Tuesday 17 June 2008

Thunderbirds unpublished art for TV21 & Joe90

Shaqui has pointed out to me that I have omitted a piece of work that Jeff Haythorpe showed him. I'm ashamed to admit I did know about this already and had indeed left it out of my listing. This allows me the opportunity to tell you about it.

Frank Bellamy drew Thunderbirds in assorted formats for the comic TV21. He started by creating a double page spread in colour with an additional page in black and white halftones for the first 14 episodes. He then dropped the black and white page and completed a weekly colour centrespread for 76 episodes. Reproduction of these centrespreads was difficult in the international market and from issue 141 he created two separate colour pages. This method carried on for 102 more episodes until TV21 merged with Joe90 after which Bellamy drew, for issue 1 one page in colour, for issue 2, 2 pages of colour and finally for issues 3 and 4 he drew his first Thunderbird pages in black and white (x2)

At this point in 1969, Alan Fennell the editor of TV21 could see the writing on the wall and encouraged Bellamy, who quite frankly must have been really fed up with Century 21 Ltd to jump the sinking ship. Fennell let him know that Century 21 would no longer be publishing TV21 from 2nd of June 1969. The editorial packages would be passed to City Magazines Ltd who nominated Martspress to fill the pages. Bellamy, who must have been very frustrated with the changes in formats during 4 weeks, went on to lucrative work with the Sunday Times, Look and Learn, Radio Times and then moved to the prestigious work on Garth, the daily strip at the Daily Mirror

However, the story does not end there. Bellamy seems to have produced one more black and white page of Thunderbirds. Jeff Haythorpe, one of the many kind souls to display their collection of original art on ComicArtFans.com, has in his collection a copy of the Thunderbirds shown below.

Shaqui tells me that the story Bellamy started to illustrate here appears so similar to that of TV21 & Joe90's issue 35 that the script must have been put on the shelf for a later date after Bellamy had left the comic.

I have just been tidying up and found I actually have TV21 & Joe 90 New Series No. 35
So here is the awful version of the same story for you to compare with the Bellamy. John Tracy appears over the page, but I couldn't be bothered to scan that too!

Sunday 1 June 2008

Blogger comments FIXED


I have discovered that comments have not been working properly.

I immediately called International Rescue - they're very Net savvy and fixed the problem.

If you sent a comment recently and didn't get a reply, please feel free to send it again. Don't worry if you're repeating yourself.

Monday 26 May 2008

Walls Wonderman and Frank Bellamy

I wanted to show two pieces of Bellamy's work that is little known but was seen by millions of boys and girls in 1969 and 1970: Wall's Wonderman! I know it appeared in Smash, Lion and in Valiant, but can you add to the list?

In January 1970 Lintas Advertising Agency approached Bellamy to produce two comic strip adverts for their character Wonderman, a superhero who doles out lollies and confuses the name of his super-powers! He meets Jimmy Carter - no, not the ex-President! - and a Walls Van driver and saves the day!

Walls Wonderman and the Martian Inferno

Walls Wonderman and the Bridge of Terror

Bellamy also produced some Point-Of-Sale material and fortunately Alan Davis saved a photo from destruction. It's obvious Walls Wonderman's right arm is vanished because something would be placed over it such as a label which is local to the shop selling it, or maybe some other purpose.

Walls Wonderman photo from Bellamy's studio - Thanks to Alan Davis
Although the three illustration adverts below show they were commissioned by Lintas, and elements look to be by Bellamy are they his work?
Foreign Stamps offer

Moon Stamps offer

Wonder-Kite offer
If you look at the comments below you'll see Peter mentions an animation. The History of Advertising Trust have one on their site.

Here are some other images, just to make sure you see them all. Which are Bellamy and which are influenced by his initial concepts is hard to say. I'm open to comments.

Funundrum competition
Thirst-quenching Woppas
Walls advertising tin sign


Friday 25 April 2008

Bellamy starts drawing Paul English in Swift

In my last post I highlighted the difficulties in trying to identify Bellamy artwork. None more so than the early material.

