Sunday, 1 July 2018

World's Press News and Advertiser's Review and Frank Bellamy - PART ONE

WORLD'S PRESS NEWS AND ADVERTISERS' REVIEW 

World's Press News 18 January 1952

Boy, have I got something for you...Frank Bellamy artwork hardly seen in 60 years!

I've said it before and I'll keep it saying it, we are indebted for the best interview with Frank Bellamy, to Dave Gibbons and Dez Skinn. In the illustrated interview there is an image of Father Christmas reading a paper that has just come rolling off the presses (I'll show that one later in the year!) with best wishes for Christmas from the Daily Telegraph to its advertisers! I've spoken to several people who wondered about Bellamy's illustrations for the Daily Telegraph but to my knowledge he never did any in the newspaper but did do them for the newspaper. 


The World's Press News and Advertisers' Review had covers showing the Daily Telegraph being advertised on them between Jan 1951 and June 1951 before Bellamy's run which is the subject of this and the next article on this blog. Bellamy's full page black and white (with splash single colour) adverts all appeared inside on page 2 opposite the Contents Page. Page 2 took advertising from Woman, Home Chat and other magazines in between the Daily Telegraph appearances, thus the gaps in dates in the following listing. After the Bellamy run, the Daily Telegraph continued advertising but their adverts are not illustrated much after this. Bellamy's adverts were a highlight in my opinion, and I love his design work.

I've checked with the experts (thanks Tony) and World's Press News and Advertisers' Review  ran from 7 March 1929 to 6 September 1968.  It's strapline was The national weekly for press and advertising and a little bit of trivia I found, apparently Anne Robinson (of the Weakest Link fame) started her career at WPN, as it was known.

Tony (whose site Magforum is phenomenal in scope and fascinating in content) sent me the following information and I've added links to his site which is worth a day or three browsing!
One link that might be worth making is that Haymarket was run by Michael Heseltine (and is to this day). The company was originally called Cornmarket. It nearly went bust in about 1962 publishing Topic, a news weekly, and Town - which had been Man AboutTown with that first issue cover by Bellamy. The printers, Hazell Watson & Viney, saved it and it became Haymarket. WPN became Campaign which was their great success as a weekly trade title for the advertising industry. Michael Potter was the publishing manager and he went on to found Redwood in 1984 with ex-Daily Express editor Christopher Ward. I worked for them and we were taken over by the BBC - that was the start of Good Food, Gardeners' World, etc.

Thanks again Tony.

The first page that Bellamy illustrated was in WPN on 14 December 1951 and I've titled it "Christmas greetings". Unfortunately I don't own a single one of these magazines so have black and white photocopies to share here with my added notes on the colour splashes! But it's summer so let's skip the two (or maybe three Christmas images for now). So we start this series with ...
"SPACEBUYER"
Hopefully you'll agree with my shorthand titles of these pieces. I suspect someone forgot to tell the WPN that this feature is called "Features that pull" - as you'll see later.

"Spacebuyer" is at the top of this blog article where we're looking at a gentleman who dreams of the ideal place to set his advertisement, and of course that's the Daily Telegraph. Why? Because they have 'discriminating readers' and each of the sections, the DT has, show the variety which will help advertisers attract the right people. Please note the list which Bellamy has lettered because these titles are the things Bellamy goes on to illustrate in this series.

This second advert (remember we are skipping Christmas for now) was published 5 weeks after the Christmas one (on 18 January 1952) and is signed FAB (for Frank Alfred Bellamy). In this we see the classic Bellamy devices in his question marks leading the reader to the -very wordy - message, and the shading on the buyer himself. This 'black' grabs the attention and the rest of the buyer's desk is outlined as our the objects. Maybe I ought to explain that the 'rocking-horse'-type object which is a blotter for drying fountain pen ink. I found the 'boundary half-circle' drawn on the right an interesting addition as it helps keep the reader on that page by spotlighting the feature.

