Sunday, 6 April 2014

Frank Bellamy and High Command

An email on a mailing list made me have a look at my copies of High Command published by Dragon's Dream.

High Command - Art by Frank Bellamy

Dragon's Dream, the publisher, was founded by Roger Dean (the artist behind, too many to mention, album covers and many wonderfully strange landscapes - my favourites were the Greenslade covers). Dean's website contains his biography as well as some dazzling artwork. The history of Dragon's Dream is explained here:
"Dragon's Dream, a specialist publishing house devoted primarily to UK fantasy illustrators founded by Dean and his brother Martyn Dean; it also published under the Paper Tiger imprint. The brothers later sold the company, but remained involved in its productions." from SFE, the Encyclopedia of Science-Fiction

One date given for Dean's 'selling' is 1981 which coincidentally is the date this book was published. I own both a hardback with publishing credits in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht (south-east of Rotterdam) and a paperback.

The paperback has no publisher on the title page, but mentions the Dragon's Dream Book was distributed by WHS Distributors. Could this mean W H Smith, the UK newsagent, had an arrangement with the company for a quantity which it sold in its chain of shops? This sort of co-publishing was not unusual in the 1980s when I was a bookseller. It made for a cheaper print run knowing a certain quantity of sales could be guaranteed (into Smith's bookshops). 
I have also found a Dutch version on the Internet but don't know any more than that. the title has been half translated. I presume editing all the captions and word balloons would have been too prohibitive, but if anyone in the Netherlands can tell me if the comics in this were in English or Dutch I'd be grateful.

UPDATE (08 April 2014) John Wigmans (who helped me with the article on Bellamy and Basil Reynolds' work for Disney), has pointed out that auction sites in the Netherlands have often got copies for sale and that the interior was indeed completely re-lettered inside.
Dutch edition: Der verhalen van Sir Winston Churchill
en General Montgomery

An interior page of the Dutch version (taken from an auction site)

For your pleasure I have reproduced below some example artwork

Robert Fitzgerald's introduction

Churchill introduction (by Fitzgerald?)

Interestingly this last episode of the original printing in the Eagle comic (seen below) was never included in the hardback reprint by Hulton in 1958 when the series ended nor here in the Dragon's Dream production.
The missing portrait

The portrait could have gone here!

Field Marshall Montgomery introduction (by Fitzgerald?)

Editors who gave Bellamy the centrespread of their comics were wise people. His complete ownership of the double page is demonstrated nowhere better in my opinion than here (well, maybe in the Heros The Spartan story!). The original series were published in Eagle:

EAGLE Vol. 8:40 - 8:52, 9:1 - 9:36. (04/10/57 -28/12/57, 3/1/58 - 6/9/58) "The Happy Warrior" by Clifford Makins
EAGLE Vol. 13:10 - 13:27 (10/03/62 -07/07/62) "Montgomery of Alamein" by Clifford Makins

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