Showing posts with label Unseen Bellamy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unseen Bellamy. Show all posts

Sunday 6 October 2013

Original Art on eBay: Red Devil Dean and Radio Times

Just a quick note to let anyone who doesn't already know that the owner of the recently reviewed original art "Red Devil Dean" has put it up for sale at £1,900 or Best Offer on eBay

Here are the accompanying pictures:


Complete artwork (without tracing paper addition)

Tracing paper addition

He also has for sale (offered at £450 or best offer) another piece of artwork by Frank Bellamy, which originally appeared in the Radio Times magazine for 22 July 1972 - 28 July 1972) as part of the "Grand strategy" series. This one (#3 appearing on page 34) shows Frank bellamy's interpretation of the attack on Pearl Harbour. It was these graphic dispalys in the radio Times that got me hooked on Bellamy. They were so inventive and exciting - even when reproduced on that ghastly cheap pulp paper.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Frank Bellamy and Red Devil Dean

Red Devil Dean (cropped image)
***STOP PRESS*** See the blog article expanding this one

The Unseen Frank Bellamy Exhibition has been mentioned on the blog a few times before and today we can close another mystery.

Chris Harris got in contact with me and innocently said:
I helped curate an exhibition called the Unseen Frank Bellamy, at a small gallery in Brixton in the late 80s/early 90s . We got artwork from his wife Nancy and presented it in our basement space. I still have a copy of the Escape magazine we put out at ACME comics with a brochure inside and some original artwork. The most significant is an exquisite watercolour treatment for a character called Red Devil Dean - never taken up I think. It still has his hand designed dust sheet, tracing paper insert and the treatment. Would you like me to send you a photo?
What would you say? OF COURSE, YES PLEASE etc etc. Fortunately I didn't scare him off and he was good to his word!

The next email came with attachments and I was bowled over by them. Remember the catalogue for the exhibition called this "Red Devil Dean Suggestions" - well it's obvious from the piece that Bellamy was trying out for something. The title on the artwork is "Suggestions for Red Devil Dean and Tug Wilson" and as Chris states he bought the artwork itself, plus an 'insert' which shows an amended Tug Wilson portrait plus a cover sheet to protect the artwork with the title on it. All the artwork can be seen on my website by following the 'More...' link on the Unseen Bellamy page

The artwork for Red Devil Dean
Bellamy often drew these overviews of characters before starting the assignment, such as the Garth one and others such as the Thunderbirds characters, Heros the Spartan, David the Shepherd King and Fraser of Africa. However, he swore to never having used 'white-out' or Tippex, to correct art (but that didn't mean someone else used it on his artwork!) But this is the first time I've seen an overlay like this which shows an alternative piece of artwork.

Express Weekly 3 March 1956, No76
Drawn by Ruggero Giovannini

So what about the title? Is the character a real person? Unlikely. The only references I've found to Red Devil Dean is when a person is called Dean and they gain this nickname. And the comic strip in the Express Weekly of the eponymous title illustrated above. I asked Steve Holland about this and he replied:

As far as I know there were just three artists on this strip -- but I've not seen all the episodes (nor, I should add, do I know anyone who has all the issues). Desmond Walduck was the original artist when the strip started in issue 41 of Junior Express Weekly (2 July 1955); Ruggero Giovannini took over with issue 59 and was the artist when it became Express Weekly (issue 74); and Bosch Penalva took over in issue 103 (8 September 1956). I don't know when the strip ended. Probably not long after in 1956 or maybe 1957. [Norman: I've seen Express Weekly #84 (28 April 1956) and it does appear there but not in #156 (14 September 1957)] The only episodes I have are in the issue 109-120 region in which Red is some kind of adventurer; in this story he's tracking down some crooks trying to rig the football pools and the crooks frame him for an attempt to blow up Parliament. Doesn't sound like the sort of thing that would involve a couple of British soldiers.

**ADDITION*** (Aug 2013) David Slinn states: "I can add to the information Steve Holland provided, in that the series was dropped from Express Weekly at the end of December 1956, coinciding with ‘Wulf the Briton’ being moved onto the cover and a number of new strips and features being lined up for the New Year."

So we still don't know and it seems unlikely Bellamy was commissioned to draw this strip as the dates are wrong. At the time of the strip beginning he was working on winding down Swiss Family Robinson, drawing Paul English and starting King Arthur as well as doing illustrations for Boy's Own Paper and Lilliput!

