Tuesday 13 November 2012

Frank Bellamy begins his five year run on Garth

Today in the Daily Mirror newspaper we see the beginning of Bellamy's original story that started his 5 year run on the strip. As mentioned earlier, Allard hung around in a role that confused even Bellamy at the time and - in my opinion - hindered Bellamy's artwork in places. When you see horizontal dashes in the background for clouds - Allard; when you see zip-a-tone/letraset - Allard.

Jim Edgar was the author of Garth from the story called "The Brain" (dated 25 April 1966) taking over from Peter O'Donnell at that time and provided Bellamy with scripts. The men later found out they were both Kettering boys and together with their wives met up socially!

The first episode Frank Bellamy illustrated was on 12 July 1971 (E162) and follows yesterday's episode where Garth, in the woods, is chasing and killing a grizzly bear. He is weakened by the tussle and swoons.

"As Garth slumps towards the ground he hears a booming gutteral voice... "The tall white-eye with yellow hair from the great iron bird will come among our people"...and the mysterious time spiral attuned to the hyper-sensitive psyche swings him away into the past"

Martin Baines has kindly sent Bellamy's first episode along which he is colouring. So off you go and enjoy. And don't forget to follow the story in the Daily Mirror today onwards in full colour

© Daily Mirror

Tuesday 6 November 2012

New Garth Story: Sundance

"But in the moment of death, the wheel of time has carried Garth back into the present..." and Garth leaves the world of Cortes and the Aztecs and starts another time-travelling adventure

© Daily Mirror
Martin Baines, has forwarded the opening panels for the latest Garth story. The art above is by John Allard - not Frank Bellamy - and Bellamy came on board on episode 13 of the story - so by my reckoning we will see Bellamy's first episode on Tuesday 12 November, a week's time.

This story originally ran from 28 June 1971 to - 11 October 1971 (E150-E226)  with Bellamy's first episode being 12 July 1971 - E162. It has been reprinted a few times, but never coloured before.  It was reprinted in the Daily Mirror Book of Garth London: IPC Limited, 1975, during Bellamy's lifetime,  Garth Book One: The Cloud of Balthus London: Titan Books, 1984 and Menomonee Falls Gazette #40 (18 September 1972) - #52 (11 December 1972) Issue #51,  4 Dec 1972, was misprinted as #52 on cover just to confuse you perfectionists!

You might be interested in my previous short piece on Sundance where we learn about Allard's involvement in the art after Bellamy took over the art chores on Garth, as well as a bit about the ritual 'Sundance'. See you next week for the first Bellamy episode of a great story Sundance!

And just for the person who sent an anonymous request via the blog, - (and to ensure we have some Bellamy artwork on Frank Bellamy blog!) here's the Garth strip from the  story just finished - the Mask of Atacama - dated 11 October. If I'm wrong, email me directly and I'll see if I downloaded it or I could scan it. But be aware that the Mirror is not loading every episode - after all they are trying to sell newspapers so it may have to be a scan!

© Daily Mirror

Monday 22 October 2012

Frank Bellamy and Blackpool

Blackpool 1976

On the 21 June 1976 Frank Bellamy submitted his bill of £145* to BBC Enterprises for his work on the Doctor Who Exhibition - Blackpool poster. He was commissioned by Lorne Martin, Assistant to Exhibitions Manager, on 10 March 1976 and had to have the art with the printers by 17 April 1976. He was asked to include the then current Doctor, Tom Baker and "the monsters displayed in Blackpool" and was provided with some photographic reference. He had his attention specifically drawn to "those marked with a red cross [which] are this year's new additions, and should therefore be given prominence".

The Blackpool Exhibition opened its doors, according to Kevin Taylor's Doctor Who Exhibitions site, in 10 April 1974, so it seems the poster illustrated here preceded Bellamy's one in 1976. The earlier poster (which is clearer here)  has a Cyberman, a Draconian, Aggedor, the Wirrn and K1 Robot. These characters appeared in Season 11-12 (1973-74, 1974-75). Bellamy's poster includes from the top left, Marcus Scarman (a servant of Sutekh from Pyramids of Mars), Brain of Morbius, Cyberman, Silurian,Dalek, and from top right, Sontaran, Kraal, Zygon, Sea Devil who generally appeared in the later Season 13 (1975–76). So despite David Bellamy's comment in the Timeview book of 1985, which included from the original artwork,  that the piece was used "between 1975 and 1977", it seems obvious it started being used in 1976

Timeview page 55

The story does not end there.

I spotted something strange on Dave Copsey's website - and wrote to him asking about the picture he had as....the Doctor is smiling in this version!