I have an early run of the Swift comic that enables me to scan two pages for your perusal of the strip that was illustrated by Giorgio Bellavitis. That much is agreed by sources over the Internet, but when exactly did Bellamy take over?

Above are  The Exciting Adventures of Paul English from 2nd and 9th April 1955. comparing the two weeks, I think I'm right in seeing one artist (Giorgio Bellavitis) and then another (Frank Bellamy) a week later. Why do I think that?

  • Compare the musculature and the ways it's drawn on the boys
  • Look at the lines to denote wooden beams
  • Look at the window in the room and how it differs
  • ...and most important of all, look at the horizontals and verticals that are drawn in the room in the first and not in the second!
Let me know what you think...

Monday 31 March 2008

Identifying art can be hard...or FB or not FB!

***UPDATE*** - See later piece

That great guy Steve Holland sent me a scan recently that staggered me. It is the front cover of the Swift comic from 16 December 1961 featuring
"Amundsen-the first man to reach the South Pole".
So what's the mystery?
Steve writes:
"I can't find the attached illustration on your site and maybe you're not aware of it. It's the cover of Swift vol.8 no.50 (16 December 1961), part of a series of covers celebrating various anniversaries ranging from the Battle of Hastings to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I. ... The cover is reproduced (about 2" wide) on page 4 of the same issue in b/w along with a brief article:
The Story of our Front Cover This Week's Anniversary Amundsen First man to reach the South Pole"
When I saw the cover, I really wasn't sure who did it, but it appeared to me to be a Bellamy lookalike. However, the only name I could think of was Eric Kincaid.
I wrote back to Steve and he replied:
"Why do I think that Amunden pic is Bellamy? Because it looks like him. I sent a copy over to David Roach and he agrees... and I quote:

"Well it looks like a definite Bellamy to me too. The inks are a little rougher than he often did but then I've seen the odd job in this style - on a few Heros' for instance so it's not completely unknown." David's probably the best artist-spotter around so if he thinks it's Bellamy you can be 99.9% certain it is."

And there I might choose to rest my case as these two cannot be beaten in their knowledge of British comics (amongst other things!).

However, I can be stubborn - if you don't believe me look at the website!

Below is Bellamy's drawing (FB signature bottom right) of a similar snow scene and heroic man- Sir Edmund Hillary from EAGLE Vol. 12:46 (18th November 1961). If you look at the Swift piece, it appears very similar to Bellamy's work, but certain pieces make me wonder.
In the Everest piece he blends the colour of a boot into the snow without drawing an ink line to show the boot appearing through the snow. In the Everest piece, his snow colouring is distinctively sharp. There is evidence of a wind (as you'd expect up Everest) as there is in the Swift piece, but in the latter the snow looks fairly 'smudged'. The lines around the main figures and the clothing appear different.

I think the artist for the Swift piece is the same person who drew some of the Arms through the Ages series in the 16th volume of Eagle.
However, Bellamy did actually do Arms Through the Ages: No. 5: The crossbow and No. 6: The floating mine
To see a fuller version of my thinking and what I mean click on the note corresponding to the entry on the comics page of my website.

So all said and done, I have added an entry to the relevant spot on the FrankBellamy.co.uk website with corresponding note! A good British compromise!
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Friday 15 February 2008

Frank Bellamy original artwork sales

Heros the Spartan
for a mere $8000 on ComicArtFans! If the link doesn't work search for 'Heros the Spartan' here. The piece has kept its colour very well

If my collection wasn't so buried I'd tell you which particular issue of Eagle it comes from. Anyone want to race me to their collection?

