Saturday, 30 January 2010

Frank Bellamy's reprinted stories - UPDATE



In my post of the 14 August 2009 I was looking forward to Titan's reprint book. I felt that with some misleading information on the Net I ought to write a little bit for anybody that relies on this blog for news of Bellamy's reprinted material.

Rather than perpetuate any more errors, I wrote to the authority in these matters John Freeman.

"I think the confusion may have arisen because the original plan was to run Courage and Bellamy's David in the same volume. I argued Jesus and Mark would complement each other better and offer the possibility of a second volume with another well known strip, David, alongside Eagle's story of Paul. There's no planned publication date for this second volume. As you may already know from reading my blog an animated film based on the imagery of Road of Courage is in development."

John then kindly provided the following blurb, as it's called in the trade


The Road of Courage Written by Marcus Morris; drawn by Frank Hampson Ran in Eagle from volume 11, issue 12 to volume 12, issue 14 [19/03/60 – 08/04/61] (56 episodes)
  • The Road of Courage starts with Herod ordering a census. Joseph appears in episode 3, Mary in episode 4 and Jesus is born in episode 5. It features every major incident in the biblical life of Jesus: the flight from Egypt, Jesus’ early life, the battles against the occupying Romans, Jesus’ fights against the Pharisees, Palm Sunday, throwing the money lenders out of the temple, the Last Supper, Judas betraying Jesus, the confrontation in the garden of Gethsemane, the trial of Jesus, setting Barabbas free, Jesus carrying the cross and rising from the dead.
  • The Road of Courage has only been published in a collection once before (in 1981, by Dragon’s Dream) as The Road of Courage – The Story of Jesus of Nazareth. It was also published in Dutch and French. This collection is long out of print and commands a considerable premium on ebay etc. when copies are for sale.
Mark, The Youngest Disciple Subtitled “The story of John Mark writer of the 2nd gospel” Ran in Eagle from volume 5, issue 46 to volume 6, issue 26 [12/11/54 – 01/07/55] = 34 episodes [there were 53 issues in volume 5] Written by Chad Varah, who died in 2007 (follow the link for Steve Holland's excellent article) and drawn by Giorgio Bellavitis (who died very recently)
  • The timeframe over which Mark, The Youngest Disciple is told is different from every other normal back page Eagle “True Life” story. Normally, they covered a lifetime but in the case of Mark, the tale spans just over seven weeks, from Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) until Whit Monday (seven weeks after Easter). Even then, most of the action takes place on just a few days.
  • The story is based around Mark rushing around Jerusalem getting into scrapes as he follows Jesus through this momentous time in Jesus’s life, opening with the Last Supper before moving quickly to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. It features the trial of Jesus, setting Barabbas free, Jesus carrying the cross, his rising from the dead, the founding of the Christian church and the first baptisms, ending with Peter agreeing to let Mark work with him as a missionary.
  • Throughout, Jesus is featured but his face is never seen
Shepherd Lad of Bethlehem Written by Chad Varah, drawn by Norman Williams Ran in Eagle from volume 2, issue 37 to volume 2, issue 38 [21/12/51-28/12/51] – 2 episodes
  • A seasonal tale set in Bethlehem and never before re-published.

Thanks for the information John. I have the first reprint of Road to Courage (by Dragon's Dream) and it's great to see pure Hampson, so it's well worth buying for that alone

So what does this mean to us Bellamy fans? Wait patiently and pray sales on Titans reprints encourage the reprinting of the next volume and then we might see David reprinted


Meanwhile Geoff West of Book Palace has reminded me that the shipment of his two reprints are due in the third week of February and this gives me an excuse to outline what they are about.



