Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Frank Bellamy and Clifford Makin's copy of "The Happy Warrior"

Recently we saw one of three unique copies of the reprint "The Happy Warrior" come up at auction at Sotheby. It had an estimate of of £500-£900 but the price bid for it ended up as £3,750 (hammer price with Buyer's Premium)

Well, if you missed the Sotheby copy, get your money ready and run along to eBay where Alfred Wallace's daughter is selling the copy Clifford Makins was given. On the eBay page she explains:

In 1958 Hulton Press published in hardback format "The Happy Warrior", a pictorial biography of Sir Winston Churchill. The biography had previously been published as a weekly serial in the Eagle magazine for boys. The book was considered an important publishing event and to that end the printers, Eric Bemrose, produced a limited edition of just three copies printed on high quality paper and bound in gold leaf embossed leather. The three copies were presented to Frank Bellamy (the artist), Clifford Makins (the script writer) and Sir Winston Churchill himself. The copy listed here was the one presented to Clifford Makins and remained on the shelf in his office after his position was taken over by my father in 1962. This book is in very good condition and the pages are clean and crisp. There is some yellowing and the leather on the spine is slightly rubbed due to dusting over the years.

I've emboldened the interesting piece. I asked the seller, knowing I didn't want to get this wrong, who her father is and she promptly replied "Alfred Wallace". I was stunned, as children of my age (be quiet!) still hold great affection for "Alf and Cos" who worked their magic and informal style in the 'Power comics' of the 1960s. Their editorial and letter pages were great fun and so different from, what appeared to me to be, the aloof non- communicative D.C.Thomson (and other publishers!).

Lew Stringer (whose blogs are always worth following) had fewer references to 'Alf and Cos' than I thought, but there is at least one

'Alf' is 91 years of age and I've asked Melanie, his daughter, to pass on my message to let him know he is still held in affection by many comic fans.
The Happy Warrior - drawn by Frank Bellamy
Melanie has scanned the piece from Fantasy Advertiser (Vol. 3:50 November 1973) in which Bellamy told Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons about the three leatherbound copies  - so your provenance for this book is excellent.

And just as a treat here's another page from the story

Episode 21 of "The Happy Warrior"

Now I wonder when Frank Bellamy's copy will come out of the bookcase? As usual I'll update the template below with information when the auction ends


  • WHERE?: eBay
  • SELLER:  mellymelsells
  • ENDING PRICE: To follow
  • END DATE: February 8 2015
  • No of bids: To follow