Sunday, 14 December 2014

Frank Bellamy and Winston Churchill's copy of "The Happy Warrior"

Frank Bellamy's art for "The Happy Warrior"
 David Slinn let me know that Churchill's own copy of the leather bound "Happy Warrior" strip is up for sale in the latest Sotheby's auction : Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill 17 December 2014 | 2:00 PM GMT | London

Sotheby’s is proud to offer items from the collection of the late Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s last surviving child. The sale will include many of the personal possessions that surrounded Lady Soames in her delightful and very personal home in Holland Park. Together, they chart Mary Soames’ fascinating life – from her childhood in Chartwell to her service in the army during World World II and her later public life. The collection chronicles the remarkable relationship Mary enjoyed with her father, allowing for a unique and very moving insight into the private side of Britain’s greatest war-time leader. At the same time, Churchill’s exceptional ability as a painter, extraordinary for an amateur, will be celebrated in the sale through a group of 15 paintings which together represent the most important and personal group of paintings by him ever to come to the market.

Lot #109 states
"Makins, Clifford THE HAPPY WARRIOR. THE LIFE OF SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL IN PICTURE-STRIP AS TOLD IN EAGLE. LONDON: HULTON PRESS, 1958" 

with a description:

FIRST EDITION, 4to, 48 pages of coloured picture-strip illustrations by Frank Bellamy on thick paper, plain photographic illustrations of Churchill, red leather gilt binding, silk endpapers, gilt edges

The estimate is listed at £500 - £900. This is such a unique item I have no idea how much it could go for. Bellamy himself said in the Skinn/Gibbons interview that three leather-bound copies of “The Happy Warrior” were presented to Sir Winston Churchill, to Clifford Makins, the author and the third to Frank himself.I have never seen any of them and believe Nancy sold her copy at Sothebys circa 1997.

Episode 11 of "The Happy Warrior"
It's a coincidence as I visited Churchill College, Cambridge recently (who have a Churchill Archive) and enquired regarding this item in Churchill's collection.

Dear Norman, 
I'm afraid I have also been unable to find anything relating to this matter in our archives. I have run searches similar to the ones you made, including for 'Happy Warrior' and have looked through the relevant Gifts files. 

I have looked in the relevant section of Martin Gilbert's biography of Churchill but couldn't find any reference to the comic or the leather-bound copy. 

Churchill did not keep a personal diary. 

I would recommend you contact the team at Chartwell, chartwell@nationaltrust.org.uk, to see if it is in Churchill's surviving library there. 

I'm sorry I could not be of any more help on this occasion, but if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Kind regards, 

Gemma Cook, Archives Assistant, Churchill Archives Centre Churchill College Cambridge CB3 0DS 

Episode #31 of "The Happy Warrior"


I wrote to Chartwell but received no reply and assumed it was another dead end.  But here we now have a copy for sale! Does anyone know what happened to Clifford Makin's copy or indeed the Bellamy copy?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Frank Bellamy in the Eagle Times

YOU CAN VIEW THE WHOLE ARTICLE! READ ON!!

Alan Vince, who I first came across when he interviewed Frank Hampson (Dan Dare's talented creator) in Doug Gifford's fondly remembered Thing fanzine, has written another article for the Eagle Society magazine the Eagle Times. And Howard Corn, the Editor, and team have pushed the boat out and focussed on Frank Bellamy in this Autumn 2014 issue.

Howard and Alan are happy for me to reproduce the article IN FULL! So let's jump in!

Alan, who met many of the great British comic artists, never met Bellamy and mentions that he wrote to him but received no reply. I know that Bellamy did reply to many fans (imagine how many letters that was - no emails back then!) and am not surprised to hear he might have missed Alan's letters. The title of the article is "Frank Bellamy - trademarks and techniques" and Alan gives us a 8 page overview of a lot of Bellamy's career, naturally focussing on his Swift and Eagle work. I'm guessing that he doesn't mention all Bellamy's Swift work as space was limited, for example the "Paul English" strip is omitted.

I have studied Bellamy's artwork for years and have read all the published information on him, the man. I have seen videos of him appearing on television and still have yet to produce a portrait of Bellamy the man in my head. He was self-deprecating and shy, talented as everyone knows, self- taught, loved outgoing hobbies - such as flamenco dancing and bullfighting, but as he admitted in many letters preferred drawing by himself rather than speaking at public events. So Alan and I agree, "nothing beats a face to face with someone". People who did meet him and have been asked, use the words 'nice', 'shy'  and 'nattily dressed'.

