Monday, 4 September 2017

CENTENARY ARTICLE: Part Four: 1960s - 1970s by David Jackson

FRANK BELLAMY - design and technique
Part Four: 1960s-1970s 

By David Jackson
[Part One] Part Two[Part Three] [Part Four]

Fraser of Africa by Frank Bellamy

Through creativity and incremental improvement, over time, Frank Bellamy had originated his unique and distinctive style, from originally when he started out not having it, or knowing what it would be - the 'Frank Bellamy look' not yet then existing - to his work eventually being entirely unmistakable. As the Northampton Chronicle and Echo article "The many faces of Frank" (Thursday 23 September 2004) says: "More than any other British artist he brought a new sense of excitement to the adventure strips of the 1950s and '60s."
 
1960
Eagle Vol.11 No.32, 6th August introduced the character of 'Martin Fraser' - Fraser of Africa - in the first installment of a trilogy: "Lost Safari" "The Ivory Poachers" and "The Slavers".

After drawing weekly comics pages from 1953 to 1960, culminating in several series for Eagle in full colour, Fraser of Africa represents the full expression of Frank Bellamy at the peak of his powers, free of the developmental compromises he had necessarily negotiated up to this point.

This progress would be one of consolidation and application from then on.
Original art from Eagle Vol: 12:25 24 June 1961
Every mark is exact, controlled, descriptive, explanatory and representational, there to be 'read' and convey solidity, actuality and meaning which informs and repays the attention given to it. Details are not sketchy, generalised or approximate as either pen or brush marks, nor indeterminate, let alone meaningless, tonal areas, but as careful delineation of pattern and light and shade as such detail would be if it had been photographed. In addition to which, there are drawings which are magically better than if they had been photographs - the Fraser second episode giraffes are an example (see below).

Eagle 13 August 1960 Vol.11:33 p12

FA: "You then moved on to Fraser of Africa. Had this strip been your idea, you being such a lover of Africa?"
FB: "No, I'm afraid it wasn't. The usual thing happened. Someone up at Eagle told me of the idea of an African setting for a new strip and asked if I'd like to draw it."
FB: "As well as the artwork, they offered me the script-writing job, but Clifford Makins, then assistant editor, told me it could well prove too much, to draw and write the set."
The scriptwriting was assigned to George Beardmore. "The Ivory Poachers" sequel to "Lost Safari" takes up the trilogy, concluding with "The Slavers", exactly where the first story left off and the hitherto sparing application of full colour is developed further.

FB: "With Fraser, the Eagle people were trying to do something not only entertaining, but also slightly educational - with all the wild animal life and true location. Not like in some strips, in South Africa one minute and suddenly in North Africa the next. I kept it in East Africa, with the local tribes and animals of that region."
FA: "It was on this strip that you took a gamble with sepia predominating the set, most installments being mainly shades of yellow and brown..".
FB: "That's right. As I've said, I have this thing about colour. And there was a chance to try a new approach. I thought it would be an ideal strip for a monochromatic look, particularly a sepia look, being in sun-drenched, tawny Africa. But apparently, when the printers heard, they went mad - saying they could never print it. But I was sure it would print. So, I did a series of colour experiments, using the colours I wanted and gave it to them at Bemrose to put under the camera. The results were positive."
FA: "Bemrose was the engraver..." - [The Eagle's long-term printers in Liverpool ~Norman]
FB: "Yes. So the same day I handed in a report to Marcus Morris, showing the results of my experiments, and he gave me the go-ahead. The Fraser page was reproduced as a full colour page, but, hopefully, it gave the effect of a sepia page. As the set developed, I put in the occasional full colour frame, purely for impact amongst all the sepia frames."
FB: "Fraser is an example of my feeling that there is always room for development in a strip or paper. I like to think that Fraser added a bit more variety to EAGLE."
FA: "It's more than just a matter of drawing what is required, then..."
FB: "Yes. I've never classed it as an extension of a hobby. It's not an easy life; it's a very lonely one. But I prefer to be a loner in my work. That's why I didn't like the Dan Dare set-up."
FA: "Looking at you, I see you bear a resemblance to Fraser of Africa. Is this a coincidence, or anything to do, perhaps, with your frustrated boyhood dreams of being a big game hunter?"
'[Uproar of laughter]'
FB: "Yes. Probably that's about the nearest I'll ever get to it. Actually, you can sometimes see in an artist's work little bits of his drawings that are offshoots of the artist himself. I've always been a keen fan of the 'spaghetti westerns', and I like to think that, with Fraser we were able to get a near-western look in parts."
Does this look like the gentleman below?

Is Frank Bellamy Martin Fraser?

Wide World Vol. 128 (Jan 1962) pp. 2-3
"The toughest prey" written by Douglas Lockwood
FA: "Looking back over your EAGLE work, it seems you started experimenting with a few new techniques while drawing the Churchill strip. Such as the large black and white frames in the middle of a colour page."
FB: "That's part of my thing with colour. I never like to use colour just for the sake of it. As with films, I always think the best are those produced when the director is conscious of the colour, and there's a lack of the super, high-quality Technicolor world. As an example, there's an excellent film called "The Culpepper Cattle Company" [1972]. "Every frame there is like looking through an album of Matthew Brady photographs. They filmed it using colour as it really is. A subdued look, with filthy browns and a suede look about everything."



[This is a hard film to find. Apparently it's on Netflix but hasn't been seen on UK terrestrial TV for at least a decade. I remember it as The Parallax Review says: "The Culpepper Cattle Company is a cinematic curiosity that I’m not sure has occurred before or since: a coming-of-age revisionist western. It seems like an odd combination of genres, but it’s not so surprising, especially considering the time of its making [1972]" ~Norman]

Another cinematic inspiration for the visual appearance of Martin Fraser himself is a very 'Fraser-styled' Frank Sinatra in the movie Never So Few.
As chance would have it, when The Good, the Bad and the Ugly had just been released and its theme was being constantly played on the radio, not only had I not seen the film, I had never seen Fraser of Africa in EAGLE. But what I had come across in the art college library was the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers' Designers in Britain No.6 with a small b/w reproduction of the second Fraser page (posted here last year) and back then I indelibly associated the theme music of that film with this Fraser of Africa image.

David Bellamy, in Timeview, says his father found that playing tapes of film theme music conducive to a dramatic mood.