World's Press News 22 February 1952

The next piece, "The Woman’s Page" appeared on 22 February 1952. We see knitting yarn and sewing thread connect the various elements of topics for women, ranging from the housewife's needs, at the top, to the debutante's at the bottom-left. The text states "100,000 letters received" which isn't too unbelievable in the time of the rise of the 'housewife' in the 1950s. The sexist portrayal of her man sitting smoking his pipe and reading the paper (the Telegraph no doubt!) is further embedded by his back being turned to all her interests and concerns! Bellamy uses a single line to outline this. The stippling on the debutante's gown adds some weight or closure to the piece.

The next illustration appears on the 14 March 1952 edition and features “Motoring” and is signed FAB again.

World's Press News 14 March 1952
I have no idea when it comes to cars (my VW Polo gets me from A to B) but a little research suggests Bellamy has shown a simplified version of perhaps a 12 horse-power Panhard from c.1902 with an outlined car behind (any suggestions gratefully received!). The registration plate seems so deliberate I wondered if it was a phone number. The Internet confirmed what I thought, that CEN could be "CENtral" London.But sometimes the best approach is to directly ask....

Further to your enquiry our Library has confirmed that Central4242 was indeed the Telegraph's official phone number from March 1930 to July 18 1955, when it changed to Fleet Street 4242.

Kind regards
Julie Marsh

Julie Marsh
Reader Relations
I am so grateful to the Daily Telegraph for their help! I did wonder why Bellamy drew the zebra crossing with the spanner, fan belt(?) oil can and footsteps, beyond just making that connecting device again. The gentleman at the bottom, leaning on his car has his binoculars and is smoking and his car has some lovely stippling.

World's Press News 18 April 1952

"Theatre" appears next, on 18 April 1952, and again is signed (bottom-left hand corner) and we have a line which weaves across the image creating footlights, and tragic and comic masks. The stippling on the thespian's feet and cloak are lovely as a contrast and the 'Ginger Rogers' dancer is nice. I'm no Shakespeare scholar but I know Hamlet and therefore discovered Wikipedia tells me that "The earliest printed image of Hamlet holding Yorick's skull is a 1773 engraving by John Hall after a design by Edward Edwards in Bell's edition of Shakespeare's plays"

World's Press News 2 May 1952
“Who is Peterborough?" The column's title came from Peterborough Court, whose inscription can still be seen over a door at 135 - 141 Fleet Street where the Daily Telegraph building still stands (although currently occupied by Goldman Sachs). The British Listed Buildings site conveniently shows us just that. The nom de plume 'Peterborough' hid the writer's identity. Many well known British writers were Peterborough including Sebastian Faulks, Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, Petronella Wyatt, W. F. Deedes and Quentin Letts. The column, which began in 1929 changed its name in 2003 to "London Spy", not quite as enigmatic, in my opinion!
I love this image for its quirky long diagonal. Interestingly Bellamy shows a man whose work environment reminds me of Dicken's "Christmas Carol", the quill pen and desk speak of "old fashioned-ness", one of the reasons for the 2003 change! Notice how Bellamy letters the sheets of paper. I did consider looking through 'Peterborough's' articles to see if these headers appeared but decided my life is too short and I was being a bit obsessive!

The 16 May 1952 issue of World's Press News reprinted the "Peterborough" image above from 2 May.

World's Press News 27 June 1952
The next one in the series is 27 June 1952 “Here’s the sport" - again signed subtlety in the left hand corner by the bicycle handlebars! My favourite bit of this is the domesticated scene, a knitted tea cosy, Mum wears her apron and Dad has his briefcase and umbrella ready for his commute to the city! But I wonder who or what young 'Johnny' is doing reading the back page! The caricatures are lovely too.

