Friday 28 April 2017

Original art - Garth J138 on eBay

J138 Garth strip from "The Doomsmen"
Tony Smith let me know on my Facebook page that an original Garth strip drawn by Frank Bellamy is on eBay.

The seller describes it like this:

Original Garth Newspaper Strip Panel by Frank Bellamy 
Measure 25" x 10" (matted), in very good condition

It is from a seller based in the USA so bear that in mind when bidding.

This comes from the story "The Doomsmen" which ran originally in the Daily Mirror from 3 May 1975 - 15 August 1975 - J102-J191) and was reprinted later, in 2012- 2013 coloured by Martin Baines, as well in black and white by John Dakin, in February 1981  and of course, the now defunct All Devon Comic Collectors Club.

Here are the other pictures the seller uploaded:

And just for your enjoyment here's the context of this lovely strip


WHERE?: eBay
SELLER:  sunset5000
STARTING BID: $350.00 = £271
ENDING PRICE: After relisting $275.00 =  £212.19
END DATE: 1 May 2017
No of bids:Buy it now
No of bidders: Buy it now

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Frank Bellamy - Spring Cleaning

Over the years there have been quite a few things wrongly attributed to Bellamy along with some known forgeries! I did an article early on on this blog (which took me a while to find today!).

But today I'm presenting some things about which I have known for a while but want to open for discussion.

Gary Player / Slazenger advert
EAGLE Vol.11 No.26, 25th June 1960, p.8.
The first is a reference that David Jackson had in the checklist from way back. He recently reminded me I hadn't changed the listing to indicate I know about this. Why? Because I don't think it is Bellamy. Do I have any evidence either way? No! I said in an email to David, "I personally would say it isn't FB. Why? It looks so 'photographic' with no interpretation - just a 'fuzzy' photo made to look artistic - not an original illo, IN MY OPINION!" To which he replied:

I think you are exactly right in your analysis but completely wrong in your conclusion..! My reading of it was that FB was supplied with a photo to work from - so that is what he did. It is exactly the dot-stipple technique he had developed up to and at that time. Interestingly published in the very issue where he was experimenting with changing it in that episode of Dan Dare. Discounting the possibility it isn't someone else trying out that stipple technique over a photo...
Interestingly Player received very little for advertising the merchandise as we recently found out on his Twitter account - £5!

Over to you what do you think? Bellamy or not Bellamy?

The second one I present to the jury of Bellamy fans is Supermousse, yes! Supermousse!
Supermousse from
TV21 New Series #48 p.24 22 Aug 1971
Lew Stringer has run old comic adverts and included this one, ironically, alongside the Letraset Transfer advert that Bellamy certainly had a hand in (please excuse the pun!). He couldn't see it as Bellamy but admitted "I can't see his style in the Super Mousse one but it's possible he changed his style slightly to suit the requirements of the client. There was a regular Super Mousse strip on the back of Countdown, but that was drawn by Peter Ford I believe."

Interestingly, considering this chocolate bar is all but forgotten, demand was so high in 1970 "you'll only find it in the Midlands and South England" it said on the advert in August 1971. It would have been too hot to store in Summer anyway! On  my other blog I've uploaded all the Supermoose adventures I could find but the actual stories appear to be by Peter Ford.

Is this Bellamy or not?

Let me know your thinking!

Thursday 20 April 2017


As I'm thinking ahead to the centenary of Frank Bellamy's birth, I wanted to update a few things round here.

The background was created in Ribbet and I rather liked it as a background. Let me know if it's too awful!

I've made sure to add the Facebook page to the list on the right. I tend to use this to highlight blog articles (where you are now) and also upload links to ephemeral or peripheral things I trip over which don't warrant a longer article.

I'm also working my way through the Checklist website, which unbelievably was started 10 years ago next month...but more on that anniversary when we celebrate Bellamy's birth...

And in order to ensure Mr Bellamy gets a look in.....this piece is used as the header for the Facebook page, but has never been used on the blog. I found out these two media are not necessarily watched by the same group of people!

Thunderbirds from TV21 #125
Click on this magnificence to appreciate how Thunderbirds should have looked when printed! Don't believe it's that good? Well, here's a scan of the TV21 page. Many thanks go to Paul Holder for letting me use his excellent photograph of the original art.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Original Art: Heros the Spartan and Garth at Heritage

Eagle 1 June 1963 Vol 14:22. Heros the Spartan

I'll keep this simple...another few pieces in a Heritage Auction from the Ethan Roberts Estate.