FA: "If you could draw anything at all, be it an existing strip, a film adaptation or whatever - what would you like to have a go at?"
FB: "I'd love to draw the "Dollars" films in strip form. Not just because they were big successes, but because I love 'Spaghetti Westerns'."
 Frank recognised in these movies a 'comics look' in angles and lighting. Hence the - presumably uncommissioned and unpublished - out of his own interest, 'Dollars-style' full colour original double-page spread "Hombre" and the stylistically and thematically similar three-page b/w "Swade" which was published in Alley Sloper.

Unpublished "Hombre" strip as seen in photograph of Bellamy in his studio

FA: "Do you do any work for yourself - portraits, landscapes, sculptures..?"
FB: "Very little. I used to do quite a bit of artwork to submit to the Society of Graphic Artists, of which I am now a member. But over the last few years I've been doing less and less. Mostly the subjects have been figure work in pastels or drawings, not paintings. I've never done any oil paintings."
FA: "As well as being a member of the Society of Graphic Artists, I believe you are also a fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists. Could you tell us how you achieved that?"
FB: "Well, I sent them lots of samples of my artwork, hoping to be accepted as a member by the Society of Industrial Artists & Design council, and then, quite a few weeks later, I got two letters from them. When I opened the first one, I was very surprised and pleased to find they had accepted my work as being of a high enough standard for me to be accepted as a member. But when I opened the second one, I couldn't believe it, they'd also elected me to immediately become a Fellow of the Society.
FA: "(Editor's Note): Only Frank Bellamy and one other artist have ever been elected for immediate fellowship."

"King Solomon's Mines" art by Frank Bellamy

1962 Following the conclusion of the 'Fraser of Africa' series, FB completed three double-page original centrespreads for an adaptation of 'King Solomon's Mines' but, for whatever reason these remained unpublished. Some have speculated that the similarity of location and themes may have been an editorial consideration. At any event, the next published series also had the similarity of being full colour double-page centrespreads.

The first episode of Montgomery of Alamein written by
Clifford Makins Eagle Vol. 13:10 (10 March 1962)
Montgomery of Alamein.
This second living person picture-strip biography appeared in Eagle from Vol.13 No.10 to No.26, as a full colour double-page spread, with an additional frame occasionally on the front page. In design terms, graphic symbolism features strongly from the first episode and the closing panel comprises of the illustrated frame-word "WAR" (see above). These graphics continue to feature throughout the series and reappear in later work for Radio Times.
FA: "Occasionally, while drawing 'Churchill', you used symbolism instead of realism in your storytelling. Such as the swastika grabbing at Sicily, rather than showing a troop invasion...
FB: "I've always liked using the graphic approach instead of the ordinary comic strip way. Almost a sort of pictorial journalism. My work for the Sunday Times Magazine in particular was pictorial journalism. I used this graphic technique for the juvenile market - though many of Eagle's readers were adults - because I've never believed in drawing down to the reader. If I was drawing for a seven year old, I'd still be as conscious of what I was doing as if it was a cover for the Radio Times."
Frames in Vol.13 No.13 further develop the aerial perspective effect (black inking of foreground forms only) which first appeared in "The Happy Warrior".

Eagle 31 March 1962 Vol.13:13 pp8-9

Eagle 30 June 1962 Vol.13:26 pp.10-11
 In Edition, Barry Askew says:

BA: "With something again for the EAGLE, like Montgomery of Alamein, there's an interesting example there of the way that you use frames and shapes in different ways."
FB: "Well, there again is breaking up this 'square frame, one on top of another' and to bring out important frames. The one in the centre there was just to give a monochrome look to associate with the monochrome films of the second world war."
 The same frame also discussed in the Look East programme:
FB: "For instance, there's a job over there, for the old EAGLE, I was rather pleased with the presentation, the whole thing, it went through the editors, all the process engravers, all these various people, seeing this particular work; no-one noticed, other than the readers, when it happened, you'll notice, there's a German infantryman there, firing his rifle, there's a flash from the muzzle, but I'm afraid the bolt is up in the air instead of down. All the readers write in: 'Spot that deliberate little mistake!' - which wasn't so deliberate, it was an absolute mistake on my part. It's bound to happen every now and again."
The signed central frame in Vol.13 No.19 is singled out for special mention in the above TV interview.


Eagle 12 May 1962 Vol.13:19 pp.10-11
 I'd speculate that the reason such a 'deliberate mistake' would come about would be due to the black ink line drawing being done at an earlier time from the addition of colour washes (therefore not a continuous train of thought) with the resulting incongruity consequently not noticed.
Such an incongruous impossibility could actually occur in a photograph if entirely coincidentally a flare of light in optical close proximity to a gun barrel made it appear to fire.
It is potentially misleading information like this which is an inherent risk in a reliance on second-hand 'found' reference.

Eagle 22 September 1962 Vol.13:38
(Thanks to David Roach for scans of original art)

Only the Brave.
Vol.13 No.33 - No.38. Single page b/w half-tone wash picture strip, with an extra colour frame on the covers of 33 and 34. Documentary style dramatic reconstructions of real-life events resulting in awards of the George Medal: saving a trapped pilot; fighting-off armed bank-robbers; a lion attack; a runaway ANTAR tank-transporter; PC foils gunsmith robbery; PC who clung on to a recklessly driven car.