Many thanks to David Jackson for helping me by cleaning up my rough photocopies
-------------------------------------------
PARTS TWO and THREE to follow

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Original art on Heritage - 2 Life Studies

Life study #1

Life Study #2

The above images are up for auction on Heritage as one lot. This link may require you to log in due to, what I see as, Heritage's peculiar Adult Verification policy. Some of their other stuff doesn't get this restriction, and in this same auction, where the nudity is gratuitous ("Treasured Chests", anyone?) - strange!

Bellamy's life drawings were all in single drawing books as you'd expect, but have been sold far and wide as single pieces.

I've shown a few others (here and here) collected from various places  as well as the ones I personally own

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy - Nude Female Illustrations Original Art Group of 2 (undated).
Fantastic images as you would well expect from this talented artist. Known for, among many other things, his outstanding work on many different British weekly publications, including his Thunderbirds work in TV Comic [sic] These are created in rust-colored pencil on manila toned art paper. The image areas measure approximately 9" x 12" each. One is signed. In Excellent condition.
Yes, before anyone tells me that he drew Thunderbirds for TV 21, I have let Heritage know that!

If you're searching the rest of the auction, you'll find some lovely Don Harley "Dan Dare" and Ron Embleton art as well.


AUCTION SUMMARY
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121826
SELLER:Heritage
LOT #11014
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$ (incl. Buyer's Premium) = £
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: 1 July 2018

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Original Art: Garth on Comic Link - The Spanish Lady (K103)


K103 episode of  "Garth: The Spanish Lady" Drawn by Frank Bellamy
This episode comes from the Garth story "The Spanish Lady", which was the penultimate story illustrated by Bellamy before his early death.   It's up for auction in the USA on Comic Link (their full Original Comic Art auction is here)

Comic Link describes this piece very briefly and I notice they have "1-15" in the title, which I think they've taken from the pencil saying "Fri - Sat 1-5-76" - (a topic I have yet to tackle and try to explain) :
Primary Artist Name: FRANK BELLAMY
Secondary Artist Name:
Year: 1976
Dimensions: The art has an approximate image area of 20.5" X 5".
Auction Start Date: 6/7/2018 8:00:00 PM [7th June]
This auction starts on Thursday 7 June 2018 and the bidding starts at $1, but don't believe you'll get it for that. Recent performance tells me, it will be around 200 times that amount, if not more.

The Spanish Lady story has been reprinted in the following places:
  • Garth: The Spanish Lady (Daily strips, Garth No. 3). London: John Dakin, Nov 1979 A4 size reprint 20 pages Reprints Garth strips K65-K160 from the Daily Mirror, March 17 - July 7, 1976.
  • Garth: The Spanish Lady All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips: Collectors Club Editions No.3 [No date] - Information from Garth: the index (Pub: ADCCC)
  • Daily Mirror Wednesday 08 June 2011 - Tuesday 2 August 2011 Two tier reprint coloured by Martin Baines
I'll update the sale price here and on my spreadsheet

And for the person who buys the piece, here's the two episodes on either side of K103



AUCTION SUMMARY
WHERE?: Comic Link
STARTING BID:$1
ENDING PRICE:
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: 7 June 2018 28 June 2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Frank Bellamy and The Avengers Part Two

The Winger Avenger logo
First of all let me steer you away from this article if you're looking for the Marvel Superheroes. This is about the 1960s-1970s British TV programme with John Steed and Emma Peel characters.
Secondly a public health warning: You are about to be sucked into a time vortex, losing many hours of your life!

COMIC PANELS USED REVEALED!

Six years ago I took screenshots of all the Bellamy drawings I could find in one episode of The Avengers, called "The Winged Avenger". YouTube has a version here if you have never seen it, but be warned, these copyright materials can disappear as quickly as they are put up.

As a result of my blog article in 2012, Rodney Walker emailed me in 2016, having found at least one of the comics that I mentioned in my article. That's not a sign of how long it takes me to deal with email, just the time to add something a bit more substantial to the blog!