The Eagle Times front cover shows one of the set of three photos that Nancy Bellamy donated to the Society and I'm pleased they have chosen to share them with us.

Frank Bellamy on the Eagle Times cover
In the background we can see an unpublished piece (to my knowledge) by Bellamy of "Fraser of Africa". He drew the strip from 6 August 1960 through to 12 August 1961, producing three stories in all. The image behind Bellamy shows Fraser's head placed in a map of Africa. Were these part of a photoshoot for Eagle? We know that happened because a piece was published in Eagle Vol. 11:48 (26 Nov 1960) but what Bellamy is wearing is different. Anyone know?

Eagle 26 Nov 1960

I concur with Alan that the man could also be a contradiction - did he look forward to drawing Dan Dare or not? - but who isn't a contradiction? Alan repeats a story picked up from a comment Bellamy made to Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons regarding the lack of holidays, which until I met Nancy, his widow, I too inferred from that interview. But from family photos I have seen, they certainly got around Europe a lot considering the package holiday was just starting in this country in the 1950s, making it as far as Morocco at one point.




This issue also has three photos of Bellamy at his drawing board and also a one page review of the Heros the Spartan reprint.

The back cover is in the form of a Fraser of Africa strip with photos inserted into panels. I had it drawn to my attention that "Kettering does not lie on the Northern Line". When I re-read all the articles I hadn't a clue what my friend was telling me until he explained that the first panel on the last page states Bellamy, in these photos, is working in his Kettering studio. He was in fact at this time (1960-1961) in Morden, Surrey and only returned to Kettering in 1975, a year before his death.

Frank Bellamy in Morden
If you'd like to buy an individual copy of the Eagle Times (which is normally available by subscription - see the Eagle Times blog for details) send a cheque for £5 to:

Eagle Times
24 Stanfield Road
Duston
Northants
NN5 6EZ
Email: Howard.corn@virginmedia.com if you need further details

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By the way does anyone know what happened to Doug Gifford mentioned above? Note: not Denis Gifford who passed away in 2000.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Frank Bellamy and Egmont Thunderbirds reprints

Collage from Volume 5

I have finally got copies of the books which Egmont list as being published in September and Egmont themselves haven't caught up yet by adding them to their Classic Comics website. I've grabbed the covers and details from the publicity available in their main catalogue. However note that the cover for Volume 2 changed on publication - which often happens. The correct cover appears below.







Interestingly Amazon has some strange ways of cataloguing this data (Thunderbirds Comic: Volume V has a Roman numeral and not a Latin numeral). Volume 1 has the sub-title of Garen Ewing's excellent Rainbow Orchid comic (see Footnote) Volume 2 has the correct published cover which is a cropped image of the comic cover - for obvious reasons they want to highlight only TB2!
Art by Graham Bleathman

I have listed all these in the reprint list on the website.Graham Bleathman drew 4 out of 5 of these covers back in the early 1990s for the Thunderbirds comic edited by Alan Fennell
  • Volume 1 came from Thunderbirds the comic #13
  • Volume 2 came from Thunderbirds the comic #2
  • Volume 3 came from Thunderbirds the comic #8
  • Volume 4 came from Thunderbirds the comic #11
  • Volume 5 came from Thunderbirds the comic #22 (Cover by Steve Kyte)
Interestingly, and it seems appropriate to mention it here, Graham's excellent cutaway drawings are published now as well. The book (shown below) Inside the World of Gerry Anderson retails at £17.99 and Graham has written a foreword - and being a fan of TV21 and a collector himself he notes the differences between the cutaways published here and those that haven't been, the history of how got into this work and how Alan Fennel hired him. A nice little history and a lovely hardback and when I asked Graham about it earlier in the year, he said "There is no direct Bellamy connection, except for the fact that a couple of cutaways are of ships or locations that Bellamy designed (notably ‘The President’ liner)."
Thanks Graham!


Graham Bleathman's "Inside the worlds of Gerry Anderson"
Anyway back to Frank Bellamy, who is yet to appear in this article! All 5 volumes contain the materials mentioned in the previous article on "Thunderbirds the comic collection but with some differences in packaging

Firstly the back covers with nice silhouettes of the craft - and matching colours....


Then each title page has a piece of art and a silhouette.....


 And then each contents page has artwork selections......

Volume One

Volume Two

Volume Three

Volume Four
Volume Five

Although Egmont credit John Cooper (on the story pages) correctly with having done two out of the three stories in Volume 5, they make the same mistake on the contents page as they did on the hardback Collection. So the stories "The Big Bang" and "The Mini Moon" are not illustrated by Bellamy.