The reprint volumes still available from the Book Palace

Heros the Spartan.
Close on the sandaled heels of the big box-office Spartacus in the cinemas, 'Heros' stepped onto the cinemascopic full colour centrespread of Eagle.
FA: "In October, 1962, you started on what must be your best remembered and most acclaimed strip, the two-page colour centrespread for EAGLE...Heros the Spartan."
FB: "The EAGLE people phoned to offer me the set, telling me that Heros would be about the swashbuckling adventures of someone who would be a cross between a Roman warrior and an ancient Greek soldier . I had the first script, by Tom Tully, a few days later."
FA: "Could you tell us more about how you started on a Heros instalment, right from receiving the script?"
FB: "My usual method would be that I'd read the script through, imagining the words in pictures and noting down 'L', 'M' and 'S' - large, medium and small - by the writer's frame descriptions. That is, as I've said, I would ignore the writer's remarks about close-ups and long shots. Then I can see which are the important frames and which are the fill-ins. There would always be one very large frame that would sum up the whole spread, so I'd put a large cross by that one. Then I'd work out a thumbnail layout. Generally, I'd set it out in banks of three or four frames across. From there it would soon build up around the one or two main frames. Then I'd go straight on to the board, never making roughs."
FA: "One thing I've wondered about, looking at your Heros spreads. When you were composing them, did you ever find the big event of the instalment would fall in an awkward part of the composition - at the bottom corner, or edge, instead of fairly central?"
FB: "That could happen. Sometimes I could juggle with the frames a bit, but I was always aware of the composition. I always want the frame at the top left to be compensated by the frame at the bottom right, to balance the whole spread. But that took an awful lot of working out."
FA: "When you'd worked out the frame layout for a Heros spread, would you ink in your frame boarders on the drawing board and then fill them in?"
FB: "Oh, no. I'd never draw the borders first. I'd probably draw them halfway through the job. You see, sometimes I find a frame can be more effective without a border, vignette shape, and that doesn't happen when you're doing things in pencil."
FB: "One other thing is that when you're actually putting it down on board, a complication comes in - where to put the speech balloons. This is top priority. So, when I've established the rough shape that I want, in the context of the composition of the whole spread, I might discover that the balloons might take up an enormous amount of space. And this would alter the whole composition. So the balloons are the first things which have to be pencilled in with any degree of certainty."
FA: "How many hours of the week, on average, do you think it took to draw a spread?"
FB: "It would easily take me a five day week. Sometimes six or seven days. Being fantasy, I didn't have to do all the research I'd needed for sets like "Churchill", but some frames took much longer to draw than others. One extreme example of this was a week when I had a big frame which covered almost the entire spread, surrounded by smaller frames - that particular page was on display, by the way, at the American Academy of Comic Book Arts."

This particular Heros (Vol.14 No.14; 6 April 1963) exhibited in the 1970s at the American Academy of Comic Book Arts helped win FB the AACBA 'Best Foreign Artist' (as seen from America).
EAGLE editor, Bob (L R T) Bartholomew, wrote to FB, 6th March 1963: "I have just seen your last Heros and felt I had to write to say the battle scene was the finest thing I have ever seen in juvenile publications." and Bellamy himself said "I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed drawing Heros, and if I got the chance, I'd drop everything and start drawing Heros tomorrow." 

Eagle 6 April 1963 Vol.14:14
1963-1964

A technology development of particular interest to the illustrator was featured in Eagle Vol.15 No.14 (4th April 1964) - the back page is a full page cutaway of the Polaroid Land camera, which FB will have seen no doubt, even if he did not know of Polaroid before.

Following a b/w drawing illustrating a WWII text story in Boys' World (Vol.No.9, 23 March 1963), FB took over a science-fiction strip series (previously drawn by Frank Langford under the pseudonym "C F Eidlestein")."Brett Million - The Ghost World"  began 7th December 1963 in full colour on the back page of Vol.1 No.46, and ran until 25th April 1964, Vol.2 No.17, in Boys' World published by Odhams Press. The publication had undergone a change from a magazine look format to a decidedly more 'Eagle-looking' comic. As science fiction, stylistically, it seems like a way-station between Dan Dare and a job application for TV21.

Boy's World 11 January 1964
[Brett Million and ] The Ghost World
TV21's Alan Fennell had phoned, resulting in a guided tour of the Slough production studios for Frank and Nancy Bellamy with Gerry Anderson himself - as Nancy retold to Jon Johnson in a series for Eagle Times in the mid 1990s (part 15).

Dennis Hooper, art editor of TV21 says (in Strips '78 booklet): "Heros must rate highly ... but this strip ignored two of Frank's greatest gifts. His conception of geometric form and his vision of the future."
FA: "Heros was the last strip you drew for EAGLE before moving over to Century 21 publications, wasn't it?"
FB: "Yes. Alan Fennell, the writer of the TV Stingray, Thunderbirds and so on, was the first editor of TV21. He approached me saying he was wanting to start a comic of the same quality as EAGLE, but with the Century 21 look about it, more s-f orientated."
FA: "Did you find it a problem strip - having to draw puppets in an action-packed set?"
FB: "Yes, it was a problem. Everybody had seen them on the television, and so they would think of the characters as 18" high puppets, which they were. So I had to decide whether to make them look like the puppets they were, or the people they were supposed to be. I went for forgetting they were puppets, other than simplifying the heads, which had to be recognisable from the established versions on the television."
1966-1969

From a later TV21, July 29 2067 #132 - original art

Thunderbirds began in TV21 spectacularly as a full colour double-page centrespread with a third page in b/w monochrome wash half-tone featuring inspired and innovative technical design invention on a weekly basis.

FA: "When you were drawing Thunderbirds, it started out as a colour centrespread, but soon changed to two separate colour pages, but still in the centre of the comic. Do you have any idea why?"
FB: "Yes. The reason they split the spread with a gutter was purely that they could sell two separate pages to the continental market, for reprinting, better than an awkwardly-shaped centrespread."
The odds and scraps salvaged from Frank's studio (see Alan Davis' website) included some 'work-in-progress' photos, one of which being of the submarine rescue from Thunderbirds in TV21 # 241, second page. The photo isn't of sufficiently high-definition to appreciate the art for its own sake but is informative in terms of the order in which the sequence of frames was completed. Which is to say, not in any order which might have been guessed at or expected. The idea that an entire page or spread would have been drawn in pencil, then inked - first linework, then areas of black ink filled in - is confounded here, with completed frames and a partly inked frame and faintly pencilled frames, effectively not drawn at all, all on the same page at the same moment in time. The technique of ruling thick borders around certain frames was not done with any special ruling pen just outlined with 'Gillotts 1950' nibs (or by masking with Sellotape cut with a razor blade) and then filled-in.

Mechanical design innovations not only involved puzzling out the narrative and visual elements into a coherent whole, but also the technical aspects of the various craft which were a feature of the series. These could be existing vehicles from the show or 'one-off use' inventions required to look convincingly functional in order to fulfil a particular role.

FB's own interests were 'historical' over 'futuristic' (despite being able to depict it so convincingly).

He could draw the inside of a top secret space-station like it would be - totally convincing - but, according to his son David, Frank wasn't a mechanically-minded person in terms of being able, for instance, to fix his car..!

FB had sometimes bought construction kits to see how they worked (rather than complete making the model).

Derek Meddings, special effects director and conceptual artist and designer of the Thunderbirds craft, etc says in S.I.G. No.11, 1984: "Thunderbird 2 ... I think that's my favourite, I think it's every artist's favourite, like Frank Bellamy. It was his favourite, he used to draw that thing and he'd really make it look great."