What comic am I talking about? Blackhawk, a DC Comic series (originally published by Quality Comics) and ran from January 1957 - November 1984. The issue that concerns us issue number 223, cover dated August 1966 (on sale in the USA June 1966), pencilled by Dick Dillin and inked by his regular compadre, Charles Cuidera.

Winged Avenger (31 minutes 51 secs)
The Winged Avenger (31 minutes 51 seconds)
 Thanks to Rodney, here's the cover of the comic we know the production team used!


And in the third story "Chuck's Pet Monster" we see this panel:
Blackhawk #223
Blackhawk #223

I rushed out and bought one myself and hunted eagerly for the other picture but as Rodney said to me about the second picture used in the programme:

The other one I can't identify.  But from the the Blu-ray, here's the content of the word balloons: "I must do as the masked one commands!"  And, "Quickly!  Quickly!  You have made too much noise!  Conceal yourself and leave...quickly!"
The bottom right page number in the white square is "5.".
Good luck with that one.
Cheers,
Rodney
So there's the gauntlet thrown down. Being the stubborn determined person I am, I picked it up and discovered the other comics from DC that were for sale during the same month - thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics. I might have followed this line and taken guesses, written on comic forums asking fans of DC but then it struck me. Rodney gave me another clue I hadn't tried, which to be frank seemed far-fetched!

The as-yet unidentified comic panel
The other, now, identified comic panel!

However, proving, that we should never overlook the obvious, a simple search of the text provided by Rodney led me to finding the image!

Tales to Astonish #84 panel
It was on the Comic Book Resources Marvel Forum - (thanks to "Reviresco"). Sub-Mariner is commanded to smash and bash and 'crrash!' in Tales to Astonish #84 whose cover appears here:

Tales to Astonish #84

BACK COVERS SEEN in "The Winged Avenger"

So the only mystery, if anyone is still awake out there, is the back covers shown on The Avengers. I asked Rodney about whether they appeared on Blackhawk and he replied:
You mean the Aurora slot cars?  I noticed something in the Blu-Ray Disc counterpart of that still.  It appears to be a thick enough comic that it had the title on the spine.  But they covered it up with white material which allows you to know there's writing underneath but without the clarity to make it out.  So it was probably an 80-page Giant issue of some DC title.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to the back cover of Blackhawk #223.  However, Action #340 came out the same month and it had the Mattel tanks on the back as presumably all DC Comics cover dated August, 1966, did.  That would lend support to the conjecture that the other comic they had in Steed's flat was the Blackhawk issue as it has the Mattel tanks ad on back
So I'd bought Blackhawk #223 and lo and behold, on the back cover.....



The back cover of Blackhawk #223
So that leaves us with the Aurora slot cars. I checked Jimmy Olsen #95, the only 80-Page Giant that appeared in June 1966 and that had the same cover as the above, "Switch n go battle set". But as this advert appeared all over the place at that time, here's one from Adventure #341 published February 1966. As Rodney says it's likely to be a Giant but because of the spotty nature of distribution I'm not trying to pin it down exactly.


So how did Rodney find it was Blackhawk in the first place?
I saw the image saying "Here come the Blackhawks" and set about seeing if I could find the original image.  In searching, I found your blog entry.  Next, I found this information on page 203 of Michael Richardson's "Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to the Avengers":
"Artist Frank Bellamy, who had made his name drawing the adventures of Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future in the Eagle comic and who was at the time the regular illustrator on the Thunderbirds strip in TV Century 21, was hired to provide several pieces of artwork for 'The Winged Avenger'.  These were copied from 35mm frames, and toward the conclusion of events, some clever editing sees the picture on the screen fade into the artwork and vice-versa.  Bellamy also provided the artwork for the front of The Winged Avenger comic featured in the episode, which was actually an issue of a DC Comics comic book with a new cover attached.  Besides providing artwork, Bellamy also designed both the Winged Avenger costume and the Winged Avenger Enterprises studio set.  In order to concentrate on his contributions to the production, Bellamy took a temporary break from the Thunderbirds strip in TV Century 21; the edition published on Saturday 22 October [actually 29 October] saw him temporarily bow out, part-way through the story 'Solar Danger'.  He returned several weeks later with a new Thunderbirds strip called 'The Big Freeze'.
"Also seen in the episode are large scans taken of panels from a copy of the DC Comics comic book Blackhawk No. 223, dated August 1966, with newly-drawn giant Winged Avenger images added.  However, the style of art indicates that these were not Bellamy's work."
So that's the story of how we finally identified those comic panels and sort of identified the rears of the comic books used)