Heritage describe the first as:
Frank Bellamy Eagle Magazine Vol-14 #22 "Heros the Spartan: Episode 13" Two-Page Spread Original Art (Longacre Press, 1963). Released in an issue cover dated June 1st, 1963. The two page spread featured this issue's installment of the on-going saga of "Heros the Spartan" as created by the fantastically talented Frank Bellamy in ink and watercolor over graphite on a single sheet of illustration board with an image area of 25" x 15.25". Signed by Bellamy in panel 14 (and what a great panel it is too!). The board is slightly toned, with edge/corner wear, and there is a crease running down the left side through all tiers of art. Overall in Very Good condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection. .

The piece is the 13th episode from the "Eagle of the Fifth" story  and the colour on this is visibly faded so, I doubt will fetch anywhere near the fantastic prices previously seen. having said that, what do I know!

Eagle 5 June 1965 Vol 16:23 Heros the Spartan

The second Heros spread is from their New York auction. The strip originally appeared in Eagle 5 June 1965 in the last Heros story that Bellamy illustrated, "The Slave Army". Heritage described it:

Frank Bellamy Eagle Magazine V16#23 "Heros the Spartan: Episode 15" Two-Page Spread Original Art (Longacre Press, 1965). Gorgeous colors and great detail made this serialized strip a great joy for readers in the UK. Frank Bellamy's fine line and keen draftsmanship excelled at this historical fiction tale. Created in ink and watercolor over graphite on a single sheet of illustration board with an image area of 25" x 15.5", matted out to 33" x 24". Signed by Bellamy in Panel 9. The board is slightly toned, in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection.
It's interesting that the 'masthead' is on the piece, I wonder if this is a reconstruction, a fan did. But if one zooms in on the picture (thank you SO much Heritage for being so kind!) one can see additions to word balloons which look authentic rather than a later addition.

Garth, Daily Mirror G188

The third Bellamy for sale is a Garth strip, G188 which appeared in the Jim Edgar penned story "The Mask of Atacama" which ran from 13 July 1973 - 25 October 1973 (#G165-G254)in the national UK newspaper Daily Mirror. Heritage have sold two others in the past, to my knowledge, from this story and this example is lovely. This one is also a preview in anticipation of the coming auction. here's the strips on either side as reprinted in

Menomonee Falls Gazette 165

I'll update the prices they sell for after the auctions.

And just because I could, when checking the above Heros strip, here's Keith Watson's front cover to the Eagle comic from 52 years ago in which the latter Heros appeared! I'm feeling old!!


WHAT?  Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 1 June 1963 Vol 14:22
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121717
LOT NO: 14015
ENDING PRICE: $2629.00 = £1,985.16
No of bidders: 10
END DATE (Proxy bids):23 April 2017

WHAT?  Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 5 June 1965 Vol 16:23
WHERE?: 2017 May 18 - 20 Comics Signature Auction - New York #7163
STARTING BID:Opens for bidding on 28 April
LOT NO: 93022
ENDING PRICE:$3107.00 = £2,346.10
No of bidders: 9
END DATE (Proxy bids): 20 May 2017

WHAT?  Garth G188 from "The Mask of Atacama"
WHERE?: 2017 May 18 - 20 Comics Signature Auction - New York #7163
STARTING BID:Opens for bidding on 28 April
LOT NO: 94390
ENDING PRICE:$406.30 = £306.80
No of bidders: 5
END DATE (Proxy bids):20 May 2017

Sunday 2 April 2017

CENTENARY ARTICLE: Frank Bellamy and Lifestyle illustrations

Frank Bellamy (unpublished?) as appearing in
Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s
A while ago Jaime Ferguson posted on JaDoodles Art Blog a picture that attracted my attention. It was a Frank Bellamy piece I had never seen before but which resembled a few others that are mystery pieces as I don't know if they were ever published. Jaime mentioned it came from Rian Hughes' book Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s in which the knowledgeable David Roach contributes an introduction. It's an overview of the boy/girl artwork that started as rather representational and by the end of the decade became a bit more abstract, using shapes and blocks of colour. It includes many USA artists whose work was 'syndicated' over here, providing UK publishers with artwork they could afford, compared to the original American payments to their artists. But it also has loads of UK artwork too from magazines such as Woman, Woman and Home, Woman's Journal and Woman's Home.

Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s pp.12-13
The complete artwork (of which the above is a close-up) is 520mm x 730mm (or 20.5" x 29" as it would have been in the Fifties!). The signature is an early Bellamy but the important clue is the International Artists sticker.