In tandem with Thunderbirds, Frank Bellamy also produced a selection of TV21 front covers of the Captain Scarlet strip and also a colour half page depiction of an astronaut in an advert for Letraset.

Advert that appeared in many comics during late 1969
Once, somehow or other - who knows how - Frank got time off..! Finding himself, at last, on the continent of Africa with his Leica camera he photographed his desert-booted foot on African soil.
FA: "I noticed that for a few weeks another artist was drawing some of the frames in THUNDERBIRDS...
FB: "Ah, that was for me to get a holiday. This is the type of job that doesn't give you much time for holidays."
FA: "In fact you have to do twice your normal output one week to have a holiday the next."
FB: "Precisely. At one time, I worked for five years without a holiday."
FA: "Do you try to work a normal seven or eight hour day, starting at nine and finishing at five?"
FB: "No. I have great discipline about the production of my work but I don't start at a given time and I never hear a whistle blow at five and drop the pen. I've never damaged a nib on that account. I work anytime."
FA: "Is there any particular time of day that you prefer to work?"
FB: "No, not really."
Despite which, in his commentary for Timeview, David Bellamy says that frequently working late meant getting up late in the morning and leaving the evening as his favourite time for working, when, as David once said, the phone didn't ring.
FA: "For the John Steed / Diana Rigg Avengers TV series, I believe you did some artwork for one episode..?"
FB: "Yes, it was at the time when I was working for TV21. The episode was called The Winged Avenger and was one of those bolt-out-of-the-blue jobs. I went to see the ITV people and they explained that the story was about a strip cartoonist, and they asked me to do the artwork for it. I also designed the costume for the Winged Avenger and the artist's studio."
FB: "...But I thoroughly enjoyed my part in it all. One difficult job I set myself was because I suggested they used the technique of holding on close to one of my drawings of the Winged Avenger and then dissolve into live action with the cartoonist in costume. But it was a terrible job to do, because they had to shoot the live action first and then I'd to draw exactly what was happening."
David Bellamy mentioned he possessed thirty Polaroids of the Winged Avenger artwork, in a conversation and he believed only one illustration subsequently remained as original artwork, as at the time, he owned it. (see below) [See all the art used in that episode here ~Norman]

Elma Peem = "Emma Peel". This does not appear in the final cut of
The Avengers episode "The Winged Avenger"

FA: "You also did some work for the Daily Mirror, before you started Garth, I believe?"
FB: Yes. The first job I did for them was a centrespread at the time of, and about, the first moon landing."
The salvaged studio photos of a model lunar lander [see Alan Davis' site], in themselves, have none of the dynamic and nuanced special qualities of the finished drawings, and, whatever visual references of NASA astronauts were provided for this task, again by some inspired means FB brilliantly envisioned and realized what was not there in the reference pictures, and rendered the spacesuits in action on the moon infinitely better than they ever actually looked in real life!

Daily Mirror 11 July 1969 pp14-15
When Anglia TV's Chris Young interviewed him, Frank said:
FB: "This one is pre-the first moon landing. I must tell you it's the first strip I've ever done minus balloons. It would have been lovely to say 'We made it' but it is the first time drawing a strip minus balloons, and in this case for real, because after drawing for years science fiction, seemed funny to draw it actually happening."
CY: "But that was done before the moon landing?"
FB: "Before the actual moon landing."
CY: "And were you fairly accurate?"
FB: "All the way through, I understand."
CY: "It all came true...ha ha!"
Daily Mirror 11 July 1969 p13
His Apollo 11 moon landing work for the Daily Mirror had, uniquely, no stars in it whatsoever - though drawn before it was established by the actual landing that no stars could be seen from the daylight surface of the moon - I can recall the media prior-speculation as to whether or not stars would in fact be seen - despite the 'ink black' daylight sky there.

Frank would create really black areas of black in all his original art even it meant going over it half a dozen times.

Included among the pieces of studio scraps rescued by Alan Davis was a first attempt version of the lunar lander, abandoned midway, for some reason and left incomplete despite all the work that had already been put into it. As visualized by FB, the blast-off of the LM Ascent Stage, the scene is remarkably prescient as to what it turned out to be in reality when the return launch of a later mission was filmed by the automated camera left on the lunar rover.
FA: "I remember you also did a political cartoon for the Mirror...
FB: "That's right, with a long crocodile. I also did one which they rejected, as being too cutting. It's St George and the Dragon, with George McGovern and Richard Nixon. They accepted a re-drawn version of that one."
Daily Mirror 3 July 1972 - Nixon and McGovern
In the late 60s and early 70s, Frank Bellamy began to be commissioned for what at the time might have seemed improbable prospects for comicbook style illustration. It would seem though, that some commissioning editors and art directors had strong memories of being, only a decade or so earlier, comics readers and were still Bellamy fans!


Northampton Chronicle & Echo later quoted Nancy Bellamy: "Frank had so much natural talent and he was a complete perfectionist," she said. "I'm glad so many people still seem interested in his work after all these years – he deserved it."


Frank said in his interview with Look East:

FB: "From the children's comics... into pictorial journalism for The Sunday Times... I mean, I get a telephone call, asking me to draw a cover and three pages in The Sunday Times colour magazine - strip cartoon format..! So I immediately pick myself up, brush myself down... and get on with it. But that approach, and the actual hardware of the job itself is exactly the same as years ago when I was drawing for EAGLE. From The Sunday Times into the Radio Times - "Doctor Who", there's an example, exactly the same, the comic strip format, showing "Doctor Who" for the cover of Radio Times - ten or fifteen years ago, it'd been unheard of."
Sunday Times Magazine 5 October 1969
Artist posed by David Bellamy
 The Sunday Times Magazine commissioned a series of comic strip art pictorial journalism features: A young artist "Weary Pilgrimage of Fred Blenkinsop" (5 Oct 69); Playwright's progress (16 Nov 69); Last of the Great Inventions (23 Aug 70; Call the heart squad (13 Sep 70); Jam Today - Supertrafficman! picture strip (11 Oct 1970); A Discreditable Exercise about credit checking (6 Dec 70); Inside Racing (25 Apr 71).