I wondered about the insignia on the art and  a kind 'Internetter' pointed me to the Wikipedia article on Combined Operations Headquarters As all three services were involved the only clue I gained was that landing craft and commandos are relevant but more of that later.

The Bellamy illustration above shows a redhead who is called Ted Dean. Could this be the origin of the name - redheads getting called "Red Devil"? No idea. Also I wondered if there was a player for Manchester United who was called Dean (as they are known by the nickname the Red Devils) but I can only find one name and he hardly played at all!  Any guesses gratefully received!

Lastly to add a little something else to the mystery, our generous friend Jeff Haythorpe sent me a picture that he always wondered whether it was Red Devil Dean

A boat (landing craft?) afloat with four soldiers, one of whom is redheaded!

He has promised a better scan so when that arrives I'll replace this one. But again it may be part of the above story. The signature is of the same pre-1950 period from what I can see.

So there you go a mystery solved (we now know what the Unseen Bellamy Exhibition refers to, but have a greater mystery as, like Anthony Falloway, we don't know if and where and when this was published!. If you have any ideas about the name's origins it would be interesting to hear from you.
My email is

Friday 2 April 2010

Frank Bellamy - first past the post!

Martin Baines asked me to do a piece on the Bellamy Sunday Times work and a rare opportunity presented itself to make this even more interesting

After his long run on Thunderbirds, Frank Bellamy saw the writing on the wall for TV21 as he knew it - Alan Fennell the editor, was moving on and Bellamy decided to spread his wings and seek employment elsewhere. In March 1969 Bellamy was commissioned to produce a strip about an imaginary young artist called Blenkinsop. We are very fortunate that David Driver of the Radio Times (have you see the photo never before published in this issue of Eagle Times?) and the Sunday Times (Colour) Magazine wanted to send assignments his way.

After completing 6 assignments for the colour Sunday supplement to the prestigious Times, he was asked to create a double page spread for an article on horse racing. This was to be his final work for the Sunday Times magazine, but interestingly due to the generosity of Tim Barnes we are able to compare a rough (that presumably was rejected) with the published version.

Over the Summer of 1989 the Unseen Frank Bellamy Basement Gallery Exhibition took place and several people, (including our old friend Jeff Haythorpe) have written to tell us what they saw at the Gallery. Today we are looking at "Devious ways to win" or as it became when published "Inside Racing". Tim has sent me other scans/photos and I'd like to write about them in the future, so watch this space.

Complete double page spread

The Sunday Times (Colour) Magazine 25 April 1971

It looks as if this commission may have given Bellamy some trouble. Firstly notice that the header strip looks like a Bellamy trick which would allow the Art Editor to add the title "Inside Racing" easily, but he or she has chosen to not use that opportunity and has laid the title and text at the bottom of the art.

'Header or title strip'

But even more interestingly is the rejected idea for this piece. Compare the Bellamy logo title for example - it is so much more dynamic - perhaps too much for the magazine!

Rejected strip sold at Basement Gallery exhibition - Thanks Tim Barnes

One can also see that Bellamy's layouts had to changed and he had started laying some colour in the piece...

Single panel

Perhaps Bellamy mis-counted how many text boxes were needed? We can only guess, but what a fantastic opportunity to see an unfinished and rejected piece. Thank you Tim for sharing this - more pieces to follow.

I'd love to know more about the Magazine itself and the reason that Bellamy's commissions dried up in 1971. Obviously he was then drawing a national daily strip, Garth, but we know of other commissions he received during this time. Was there a change of editor who didn't approve of the prestigious Sunday Times having a comic strip? Bellamy always quoted the fact he had produced the first strip to appear in the Sunday Times, and was justifiably proud of this fact.

UPDATE: The original art came up for sale

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Unseen Bellamy - FRENCH INFANTRY identified

On the Unseen Bellamy exhibition page, we had a placeholder asking if anyone could identify the French Infantry (item #9 in the catalogue)

Not only can we now identify it, but if you click the corresponding note, Jeff Haythorpe has sent me a scan and tells me he bought it at the exhibition. What better authority could a researcher want?

It appears to be an unpublished part of the series for the Look and Learn magazine/comic called The Story of World War One (LOOK AND LEARN 437 - 462 - 30/05/70 - 21/11/70)

Many thanks to Jeff...again!