Whilst on the subject of the Winged Avenger, in the post from 2012 I linked to the website where I stored all the Bellamy artwork from the episode including this logo.

Look above the artist and you'll see the logo
shown at the head of this article
Recently Alan Davis gave me access to the photos he rescued from Frank Bellamy's studio and amongst several interesting pieces were some of this episode including the "Pow", "Splat" and "Bam" artwork which proves these were produced by Bellamy (but the "PING" does not look like his and is missing from the photos - although this is 'arguing from silence'). But more interestingly a close up of the logo seen above as well as this lovely colour image from the programme

The Winged Avenger - Photo courtesy of Alan Davis
Seen at 31 minutes 38 seconds in the episode
.
DISSOLVES TO ARTWORK

David Jackson wrote to David Bellamy in 1977 and Bellamy's son explained:
We were supplied with a transparency and we put this in a projector and blew that up to about imperial size on a piece of board, and traced that off roughly and then he drew the illustration then. Then it was put the other way around in the film. 
Thanks for that David (and David!)

FINALLY

Mopping up a few loose ends, I'd recommend "Bully" and his articles on this episode, start here

On the excellent comics annotations site  Enjolrasworld we see a mention to the character of the artist in "The Winged Avenger" episode which appears in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen "Black Dossier"


The cartoon on the lower left is done in the style of New Yorker cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s. The cartoon’s artist, “Arnie Packer,” is a reference to the “Winged Avenger” episode of the British TV series The Avengers. In “The Winged Avenger” an evil cartoonist named “Arnie Packer” is responsible for a series of murders.

And Ian wrote to me showing me these fan recreations which I thought brilliant, showing the influence of Frank Bellamy still goes on!

And lastly I discovered a tiny replica of the "The Winged Avenger" appeard in the Product Enterprises set in 2002. Anyone got one and tell us that it is literally the cover on a 'book'?

Product Enterprises Avengers set



Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Frank Bellamy and Boy's World Annual 1966

Paul Green and I were corresponding recently and he asked if I'd like some scans of Bellamy's work for Boy's World Annual 1966. I had the annual and hadn't got round to scanning it, so with much gratitude here are the scans Paul sent.

Boy's World Annual 1966 pages 4-5
The uncredited story that Bellamy illustrates is the tale (and I can't find any evidence of an "Operation Horseshoe" beyond a later dated ethnic cleansing in the Balkans) about a raid to destroy 20 invasion barges in the harbour of Portard, between Calais and Dunkirk. The thrust of the story is about the battle between two commanding officers Lieutenant-Colonel March and Major Hart and their disagreements in how to handle the men and also whether to retreat or attack during the battle. It's a simple tale but made more exciting in my opinion by Bellamy's vivid red drawings. The perspective of the charge on the gun placement, the brooding clouds hanging over the landing craft are brilliant.


Boy's World Annual 1966 page 6
"The landing craft were already nearing the coast."

Boy's World Annual 1966 page 7
"Hart had his revolver in his hand."

The story appears in Boy's World Annual 1966 and like a lot of publications that use a single colour throughout, this might explain why this unusual piece was created in such a vivid way. Having said that there are several full colour articles and stories and black and white pages too. But I suspect that if I were to work out how these pages came off the press before being cut I'd be right!

The cover showing a Saturn V launch
Whilst looking at this I checked Steve Holland's excellent index of Boy's World and he hasn't got a credit for the author either.