FA: "For those who haven't seen any of your Sunday Times work, could you give a run-down on the type of subjects covered?"
FB: "Well, some were about things like the problems of putting on a play at the Royal Court Theatre, heart attacks, the struggling artist, the traffic problem at Charing Cross Road and Centrepoint and so on."

The Sunday Times Magazine front cover posed by Frank's son David as an aspiring artist sitting with his portfolio on a train with a pop art montage above. He also posed talking to Frank and with Nancy in the interior panels.

Some of the reference shots used for some Sunday Times pieces, salvaged by Alan Davis and now on his website, cast light upon the process of creating this artwork.

It is interesting the extent to which this finished art only superficially derives from the source references.

Another piece of artwork rescued from Frank's studio is the part-completed first attempt at the inside horse racing spread, originally titled "Devious Ways to Win". For whatever reason, the published version is entirely unlike the abandoned piece - even the frames illustrating the tactics are completely dissimilar to the original version of same frame. Surprisingly the effort invested by FB in originally creating the frames, including those brought almost to completion, was not saved and recycled (it might be expected that an artist would trace-off such an image and re-use the work). Even a frame which is most closely similar to the previous version is not exactly the same. Rather, they have been, apparently effortlessly or as easily, totally re-imagined and redrawn!

NEXT: The 1970s!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - Robin Hood & Bride of Jenghiz Khan (H264)


This "Robin Hood" appeared in Swift 24 Nov 1956
The Heritage auction this week contains not only another Garth original but also more excitingly, an original from the Swift comic, Robin Hood


They describe the piece, which appeared in Swift dated 24 November 1956, in this way:

Frank Bellamy Swift Vol. 3 #47 "Robin Hood," Episode 29, Page 2 Original Art (Hulton Press, 1956). Never a better Robin Hood than the series created by Bellamy for Swift, a British publication. Each large-scale panel throbs with painterly passion, and the facial expressions, body language, and cinematic compositions are on a par with the famous Robin Hood movie of 1938. The deep horizontal gutters, or white spaces, were designed to contain printed text in the published editions. Ink and greyscale watercolors over graphite on illustration board. Image area, 12" x 15.5". Excellent condition.
To demonstrate how it looked in the finished comic, I dug around in my collection and realised I don't own the actual comic from which this art came. But the one preceding is in my collection, so please enjoy that!.

Swift 17 November 1956 Cover

Swift 17 November 1956
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
Written by Clifford Makin and drawn by Frank Bellamy
Bellamy drew the strip in Swift, a companion comic for younger children, to the famed Eagle comic, from Volume 3:19 - 3:52, 4:1 - 4:8 (12 May 1956 - 29 December 1956, 5 January 1957 - 23 February 1957) and the strip became "Robin Hood and Maid Marian" after that until Volume 4:33 (17 August 1957).

If you want to read the whole of "Robin Hood" pick up a copy of the Book Palace reprint - 134 pages of lovely artwork and commentary by Steve Holland.

H264 episode of  "Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

The second auction piece is continuing the story of Jenghiz Khan as outlined already many times on this blog, so there I shall leave it except to quote Heritage:

Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip H264 Original Art (Daily Mirror, c. 1974). An insolent tongue has our hero and his bound topless maiden sidekick chained for vulture fodder on this high contrast thriller, numbered H264. Frank Bellamy is one of the celebrated titans of British comic strip art. This ink over graphite on illustration board daily has an image area of 20.5" x 5.25", and the art is in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection.
As usual I will add the details after the auction of how much they sell for below


Robin Hood
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121735
LOT #: 14005
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$1,015.75 (inc. Buyer's Premium) = £785.58
No of bids:7

END DATE: 27 August 2017

J24: The Angels of Hell Gap
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121735
LOT #: 14006 
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$382.40 = £295.67
No of bids:7
END DATE: 27 August 2017

Monday, 14 August 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - Jenghiz Khan (H275) & Angels of Hell's Gap (J24)


H275 episode of  "Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

Heritage have 2 Garths for auction and again one is from the story "Bride of Jenghiz Khan" I never understand why they 'lock' the viewing of some nudity and not others, so you might need to log in to see it on their site, but here it's easily available!

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip H275 Original Art (Daily Mirror, c. mid-1970s). This daily strip displays the fantastic chiaroscuro artwork of Frank Bellamy, from the end of his career. Produced in ink over graphite on illustration board with an image area of 20.5" x 5.25". Slight edge toning; otherwise, in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection

J24 episode of  "Garth: The Angels of Hell's Gap" Drawn by Frank Bellamy
 The second is episode J24 from "The Angels of Hell's Gap" - Bellamy loved his Westerns so was in his element. 


The whole story ran originally in the national UK newspaper the Daily Mirror from 15 January 1975 - 2 May 1975 (J12-J101). It was reprinted in Garth: The Angels of Hell's Gap by the now-defunct All Devon Comic Collectors Club (No.13 [No date]), and in the Daily Mirror from  Monday 21 February 2011 to Tuesday 12 April 2011 -  coloured by Martin Baines.

Want to read more of Jenghiz Khan? Your wish is my command!
Here are the 5 strips from the series taken from the above-mentioned All Devon Comic Collectors Club reprint

Taken from the All Devon reprint

H275: Bride of Jenghiz Khan
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121734
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$382.40 (inc. Buyer's Premium) = £296.55
No of bids: 6
END DATE: 20 August 2017

J24: The Angels of Hell Gap
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121734
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$382.40 (inc. Buyer's Premium) = £296.55
No of bids: 8
END DATE: 20 August 2017

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - Bride of Jenghiz Khan (H262)


H262 episode of  "Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

Heritage have another Garth for auction, this time from the story "Bride of Jenghiz Khan" The last one sold went for £348.

