Cover of Spaceship Away Part 22 by Ian Kennedy (Used with express permission)
In the latest Spaceship Away, (Part 22 Autumn 2010) Rod has secured an autobiographical "sketch" by - what I consider to be - Frank Hampson's key co-worker on Dan Dare, Don Harley. To view his work browse the excellent ComicArtFans.
Don retells his first meeting with Hampson and his first job on the story "The Red Moon Mystery" in October 1951 at the age of 24. His story about being on a deadline on New Year's Eve and staying up to work, shows how our comic artists worked all hours for our entertainment! There are many gorgeous (and relevant) illustrations accompanying the article as well as a new portrait of his 4 co-workers and himself and Dan Dare too.
The main interest for this blog is his overview of the arrival of Frank Bellamy in the Dan Dare stable. This period is often viewed by those who grew up on Dan Dare as sacrilege against the Hampson vision as Bellamy was asked to take over from Hampson (due to the takeover and new ownership of Hulton Press) and his version of DD was what you might call in modern terms a 're-boot'. His style was so different from Hampson it has suffered from comparisons ever since. And to make matters worse he wasn't left to do the work by himself, as he had done brilliantly for Eagle on the Happy Warrior, David the Shepherd King and Marco Polo strips.
"My own opinion is that Marcus [Morris, Eagle editor] picked Frank Bellamy because he was such a good artist and that Morris could not tell the difference between artists' styles of drawing. Frank Bellamy's style was loose and flowing with much black ink, while Frank Hampson's style was much lighter, more realistic with superfine linework and natural colour. The two styles were so different that it was impossible to merge them. Marcus was angry when he saw Frank Bellamy's first drawings of Dan Dare's face and asked me to re-draw them.(Vol. 10 No.28). We all loved Frank Bellamy's artwork but it was a rare artist who could copy it." (Harley, 2010, p.41)The article goes on to tell of the working arrangements in the Dan Dare team in the Hulton office and Bellamy's involvement.
I'd love to know if anyone has the original art for the first episode so we can see how Don covered this 'mistake'. I've added this as an entry on the website which lists articles that contain reference to Bellamy in some way
This is a really splendid work by Rod and team and the colours are so vibrant in the whole glossy magazine. Click on Ian Kennedy's superb cover above to see the beautiful colours and trust me, this quality is not seen anywhere else in our field to my knowledge
Oh, and in case that's not enough to convince you to buy a copy (blast it! buy a subscription!) there's also the continuing never before reprinted re-coloured (by John Ridgway ) episodes of Frank Bellamy's Garth story "The Bubble Man". They look absolutely superb!
And just in case you think I've forgotten to show any Bellamy work, here's one of those superb covers form the Eagle
MANY THANKS to Rod Barzilay for his kind permission to use some of Don's text as well as the cover above . He deserves another link to the excellent Spaceship Away (http://spaceshipaway.org.uk/) so here's the printed version of the above cover