The Story of World War One (Hard cover Signed Limited Edition)
  • Artist: Frank Bellamy
  • Author: Michael Butterworth, Frank Bellamy, edited by Steve Holland (and that Norman Boyd too!)
  • Publisher: Book Palace Books
  • Publication Date: February 2010 First Edition.
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Size: 9" x 12" (220mm x 297mm)
  • Format: Hard Cover
  • Illustrations: Part Colour
  • ISBN: 9781907081033
  • Territory: World
  • Synopsis: For the first time ever, Michael Butterworth's epic series of articles recounting the history of the First World War collected from the pages of Look and Learn, where it was fully illustrated each week by the incomparable Frank Bellamy. From the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand through the desperate battles fought at Gallipoli, Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele. The story is told in a series of beautifully illustrated episodes that are suitable for children. This book is a testament to the the greatness of this famous British strip and the artists who drew it. 110 works of original art beautifully reproduced.
LIMITED TO 200 Copies with a unique numbered print of a double page spread of original art.


The Story of World War One (Signed Limited Edition)
  • Artist: Frank Bellamy
  • Author: Michael Butterworth, Frank Bellamy, edited by Steve Holland
  • Publisher: Book Palace Books
  • Publication Date: February 2010 First Edition.
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Size: 9" x 12" (220mm x 297mm)
  • Format: Soft Cover
  • Illustrations: Part Colour
  • ISBN: 9781907081002
  • Territory: World
LIMITED TO 1250 numbered copies


Frank Bellamy's Complete Swift Stories Deluxe Edition (Limited Edition)
  • Due February 2010.
  • This book brings together every strip and illustration produced by Frank Bellamy for the classic British children's comic Swift, Frank Bellamy's Swift contains the complete adventures “Robin Hood”, “King Arthur and His Knights” and “Swiss Family Robinson”, plus his contributions to other strips (“The Fleet Family”, “Paul English”) and the Swift Annual.
  • As a bonus, the book is issued with a Limited edition Robin Hood print.
  • 380 pages. Hard Cover Part Colour 9" x 12" (220mm x 297mm)
  • (ISBN-13: 9781907081026)
Deluxe Slipcased Limited Edition of 200 copies. With bonus Limited edition Robin Hood print.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Myths debunked


I was reminded of the above piece as I watched, for the first time, the film "The Battle of Britain" over the last week.

Over the years there have been many artists who have imitated Bellamy and some of his techniques and I'm sure he would be very flattered. But those who know his work don't generally argue over the provenance of original art ...much. (Have a look at my notes on the Swift cover). The reason for this is that with his regular commissions in comics taking most of his time (and therefore easily accounted for) and also his clear style it's rare something comes up to argue over, and Nancy his widow, is still with us too to corroborate some works.

There are two pieces I'd like to bring to your attention.

The first is above. This comes from the excellent Look and Learn website (search for B000067-00.jpg) but also from an enquirer to my website asking where this piece by Bellamy was published. I had to inform him that this wasn't by Bellamy. I have also seen a piece from the strip "Montgomery of Alamein" from the Eagle called "the Battle of Britain" and sold as a print, but this seems to have now disappeared so maybe this was another mistake that someone buried before the lawyers moved in!

On enquiry Steve Holland said he knew this was Neville Dear (I totally agree) and that this link gives the right attribution, which it does

The second piece which was forwarded to me by, I think Shaqui, is the following game


Taken from Look-in Annual 1971

The central Masai is 'borrowed' from TV21 issue 59, p12 (the Thunderbird strip "Mission to Africa")

The elephants come from the same story (issue #60, p.10)- here's the original


The rhino comes from - again the same story - #63, page 11 - here's the original again for you to compare

Where do the gorilla and lion come from? I can't find them so I'm guessing either copied from photos of the time, or 'borrowed' from elsewhere. If you can trace a Bellamy antecedent, let me know.

Now why was this hotch-potch of images used, when Bellamy could have been approached to create something in 1971? Especially as, at that time, Alan Fennell, his old friend, was the Editor of the Look-in comic (before Colin Shelbourne took over from his position of Art Editor)?

Well, at that time Bellamy did contribute one piece, - more of which at a later date. But I suspect he was trying at this point to break away from comics (despite creating Garth for the Daily Mirror every day) and therefore was reluctant to 'go backwards'

But why did the creator of the game above rip-off another publisher's material? Another mystery that may never be solved