Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Frank Bellamy and The Avengers

The Winged Avenger by Frank Bellamy (Thanks to Jeff Haythorpe again!)

What do Frank Bellamy, Blackhawk (the DC Comics character from the 60s) and Frank Bellamy have in common? READ ON!




During the four years Bellamy drew Thunderbirds it has been assumed by fans that he only took one break when Don Harley covered Thunderbirds for him during autumn 1966 for six weeks. But as shown below this is one more myth surrounding Bellamy.

Bellamy was asked, in fact, to contribute to an episode of the highly popular (syndicated in over 90 countries) “The Avengers”.  whose best remembered characters were John Steed and Emma Peel. The episode “The Winged Avenger” from the fifth series of the Avengers was filmed around November and December 1966 (see the headline of the paper Steed and Peel reads stating November 30 1966 - it's 29:47 minutes into the programme), and was finally transmitted in February 1967.

Now here's the first connection - Blackhawk. Below are some shots and I would love to see scans of the original comics if anyone has them and can identify them. You have the dates above - but bear in mind the cover dates of DC at that time were apparently the time by which news-stands had to return the comic for credit - and then they would have to have been shipped over to the UK to be bought by the props person for this programme! Email at this address
 



Bellamy's design stuck on a DC Comic - Marvel didn't have the Aurora car advert

  Meanwhile back to the Avengers.....


The plot of this particular episode contains the usual comedic interplay between John Steed and Emma Peel and far-fetched nonsense that was typical of the enjoyable series. Steed and Peel investigate. the murder of a businessman The episode is fondly remembered and contains such gems as Steed building a cardboard replica of the block of flats (apartment block) in an attempt to guess how the creature had access. It turns out the man-bird did it by magnetic boots which have been invented the eccentric Professor Poole. He sold his boots to Winged Avenger Enterprises, the producers of the eponymous comic books which have been discovered at the scenes of the crimes. The trail leads back to Professor Poole’s Gothic mansion where we see Bellamy’s artwork (as if from a comic book), and then the actual TV scene – implying someone is predicting the murders’ scenes in the comic strip! A fight scene with Mrs Peel and the murderer is aided by Steed who attacks the criminal with Batman-like onomatopoeic panels of art “POW!” “SPLAT!” and “BAM!” For a longer synopsis follow the "Bully: Comics oughta be fun" link

Bellamy was paid well for his 30 colour illustrations, not all of which were in the final cut but sufficient to make this a stand-out episode and Blackhawk comic fans can enjoy spotting their favourite comic character too.



End credits


If you visit Mike Noon's excellent site you'll see mouseovers emulating the TV fades and below is the original art sent to me by Jeff Haythorpe. For further screen grabs spend some time on the Frank Bellamy website and follow the NOTE link

The Winged Avenger

For fun I emulated the Michael Noon site and created gifs of some 'transitional scenes' from my own screen grabs



Emma enters Prof. Poole's establishment

Emma looks around

Professor Poole is attacked

Winged Avenger leaves through window

The Winged Avenger enters by window

Emma is attacked
UPDATE: there is currently a crude version of this episode on Youtube - Thanks to Tony Smith for the tip!

1 comment:

Tony Smith said...

nlinksf 36ousInteresting piece, as ever, Norman. You might want to advise your readers that the entire Winged Avenger episode can be viewed on youtube in five parts. The following link is the first:

http://youtu.be/PP7GVDWO1Y0

best wishes

Tony Smith