What's On in Blackpool 1976 Cover

Doctor Who Exhibition advert 1976

Close-up of Bellamy's art from Timeview

Close-up of the smiling Tom Baker!
It' a very clean change that's been made - the eye has more detail filled in, the cross-hatching on the smile has used the lines already there. But who (sorry!) is the artist who amended the artwork? Was it Bellamy himself? The timings say perhaps not as in July of 1976 he had passed away. Why do it? Was it that scary or depressing? If so, why not use photos - after all even if BBC Enterprises weren't part of the Corporation at that time surely they would have some agreement to use materials?

* Price comparisons for your interest, but note some things "cheaper" now as the technology has brought the price down in comparative terms mean :
From Radio Times 3-9 July 1976:
  1. An advert for "Plumbs 3-piece suite covers" on the back cover shows the cost reduced from £16.55 to £7.95. Compare that to 2012....oh, you can't! But one price I read online said £1000. But a more conservative comparison would be £480 from a different 'covers' website.
  2. In the same Radio Times we see Pan, Penguin and New English Library paperbacks in a W H Smith's advert and an example is John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids in a Penguin edition paperback 60p - in 2012 the same costs £7.00
  3. Peugeot 104 (954cc) new is £1842.75 including VAT, Car tax, seat belts) - 2012, the 107 (1000cc)  is £8745 plus!
Draw your own conclusions!

=====ADDED 23 OCT 2012=====
I'm absolutely gobsmacked by this! Never knew it existed. I firmly believe that Bellamy was responsible for the amendment as it's not just the smile but also the Doctor's hand.

I think Bellamy probably had second thoughts about it himself and decided to make  these changes off his own back. The hand in the amended version is much nicer in my opinion.

Maybe he was asked to change the Doctor's expression but then took the opportunity to change the hand as well. We'll never know.

All I'm going on is my own experience. I've done similar things to my own art after publication. Sometimes you don't notice an error until it's too late. Sometimes you just want to tweak.

I'd love to see the original. I bet there's scrape marks all over those areas on the CS10!

There was also a small promotional poster (slightly smaller than A4) An example of the wording added:
The poster is yellow with the writing in blue/green. The artwork depicts Tom Baker with his clothes colored in blue/green while the monsters are all in black and white. Finally the artwork for the poster is reproduced in "Timeview" on page 42.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Unseen bellamy - the story continues

I love the Internet  and the potential to identify works by Frank Bellamy. On the same day I wrote the last blog entry on the "Unseen Bellamy" exhibition of 1989, by sheer coincidence, Len Woodgate wrote to me to tell me he had spotted my notes on the website - not the blog. I have updated the note accompanying the entry on this exhibition. Over to Len:

I have just found your article about the "Unseen Bellamy" exhibition, Basement Gallery, Brixton, and can confirm I bought two pieces from the gallery in 1989. Images of the pieces, “Portrait of Nancy” and “The Postman always calls Twice”, are attached for identification. Both pieces match the sizes quoted and have been stored flat since the very poor frames in which they were exhibited, fell apart.

The Nancy portrait shows some foxing and also signs of unsympathetic care in the past but overall looks good.

Item # 22
The “Postman” piece has fared rather better, being on card, and contains the legend “James M Cain’s – “The Postman always rings twice” confirming what you thought about reference to the novel. I also have several of the postcards advertising the Brixton event using this artwork. 
Item # 3
Lastly I have a single “Garth” strip purchased from a Comic fair. I don’t know the story it is from, but it is referenced K141 and dated 15-6-76.

One of Item # 43
I let Len know that the Garth is from the Spanish Lady story which ran from from 17 March 1976 - 7July 1976 (numbers K65-K160) and was reprinted, coloured in June to August last year!

Regarding the portrait, it is unknown at which portrait of Nancy that Anthony Crossland was looking (or for that matter when) but, when asked in an interview,did she pose for Frank, Nancy Bellamy recounted:

Yes, though I hated posing because I had to sit still for such a long period of time. Anyway, he begged me so much that I relented and let him draw me. There was a little story attached to it: when the drawing was hanging in the Camberwell Art Gallery, we got a phone call from Antony Crossland the MP and minister, who said he would like the name and number of the model. I understood that at that time the House of Commons had their own little painting group which they must have used for relaxation. Anyway, my husband said "It’s my wife" and got quite embarrassed, so that was the end of the conversation!

Monday 1 October 2012

Original art on eBay: Antony Falloway Adventurer

***UPDATES****December 2021- see below
In 1989 (13 years after Frank Bellamy's death) an exhibition was held in London, called Unseen Frank Bellamy Basement Gallery Exhibition. Piece #35 was simply described as "Anthony [sic] Falloway" with its size beside it of 42 x 29 cm . Fortunately this is shown in part in the accompanying article by Alan Woolcombe who I wrote to, along with others who were involved in the exhibition, but found no further clues. I always suspected it was drawn around the late 1940s/early 1950s and because I could find no reference was leaning towards it being a newspaper strip as the style, although like Monty Carstairs, a strip drawn for Mickey Mouse Weekly (to see an example see my blog entry) is slightly different.