In 1951 Bellamy had produced these type of illustrations for Home Notes (and hated doing them according to Nancy Bellamy) (between February and November) and signed up with International Artists Limited (which was founded in 1933). The London Manager (and one of the Directors) I. H. Thompson wrote to Bellamy confirming they would be pleased to act as his agent from 10th December 1951. Presumably they had acted on Bellamy's behalf before this date as Bellamy states (see below) they gave him the Home Notes' work. So this dates the above piece as being after that date and it was submitted to the agency, presumably for publication. In the interview with Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons, Bellamy states:

Well, towards the end of my career there [Norfolk Studios], I was doing the odd freelance job. I started getting freelance through a phone call from International Artists, who were then the biggest art agency in the country [...] everyone from Francis Marshall to Ronald Searle, they were all with the International agency. Apparently they got to see my work through some cartoons I did for advertising the Daily Telegraph in World’s Press News and Ad Weekly, full pages that I did a series of. As soon as I gave them permission to represent me, I had a commission to do two love story illustrations for Home Notes, a woman’s magazine
Interestingly Bellamy's run in World's Press began in December 1951 so I presume that Thompson et al saw these before publication but even that seems to stretch Bellamy's memories a bit - but perhaps he got the commissions before being fully represented?
Frank Bellamy Romance novel book cover?
The piece above, which is approximately 11.5 inches tall (29 cm) could be a book cover with the cottage on the left for the spine (compare to Denise Robins' dustjacket below). But to date I have not found any such book. It might have been produced for his portfolio that he hawked around Fleet Street in the late 1940s. But until more information turns up that's the best I can do - except to say, having seen this artwork in the flesh, like the piece in Hughes' book - where he shows the back of the artwork - it appears to be earlier than Bellamy's use of CS10 artboard.  

Unpublished (?) Frank Bellamy

Regarding the next piece I have never seen the illustration below in real life, just many scans and photos over the years. Mike Lake originally owned it but it has since passed to others. It seems to me to be of the same style and era as the two above, but I always fancied it to be a Home Notes illustration, but after trawling through volumes of that magazine I have never found it.

Frank Bellamy romance illustration

Now, the next 'lifestyle illustration' - (wonderful term Rian and David!) should be easy to identify.  It was published by Gerald Swan for whom I know Bellamy did several jobs. More on that another day!

Affinity #29 June-July (1950)
What interested me, whilst reading - or rather - viewing Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s was how some artists certainly look to have inspired Bellamy. In the above mentioned interview he was asked about inspiration and he modestly stated "I find it difficult to sort out the difference between people who influence me or impress me with their work". I wondered if elements of Pruett Carter influenced him in his solid figure work, together with colour being used as solid shapes. Jon Whitcomb appeared in many women's magazines of the Fifties, as Hughes shows. I wonder whether his technique of 'feathering' inspired Bellamy - examples of which appear in nearly all the illustrations on this page. But there are also UK artists who I suspect helped form Bellamy's work, even if he was not aware of them doing so. Eric Earnshaw and Edwin Philips seem the obvious ones to me, particularly after flicking through their work in Hughes' book. The former draws fine representational couples with angled "over the shoulder" views such as this one.
Influences can be very subtle - and here I agree with him, those that impress us do influence us. So it's natural his style will emulate that of the period. I also enjoy Bellamy's early comic work in which he manages to emulate the style of the day, quite naturally, and watching him develop his own style which in my opinion comes into its own during the 50s - for example his construction and composition in Boy's Own Paper, his black and white work leads to stippling for shading and later his colour in the Eagle comic.

So let's wind this up with two books I have: Denise Robins My True Love, 1954 and Roberta Leigh Dark Inheritance, 1954 both published by the Valentine Romance Book Club. As Steve Holland, who first alerted me to these said, Roberta Leigh is the same lady who created Twizzle and Torchy the Battery Boy which Gerry Anderson filmed in the late Fifties. And that brings the decade to an end! I have the first edition of the Robins story with the same cover but from Hutchinson.

Note the signature at the bottom

Signature very clear here

Roberta Leigh Dustjacket

Denise Robins dustjacket

Lifestyle Illustration of the 60s is an accompanying volume to the above mentioned 50s volume by Rian Hughes and David Roach

Monday 27 March 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - People of the Abyss (F243)

F243 Garth: People of the Abyss by Frank Bellamy

Wayne Keil has alerted me to an upcoming Heritage Auction (thanks again Wayne!) which starts March 27 and ends April 2 for a Garth strip by Frank Bellamy from the excellent story "People of the Abyss" written by Jim Edgar - episode F243.