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip H262 Original Art (Daily Mirror, c. 1974). An insolent tongue has our hero and his bound topless maiden sidekick in a heap of trouble on this high contrast thriller, numbered H262. Frank Bellamy is one of the celebrated titans of British comic strip art. This ink over graphite on illustration board daily has an image area of 20.5" x 5.25", and the art is in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection.
The whole story ran originally in the national UK newspaper the Daily Mirror from 28 September 1974 - 14 January 1975 (H228-J11). It was reprinted in Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan by the now-defunct All Devon Comic Collectors Club (No.1 [No date]), in Garth: Bride of Jenghiz Khan  (Daily Strips No. 1). London: J. Dakin, P. Hudson & G. Lawley. and latterly in the Daily Mirror from  Tuesday 19 February 2013 to Wednesday 10 April 2013 -  coloured by Martin Baines.
Want to read more? Here are the 5 strips from the series taken from the above-mentioned All Devon Comic Collectors Club reprint

Taken from the All Devon reprint

WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121732
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$525.80 (inc. Buyer's Premium) = £403.18
No of bids:4
END DATE: 6 August 2017

Saturday, 29 July 2017

CENTENARY ARTICLE: Part Three: 1950s - 1960s continued by David Jackson

FRANK BELLAMY - design and technique
Part Three: 1950s-1960s continued

By David Jackson
[Part One]
[Part Two]


1958 reprint of Clifford Makin / Frank Bellamy strip biography

1957
The opportunity to develop distinctive layout design innovations did not present itself until Frank Bellamy moved to Eagle to draw the back-page "The Happy Warrior" strip biography of Sir Winston Churchill in line and wash full colour. [I have to mention it appeared on the day Sputnik 1 was launched - 4 October 1957 ~Norman]

FB: "Apparently, someone on EAGLE had the idea of running a comic-strip biography of a still-living personality. They'd done biblical characters and such in the past, but never a living person. So they commissioned me from Swift, to draw the strip. And a real punishing job it was too."
FA: "Looking back over your EAGLE work, it seems you started experimenting with a few new techniques while drawing the Churchill strip."
FB: "With some adventure strips, it's often you see stunt colour effects of the lighting - for instance, a purple shadow on one side of the face - but I was nervous about treating Churchill in that way. Until one day I got a letter saying I could go to town on it and do whatever I wanted. So, I started out splitting frames with zigzags, and putting an oval frame into the middle of the page and from then on I experimented more and more. That's why it looks rather subdued at the beginning, but in the end it goes into a strip technique. But I never got to fully develop experimenting until later strips like "Fraser of Africa" and "Heros the Spartan"."

The publishers' formulaic set appearance of level banks of frames of the earlier b/w stories was gradually developed into bespoke designs allowing adjustments to be made for frame shape and importance and giving balance to the whole.
The extra dimension provided by full colour was made use of literally. Backgrounds of certain frames on the second page are early examples of creating a sense of depth perspective by means of black ink in-fill and linework for the foreground elements only.


The published pages of the series are credited but not signed, though in the frame which illustrates the WWII 'phoney' war with a figure of a relaxing soldier, the blades of grass read 'FB'.


The outline figures against the union flag background to Churchill's "Finest Hour" speech include portraits of the Bellamy family:

Eagle 11 April 1958

  • Frank himself (in a flying jacket) 
  • His mother Grace, above and right of him
  • Possibly his sister Eva slightly further right in a cap
  • His father Horace George Bellamy to the left
  • Nancy Bellamy in profile in a mop cap at left
  • Their son David is the boy in school uniform and cap. 

In the last frame of Eagle Vol.9 No.24 (numbered as p45 in the 1958 book collection, David's uncle, who was in the 8th Army, is giving the thumbs-up).

Eagle Vol.9 No.24

1958
"The Happy Warrior" concluded with a fine full page linear portrait graphic of Sir Winston Churchill in Eagle Vol.9 No.36. Whether the subsequent film Young Winston would have been made (either, at all, or in the way that it was) were it not for FB's picture strip biography for Eagle - effectively a 'storyboard' for the movie - is an open question!
In comics - rather than hiring an entire film crew, extras, cast and stars, costumes, and building sets, props and going on location - a 'shooting script' was given instead to Frank Bellamy.

Eagle 22 November 1958

The next strip was biblical: "The Shepherd King" - the story of David, again for the Eagle back page. The title portrait frame at top left, which continued to be revised as the character matured, was first replaced between No.41 and No.42 as FB recognised the potential of his depiction of David in the lower central frame of No.41 and the frame is further developed to use as the recurring portrait-frame for the next several issues.

Eagle 25 April 1959

1959
"The Travels of Marco Polo". Drawn by FB from Vol.10 No.16 until No.23 and taken over by Peter Jackson - who many years later wrote a few paragraphs about this: "Meeting Frank Bellamy".

"As I had never met Frank Bellamy, but only admired him from afar, this seemed as good a time as any to make his acquaintance. And since I was taking over from him I would now learn all the secrets of his technique. [...] He was quite willing to talk about his technique but there were not, as I might have guessed, any 'secrets'. Just sheer brilliance of draughtsmanship and years of hard work. The technique was there for all to see. He told me what it was that created those magical tonal values out of countless dots. Patience. Infinite patience."
From the Fantasy Advertiser interview:

FA: "One of your own personal touches, which makes your work so easily recognisable is your 'dot stipple' technique of shading..".
FB: "Funnily enough, the Radio Times people called on me and asked me to use that old technique in my artwork for them."
FA: "What made you start stippling your art?
FB: "It started when I wanted to break down an area of black into grey. I couldn't water the black into grey as it wouldn't reproduce - the printer can't water his ink. It had to be positive black or white, no in-betweens. So the only way to do it was to create an illusion of grey which I did with small black dots. And then, to supplement that I'd use the three colours together. Had they been 100% pure, they would give a white, but being impure they give a phoney grey."

FA: "Do you use a Rapidograph for your stippling?"
FB: "No, just a straight pen."
FA: "What nibs do you use?"
FB: "My favourite nib is a Gillott 1950. I find it very good, not too flexible or too hard."
FA: "And your brush?"
FB: "Just an ordinary sable brush."
These are from the 1950s but are still produced

FA: "Do you use a soft or hard pencil for your layouts and what kind of pencil layout do you do - a rough or finished one?"
FB: "I always use an HB moderate hard pencil. I've been using an HB since EAGLE, because, while it was easy to remove the pencil marks, if I'd used a softer pencil, the board would have started to get dirty. And it is quite a crime to put dirty board under infra-red camera. My normal way of working would be to draw in pencil and then ink in the linework with a pen. Then I would fill in the large black areas with a brush, and finally, when everything's done, I'd fill in the colour. But all of the pencil must be rubbed out before the colour is added, or it will be trapped under the ink, which is transparent. When using pure tone, not contained by line, you draw the shape lightly in pencil until you get it right, and then rub it out until it has almost vanished, so you can just see it, and then direct brushwork on the top. So, with an HB pencil you get no dirt on the CS10 and no retouch bill from the engraver."
FA: "I believe CS10 can be a difficult kind of board for colour - what brand of ink do you use?"