Paul also scanned the images by themselves so I'm sharing those too - many thanks Paul




ADDITION
I thanked PAUL GREEN for his kindness and he corrected my stupidity  he is PAUL not Peter! Sorry Paul.

He also kindly added this:

Regarding the colouring, having worked as an artist on many annuals for World Distributors there were pages that were "duotone" due to budget constraints. We applied them with photopaque on acetate film overlaying the illustrations. Clearly Bellamy has applied his colour with inks as there is some tone within the red. Duotone always produces a flat colour. So I'd say this was a purposeful effect by Bellamy. Much like his Fraser of Africa strip where sepia tone was applied to indicate Africa. Red here signifies the blood of war.

ADDITION (11 April 2018)
David Jackson asked to see the final page so here it is with a bonus...Ron Embleton!


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Original Art: Garth on eBay - The Bubble Man (J258)

J258 episode of  "Garth: The Bubble Man" Drawn by Frank Bellamy


I noticed that there's a Garth original on eBay. This one sold 6 years ago for £170 and the market has certainly not 'cooled' for original Garths.


The seller describes this piece very briefly:
Original newspaper artwork. This is panel J258 from "The Bubble Man" published on 01 NOV75 published in the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper in 1977.

It's a lovely example of the later Bellamy Garth and the fascinating aliens he concocted! In addition to this Garth the seller also has a Steve Dowling 'Garth' and a Martin Asbury 'Garth'

This auction is due to end  on Wednesday 22 March 2018 and the bidding starts at £200. Do note, the seller lives in Luxembourg but he mentions the manner of postage in his description - and he has some lovely Tony Weare, Leonard Starr, and Arthur Ferrier to sell.

The Bubble Man story has been reprinted in the following places: 
  • Garth: The Bubble Man All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips: Collectors Club Editions No.28 [No date]
  • Garth: The Bubble Man Spaceship Away Issue 19, October 2009, to Issue 23 March 2011 Coloured by John Ridgway
  • Daily Mirror Wednesday 9 November 2011 to Friday 30 December 2011 - Two tier reprint coloured by Martin Baines
Here's an example of Ridgway's coloured version of the first compilation of 6 strips
Used with permission


AUCTION SUMMARY
WHERE?: eBay
SELLER: staylor133
LOT #: 123014810386
STARTING BID:£200
ENDING PRICE: £255
NO. OF BIDS:4
END DATE: 22 March 2018

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Original Art: Garth on Cottees Auctions - The Wolfman of Ausensee (F201-F202)

F201-F202 "Wolfman of Ausensee" by Jim Edgar (Author) and Bellamy
 A very interesting auction is due to happen on Friday 23 Feb 2018 at 10:00 GMT. The auctioneers is Cottees based in Poole in Dorset (also available via thesaleroom.com)  and they are advertising not one, but two consecutive strips from the Garth story "Wolfman of Ausensee" which originally ran in the Daily Mirror newspaper from 23 May 1972 - 6 September 1972 (#F122-F210)

2 strips with the Daily Mirror letter

I think the auctioneer's estimate of £80-£120 is woefully short considering they could have looked at my blog to see the last few Garths have individually sold for no less than £213 each and that does not include the unique letter from Charles Rogers. It was known that a letter writer might be given  a free strip at the time. Nancy and David Bellamy fought very hard to get the return of their late husband/father's work after his death in 1976, so it would be interesting to know why two Garths were supplied and for what.

The auctioneers's description (oh, and the letter states clearly it certainly was 1972),  is:

Original Frank Bellamy Garth artwork, c.1972: two pieces of pen on board artwork by British comic artist Frank Bellamy for the Daily Mirror comic strip Garth, both measuring 55 x 17.5cm. The lot includes a letter from the Daily Mirror's Cartoon Editor Charles Roger which states 'I have enclosed, as you requested, two originals of the strip as drawn by Mr Frank Bellamy'. Enclosed in original Daily Mirror envelope dated 1972.

