Sunday, 17 November 2019

ORIGINAL ART: Garth x 3

Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan (H279-H281)
I was just closing down my computer and saw this auction pop up. Unusually the seller (staylor133) is based in Bertrange, Luxembourg and has appeared on this blog before a couple of times. We have here three consecutive Garths from the story which first appeared in the Daily Mirror from 28 September 1974 - 14 January 1975 (#H228-J11), The Bride of Jenghiz Khan.

The opening bid is £1,000, which these days is reasonable for three strips by Bellamy, let alone consecutive, and the seller describes his photos and Garth strips thus:
Here we have THREE consecutive daily strips by Frank BELLAMY from the Daily Mirror. These are from the story "The Bride of Jenghis Khan" published on 27th, 28th and 29th of November 1974; strip numbers H279, H280, and H281.

The photos were taken at night under artificial light and are in fact white and not the yellow it seems to be.

Each page measures 21.5 x 7 inches. Free postage is offered with this item.

Please review the photographs.





And just for your enjoyment here are a few episodes around and including the above (badly photographed by me!) from the sadly missed ADCCC reprint of the story

Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan H278-H282


AUCTION SUMMARY

GARTH: Bride of Jenghiz Khan 3 episodes
WHERE?: eBay (Seller: staylor133)
STARTING BID: £1,000
ENDING PRICE:
END DATE: Tuesday 26 November 2019

Saturday, 16 November 2019

ORIGINAL ART: Heros, 3 Garth Sundance and 3 sketches

Eagle 24 August 1963 Vol 14:34

The second auction this month to feature multiple Frank Bellamy originals is from Compalcomics. As usual Malcolm Philips offers a listing at both his Compalcomics and TheSaleroom

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 24 August 1963 (Vol. 14:34)

The image at the top of this article shows the 25th episode of the story "The Eagle of the Fifth". There is a slight error in the listing, if you're trying to match this to the comic. It should say 1963 not 1962. This is the first time I've seen this original art and it looks pretty good - especially as Heros is so scarce! The auctioneer's estimate is £4,000- £4,500 and the last one sold at auction went for over £7000.

It is described as:
Heros The Spartan double-page original artwork (1962) [sic 1963] painted and signed by Frank Bellamy from The Eagle Vol. 14, No 34, 1962. [sic 1963]The Men of the Jackal's screaming warriors attack Heros, Berbrix and their small band as the traitor, Guthrac, strikes… Bright Pelikan inks on board. 27 x 18 ins
GARTH: Sundance - 3 episodes

Garth: Sundance Episodes E180, E182 and E191
These three strips are all from the first that Bellamy drew in the Daily Mirror newspaper. Bellamy took over from John Allard on 12 July 1971 (#E162) and this first story ran to 11 October 1971 (#E226). Episodes from this story are certainly rarer than most and are one of my favourite in the Garth run.

The auction is estimated to reach £700-£900 but that is way under what I think will happen - especially as at the time of writing it's reached £1,120! Malcolm described them like this:

Garth: 3 original artworks (1971) by Frank Bellamy from the Daily Mirror 2nd/4th/14th August 1971. From the Bob Monkhouse Archive. General George Armstrong Custer leads the U.S. Seventh Cavalry with Garth as his Chief Scout in search of Sitting Bull. Indian ink on board. 20 x 18 ins (x 3)

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be

"To be or not to be"
This sketch, thankfully, has provenance as it comes from the Bob Monkhouse collection. The auction is described thus:

Frank Bellamy original signed sketch (1940s) 'To Be or Not To Be'. The Catering Corps Sergeant in a dilemma over the troops tinned rations menu. (Probably hung in the Sgt's Mess!). From the Bob Monkhouse archive. Indian ink and wash on card. 14 x 10 ins

The Sergeant has written "Menu for tomorrow" and "How to cut up margarine into portions to look like butter"  and I love some of the descriptions on the cans - "Kippers - Depth-Charge Brand" or "Salmon - Fresh from Hong Kong". We know Bellamy ran drawing classes before the war and we also know he is seen in some photos drawing whilst in his uniform, but where or if this ever appeared in print, I have no idea! I don't think the title is very clear "To be or not to be" or it's his best cartoon work - which were very good when he drew for the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. The auctioneer's estimate is £60-£80 with an opening bid of £55 but so far no-one has bid

BELLAMY SKETCH: 2 Portraits

2 charcoal portraits
 Finally this interesting early work, I say early because the lips on the woman are very crude and nothing like the Bellamy we see in the 1930s newspaper work or later. This might possibly be his earliest work that still exists!

