on New Year's Eve  and staying up to work, shows how our comic artists worked all hours for our entertainment! There are many gorgeous (and relevant) illustrations accompanying the article as well as a new portrait of his 4 co-workers and himself and Dan Dare too.

The main interest for this blog is his overview of the arrival of Frank Bellamy in the Dan Dare stable. This period is often viewed by those who grew up on Dan Dare as sacrilege against the Hampson vision as Bellamy was asked to take over from Hampson (due to the takeover and new ownership of Hulton Press)  and his version of DD was what you might call in modern terms a 're-boot'. His style was so different from Hampson it has suffered from comparisons ever since. And to make matters worse he wasn't left to do the work by himself, as he had done brilliantly for Eagle on the Happy Warrior, David the Shepherd King and Marco Polo strips.

"My own opinion is that Marcus [Morris, Eagle editor] picked Frank Bellamy because he was such a good artist and that Morris could not tell the difference between artists' styles of drawing. Frank Bellamy's style was loose and flowing with much black ink, while Frank Hampson's style was much lighter, more realistic with superfine linework and natural colour. The two styles were so different that it was impossible to merge them. Marcus was angry when he saw Frank Bellamy's first drawings  of Dan Dare's face and asked me to re-draw them.(Vol. 10 No.28). We all loved Frank Bellamy's artwork but it was a rare artist who could copy it." (Harley, 2010, p.41)
The article goes on to tell of the working arrangements in the Dan Dare team in the Hulton office and Bellamy's involvement.

I'd love to know if anyone has the original art for the first episode so we can see how Don covered this 'mistake'. I've added this as an entry on the website which lists articles that contain reference to Bellamy in some way

This is a really splendid work by Rod and team and the colours are so vibrant in the whole glossy magazine. Click on Ian Kennedy's superb cover above to see the beautiful colours and trust me, this quality is not seen anywhere else in our field to my knowledge

Oh, and in case that's not enough to convince you to buy a copy (blast it! buy a subscription!) there's also the continuing never before reprinted re-coloured (by John Ridgway ) episodes of Frank Bellamy's Garth story "The Bubble Man". They look absolutely superb!

And just in case you think I've forgotten to show any Bellamy work, here's one of those superb covers form the Eagle

MANY THANKS to Rod Barzilay for his kind permission to use some of Don's text as well as the cover above . He deserves another link to the excellent Spaceship Away ( so here's the printed version of the above cover


Friday 28 August 2009

Garth and the Bubble Man

Used with permission

In the national newspaper, the Daily Mirror, from the 16th August 1975 through to 28th November 1975, Frank Bellamy illustrated the 15th story in his 5 year run on Garth. Episode numbers J192-J281 - that's 90 daily strips, tell the story of how the Bubble Man is sent by the Warlord of the Universe to retrieve his daughter who had run away with her lover. Garth is taken aboard the spaceship (shown below) and encounters the Bubble Man. The story has all those quirks that you expect in a daily episodic newspaper strip. A highlight is that Garth meets again with Astra his immortal girlfriend whom he meets when time travelling.

Used with permission

The Bubble Man's companions are beautifully drawn and this story contains a lot of the famous Bellamy 'swirls' to shade space, in lieu of the more time consuming stippling which was a trademark. The only three other times, that I know of, when Garth appeared in colour were the two annuals, The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, with original Bellamy covers and the cover of the Disc newspaper If you click on the above picture you'll agree with me, I think, that John Ridgway has done a brilliant job on what could be seen as a controversial move. I find the projected cover somewhat busy but what do I know!

In these Internet days it's great that Rod Barzilay is still able to publish such a gorgeously glossy magazine. I recently moved my stack of the magazines and realised they must be the weightiest tomes I own - and I don't mean content. To order Spaceship Away click here, and here for the list of what's appeared in previous issues and finally here for summaries of stories.

Here for your enjoyment are 2 of the orginal non-coloured strips:

Episode: J272
Garth © 2009 The Daily Mirror

Episode: J273
Garth © 2009 The Daily Mirror

I read this was due to occur, but thank John Freeman and Lew Stringer for highlighting the new coloured strips and look forward to seeing some of this glossy version

Sunday 8 February 2009

Don Harley and Frank Bellamy

The latest edition of the fantastic glossy magazine Spaceship Away (number 17, Spring 2009) has just been released. I got a surprise when it popped through the letter box and I found, not only Mike Noble's excellent centrespread, but also an article mentioning Frank Bellamy.
Bellamy by HarleyDon Harley is well known in UK comics for having drawn many famous strips at the time Bellamy was alive but the most famous was his time with the Frank Hampson studio (and after) on Dan Dare.

In this article Harley shares amusing anecdotes about his time with Bellamy, but the highlight is the drawing, in colour, of Watson, Harley and Bellamy, with Bellamy showing the cover he's produced for Eagle January 1960. Dan Dare is being chased by a missile whilst flying his spaceship Anastasia at breakneck speed. The two pages of the article are reproduced below with permission. Please do NOT reproduce them without getting Rod's permission - tempting though it is! The quality of the scans does not do the magazine justice - get an original magazine!

Thanks to Don Harley for sharing these memories - I'd love more Don! - and to Rod Barzilay for his producing this brilliant magazine

Where can you get it? Run, don't walk to Spaceship Away's website and spend your money to support Rod - he might even break even one day!