FB: "Yes. Ink can be a difficult medium. But I prefer it to water colour. I use waterproof inks for colouring but with the water colour technique. It's very difficult and I think it should be printed on the bottle...USE CONFIDENTLY, because that's what is needed. You've got to take a deep breath and slap it on. The actual inks I use are the German 'Pelikan' inks, because I find them to be the best inks in the world. [...] I boiled them down to one red, one yellow and one blue, and obviously, the black. I use vermillion for the red, ultramarine for the blue and straight yellow."
FA: "You mixed from the three basic colours rather than taking a shade straight from a bottle?"
FB: "I'd never take a green straight from a bottle. I'd mix my own with blue and yellow which is exactly the way it's printed. This way it has a better chance of being printed looking the same as the original."
He never used distilled water (recommended in manufacturer's instructions) to thin the ink washes.
FA: "How do you get such a flat edge to your colour work? Do you mask it?"
FB: "I use a very simple mask - a piece of Sellotape:

FA: "Of course CS10 is excellent board for this - this tape can be removed easily without damaging the surface."
FB: Yes. I stick it down, wash over with colour, let it dry and then peel it off, leaving a nice sharp edge."
Colyer & Southey's CS10 Line Board
 He used a razor blade to cut the Sellotape mask to shape.
He always said the sky effect was the most difficult to handle (in the medium - waterproof inks); sometimes when the phone would ring he'd shout down, 'TELL THEM I CANNOT POSSIBLY ANSWER YET AS I'M RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SKY!'


Taken form the reprint book "The Happy Warrior" 1958 showing skies!

David Bellamy comments in Timeview on how his father preferred working with waterproof inks - carefully mixed in a palette of about sixty sections - despite their difficulties as a medium, particularly on CS10 line board, on which the inks tend to dry unevenly, yet he could wash in skies or flat areas of colour and produce an almost airbrushed effect.

FA: "That cover you did for me, for Eureka a few years ago, I noticed the black areas were really solid. Was that ordinary ink?"
FB: "With ink it's true that you don't get a solid black area on your first coat, so, as with colour inks, I go over it again and again, as much as seven or eight times, until it is solid. I never use an air-brush, it's another trick I dislike."

His 'line and wash' work comprises solid black lines, solid black areas and optical tones created by dot stipple, scribble and crosshatch etc, all of which relates to the black being the 'key line'; this is a 'work-around' to pre-empt the possibility of out-of-register colour of some printed copies - i.e. to make such copies at least readable even if not in perfect synchrony.
With black and white letterpress newspaper printing, in any square millimetre or less, there was either a white space (the paper) or a black mark (the ink) - no 'in-between' dilute grey.

Among the items rescued from Frank's studio are pages of clipped printed frames kept as a record by the artist of how some particular effect had reproduced in print. Below a b/w frame from 'King Arthur' drawn for Swift, is the pencilled note: "THIS GREY TECHNIQUE CANNOT BE USED WITH INFR RED REPRO" [See Alan Davis' site for loads of great stuff ~Norman]


With 'line and wash' tonal originals for black and white halftone reproduction on glossier, magazine format, stock paper (such as the above - or the third page of the early "Thunderbirds") the solid black ink is overlaid with a tonal grey wash - over the same 'key line' solid black pen and brush work areas and dot stipple and line hatch technique, as if it were for full colour. In BBC TV's Edition, in 1973, presenter Barry Askew says:

BA: "Let's look at what did, in fact, change you. I mean, one of your classic periods was with EAGLE and there we have an example of Dan Dare. Now what kind of technique development did you put into Dan Dare?
FB: "The technique I used, you mean the materials?"
BA: "Yes."
FB: "The materials I use have been exactly the same in all my career as a strip artist; waterproof inks. In this case full colour waterproof inks."
BA: "What about the design techniques themselves, how were those developed?"
FB: "It was a development of mine. I was tired of seeing frame upon frame of little squared-off pictures and this was the old-fashioned idea. I wanted to bring out the page as a complete page, a spread as a complete spread, to make it a unit in its own right."

In reality Dan Dare proved to be more of a challenge in more ways than one, as outlined on this blog previously - primarily in terms of adaptation to the working conditions, the established page format, existing designs and the Dan Dare studio set-up with assistants rather than the science fiction genre as such.

FA: "On Dan Dare you were working with several other artists. How much of the strip did you actually draw?"
FB: It varied from week to week. Sometimes I'd draw half a dozen frames only, the following week I might draw both pages. But I'd always draw any frames that introduced new characters. It often depended where the awkward frames would appear. As senior artist in the studio, this was my problem. The eventual idea was that I would take over the whole strip and draw both pages by myself every week."
FA: "But you didn't want that?"
FB: "No, not really. Although, as a temporary measure, I'd have preferred to draw Dan Dare in that way, complete, as Keith Watson did later."
Eagle 14 November 1959 Vol.10:39
Vol.10 No.39: FB inside page demonstrates the above point.
Vol.11 No.9: FB produced both pages.

Eagle 30 April 1960 Vol:11:18 page 1

Eagle 30 April 1960 Vol:11:18 page2

Vol.11 No.18: inside page (page 2 above) single top left frame; FB introduces the new alien spacecraft as an 'on-screen schematic' with the rest of the page by the studio team.
The Dan Dare studio artists and FB collaborated on the front page of Vol.11 No.2 - the inside page is all Bellamy and signed - with the lower three frame sequence being by FB and the main frame by the team, might on first sight be taken to be a Bellamy page.

FB: "But the other artists were employed on a freelance basis to help me with fill-in frames and such. I never really have been happy working that way. If I look at Alex Raymond art, I like to see pure Alex Raymond, not inked by Fred Bloggs. It's okay if Fred Bloggs is helping out with some research or rubbing out the pencils, but I like the drawing to be a personal thing."

