Monday, 31 March 2008

Identifying art can be hard...or FB or not FB!


That great guy Steve Holland sent me a scan recently that staggered me. It is the front cover of the Swift comic from 16 December 1961 featuring

"Amundsen-the first man to reach the South Pole".

So what's the mystery?

Steve writes:

"I can't find the attached illustration on your site and maybe you're not aware of it. It's the cover of Swift vol.8 no.50 (16 December 1961), part of a series of covers celebrating various anniversaries ranging from the Battle of Hastings to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I. ... The cover is reproduced (about 2" wide) on page 4 of the same issue in b/w along with a brief article:

The Story of our Front Cover This Week's Anniversary Amundsen First man to reach the South Pole"

When I saw the cover, I really wasn't sure who did it, but it appeared to me to be a Bellamy lookalike. However, the only name I could think of was Eric Kincaid.

I wrote back to Steve and he replied:
"Why do I think that Amunden pic is Bellamy? Because it looks like him. I sent a copy over to David Roach and he agrees... and I quote:


"Well it looks like a definite Bellamy to me too. The inks are a little rougher than he often did but then I've seen the odd job in this style - on a few Heros' for instance so it's not completely unknown." David's probably the best artist-spotter around so if he thinks it's Bellamy you can be 99.9% certain it is."

And there I might choose to rest my case as these two cannot be beaten in their knowledge of British comics (amongst other things!).

However, I can be stubborn - if you don't believe me look at the website!

Below is Bellamy's drawing (FB signature bottom right) of a similar snow scene and heroic man- Sir Edmund Hillary from EAGLE Vol. 12:46 (18th November 1961). If you look at the Swift piece, it appears very similar to Bellamy's work, but certain pieces make me wonder.
In the Everest piece he blends the colour of a boot into the snow without drawing an ink line to show the boot appearing through the snow. In the Everest piece, his snow colouring is distinctively sharp. There is evidence of a wind (as you'd expect up Everest) as there is in the Swift piece, but in the latter the snow looks fairly 'smudged'. The lines around the main figures and the clothing appear different.

I think the artist for the Swift piece is the same person who drew some of the Arms through the Ages series in the 16th volume of Eagle.

However, Bellamy did actually do Arms Through the Ages: No. 5: The crossbow and No. 6: The floating mine

To see a fuller version of my thinking and what I mean click on the note corresponding to the entry on the comics page of my website.

So all said and done, I have added an entry to the relevant spot on the FrankBellamy.co.uk website with corresponding note! A good British compromise!

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5 comments:

Will Grenham said...

My first reaction to this was the same as yours, a Bellamy look-a-like. But then I had a closer look, and I think it could well be a Bellamy. Some of Bellamy's Dan Dare work shows the same technique.
To my eyes (for what they're worth!) it's not the same artist as the example Eagle Arms Through the Ages that you show on the site. For some reason (can anyone suggest why?) one of those says "Brian Lewis" to me.

Norman Boyd said...

Thanks for the comment.
I hope more will comment on this as someone must know who did those "Arms through the ages"
Why Brian Lewis? I can't see that myself, except in that the illustrations are quite 'busy'. But again, wouldn't it be great to get one of the Eagle Society to comment?

Terry Doyle said...

I once handled the original artwork to the Edmund Hillary piece. It was a beautiful illustration, really stunning!

crow said...

I'm wondering if it's Luis Bermejo? The way the face is angled and drawn looks like his style.

Norman Boyd said...

Hi Crow
I can't see as Bermejo myself, but as I said, one does begin to wonder who did what? Bermejo was certainly working in the UK (and on Eagle) at this time.
Thanks for the comment