Tuesday 4 September 2012

Frank Bellamy and The Avengers

The Winged Avenger by Frank Bellamy (Thanks to Jeff Haythorpe again!)

What do Frank Bellamy and Blackhawk (the DC Comics character from the 60s) have in common? READ ON!

During the four years Bellamy drew Thunderbirds it has been assumed by fans that he only took one break when Don Harley covered Thunderbirds for him during autumn 1966 for six weeks. But as shown below this is one more myth surrounding Bellamy.

Bellamy was asked, in fact, to contribute to an episode of the highly popular (syndicated in over 90 countries) “The Avengers”.  whose best remembered characters were John Steed and Emma Peel. The episode “The Winged Avenger” from the fifth series of the Avengers was filmed around November and December 1966 (see the headline of the paper Steed and Peel reads stating November 30 1966 - it's 29:47 minutes into the programme), and was broadcast or transmitted in February 1967.

Now here's the first connection - Blackhawk. Below are some shots and I would love to see scans of the original comics if anyone has them and can identify them. You have the dates above - but bear in mind the cover dates of DC at that time were apparently the time by which news-stands had to return the comic for credit - and then they would have to have been shipped over to the UK to be bought by the props person for this programme!

***UPDATE: Now found - read about here ***


Bellamy's design stuck on a DC Comic - Marvel didn't have the Aurora car advert

  Meanwhile back to the Avengers.....

The plot of this particular episode contains the usual comedic interplay between John Steed and Emma Peel and far-fetched nonsense that was typical of the enjoyable series. Steed and Peel investigate. the murder of a businessman The episode is fondly remembered and contains such gems as Steed building a cardboard replica of the block of flats (apartment block) in an attempt to guess how the creature had access. It turns out the man-bird did it by magnetic boots which have been invented the eccentric Professor Poole. He sold his boots to Winged Avenger Enterprises, the producers of the eponymous comic books which have been discovered at the scenes of the crimes. The trail leads back to Professor Poole’s Gothic mansion where we see Bellamy’s artwork (as if from a comic book), and then the actual TV scene – implying someone is predicting the murders’ scenes in the comic strip! A fight scene with Mrs Peel and the murderer is aided by Steed who attacks the criminal with Batman-like onomatopoeic panels of art “POW!” “SPLAT!” and “BAM!” For a longer synopsis follow the "Bully: Comics oughta be fun" link

Bellamy was paid well for his 30 colour illustrations, not all of which were in the final cut but sufficient to make this a stand-out episode and Blackhawk comic fans can enjoy spotting their favourite comic character too.

End credits

If you visit Mike Noon's excellent site you'll see mouseovers emulating the TV fades and below is the original art sent to me by Jeff Haythorpe.

The Winged Avenger

Here are the shots I've grabbed from a DVD version.

The Bellamy design stuck to a DC comic   

The Winged Avenger logo on his 'shirt'

Headline states November 30 1966   

Enlarge to see back of comic

Odd page - ripped from a sketchbook?   

Note Winged Avenger logo

Compare this to the picture below
where blood is spattered on this image - this is a bit premature!   

Clear view of blood-spattered image on left
- note too the cutout on left and black & white drawing on right.
The latter is blown up at the bottom of this page

Note what appears to be B&W on right

Note Steed looks at panels - not a comic, or comic strip!
This comes from the DC Blackhawk comic #223- see cry of "Hawkaaaa"
Read more here

Tales to Astonish #84 shows the Marvel character Sub-Mariner!
Read more here

Don't try this address - it doesn't work!   

Don't miss the pencil sketch

3 images on wall

Note - image on right appears to be B&W but isn't - see later images

Closer view of background images   

Although this is hard to see I do not think this art is Bellamy's

You have to be quick to see pencil sketch on left   

Emma is holding a photo over back cover

Back cover is different from later one below

Notice blood-spattered drawing mentioned above!   

Steed reads "Elma Peem" but this is not shown -
although this piece is still known to exist - see below

I can't make this picture out

This sound effect is not by Bellamy

Credit where credit is due!

For fun I emulated the Michael Noon site and created gifs of some 'transitional scenes' from my own screen grabs

Emma enters Prof. Poole's establishment

Emma looks around

Professor Poole is attacked

Winged Avenger leaves through window

The Winged Avenger enters by window

Emma is attacked
UPDATE: Versions of this come and go on YouTube so I've linked to a search and will leave you to browse