F201-F202 "Wolfman of Ausensee" by Jim Edgar (Author) and Bellamy

The full text of the letter, dated 29 November 1972 reads:
Dear Mr. Hunter,
I am obliged for your letter of November 21st.
I am glad to hear that you and your son, Christopher so much enjoy the Garth strip.
I have enclosed, as you requested, two originals of the strip as drawn by Mr. Frank Bellamy.
With kind regards
Yours sincerely
Charles Roger
Cartoon Editor

The story was also reprinted in The Daily Mirror Book of Garth, (London: IPC Limited, 1975) and  Garth Book One: The cloud of Balthus (London: Titan Books, 1984 ). The American fan publication of newspaper strips featured it too in Menomonee Falls Gazette #84 (23 July 1973) - #98 (29 October 1973) - 6 daily strips reprinted in B&W. Garth: Meets the Werewolf  was published by All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips: Collectors Club Editions No.74  and the latest version was coloured in Daily Mirror Saturday 31 December 2011 to Tuesday 21 February 2012 coloured by Martin Baines.

Here's the page of 6 strips around these episodes from Menomonee Falls Gazette #97 (27 October 1973)

Menomonee Falls Gazette #97, p.35



SUMMARY
WHERE?: Cottees Auctions Live Auction 23 February 2018
SELLER: Cottees Auctions (and thesaleroom.com)
LOT NO.: 431
STARTING BID:£0
ENDING PRICE:£800 hammer price
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: 23 Feb 2018

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Frank Bellamy and Barry Windsor-Smith

Heros the Spartan from Eagle Vol. 16 No. 27
Photographed from Book Palace reprint - few copies still available

David Jackson has sent me on a quest, this time it concerns BWS, or Barry Smith or Barry Windsor-Smith, yes, he of Conan, Valiant Comics, etc etc fame!

My first contact with BWS was in the Power Comics of the mid to late 1960s, although at that time I didn't know he did the pin-ups of Marvel superheroes in Fantastic and Terrific . Kid Robson has shown some of Thor and others. I was aware of his work on Conan the Barbarian being praised by many at the time, but Britain's importing of Marvel comics was sporadic at best so I didn't see it until later! However I did see his Gorblimey Press work advertised and actually paid for some of them. I now proudly own Pandora's Box (with a specially-made octagonal frame!). You cans see lots of Barry's work on his site.

In an interview for Comic Book Artist (Vol1, No.2) Jon B. Cooke did with BWS he mentioned his connection with Bellamy:
CBA: Any favorite British cartoonists, such as Frank Bellamy?
Barry: I was quite awestruck by Bellamy, his "Heros the Spartan" was simply magnificent. I was never particularly influenced by him, however. Britain had a clutch of exceptionally gifted comics artists during the '50s and '60s but the subject matter of the strips often disinterested me. I liked "Dan Dare" and Heros, I think that's all. I named the lead male character in my "Young Gods" series Heros in homage to Bellamy.
The first notion I personally had was when I bought a book called Masters of Comic Book Art, (a brilliant review is on the Comics Journal site). Written by 'Doc' P. R. Garriock, - who I would love to talk to should anyone have his email or phone number - it featured long pieces on:
  • Will Eisner (Creator of The Spirit)
  • Harvey Kurtzman (Mad magazine etc.)
  • Frank Bellamy
  • Richard Corben (Warren Magazines etc.)
  • Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Jean Giraud (AKA Moebius)
  • Phillipe Druillet (Creator of Loane Sloane)
  • Wally Wood
  • Robert Crumb
  • Victor Moscoso (Zap Comix)
A fantastic mix of people from various countries - and BWS and FB were included. Again Bellamy and Windsor-Smith not only have features in Twomorrows' True Brit, but the introduction, by George Khoury states:
Here in America, very little is known of the British creators prior to Barry Windsor-Smith. Artists like Frank Bellamy, Leo Baxendale, and Sydney Jordan are far from household names; a tragedy, really, because when you see their art, it will seduce you.
To understand how popular BWS' (and of course Roy Thomas') Conan was, in the same year of FB's award - see below - the 1971 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards ("for material published in 1971; awarded in 1972") had:
Best Continuing Feature  Conan the Barbarian (Marvel)
Best Individual Story 
  • "Devil Wings over Shadizar," by Roy Thomas & Barry Smith, from Conan the Barbarian #6 (Marvel) 
  • "Tower of the Elephant," by Roy Thomas & Barry Smith, from Conan the Barbarian #4 (Marvel)
 I don't often quote myself, but this is from my Star Trek article...
I understand that the single colour page [of Star Trek] was part of the reason Frank Bellamy got the "Foreign Comics Award" from the Academy of Comic Book Arts in 1972 - for work published in 1971 he was awarded "Best Foreign Artist Frank Bellamy (Star Trek)". I'm sure Barry Windsor-Smith had a hand in recommending him for this and I know Archie Goodwin was in contact with him. Bellamy told Goodwin that Chris Lowder had informed him the Academy had seen a sample of his "Heros the Spartan" work and judged him more than worthy of the award. therefore his actual comic work for 1971 was concocted for the purposes of giving him the award.
So what, you ask?