Lastly I should say the presentations are really nice and the feel of the covers (matt) is very pleasant. Also to make up the page count someone used some imagination and created a collage of Bellamy and Cooper art - nice touch - see picture at top of this article!

So stop ignoring your Christmas shopping and get these books for friends who have never heard of Frank Bellamy. A nice series.

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FOOTNOTE: Trust me! The Complete Rainbow Orchid (The Rainbow Orchid) by Garen Ewing is great fun to read and is better than Herge's Tin-Tin, in my opinion! Egmont will love me for mentioning this!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Frank Bellamy's MANHUNT reprinted


Tuesday 4 November 2014 © Daily Mirror
Martin Baines is a great guy as I'm sure I've been telling you since 2011, when the Daily Mirror newspaper first reprinted Frank Bellamy's run of 'Garth' stories and asked Martin to colour them. I've been waiting to see whether the only two stories drawn by Bellamy not yet reprinted in colour in the Daily Mirror  - 'Freak Out to Fear' and 'Manhunt' - would appear, and here's the first of the two...The Manhunt.


K239 Original art
I wonder why they've chosen to colour over the ladies' cleavage in this story (compare the colour to the black and white strips above) and not the previous stories, which have shown plenty of cleavage. Fans of Bellamy will want to see unadulterated artwork - some don't even like them being coloured - but why reprint a story and change the artwork? The reason I think, is that it shows how much society has changed since the Seventies - forty years ago!

The Daily Mirror has done this before when they reprinted a group of Bellamy's 'Garth' in annual form in 1975. This, I think was understandable, as in the 1970s only children bought annuals that had comic strips in them - the old argument, "comics are only children's ephemera". However, very strangely the Daily Mirror, at that time, issued a second annual (1976) , but left it uncensored in terms of naked ladies - see my previous thinking on this!
The story was previously reprinted in Mirror Classic Cartoon Collection, edited by Mike Higgs, London: Hawk 1998

Here's an example of Martin Asbury's art - having taken over from Bellamy due to his death in 1976, in which we see an example of what's on show. It will be interesting to see where this goes and whether a story on drugs ('Freak Out to Fear') appears which I for one think it should. This is a really great story that is very similar in tone to the Garth story 'The Chiller Connection' that was run in the Mirror recently last year. Come on Daily Mirror let us have the last story to be reprinted by Frank Bellamy....PLEASE!.

K268-K269 Art: Martin Asbury

Anyway getting off my soap box and back to Bellamy's art, he drew 15 episodes for the story before his early death. Martin Asbury took over, doing a great job of emulating Bellamy's style for a while, before signing his own artwork and starting to lose some of the restrictions of following another artist.

Bellamy's last signed strip is K254 (25 October 1976), however the credit above the strip as printed in the paper is Martin Asbury. Bill Storie asked Martin about this and wrote (in the Gopherville Argus #1 June 1992 in his John Allard interview),

"Martin has since confirmed to me that Frank left no pencils or unfinished artwork and Martin took over 'from scratch', although he admits to drawing the first few strips in the Bellamy style"

It will be interesting to follow this story and see how fans react!


Once again MANY thanks for Martin's generosity in sharing this work with us

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Frank Bellamy and the Cartoon Museum and Supermarionation

TV21 #214 Page 10

TV21 #214 Page 11

Richard Sheaf kindly alerted me to this news item that might have passed you by

The original art from TV21 #213 (1st of the two pages appearing in that issue of the comic) was up for sale at the Comic Postal Auctions website - as previously mentioned (and I'll enter the result when and if that's published) but I infer from a press release that it has been bought as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund "Collecting Cultures" initiative. I haven't had an answer to my email enquiry so if someone knows the answer please get in contact. Are you listening Anita? [And she was, and replied, "No you are correct we have not bought the Thunderbirds piece or any of the other images used. They are purely to show the kind of things we are considering. We had to provide some images of the type of material we are considering for the HLF publicity. I'm sorry if this has caused confusion"].