They are described as:
Frank Bellamy (1940s). Two original charcoal pencil sketches, both signed in capitals 'Frank A. Bellamy', probably of his parents. 9 x 13 ins, 10 x 14 ins (2)

 I think Malcolm is being ambitious with his estimate of £250-£350 but I've been wrong before! And whether they might be Bellamy's parents I have no idea. I've forward the idea to Tess Bellamy to see if she could comment, but the image of the man looks to be of someone in uniform.  As Horace Bellamy was born in 1885 he would have been 45 years of age in 1930, for example, so I wonder. But let's see what turns up


AUCTION SUMMARY

HEROS THE SPARTAN
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £3600
ENDING PRICE:
END DATE: Sunday 24 November 2019

GARTH: Sundance 3 episodes
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £640
ENDING PRICE:
END DATE: Sunday 24 November 2019

BELLAMY SKETCH: To be or not to be
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £55
ENDING PRICE:
END DATE: Sunday 24 November 2019

BELLAMY SKETCHES 2 Portraits
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
STARTING BID: £230
ENDING PRICE:
END DATE: Sunday 24 November 2019

Thursday, 7 November 2019

ORIGINAL ART: Heros, Thunderbirds and 3 Garth at Excalibur, oh my!

Unbelievably, just when I move house and while offline, two auction houses have Bellamy artwork for sale. So let me catch up quickly - these auctions are tomorrow (8 November-9 November). I'll do a second blog article on the Compal Auction (24 November)

Excalibur are "Collectables and Memorabilia Specialist Auctioneers" and were established in February 2016.

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 1 Dec 1962 (Vol. 13:48)


HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 1 Dec 1962 (Vol. 13:48)
 It's lovely to see the colours preserved. Click on the image above (and below) and just gaze at those colours - all done in ink over a double page spread - despite Exclaibur thinking it was watercolour and ink!






You also get a copy of the comic!
Estimate: £5,000-£7,000 - the last time this sold was in March 2017 when it went for £4,332.01

Described as:
HEROS THE SPARTAN (1962) - ORIGINAL SIGNED FRANK BELLAMY ARTWORK from EAGLE Comic - FRANK BELLAMY (Artist) - Eagle Comic (Volume 13) Issue #48 - "Heros the Spartan" Episode 6 - SIGNED BY FRANK BELLAMY IN PANEL 13 - A fantastic colourful two-page spread (centrefold feature in the comic, page numbers 12 & 13) Painted in water colours [sic - Norman] & pelikan inks on CS10 Colyer & Southey line board - 26.25" x 18.25" - (66.5 x 46.5 cm) Image area 25" x 15.25" (63.5 x 38.5 cm) - Flat/Unfolded - Very Fine (Full Colour) In addition the buyer will receive a copy of the Eagle Comic issue number 48 (Volume3) from 1962 the artwork appeared in.

THUNDERBIRDS: TV21 #178 (Page 10)




You also get the comic (with a great Mike Noble cover!)

Estimate: £1000-£1500
Described as:
THUNDERBIRDS (1969) - ORIGINAL FRANK BELLAMY ARTWORK from TV21 Comic- FRANK BELLAMY (Artist) - TV21: Issue #178 - Part 6 Page 10 (of story) - "Scott and Virgil - Trapped in the Tunnel of Fire !" - A marvellous colourful piece with bright Pelikan colours & inks on board - 19.25" x 15" - (49 x 38 cm) Image area 15.5" x 12" (39.5 x 30.5 cm) - Flat/Unfolded - Very Fine (Full Colour) In addition the buyer will receive a copy of the original TV21 Comic issue number 178 (1968) the artwork appeared in.