Imagine my excitement when Chris Power said "I suppose you've seen this" - words that are often answered by a 'yes' but in this case my eBay alerts have let me down and I couldn't believe my eyes.

On ebay seller susita66 has for sale (with a reserve) two strips mounted with signatures confirming this is a strip, but for which paper or magazine? We still don't know, but the title of the piece in Bellamy's writing is "Antony Falloway * Adventurer", the similarity to Monty Carstairs is very close. The fact that both strip appears to me to be on one board also makes me infer that it was never submitted and so might be a try-out. At this period Bellamy was working for Blamire's Studio in Kettering or in London for his first city-based assignments with Norfolk Studio. It's likely he was spreading his net a bit wider, as witnessed by how he quickly moved into freelance work and got an agent. So perhaps this is a submission to a daily newspaper, but we may never know. Thankfully it was included in the exhibition and therefore was not completely unknown.

I have written to the seller asking for further photos, and will update if I receive an answer but in the meantime here are the four photos she has used to accompany her auction on eBay.

UPDATE:  £393 (11 bids) (October  2012)  

Since writing the above and having a clue given to me by Mike Stacey and Hans Kiesl  (thanks so much guys), I have the following to add

Daily Express 24 October 1955 (First episode)

 "Antony Falloway" began in the Daily Express on 24 October 1955 (appearing, as can be seen, above "Jeff Hawke"). Notice, compared to Bellamy's version the misspelling (Anthony) and the sub-title which appears to have been removed "Adventurer" in the published version.  Bellamy's story revolves around a biography of General Starva called "The Dictator had a wife". The published story is centred around a visit to East Germany for our adventurer. 

Daily Express 1 November 1955 (#8)

Daily Express 2 November 1955 (#9)

I'm grateful to Paul Hudson who got in touch for the strip below - watch out for his  brilliant book on The A-Z of British Newspaper Strips in 2022

Episode 78

Here are two more taken from the original art and there a few people who would love to know who the artist is on this strip, if you have any clue.


Episode 60

Episode 84

And Hans Kiesl kindly sent me a run including the last strip - which mysteriously ends mid-story on 27 January 1956!

Daily Express 27 January 1956

Friday 14 September 2012

New Story - The Mask of Atacama

© Daily Mirror

Once again that great guy Martin Baines, who adds colour to the Frank Bellamy Garth strips currently being reprinted in the Daily Mirror, has sent me the first of the new reprint: The Mask of Atacama. As a teenager I loved this story as it had lots of shots of ladies in a state of "natural beauty", shall we say! I didn't know at the time that Frank's wife Nancy was a model for him - as she was very fond of repeating!

The story was originally ran from 13 July 1973 - 25 October 1973 (G165-G254) and was reprinted in the Daily Mirror Book of Garth London: IPC Limited, 1976, Garth Book Two: The Women of Galba London: Titan Books, 1985 and the fan publication that ran reprints of the world's leading English language newspaper strips, Menomonee Falls Gazette #157 (1 December 1974) - #184 (23 June 1975)

Thursday 13 September 2012

The Women of Galba in Greece!

The last episode of "The Women of Galba" appears in the Daily Mirror today which reminded me to share this item with you

Front cover (taken from G29)
Back cover

I'm fortunate to own a copy of a rare Greek edition of Garth reprints. This book includes:

  1. F304-G86: The Women of Galba
  2. T131-T208: Tigress by Martin Asbury
  3. T53-T130: This land is mine by Martin Asbury
(Both the latter stories are credited to "Martin Ashbury" [sic] but their English is much better than my Greek - which is non-existent!)

It looks from the back cover as if Axa by Romero and Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond were also reprinted in this series of landscape books!

Interestingly, it's only in checking when the next story starts which Martin Baines is going to be doing in the Daily Mirror that I noticed that the last 2 strips of "the Women of Galba" (G85 & G86) were not included in the Daily Mirror Book of Garth 1976! It looks as if it was just to get the next story to start at the top of the page!

Opening panels
Also the quality of these Greek reprints leads me to believe the publishers must have used the original transparencies/film from the Daily Mirror as they are such good quality. The date in the book is 1989 so I doubt if Nancy was receiving royalty checks for syndication at this point, although she did while (and shortly after) Frank was alive!

Closing panels

If anyone can transliterate Greek for me, please get in contact and I'll supply a scan of the index pages

BE HERE TOMORROW for the next Frank bellamy Garth reprint in the Daily Mirror!