Heritage describe the piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth #F.243 Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 10-14-72 (Daily Mirror, 1972). Frank Bellamy had a long and rich career before he took over the long-running comic strip Garth (1943-97) in 1971. He handled the art for this UK series until his death in 1976. Previously Bellamy had illustrated tales in Mickey Mouse Weekly, Swift, Boy's World, Look and Learn, Eagle, and TV Century 21 (where he illustrated many Gerry Anderson creations including the Thunderbirds). This piece is a wonderfully hyper-detailed study in light and shadow created in ink over graphite on Bristol board with an image area of 20.5" x 5.25". 

I wondered what else to add to this page and decided to Google the title of the story and what a surprise I got! Wikipedia informed that Jack London, H. G. Wells and London slums are all connected to this story title. In fact once I followed that thread I was reading Jack London's description of London slums with great interest. Dr. AndrzejDiniejko writes:
Jack London (1876-1916) made a significant contribution to Victorian slum literature. In the summer of 1902 he arrived in England to report the coronation of King Edward VII from the perspective of the London poorest inhabitants. Initially, he wanted to spend a few days in the slums but eventually he stayed six weeks in London’s district of Whitechapel disguised as a stranded American sailor, sleeping in cheap doss houses with the poor and destitute, and as a result of his unique investigative literary journalism he wrote the slum non-fiction novel, The People of the Abyss (1903), which was a first-hand critical account of the life of the British underclass by a foreigner. 

I'll leave you to follow the links. But I'm guessing that the phrase must have been known to Jim Edgar when he drafted the script for this Garth strip. If you know the story you'll know that the name is the only connection, as the story is about Garth visiting an undersea world where the Azlans, are fighting octopoid creatures called Homads in a war "of extinction". The fact that all the women are naked in this society is irrelevant but enjoyable to 70s Daily Mirror readers - well at least one half!

Want to read more? Here's a few strips before and after the one on sale (Thanks to "Pete the Pipster").

Garth as it appeared in Menomonee Falls Gazette #104

WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121714
No of bidders: 9
END DATE: 26 April 2017

Monday 13 March 2017

Original Art: Heros the Spartan at Heritage

Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 20 June 1964 Vol 15:25
I love it when (surely) the biggest comic and illustration art auction house have a Bellamy artwork for sale as they are so generous in sharing hi-res images with us. This wonderful "Heros the Spartan" double page spread comes from the Ethan Roberts Estate.

Heritage describe it as:
Frank Bellamy Eagle Magazine Vol-15 #25 "Heros the Spartan: Episode 3" Two-Page Spread Pages 10-11 Original Art (Longacre Press, 1964). From the issue of Eagle magazine released on June 20th, 1964. The page is created in ink and watercolor over graphite on a single sheet of illustration board with an image area of 25" x 15.5". Signed by Bellamy just under panels in the second tier. The board is slightly bowed, with edge/corner wear; however, the image area is in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection.

It appears to have held the colour quite well - always check the blue sky - and is a wonderful piece from the "Axe of Arguth" story. It has the classic Bellamy design of a hand breaking out and pointing from the panel.

The second one is from the first story "The Island of Darkness"and certainly looks to have retained the colour well.  A lovely picture of "the god Diom" takes up the first panel of this centrespread
Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 1 December 1962 Vol 13:48
Frank Bellamy Eagle Magazine Vol-13 #48 "Heros the Spartan: Episode 6" Two-Page Spread Original Art (Longacre Press, 1962). Released on December 1st of 1962, this weekly comic brought another installment in long-running feature "Heros the Spartan". The page is created in ink and watercolor over graphite on a single sheet of illustration board with an image area of 25" x 15.5". Signed by Bellamy in panel 13. The board is slightly toned, with edge/corner wear; however, the image area is in Excellent condition.


WHAT?  Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 20 June 1964 Vol 15:25
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121712
LOT NO: 13008
ENDING PRICE:$4,600 ($5,497.00 with Buyer's Premium)
No of bidders: 11
END DATE (Proxy bids):19 March 2017

WHAT?: Heros the Spartan, in Eagle 1 December 1962 Vol 13:48
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121713
ENDING PRICE:$4,800 ($5,736.00 w/BP)
No of bidders: 8
END DATE: 26 March 2017