GARTH: Bride of Jenghiz Khan (J1)

Garth: The Bride of Jenghiz Khan #J1

Interestingly we can see that J1 was pasted over the number underneath. Did John Allard lose track whilst lettering this piece?


Estimate: £200-£300 - last time this sold was in 2015 when it went for a paltry(!) £181
Described as:
GARTH (1975) - ORIGINAL SIGNED FRANK BELLAMY ARTWORK from Daily Mirror - FRANK BELLAMY (Artist) - Chapter J1 - SIGNED BY FRANK BELLAMY ON FIRST PANEL (Bellamy's signature is almost a piece of art in its own right) - GARTH is the long running syndicated strip featuring the adventures of the cult time-travelling hero. This is the original art used for chapter J1 and published in The Daily Mirror newspaper on 2nd January 1975 - Fantastic clean detailed pen and ink work by this hugely popular and very collectable British artist - Pen & Ink on CS10 Colyer & Southey line board - 7" x 21.5" (18 x 54.5 cm) - Flat - Very Fine

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (K77)



Garth: The Spanish Lady #K77


 In this lovely close-up we can see 'white-out' or correction fluid, which Bellamy always claimed he did not use. But it's obvious here that Allard, the letterer chose to change to the position of the balloon 'tail'. Did Bellamy get it wrong?

Estimate: £200-£300
Described as:

GARTH (1976) - ORIGINAL SIGNED FRANK BELLAMY ARTWORK from Daily Mirror - FRANK BELLAMY (Artist) - Chapter K77 "The Spanish Lady" - SIGNED BY FRANK BELLAMY ON SECOND PANEL (Bellamy's signature is almost a piece of art in its own right) - GARTH is the long running syndicated strip featuring the adventures of the cult time-travelling hero. This is the original art used for "The Spanish Lady" Chapter K77 and published in The Daily Mirror newspaper on 31st March 1976 - Fantastic clean detailed pen and ink work by this hugely popular and very collectable British artist - Pen & Ink on CS10 Colyer & Southey line board - 7" x 21.5" (18 x 54.5 cm) - Flat - Very Fine

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (K88)

Garth: The Spanish Lady #K88



Estimate: £200-£300

Described as:

GARTH (1976) - ORIGINAL SIGNED FRANK BELLAMY ARTWORK from Daily Mirror - FRANK BELLAMY (Artist) - Chapter K88 "The Spanish Lady" - SIGNED BY FRANK BELLAMY ON SECOND/THIRD PANEL (Bellamy's signature is almost a piece of art in its own right) - GARTH is the long running syndicated strip featuring the adventures of the cult time-travelling hero. This is the original art used for "The Spanish Lady" Chapter K88 and published in The Daily Mirror newspaper on 13th April 1976 - Fantastic clean detailed pen and ink work by this hugely popular and very collectable British artist - Pen & Ink on CS10 Colyer & Southey line board - 7" x 21.5" (18 x 54.5 cm) - Flat - Very Fine

AUCTION SUMMARY 
HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 1 Dec 1962 (Vol. 13:48)
WHERE?: Excalibur
STARTING BID:
ENDING PRICE:£5,000
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: Friday8 November 2019

THUNDERBIRDS: TV21 #178 (Page 10)
WHERE?: Excalibur
STARTING BID:
ENDING PRICE:£1,500
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: Friday8 November 2019

GARTH: Bride of Jenghiz Khan (J1)
WHERE?: Excalibur
STARTING BID:
ENDING PRICE:£320
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: Friday8 November 2019

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (K77)
WHERE?: Excalibur
STARTING BID:
ENDING PRICE:£250
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: Friday8 November 2019

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (K88)
WHERE?: Excalibur
STARTING BID:
ENDING PRICE:£350
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: Friday8 November 2019

Friday, 1 November 2019

Frank Bellamy and the Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse


I was looking for a copy of the Bob Monkhouse 'wall' of art and realised I have never blogged about it beyond mentioning it in passing back in 2011. So let me correct that straight away.

A screenshot from "Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse" BBC4

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse was first broadcast on 3 January 2011  and ran for 90 minutes. The blurb for the show was:
The extraordinary story of comedian Bob Monkhouse's life and career, told through the vast private archive of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.
The anonymous writer who contributed to IMDB said it better:
When Bob Monkhouse's widow died and his house was being prepared for market, the amazing extent of his private collection of video and audio recordings was realized. Among them were many treasures which had previously been believed to be lost to the nation. This films delves into just some of the highlights of that trove, and reveals the multi-layered man behind the glossy TV persona.

It's not currently available on the BBC iPlayer or on YouTube (there are many Monkhouse videos on YouTube) but is repeated from time to time.

So what's the significance to Frank Bellamy? You'll know, if you follow this blog, that many Bellamy originals have now come on the market from Bob Monkhouse's extensive collection.

A quick tour of one corridor in Bob Monkhouse's art collection
 As the camera pans down the corridor we can clearly see some Bellamy - the three Garth "Sundance" strips (see below) plus what looks like "Heros the Spartan" below them and the fantasy piece you've previously seen here. 3 Garth "Sundance" story strips (E206, E212 and E223) came to auction previously from Bob Monkhouse's archive so we are yet to see these three and of course, the family may decide to keep them.

Garth: Sundance E180

Garth: Sundance E182
Garth: Sundance E191

I think Alan Burrows saved me a lot of work when he showed us some of the Heros strips that Bob Monkhouse owned. Episode #21 of the Heros story "The Slave Army" (published in Eagle Vol 16:29  17 July 1965)
Eagle Vol 16:29  17 July 1965
and also from correspondence with Bob, Alan showed us this 'fantasy illustration'.
Fantasy illustration
I know for a fact that this is not all Bob owned (especially as some have come up for auction in the last few years) but several fans remember this documentary and the fact so many Bellamy pieces were identifiable. There! I've now blogged about that too!

Monday, 30 September 2019

Frank Bellamy and Al Williamson Part Two

Eagle 9 March 1963 Vol.14:10
My friend David Jackson is today's guest blogger and we have both looked extensively at the subject of Al Williamson 'recycling' Frank Bellamy's work. Before I hand over to him I have to say we both love Williamson's work, his fine line and his figure work are sublime. And as we'll see every artist has to use reference taken from somewhere, so please don't think this is critical of Williamson.



Norman has written here previously about Barry Smith, Al Williamson and Wally Wood on occasion borrowing some of their references from the published work of Frank Bellamy - (from "Heros the Spartan", "Montgomery" and "Dan Dare", respectively).

Now Norman has turned up online a fanzine discussion of the issue in Alter Ego #155 (November 2018), which focussed on the artistic borrowings of Dan Adkins, but also by chance had identified the same found references from "Heros the Spartan" used by Al Williamson which also separately came to light again recently.

Early professional comic art studio experiences, directed towards meeting deadlines and just 'getting the job done', served to lend themselves to a cavalier attitude towards such adaptations as, and when, needs must and also produced the quickest best results. Artists had learned 'This was how it was done!'.
Al Williamson drawing Flash Gordon in the mid-60s for
Flash Gordon #5 "Terror of the Blue Death" story
Thanks to Doug Pratt for the image

Wally Wood once set out a famous and often quoted credo:
"Never draw what you can copy; never copy what you can trace; and never trace what you can cut out and paste in!" 

Wally Wood's own work was itself used by Frank Frazetta as a Buck Rogers interior rocketship background for Famous Funnies #213, as Frazetta freely related in a 1995 interview and quoted by Heritage Auctions.


According to Frazetta, in a later Doc Dave interview "Frazetta and Photography and Life":
Wally (Wood), Al (Williamson) and Roy (Krenkel) had filing cabinets with swipe files of everything. Krenkel always quoted Picasso to Frazetta: “Picasso said to steal from the best if you want to get better.”
Such genius talents, whether up against a deadline or not, have sufficient abilities themselves never to need to take a lend of other artist's work. That they have sometimes done so obviously is likely to be an in-joke reference to those in the know, as from any realistic supposed necessity.

The question of influences was raised in the Fantasy Advertiser Frank Bellamy interview.
FB: "I've often been asked if people have influenced me. I find it difficult to sort out the difference between people who influence me or impress me with their work. One person who did impress me was Fortunino Matania, an artist who specialized in highly detailed work on Greece, Ancient Egypt and World War One. I have a great admiration for him."
The first Garth story, "Sundance", makes use of a design idea of figures which stand in front of, as distinct from within, a panoramic landscape frame background, in a 'tip-of-the-hat' (whilst still being original to FB - not in that sense copied from) to a motif of classic illustrator Fortunino Matania.

Garth: Sundance #E190 - see middle panel


"Ridicule, the Great Castigator" (1933) by Fortunino Matania
Alter Ego #155 credits both Frank Bellamy and Fortunino Matania among the then more obscure - as seen from American viewpoint - reference sources used in comic book art and illustration.

Sometimes it is simply a case of seeing a certain image or stylistic technique which so appeals to a particular artist that they feel they have to create their own version, possibly to somehow 'exorcise' it.

There is an understandable conflict for developing artists who have for so many years found their overriding inspiration in one particular artist. Neal Adams has acknowledged a number of influences, such as Stan Drake, and joked of his own stylistic influence on others, saying: "I don't know what I did to that guy."

There are variations on the theme discussed on the web, and 'found reference', copying, plagiarism, rip-off, or swiping is still a lively subject of back and forth debate.

Below is a further example in the Warren publishing black and white magazine Creepy #6  with a six page comic strip, set in an Ancient Rome arena, "Thumbs Down!" drawn by Al Williamson, with several identifiable similarities to episodes of "Heros the Spartan" in Eagle.

However - as disclosed in the previous post reference a story for Blazing Combat - despite Al Williamson's self-acknowledged indebtedness to Frank Bellamy in that instance, in the above case with "Heros the Spartan", it is also the rendering of that character by Luis Bermejo which provided references...


Let's take each Creepy page in turn and see if we can find the details borrowed by Al Williamson. Anne T. Murphy wrote the script for Williamson to draw and the issue of Creepy went on sale on 17 September 1965 in the States.


CREEPY #6 PAGE 13

Creepy #6 p.13 (All page numbers are from the original Creepy magazine
- these scans are from the Dark Horse e-reprint)
Let's start with the helmet which is used as a title/introduction area decoration on page 13 of the Creepy story. This is an instance of Bermejo's art being used. It appears in Eagle (24th October 1964 Vol.15 No.43)

Eagle 24 Oct 1964 Vol.15:43 Art by Luis Bermejo
Is the Caesar's head on the right
(2nd frame from bottom of double spread)
the inspiration for Caesar in Creepy p. 13?


Now if we look at the second episode of Heros (in the story "Eagle of the Fifth"), drawn by Frank Bellamy  (Eagle 16 March 1963 Vol.14:11) we see the last panel contains a familiar head shot.

Eagle 16 March 1963 Vol.14:11


CREEPY #6 PAGE 14
 
Moving on to page 14 of the Creepy story we find some more Bellamy artwork. But before that you might spot that the cityscape in the top tier of Bermejo's Heros frames at left (Eagle 24 Oct 1964 Vol.15:43) are re-used in Creepy p14 below.
Creepy #6 p.14
The muscular figure at bottom left looks very like a Gray Morrow figure

Eagle 30 March 1963 Vol.14:13
The top tier of Heros shows a very close likeness to the guy in the middle of Creepy page 14 (as seen below)

Cassius' portrait from Creepy p.14 above (in the middle tier, right hand side) comes from a later episode in the Heros story (Eagle 5 October 1963 Vol.14:40)

Berbrix from Eagle 5 October 1963 Vol.14:40

The 30 March 1963 issue of Eagle certainly helped Williamson a lot as we'll see.