EAGLE Vol.11 No.4 front page illustrates the logic of this.
Eagle 23 January 1960 Vol:11:4 page 1

FA: "You had one restriction on Dan Dare, I believe ... You were drawing the originals printed size. Was this very difficult?"
FB: "Actually, I prefer never to have to draw a strip more than a quarter up..."
FA: "...Which is only fractionally bigger than the printed size. Why do you prefer this size?
FB: "I don't actually, I prefer never to have to draw a strip more than quarter up...
FA: But I would've thought you could get sharper lines and a tighter effect if the originals were drawn for reduction?
FB: "No. I don't want it to appear more detailed in print, just because it has been reduced a lot from the original drawing size. I'd rather present a finely drawn original in the first place, and therefore, once again, give the editor a piece of finished work ready for press, that he can look at almost exactly as it will appear in print."
 Some Dan Dare studio methods were alien to Frank Bellamy.
FB: "The Dan Dare team used to make roughs, but I always thought that if you make a highly detailed rough, you can't draw the same thing a second time, on your board, and capture as much atmosphere. There's always something lacking. There is no spontaneity or imagination in copying a rough on to board."
Keith Watson once related the following to me. One of the Hampson team was copying a rock formation from a reference photograph, FB was nonplussed and said to him, "Good God, if you can't draw a few rocks..!"

Eagle 24 October 1959 Vol.10:36 - NOTE the rocks!
 Many, possibly most, artists might have done the same. But though such a found reference would be 'realistic', it would not necessarily best meet the graphic dynamics, the 'flow', or shape required, on a particular frame or page - up to and including, depending on context, looking 'too photographic'.
What it pointed up was the difference between the long-term, comprehending, distilling and internalising, artistically, the essential structure of something, as opposed to short-term, short-cut copying what happens to be in a found reference source, which could be either ideal or not!
Interestingly, long before then, FB must have been somehow dissatisfied - possibly unconsciously but probably consciously - in the way he had been depicting rocky landscapes (though they would have appeared perfectly good enough to a reader) or gained new insight, and, over time had made refined incremental improvements in his way of rendering geology, so much so that, as his son David once rightly commented, as an aside, that the rocks look so rocky.


Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin had been sold by Hulton Press to Odhams, publishing as Longacre Press, and Hulton's last issue of Eagle was Vol.11 No.1 dated 2nd January 1960.

Nevertheless, within the imposed limitations outlined above, experiments with page layout, innovative graphic design and dynamic panel breaks continued.

The original art from Eagle Vol:11:4

Such as the Vol.11 No.4 spectacular and vertiginous Dan Dare crash-dive cover sequence - the filmic contribution made by the altimeter numerals is in itself notable - culminating in a spectacular explosion (a Bellamy speciality).


The common British logo style through the Sixties

From its inception, Hulton's Eagle had carried the distinctive masthead (which no doubt seemed a good idea at the time) but was itself an invariable constriction, by its size and form and place on the front page, which meant, from a storytelling art and design consideration (let alone as possible collected volumes) the weekly loss of a quarter of the cover space. New owner Longacre Press lost no time in commissioning an updated new look for the Eagle masthead and front page, and particularly for Dan Dare. (Volume 11:12, 19 March 1960)

FB: "They asked me to redesign Dan Dare. The uniforms, space fleet, everything. This meant I had to make sketches of everything before I actually started drawing the strip, but I prefer to do that, anyway. I've always done so, on Fraser, Heros and so on. This let the editor know exactly what everything looked like from the start so he wouldn't get any surprises sprung on him in the middle of an instalment."
FA: "Did you have any qualms about re-vamping Frank Hampson's personal creation?"
FB: "Oh, yes. I didn't like doing that. But it was a directive from upstairs - that's what they wanted, and you can only give the client what he wants, so that was it." 
Republication of the Fantasy Advertiser interview in Warrior 22 (September 1984), with some variations, included additional art and this extra Q&A:

"Why did you get the directive to revamp the costumes and ships?"
FB: "I think it was just the march of progress. They had tended to look old fashioned, and they wanted to keep ahead of what was happening in Cape Canaveral. At the beginning of Eagle, everything looked super-futuristic, but the actual real life events were catching up extremely fast. They also wanted a 'new look' to coincide with the facelift the cover was getting. I did lots of drawings of the space fleet which were exploded drawings, showing the cabin areas, undercart, rocket compartment and that, which I'd hoped was also help an author so he wouldn't make the common mistake of having someone stepping from one cabin to another, when they are supposed to be at opposite ends of the ship. I tried to keep a realistic approach. Later, there was an exhibition, I think it was at Charter House School, showing 'the birth of the comic strip', and they used my approach, with my art, preliminary sketches, the script, pencil and ink artwork. The interest was so great that members of the American Air Force would go down, thinking these diagrams of ships were for real."
- Laughter -

Eagle Vol.11 No.12, 19th March 1960, is the 'new look' issue for which FB also produced both Dan Dare pages.

Eagle Vol.11 No.12, 19th March 1960
 Many of his pages which followed in the series stylistically prefigure TV21(for example, EAGLE Vol.11 No.15 p2).
Eagle Vol.11 No.18 cover page (see above) includes some innovative FB stars and space nebula development of his 'dot stipple' technique. This effect is further developed on the front cover of No.21. Frank's stars are distinctive and unique and appear as a pragmatic and brilliant design solution to the 'problem' (as Frank might have seen it) that the most efficient way of creating stars in pen and ink is to lay-in flat areas of black and speckle with blobs of process white - which technically, from all he has said, Frank wouldn't want to do. Hence his starfield design (requiring a thought-through understanding of its micro-component elements to produce the specific effect) which removed the need for process white.
FB also started to develop line-hatch alternatives to stipple tonals during Dan Dare which would develop over time and would lead in the 1970s to FB referring (above) to the stippling method as an "old technique" (returning to it for art editor David Driver at Radio Times). The pen-work change includes Vol.11 Nos.20-22-23 and the slight patch of tentative linework hatched along the cheekbone of Dan Dare in No.26, heralded a technique development which might then have seemed insignificant. By whatever insight, FB saw reason to experiment with what would be possible with another method.


Coincidentally or not, Eagle Vol.11 No.26, 25th June 1960, page eight, also includes an unattributed and so far unattributable depiction of Gary Player in a Slazenger sports equipment advertisement rendered in dot stipple effect.


Eagle Vol.11 No.28 front cover is the final Frank Bellamy Dan Dare, published on 9th July 1960.

Eagle Vol.11 No.28, 9 July 1960
FA: "You drew Dan Dare for exactly a year. Why did you stop?"
FB: "I'd only wanted to draw it for a year."
FA: "Have there ever been any sets you've particularly disliked drawing?"
FB: "Well, once again, Dan Dare, because I felt cramped on it, as I've said."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Many thanks to David for this series of overviews of Bellamy's career.  In the next episode we plunge into the 1960s