The banner used in the cartoon Museum's announcement

The Cartoon Museum was set up in 2006 - you can learn more about it on their webpages and you might remember I helped put a few people in contact with them regarding their Doctor Who in Comics exhibition. They have an article on the Lottery's initiative on their website in which they state:

The Cartoon Museum is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £164,300 for its Comic Creators project by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project is part of HLF’s £5m funding package to a range of museums, libraries and archives across the UK.  Under HLF’s Collecting Cultures programme, 23 organisations, from Glasgow down to Brighton, will be able to enhance the scope of their collections and the Cartoon Museum is one of them.

and

Amongst the characters the museum is hoping to collect are Dennis the Menace, The Bash Street Kids, Desperate Dan, Ally Sloper, Belle of the Ballet, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Watchmen, The Four Marys, Lord Snooty, Roy of the Rovers, Captain Hurricane, The Fat Slags, Slaine, Gemma Bovery, Modesty Blaise, Doctor Who, Thunderbirds, Rupert, Marvelman, V for Vendetta and Tank Girl. [Emboldening mine]

So to me this isn't clear if the represented piece has been bought or not! [See update above]

On the 7th October, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced "23 museums, libraries and archives – large and small – benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) £5million investment." Their site states "Collecting Cultures supports museums, libraries and archives to develop their collections through strategic acquisition projects. The first programme was in 2007 and the second in 2014"

So I'm hoping they have bought this piece but shall wait and seek confirmation

The Supermarionation boxed set

The other bit of news that I haven't said anything about, and to be honest there is no Bellamy in it, that I've found yet, is that Network DVD's release of the Supermarionation boxed set has now been shipped to those who pre-ordered - and that's me!. The whole box job is not cheap but I absolutely loved unpacking the contents - especially the book by Stephen La Riviere and of course the latest (and one off) TV21 comic (reviewed by Downthetubes and Lew Stringer)! Great fun and congratulations to all involved on a great product. My wife is sympathetic and admits to still loving Thunderbirds - we have not yet bought the Thunderbirds boxed set - so we are enjoying watching these miscellaneous episodes!

And just in case I forget to include any Frank Bellamy artwork I've placed the next two episodes of the story "Zoo Ship" mentioned in the previous article

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Frank Bellamy and the Story World War One

Have you had enough of World War One nostalgia? Let me get my bit out of the way then. I have just finished watching the excellent "37 days" production by the BBC which was broadcast in March this year.  The three part mini-series had episode titles:
  1. One month in Summer
  2. One week in July
  3. One long weekend
and was an excellent overview of how the early 20th Century political situation and manoeuvrings worked between the UK, Germany, Austria, France and Russia. Now I knew about the Black Hand, Archduke Ferdinand and of course Kaiser Wilhelm II but had not appreciated General Moltke and Sir Edward Gray's roles in the Prussian aggression (the former) and diplomatic negotiating (the latter) prior to the start of World War One.

It was whilst reading another blog that I realised I missed a great opportunity to highlight Bellamy's work on World War One, so let's make amends.

I've written about the adventures of Geoff West, Peter Richardson, Steve Holland, Stuart Williams (and some guy called Norman Boyd) before, so there's no need to repeat myself.

Frank Bellamy's Story of World War One


But I've never outlined the chapters and episodes written by Michael Butterworth and illustrated by Frank Bellamy so here goes, and along the way I've mentioned key characters in the hope those searching for a simple and beautifully illustrated introduction WWI may choose to purchase a copy. It's available in two editions - Amazon has the paperback of  Frank Bellamy's the Story of World War One (ignore the silly Used version price!) but Geoff West deserves your business, so travel over to the Book Palace where you'll see offers galore and the limited edition hardback too. Librarians, Dawsons have the paperback at £25 (ISBN:9781907081002). Lastly I must say thanks to Peter Richardson for allowing me to link to various spreads on his blog.


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The Story of World War 

An introduction to the Schlieffen Plan and Moltke's part in the start of WWI
German troops move west

'That contemptible British army'

Kaiser Wilhelm was not impressed by the British Forces. We meet Kitchener and King George IV and Field Marshall Sir John French and the march to the River Meuse
Nice layout based on the next page
being a double page spread
British troops march across France

The clash of the mighty on the Western Front!

We learn of the French Plan 17 and meet Prince Rupprecht

The road to Mons

For the first time in nearly a century the British stood ready to do battle on French soil, and we meet General von Kluck and von Moltke
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

Into battle - by taxi!

600 Paris taxi-cabs transport 6,000 troops to the Marne and we meet General Joffre

Enemy aircraft overhead!

For the first time in any war, this dreaded alarm call rang out! and we meet Anthony Fokker and the Royal Flying Corps and Lieutenants Freeman and Dawes
Enemy aircraft overhead

Life and death in the trenches

Incessant rain day and night, turns the battlefield into a sea of mud and we meet General Sir Douglas Haig 

Gas!