CREEPY #6 PAGE 15

Creepy #6 p.15
The background stonework arches in second tier, used in Creepy p.15 appear in the first Bermejo strip above (Eagle 24 Oct 1964 Vol.15:43) and the scene showing the prison bars are very similar to Frank Bellamy's in Eagle 9 March 1963 Vol.14:10 (at the top of this article). The most glaring example of a swipe is the head at the bottom of this page - taken from Eagle shown above (Eagle 16 March 1963 Vol.14:11)

Eagle 16 March 1963 Vol.14:11
Bracchus' head facing right, in the middle tier, looks as if it could be adapted from many Bellamy drawings, but we can't exactly match it, but imagine the head in the second panel in Eagle 30 March 1963 Vol.14:13 (- shown above) mirrored or flipped as below

Unlikely match as Williamson seems to have not mirrored anything...but see below


CREEPY #6 PAGE 16

Creepy #6 p.16
Eagle 23 March 1963 Vol.14:12
In Eagle Vol.14:12 the figure at the top right is reversed for Creepy p.16 top left frame. And the most noticeable head is of Bracchus in the bottom right of Creepy p.16 which is also from the above Eagle.  But interestingly the head is adapted successively by both Luis Bermejo (for a later Heros story) and Al Williamson for the last frames of Eagle Vol.14:46 (see image below) and Creepy p.16.

Eagle 16 November 1963 Vol.14:46 Art by Luis Bermejo
 CREEPY #6 PAGE 17

Creepy #6 p.17

See below for Eagle 30 March 1963 Vol.14:13 for the two heads at the bottom of Creepy p.17.

Eagle 30 March 1963 Vol.14:13
CREEPY #6 PAGE 18
We couldn't match any of this to Bellamy

 
Creepy #6 p.18


Frank Bellamy, by contrast, interestingly and invariably, produced finished art which only superficially derived from his source references, even those which could have been supplied for the purpose by clients commissioning the work. Providing the client with an original work seems to have been a boundary FB set for himself.

David Bellamy says in his Commentary for Timeview, (the engaging book of collected "Doctor Who" illustrations for Radio Times), that the photographic references sent to his father were not then traced but rather the essential elements of a photograph were envisioned in the resulting illustration. "Bridge On The River Kwai" for Radio Times is similarly an example of this.

Radio Times (21/12/1974 - 03/01/1975) Bridge on the River Kwai p.46

Even the uncompleted first version of The Sunday Times Magazine inside horse racing spread, originally titled "Devious Ways to Win", was not reused by Frank Bellamy when for some reason it became necessary, part way through, to re-draw it. It might be expected that any artist would trace-off and re-use his own work but FB did not do so. Instead, surprisingly and seemingly as easily, the work was started again from scratch and entirely re-envisioned and redrawn..!



Many thanks David.

The inspiration for this article was Twomorrows' excellent magazine Alter Ego : -
Alter Ego (2018) #155 “Dan Adkins And The Incredible Tracing Machine!” Revisited (Part 3) by Michael T. Gilbert. November 2018, pp 63-69.


Dan Adkins himself (quoted from a "circa 1969-70 letter to Modern Collectors Review’s editor, John McLaughlin") states:

I don’t have any Eagles, [..] a great British comic. [...] Al Williamson’s gladiator story in Creepy #6 was taken almost entirely from Frank Bellamy’s art from Eagle

That’s what I mean by the whole thing being silly. I know that some of the best artists around swipe. I see it. They tell me! But you don’t have the old stuff or the British stuff to catch them and I don’t have it to play the games. Not that I could play as well as Al anyway. I could play the same, but he’s a better artist.
I remember when I was a kid, Rich Buckler coming under similar fire, but as he recently said in a Comic Book Creator article his work at Marvel was seen as cloning Kirby and at DC cloning Neal Adams!
The interesting thing for me has been looking more closely for 'borrowed' images and wondering where did Bellamy get such confidence in his portraits? I look at a lot of images all over the Internet and hardly ever see anything similar to Williamson's borrowing when it comes to Bellamy and as David has said above with Alec Guinness' image (and previously regarding Olivia de Havilland) he uses photos but adjusts them.

I hope this is the last review of Williamson and Bellamy I do, but does anyone want to join in and identify any of Bellamy's work in others' work?