Edited on 27 July 2009

THUNDERBIRDS from TV21 July 29 2067 #132

I think a visit to eBay right now would be worth doing if you'd like to see a really good colour Thunderbirds strip. This is likely to sell for an enormous amount of money. The colour is superb and I think demonstrates how devoted Bellamy was to using inks properly in his colour strips. The story it comes from is one set around the terrorists who ram a liner called the President in the narrow Nicaragua Canal. It ran for 7 parts and this is part #3

Auction ended 21 Jun, 2009 at £827 - 20 bids - reserve not met! These are indeed hard times as I would have predicted at least £1000 would be bid!

Edited on 28 June 2009

I have avoided pointing to sales and auctions in the past, as any eBay links will date very quickly. But so much has come out of the woodwork recently, I couldn't resist and have copied the pictures from the auction sites so you can see the actual items. (If anyone objects for copyright reasons let me know and they will be removed!)

On eBay we have seen several items raise surprisingly better prices than usual, which is encouraging.

Currently you could spend that spare £1500 and buy an original Thunderbirds from TV21
Tweedacademy is also selling a rare Heros
for a snip at £2000!
...and lastly rush over to Comic Book Auctions Limited where Lot#136 (The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, 1976) will see a lot of interest in my opinion. The estimate of £450-£500 seems modest as this is a totally one off piece. The auction ends on 4th March - so hurry!
Winning bid incl. 10% Buyer's Premium: £1,089

An original single page from Thunderbirds recently was for sale at a starting bid of £300 but petenovitch ended the auction early because the item is no longer available for sale, normally meaning it was sold outside eBay before the auction ended
petenovitich also sold a nice single page with 9 bids for a low price of £404.95 - a bargain in my opinion.
Someone in the USA had 18 bids on the original Marco Polo page raising a nice £1,116.80
Garth original come up fairly regularly for a wide variety of prices. Three sold recently £72.70, £150.91, and £125.76. Why the range of prices? - no idea! It's basically what the buyers were willing to pay!

Also one range of books has always had interest; that's the reprints of Garth strip published by John Dakin in the late 1970s The Doomsmen raised £24.02 for the seller - a good price!

Well that rounds it up for now. I've managed to post something at least once a month since launch! Hopefully with the new Robin Hood book coming from BookPalace in March we might see some new stuff!

Friday 11 January 2008

Lifetime achievement followed up...

Back in September last year, I mentioned I'd found out about something called a "Frank Bellamy Achievement Award"
Richard Sheaf wrote to tell me that he had a bit more info:

Hi Norman,
  • The first annual awards for the SSI were held on 23/09/78 (for the year 1977) and "The Frank Bellamy award : most promising newcomer" went to Mike McMahon for his work on Judge Dredd, in 2000AD.
  • For the 1979/80 awards (presented 22/11/80) the following people were nominated for "The Frank Bellamy award" Geoff Campion - 35 years a pro, Dennis Gifford - services rendered, Don Lawrence - Trigan Empire, Pat Mills - creating 2000AD, Mike Noble - 30 years a pro, Reg Partlett - 60 years a pro
So the purpose of the award seems to have changed somewhat from before!

  • In the end Don Lawrence won with Geoff Campion and Pat Mills as runners up. Lawrence is described as winning "The FB award for most outstanding contribution to strip illustration"
  • The award for 1980/81 (presented 31/10/81) went to Dennis Gifford for services to British comics. The award is described thus in a write-up of the ceremony "...the top award, the FB award, going to the most outstanding strip cartoon personality of the year, or the best up-and-coming artist, etc" which explains the flexibility noted above
  • The awards for 1982 (held 13/11/82) saw Dez Skinn win for Warrior magazine
  • The awards for 1983 (held 03/12/83) saw Ron Embleton win

And that's all I've got I'm afraid. All of the above comes from the Association of Comics Enthusiasts newsletters that Dennis Gifford used to produce

best regards

So, thanks to Richard (whose collection of fanzines must be enormous!) we have some more information!

An aside, wouldn't it be great if one day all UK fanzines might be scanned and electronically indexed for all to access

P.S. The picture below is NOT the award, but the Blue Plaque that Kettering Civic Society placed on the house where Bellamy was born!