Ypres and mustard gas
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

War in the air

Very early dogfights between bi-planes and French single seaters
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

The magnificent failure

Enver Pasha, General Liman von Sanders and the battle in the Dardenelles

Attack - and retreat at Gallipoli 

French battleship Bouvet and 1,500 Australians fighting Turks 

Date with destiny

10,000 British troops march on Loos, Piper Laidlow V.C. and the Indian troops
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

The menace of the Southern oceans

Admiral von Spee, Valparaiso, the Falkland Islands, the Gneisenau and the Atlantic

The flying heroes

Manfred von Richtofen, George Guynemer, Mick Mannock and Albert Ball representing the German, British and French flying aces
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

News from the homefront

London in 1915, Zeppelins, white feathers and Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin.

Fight to the last man

These were the orders given to the French army at Verdun.  We meet General Von Falkenhayn and General Petain.
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

A lost chance

Properly used, the tank could have changed the whole pattern of the war.

Stalemate at sea

Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty, Vice-Admiral Rheinhard Scheer and Major Harvey in the Battle Of Jutland.

A bitter failure

We meet General Joffre, General Petain and General Nivelle and the inferno at Champagne.
Taken with permission from Peter Richardson's blog

A whole world in conflict

The Battle Of Caporetto, General Paul Von Hindenburg and General Ludendorff and the Russians.

Masters of the skies

Sopwith Camels, Bristol fighters and the German Albatross and the British ace, Albert Ball.

An army in revolt

Passchendaele and David Lloyd-George.

Allenby's sword flash at Jerusalem

British spirits lifted in 1917.  We meet Sir Edmund Allenby in Jerusalem and Thomas Edward Lawrence.

The last offensive

Major-General Erich Ludendorff on the Eastern front with Paul Von Hindenburg.
Poor photo by me, but love the detail

The beginning of the end

General Foch of France appointed commander of the French and British armies from the Alps to the North Sea - and counter-attacks.

Peace at last

Lloyd-George Prime Minister and Winston Churchill Minister Of War, the cenotaph in London and memorials in villages and towns and hardships are suffered in Germany.

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The book then has a short biography of Butterworth and Bellamy written by Steve Holland and reproduces "Artists at work", a letter by a Michael Niederman of Ontario who wrote in to Look and Learn to ask about the artist. The letter and reply appeared on 28 November 1970 with a photo of Bellamy at work on issue 460 ("The last offensive")



Monday, 18 August 2014

Original art for sale: Comic Book Auctions - Thunderbirds


Original art TV21 #213 Page 1
 Comic Book Auctions Limited have an original Frank Bellamy for sale. Their description:

Thunderbirds original artwork (1969) by Frank Bellamy from TV 21 No 213
Leaving Scott for dead in the cavern Professor Beresford peels the face mask away to reveal the Tracys' arch enemy, The Hood ..!
Bright Pelikan inks on board. 18 x 15 ins £800-1000

For the first time you can bid via the-saleroom.com which means you have a better idea of live bidding and the amount collectors are bidding. CBA's blurb:

Welcome to our September catalogue. The catalogue is open for bidding. We are teaming up with the-saleroom.com to provide you with real time bidding details, viewable online, as bids are placed by our customers who have registered their details. To register to bid, just click on the link to the-saleroom.com and you will see how to register.

Click here to visit the-saleroom.com



For those of you who send us postal bids you may, of course, continue to do so and you might consider sending us your highest bids which will be entered online by us and not be viewable unless they are bettered - just like eBay. You will no longer need to telephone or email us to raise your bids as all the latest bids will be viewable online in real time at the-saleroom.com. To include their commission of 3%+VAT our new buyer’s premium will be 14%.

The closing date is 7th September so good luck.

I remember this later run of Thunderbirds in TV21 and how the quality of the art appeared to me to become 'washed out' and comparing the beautifully preserved inks in the original to the page below I think you'll see what I mean - especially in the red background behind The Hood. Well done to the owner for preserving this piece so well

Here are the two TV21 pages of the story from #213 - the story appeared originally inTV21 #209 - 217 (18 Jan 2069 - 15 Mar 2069) and was called The Zoo Ship. It has been reprinted in 

TV21 #213 Page 10

TV21 #213 Page 11
 SUMMARY

  • WHERE?: Comic Book Auctions Limited
  • SELLER:  [Lot # 115]
  • STARTING BID:£800-£1,000
  • ART: TV21 #213: Thunderbirds
  • ENDING PRICE: £821 (including 14% buyer's premium)
  • END DATE: SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 7th from 2pm
  • No of bids: