Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Wolfman of Ausensee starts today in the Daily Mirror

Martin Baines, has now coloured several of Frank Bellamy's black and white Garth strips from the 1970s. I thought the colour in "The Bubble Man" particularly good and the 'other-wordly-ness' reminded me of seeing the original Star Trek in colour for the first time -vibrant colours contrasting with each other and adding depth to the set.

Martin has kindly sent me a copy of today's strip which is the fourth that Bellamy drew in the  Daily Mirror (23 May 1972 - 6 September 1972 (numbers F122-F210). I know it's a particular fan favourite,so I have shown a few versions of the opening for your pleasure, and as usual click to enlarge!

Happy New Year! See you in 2012

Courtesy of Martin Baines - 31 December 2011 © Daily Mirror

 My scan of the published version 31 December 2011 © Daily Mirror

Black and white reprint  © Daily Mirror

Black and white reprint  © Daily Mirror

Original art photo

ADCC reprint cover



Sunday, 25 December 2011

Frank Bellamy - Tough Ghosts and Old Bones

Tough Ghosts by William J. Elliott (Pub: Gerald G. Swan), 1941

Mike Higgs wrote to me recently and asked if by chance I had a cover of "Tough Ghosts" published by Gerald G. Swan, the publisher who hoarded books during the run up to the Second World War and had a field day publishing during and after the war. (Take a look at Bill Contento's list). Quite a few Swan books are available via the usual sources, but it's hard to find hardbacks with dust jackets intact.

I did have the cover and sent him a copy saying I was intending adding it to the blog when I could discover any other information on it. Nothing arose and I forgot all about it. Now Mike has given me the incentive to write something and I'll tell you why, in a moment.

William J. Elliott was born, according to classiccrimefiction.com, in 1886 and published many crime books. He was quite prolific at Swan's as a cursory search on the Net will show. That's it! That's all I can find. No wonder I didn't write anything. Even though Steve Holland mentions him, I suspect that's taken from a contents page and if I hadn't wanted to rush this for Christmas, I would have asked Steve beforehand!

I asked Mike about his interest in Swan publications. "When I received the cover, I saw that it was a paperback edition with a 1/- price tag. I have seen an early ad for a paper edition but it was priced at 2/-  Add to this the fact that there is a hardback edition with dust jacket and it makes you wonder how many editions there were. All would have used the same cover artwork of course. With all these variations, it's no wonder that Swan checklist compilers can often be found in quiet corners banging their heads against brick walls."

Anyway, why the rush to publish this now?

Old Bones by Herman Petersen (Pub: Gerald G. Swan), 1950

Mike has kindly sent me the cover of a book that I didn't know existed which actually - unlike the above, to my knowledge, is signed clearly by Frank Bellamy. I quickly bought my own copy. Another interesting fact: many dust jackets were cut in different places. Mike's scan has half of Bellamy's signature cut off - so I have used my copy above.

He wrote to me "In fact, it was because I had chance to see Frank's work on that particular Swan novel that made me take a closer look at "Old Bones" because I suddenly saw a similarity in technique."  

"Old Bones" we know a lot more about, as it's an American novel from 1943 - this copy was published 1950. As this excellent review of the actual book tells us:
Herman Petersen was a prolific contributor to the aviation, adventure, and detective pulps of the Twenties and Thirties; one of his stories appears in the famous “Ku Klux Klan Number” of Black Mask (June 1, 1923). Between 1940 and 1943, he published four crime novels advertised by the publisher of three of them, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, as “quietly sinister mysteries with a rural background.”

Luckily the dustjacket appears to have survived - I wonder if it is because the design is so startling in that 'death' green? It's a very strong design by Bellamy - especially when one considers at this time in his career, he had designed billboard posters and advertising for films, but had not started on a regular weekly comic strip. He had produced a weekly cartoon for the local paper illustrating local football matches. Follow the above link to Mystery*File to see the Dell cover version of this book. I prefer the Bellamy!

If you want to know if Mike is thinking of doing a Complete Cloak - you heard it here first. He is!  He asked me to emphasise that he hopes it will be in 2012, but bear with him. And whilst writing he answered a few questions about his involvement in the Hawk Book reprints (an article for another day) and mentioned "If Hawk Books had continued, we may well have featured more Bellamy material. I know that one thing I wanted to do was reprint those"Heros" strips in a landscape format."


And finally if you want to see some of Mike's work, which I too loved in the Power Comics of the sixties, take a look at Lew Stringer's affectionate tribute to Christmas comics

Happy Christmas readers!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Original Art: Garth on eBay - The Beast of Ultor

H93 "Beast of Ultor"
The latest piece of art by Frank Bellamy to be made available for sale on eBay is of Cayutis and his sister Cyrene who starred in the story "Beast of Ultor". I never thought I'd be doing this, but I see that this sold for £137 in May 2011!

The seller writes:

Original daily strip of GARTH by FRANK BELLAMY (pen and ink), dated 22-March-1974. It is the "The Beast of Ultor" strip H93, story that appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was also reprinted in "The Daily Mirror Book of Garth 1976" compendium (Fleetway Publications). Artwork is drawn much larger than the printed size. Size 21 x 7 inches (53 x 17,5 cm). Signed with his distinctive signature and drawn on heavyweight "CS10 Line Board". The blacks are very dense.
Page 66 of the landscape book to be exact!

Detail from H93 "Beast of Ultor"


I'll update in a few days with the price if sold
First Update: Unsold but relisted at a better starting price.
Second update: sold at £116.14 with 19 bids (December 2011)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The reprint collection you've all been waiting for....

Eagle and Swift 20 June 1964 Vol 15: 25


Geoff West, of the Book Palace and IllustrationArt Gallery, let me know that he has finally signed the paperwork that allows him to go ahead with a reprint collection of Heros the Spartan. On his team he has Peter Richardson

Now, if you've been lucky enough to see their reprint of Embleton's Wulf the Britain, you'll know that they are both committed to quality reprints. By my rough calculations, if you tried to buy every Bellamy copy of Heros (that's 95 episodes plus the Eagle Annual 1966) in the original Eagle comics you'd be paying (at roughly £3.50 each) £332.50 (plus the annual) and that's if you could find them - they are increasingly rare to find. So a reprint is well worth looking at particularly with the commentaries and introductory articles

The Bellamy stories appeared in:

  • EAGLE Vol. 13:43 - 13:52, 14:1 - 14:9 (27 Oct 1962 - 29 Dec 1962, 05 Jan 1963 - 02 Mar 1963)  Heros the Spartan: The Island of Darkness by Tom Tully  
  • EAGLE  Vol. 14:10 - 14:43 (09 Mar 1963 - 26 Oct 1963)  Heros the Spartan: The Eagle of the Fifth by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE  Vol. 15:23 - 15:42 (06 Jun 1964 - 17 Oct 1964)  Heros the Spartan: Axe of Argath by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE  Vol. 16:9 - 16:30 (27 Feb 1965 - 24 Jul 1965)  Heros the Spartan: The Slave Army by Tom Tully 
  • EAGLE ANNUAL 1966 pp.89-96 "Heros the Spartan" [No title]  

And because I can't publish a blog entry without pictures I scanned the episode from Axe of Argath story and you can see that I show the folds in the comic, the patchy blacks etc. This is the stuff that Geoff and friends have to contend with, but they did it with Wulf, I'm sure they can do it with Heros. I know that various famous comic artists quote Heros as an influence on them including Dave Gibbons, John Byrne and Barry Windsor-Smith and I'm sure I have missed a whole raft full. If you detect some excitement on my part there's a good reason. The biggest query I get to the website and blog is "where can I get reprints of Heros?" and i have had that in several languages - thank Google Translate!

I will keep you informed but start saving those pennies, cents, euros, etc

Eagle and Swift 20 June 1964 Vol 15: 25

Monday, 5 December 2011

Frank Bellamy and Captain Cook

For a long time I suspected that Bellamy had done some odds and ends in Look and Learn beyond the recently reprinted "Frank Bellamy's Story of World War One" -(with intro by yours truly).

Steve Holland's writing for the Look and Learn blog gives me a good excuse to show you Bellamy's Captain Cook illustration.

© Look and Learn
It comes from LOOK AND LEARN 422 (14 February 1970) and is titled "The man and the moment: James Cook" I'm glad we have some authority on this one, as I would be hard pressed to say it was Bellamy - except by the faces of the 'gentlemen' in the rear. Cook's pose is odd, in my opinion, the colouring looks as if Bellamy used a different medium from his normal inks.

ADDITION:

Geoff West let me know - and I should have thought of this - that the original art is still for sale on his site

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Farewell to Nancy Bellamy (1922-2011)

Nancy celebrates Frank's 'Blue Plaque' at 68 Bath Road, Kettering

STOP PRESS
Tony Smith has let me know:
You may wish to add that Nancy's funeral takes place at the Edgar Newman Chapel at Kettering Crematorium on Monday, 12 December, 2011 at 11.30am.

Unfortunately, I have some sad news to report.  On Thursday 24 November 2011, Nancy Bellamy passed away after a short stay in hospital.

Nancy was born on the 25 August 1922 at Cockfield, Barnard Castle, County Durham and married Frank Bellamy on 6 March 1942 when Frank was 24 years old and Nancy 19.

Nancy was always generous in talking to people about her famous husband.  Many of Frank's boyhood facts came from Nancy, who always loved hearing and telling a good story.
In an interview on local radio (with Howard Corn of the Eagle Society), Arnold Peters asked Nancy about her wedding day, which took place in County Durham, and got the following response:
The journey to get to Kettering was such a nightmare. On one station, I think it was Sheffield station, because we had to change trains twice, one train was delayed for five hours and we had to sit in a waiting room that had no fire no tea, nothing for five hours, then when the train did come in the only seat we could get was in a guard’s van with a draught blowing up through the floorboards. We were absolutely perished.  Then when we did get to Kettering, it had been arranged that a car would meet us at the station. But with it being so late they had given up and gone, which I don’t blame them. And when we did get to the station we had to walk all the way to his home, which was quite a good walk carrying suitcases and when we got to his home we were locked out and that was the last straw. I sat on the suitcase and I cried and said I wish I hadn’t bothered to get marred.  Anyway, Frank being such an avid cinema fan thought he’d charge the back door like they do in films, it always works in films, but it didn’t in reality. He charged the back door with his shoulder, but nothing happened, the door didn’t budge at all. Anyway the next door neighbour had heard us outside, and she came out and asked if we were in trouble. And we said we were locked out so she said come around to my house, she said I’ve got a little bit of fire, she made the fire up, and it was lovely to feel a bit of warmth again, and to have a nice hot cup of tea. So that was certainly a white wedding, being a war time one, it was certainly white, but not the way we wanted it.

Both Nancy and Frank were fans of flamenco and, when she was younger, Nancy enjoyed going out to restaurants and clubs and travelling in Spain.  One of her favourite songs was 'Spanish Eyes' by Engelbert Humperdinck.

Nancy leaves behind a son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.  I'm sure you would all wish to join me in sending condolences to the family.

(Thanks to Paul Holder for the news.  Read an interview with Nancy on Paul's site)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Frank Bellamy and Gerry Cottle's Circus


Tony Smith commented recently to me by email as a result of my comment in the King Kong post:

Interesting to read your latest blog in which you mention three posters Bellamy produced for Gerry Cottle's Circus in 1976. Please find attached one of the three posters he was commissioned to do shortly before his death. I am the proud owner of original copies of two of these posters - both rare (and valuable) because they advertised the circus when it appeared in Frank's home town of Kettering. One shows the strongman Khalil Oghaby and the other features the blindfolded and hooded Cimarro Brothers performing their "Walk of Death" on the highwire. I would love to know what the third one was and wonder if any of your readers can oblige? Best wishes Tony 

Well this one was easy for me as I was exciited when I tripped over a variant poster of Khalil Oghaby from the one I owned. I had seen the Khalil "crushed beneath the weight of a huge American limousine" poster but not the "He lifts an elephant!" "Mighty strongman for Persia. First time ever!" version

The third poster was of the highwire act the Cimarro Brothers.

KHALIL OGHABY

The Internet is wonderful. here's a video from the 1960s. The caption reads:
Mr.Khalil Oghab or pahlavan khalil was some of the most popular pahlavan in tehran iran. This is a brief caption from the incredible Mr. Khalil Oghab who was born in city of Shiraz in Iran 1924. He performed in Amjadieh Soccer Stadium inTehran Iran in front of over 50,000 people in 1960s. He holds numerous titles and records including "The Strongest Man" in Europe for decades. He lives in good health and owns and operates the only Circus in Iran .
 and indeed has a Facebook page!


The Cimarro Brothers are are harder thing to find. They appeared apparently on Seaside Special in the same year I got my poster - 1976 and there is a comment on someone's blog how they enjoyed seeing the Brothers - who were Italian

Bellamy met with Gerry Cottle and produced to our knowledge three posters for the 1976 season. I have collected pictures from auction sites and thought you might like to see them. Please excuse the poor quality of some of them but it's interesting how far circuses travel.


Wood Green

Birmingham

Plumstead Common

Edgware

Birmingham

Edgware
Cambridge

Salisbury

United Arab Emitrates


Oman

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Original art by Frank Bellamy of Robin Hood


© Look and Learn
UPDATED 04 Dec 2011- Unsold


The latest Winter catalogue from Malcolm Phillips,  Director of Comic Book Auctions Ltd is online and of interest to Bellamy fans will be the Robin Hood original.

Lot #113 is:

Robin Hood original artwork (1956) drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for Swift 36 1956 Robin fights Guy of Gisborne Indian ink and wash. Framed and glazed, 18 x 14 ins Estimate: £850-950

(I'll add the sale price after the auction)

© Look and Learn

It's actually episode 17 (as Bellamy has written on the art) of the second series (which continued straight on from Robin Hood and his Merry Men) called Robin Hood and Maid Marian and by my calculations that means it comes from Vol 4. No. 25 (dated 22 June 1957). Unfortunately I don't have a set of these in the original, so if anyone wants to correct me, please do

Here for your pleasure are the two pages of episode 17 scanned by me from the BookPalace reprint of "Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood- the complete adventures"
where, incidentally there is a saving on all three of the beautifully produced FB books


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Bubble Man starts in the Daily Mirror today

Wednesday 9 November 2011 © Daily Mirror

An unusual strip to reprint this time in the Daily Mirror, is The Bubble Man, which ran originally from 16 August 1975 - 28 November 1975 (numbers J192-J281). It has been reprinted twice to my knowledge in Garth: The Bubble Man by the fan publisher All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips: Collectors Club Editions No.28. And more recently by Spaceship Away (Issues #19, October 2009, to #23 March 2011 where they were coloured by the excellent John Ridgway.

As Martin Baines said to me when kindly forwarding the first strip, "I think it makes a interesting exercise to compare John's colouring to mine..." It will indeed and I'd love to know what Frank himself would have thought of it all!



Incidentally, I try and keep this blog about Bellamy - other artists do slip in occasionally and thanks to Martin's mention of John Ridgway, I'd like to recommend his new strip in ...Strip Magazine. It's called Age of Heroes, written by James Hudnall and beautifully drawn and coloured by John Ridway. Don't believe me? Follow the link and see a copy. Phew I think I got away with that, just!

Monday, 7 November 2011

True Brit reprinted digitally


True Brit was published in 2004 (that long ago!) and soon went out of print (see below for link for the old edition). The book had up to date profiles, interviews and lots of pictures of British comic artists and their works. It was edited by TwoMorrows regular George Khoury and my old mate Paul Holder (who designed the whole book) wrote pages 34-43 on Frank Bellamy and included some rare photos of the man. (I'm too modest to mention my contribution on Mike Noble).


True Brit © TwoMorrows 2011
True Brit © TwoMorrows 2004

Anyway, TwoMorrows, who have been making loads of their regular magazines available in the digital format, have now asked Paul to enhance the old version and add colour and some new pictures for the digital publication. Just look as his new cover above. You can see it was a labour of love!. The article of "The History of British Comic Art" by David Roach is worth the price of admission alone.

When I say some colour has been added I mean Paul has enhanced the previous black and white pictures, added several pieces that weren't in the original book  - just look at the Don Lawrence, Frank Hampson, the Dalek artwork - many from the original art! Add to that Grimly Feendish, Little Plum, Steel Claw, double page spreads by Bellamy, Gerry Haylock, John Burns, and Ron Embleton. Oh and just in case you think I'm stuck in the past, there's all these people in there:

Leo Baxendale
Frank Bellamy
Brian Bolland
Mark Buckingham
John M. Burns
Alan Davis
Ron Embleton
Hunt Emerson
Dave Gibbons
Frank Hampson
Bryan Hitch
Syd Jordan
Don Lawrence
David Lloyd
Dave McKean
Mike Noble
Kevin O'Neill
Frank Quitely
Ken Reid
Bryan Talbot
Barry Windsor-Smith

How much teasing do you need? Run, don't walk, over to TwoMorrows and order yourself an e-copy and why not browse their other superb books and magazines whilst there - I'm not getting any commission, but love what they do.Oh, if you don't believe my hyperbole, download the free PDF sampler with a handy clickable link at the end to point you to the fuller 284 pages - all for $6.95...and I could add a joke about no delivery charges, but that would be cheap!

True Brit. p.52 © TwoMorrows 2011
True Brit, p.53 © TwoMorrows 2011

P.S. At the time of the 2004 publication there were other books called True Brit published - and looking at these links you'll see it's a popular title. Our title was up against Britney Spears and John Cleese's Superman as well as Commando and the fact that the draft pre-publication cover was seen all over the Net meant, I feel, customers were confused. The 2004 cover above was the final published version - don't believe everything you read online!


So just to confuse things further, here's the unpublished cover from 2004 with a link to the old edition

True Brit: Celebrating The Comic Book Artists Of The UK

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Frank Bellamy and lions!

I was recently casually browsing through some comics and thought I remembered the scene of a man fighting a lion that I found in a TV21 comic - number 61 to be precise. Where would Bellamy have illustrated a man being attacked by a lion? Of course, in Fraser of Africa in Eagle


Eagle 26 November 1960

I tracked it down and thought you might like any excuse to see some Bellamy in his colourful glory. You will know that Bellamy loved Africa and had a whole hive of merchandise and collectables (they didn't use such silly labels back then!) In the Eagle of 26 November 1960 a report on Bellamy showed the artist amidst his paraphernalia. Nancy, his wife, didn't share his enthusiasm for stuffed animals but is still proud to show off her husband's work in her house today. She has some beautiful originals of Maasai warriors on display

Here's the Fraser of Africa strip - whole and below the scan of my copy of the comic so you can see more detail 
Eagle 4 March 1961, page 12

Detail of the above
Interesting to see what appears to me to be a rushed job on the final panel. The cross hatching/shading is not up to his usual standard. Maybe someone else did a 'correction' on it for some reason. I've seen that happen even in his Thunderbirds work. Here's the TV21 shot which started me on this search for lions.

TV21 #61 pp 10-11


Detail from above

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Original Art: Garth on eBay - Freak out to fear H180

Another Garth for sale on eBay, ending 26 Oct, 2011, 21:57:03 BST

This is from the story Freak out to fear which appeared in the Daily Mirror from 6 June 1974 - 27 September 1974 (H132-H227). This story has only been reprinted in 2 obscure places: the All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips No.17  and in the American reprint title Menomonee Falls Gazette from number 218 (16 February 1976).  If you can help me identify which exact issues this story was in I'd be grateful for an email

UPDATED 27 Oct 2011- £85 (3 bids)



My own scan of H180 - click to enlarge

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Frank Bellamy and King Kong



King Kong 1933
I love the simple story of King Kong, whether told by Merian C. Cooper, John Guillermin or Peter Jackson. I remember my teenage eyes moistening after seeing Jessica Lange looking at Kong dying and I also remember some of the people I went with laughing at me! But I didn't care. I'm still touched by the story - stop motion, monkey suit or CGI, don't care. It's a simple old story wrapped in a monster theme which goes back to Beauty and the Beast if not further

DC Comics used to use loads of ape covers as the DC editors believed that sales increased whenever their was a giant ape on the cover of a comic. Twomorrows published Comics Gone Ape! in 2007 and featured comments by several DC creators such as Infantino, and Cardy who used the ape motif many times in their cover careers.

So what does this have to do with Bellamy? Well, by now you'll have learned my style is to not get straight to the point.

King Kong 1976

The excellent MagForum site, about magazines and magazine publishing, is written by Tony Quinn, founder of Magforum.com. he tells us:
19 magazine was published by IPC, monthly, from 1968 - May 2004
Young women’s glossy aimed at 16- to 19-year-olds. The established magazines in this sector all steadily lost sales after 1980. 19 was the last survivor of the three big IPC titles: Honey merged with 19 in 1986 after circulation almost halved in five years; a similar fate befell Look Now in 1988. These mergers helped 19, but its sales were still down by about a fifth in 1990 over the decade. When it finally closed, IPC said: 'Over the last few years, the face of the teenage market has changed. The boundaries between the teen market sub-sectors have become blurred and sales patterns suggest that readership at the older, young women’s end appears to have migrated to the fashion and celebrity markets.' Final editor was Helen Bazuaye. The publisher launched Teen Now, a spin-off from its celebrity weekly Now in spring that year and in March Emap had closed The Face and J-17 (Just 17) Taken from: MagForum.com and used with permission 
King Kong 2005
When I flicked through every issue from the start, trying to find an illustration I knew to exist, I was stunned by how it changed over the 6 years I browsed. The end of the 1960s was a liberating time - especially regarding sex and sexuality. 19 appeared to me to be mostly about fashion, and short articles of interest to the 19 year olds it was named for. However as time went on and I turned more pages I found articles on sex and attarcting a mate more numerous. It was a real journey through the transition in time - the editor must have been very 'with it'. I liked the short story illustrators - among many others - Jill Watkins, Margaret Power, Julian Allen, Mick Brownfield, and Alan Cracknell. The latter two were also prolific in the Radio Times of the period (for whom Bellamy also illustrated). Chris Achilleos's early work appeared here - Achilleos was obviously hugely influenced by Bellamy when creating his classic Doctior Who covers for Target Books (have a look at this page to see what I mean)


The contents page of the February 1975 issue of 19 contained the black and white image from the main double page spread Bellamy drew. Keith Jones, was the Assistant Art Editor for IPC magazines at that time who paid Bellamy £86.40p for the colour spread commissioning it in May 1974. Bellamy's King Kong appears on the celluloid which is melting, and twisted strands of wire is shown in the background of the montage. A hand carefully pulls the 'i' from Kong's name. I've read the article and can't see what this represents so would love to generates some comments below

Cropped contents page

For a larger image follow the link

A larger scan can be seen by following the Note on the Magazines part of the Frank Bellamy Checklist

Another coincidental link to Bellamy (and if anyone can find these it's me - just ask my family!)  is that 19 magazine carried an article in March 1976 on Gerry Cottle's Circus for whom Bellamy drew three posters

Links:
If you want to read about King Kong in print, go to M. J. Simpson's site.
To read about the history of the films - (I didn't realise Linda Hamilton did one!) see KiKn (Kong is King.net)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A visual view of the FB Blog

In the interest of sharing, just a quick note about something new in the bloggersphere - at least to me!

You can see a month's worth of Frank bellamy Checklist blog by clicking on this URL
http://frankbellamy.blogspot.com/view/flipcard
and if you have a blog, substitute your web address instead of mine and there you go! Blogger have even introduced "seven new ways to experience your favorite blogs"


Using Blogger.com's Flipcard feature
 Next: King Kong!