The Avengers and Savage Sword of Conan #100 Splash page (UK publication)
 Take a look at this from the Marvel British reprint (The Avengers and Savage Sword of Conan #100) of Conan The Barbarian #21. Strangely the story title has been changed  to "The Menace of the Monoliths" but when it was published it was the "Monster of the Monoliths"! Does it look familiar? It should, you saw it at the top of this article! On the Grand Comics Database website, there are some interesting notes as to how BWS appears not to have drawn much of this particular issue.

Detail from Eagle Vol16. No. 27 (Frank Bellamy)
Now, with Dan Adkins (who often 'borrowed' from others), P. Craig Russell and Val Mayerick involved, we can't be sure, who 'borrowed' Bellamy. UPDATE: See comments below where we know it's Adkins

However it's not that simple. Because of the nature of multiple stories from various comics being split to fill one UK reprint, we have another anomaly. The comic itself contains Conan, The Avengers (Smith too!) and Master of Kung Fu in 36 pages (with a letters page too!).

The Avengers and the Savage Sword of Conan #100
Week ending August 16 1975
The Conan story in TAATSSOC #100 starts with the above splash page of horse riders. However, the original published in the American Marvel Conan #21 has 10 pages before the second page of the UK reprint, excluding this splash page....which I don't think is Smith, Adkins, Craig Russell or Mayerick!

Often the early Marvel UK reprints would blow up and extend a panel from the story concerned, in order show some continuity between stories that had been split across weekly issues, but I can't find any of the component parts in any Conan upto #25! I own the Essential Conan - a Marvel black and white reprint of the first  25 issues of the comic in America. It contains the whole of the above story and I can't see anywhere where it appears - even if it was a compilation from various shots by BWS! Conan hardly rides a horse until the last page of #8! In #14 and #15 he starts to (in these 'Elric' issues) and going all the way through to #25 there are hardly any shots of the rear end of horses as drawn here!

So not only do we not know who 'adapted' Bellamy's "Heros" panel but we don't know who did the other two riders (including that trademark BWS shot of Conan's medallion flying away from him!). I know many of the youngsters of the Bronze Age did work on the UK reprints, including Ron Wilson, Jim Starlin, Keith Pollard, John Romita Jr. etc. So I'd be tempted to name someone like that, but that's still odd that they used FB here!

UPDATE: See comments below where we know it's Adkins

Can anyone help? I couldn't find any index of the USA artists' original art in UK Marvel reprints, but remembering being amazed by this 'newcomer' Jim Starlin, whose 'compressed' figures were easy to spot!