Tuesday, 17 October 2017

CENTENARY ARTICLE: Part Five: 1970 - 1976 by David Jackson

FRANK BELLAMY - design and technique
Part Five: 1970-1976  

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


1970-1976

One day in the early 1970s the Bellamy's telephone rang and the voice asking to speak to Frank Bellamy was Paul McCartney. As David Bellamy later remarked, there was always some joker who'd ring up and say they're 'Elvis', but no, it really was. Word had it that Ringo Starr was also a fan. The outcome being a meeting with Paul and Linda and a commission for concept artwork (unpublished) around the idea of a winged figure and/or for the cover of a solo album by Linda under the project title of "Linda and the Red Stripes". According to an article titled "Seaside Woman by Suzy and the Red Stripes", Paul called the group Suzy (Linda) and the Red Stripes (Wings) and they signed with Epic under that name. The name Red Stripes is from one of Paul and Linda's favorite drinks.

[The above summary is from a description by Nancy Bellamy in her own words, transcribed from a radio interview on this blog on 26 May 2007].

Wall's Wonderman by Frank Bellamy
Wall's Wonderman by Frank Bellamy

Lintas Advertising Agency contacted Frank Bellamy to draw "Wall's Wonderman and the Bridge of Terror" and "Wall's Wonderman and the Martian Inferno", two b/w full page ads which appeared in Smash and in Valiant comics.

The Book Palace reprint of Bellamy's WW1 work

FA: "You also did five months of work for IPC's Look and Learn..."
FB: "Yes. Illustrating a First World War series, mostly filling a spread, for Jack Parker. I tried a variety of techniques on this one - something I'm eternally grateful to Jack Parker for allowing me to do."
Look and Learn #452

The Great War series appeared as interior illustrations in Look and Learn from June to November 1970, (No.437 to No.462), and the cover of No.452. In terms of the variety of techniques, the cover and interior art of that issue, and immediately subsequent issues, are rendered in minimal linework with a sort of scrubbed drybrush effect. Despite not being in the continuity picture-strip format, the artwork is mainly comic-strip style rendering but - with what would be relatively small single frames in any comics page - actually at full-page size.

Look and Learn #455
Radio Times commissioned a number of covers and full colour interior pages and b/w spot illustrations on a broad range of BBC output, from sf, fantasy and horror, to military ceremonial and movie stars.

Radio Times 1-7 January 1972 Cover

Radio Times (11 May 1974 - 17 May 1974)
"The Movie Quiz Late horror show " p.54

Some of the Doctor Who cameos accompanying listings

"Star Trek" featured in the Radio Times as a full colour page in comics format and, later, small b/w illos.

Frank Bellamy Doctor Who artwork for Radio Times became the benchmark style for illustrations of the series, launching the collection with a three page picture-strip.

Radio Times (16 December 1972 - 29 December 1972)
Doctor Who and the Sea Devils [Omnibus edition], p.82

There is an interesting similarity in terms of Frank's interpretations being actual improvements on the reference sources from real life - the same way reference was improved upon in FB's depictions of the Apollo 11 moon landing [see the previous part of David's article ~Norman] is also evident in his interpretation of The Sea Devils: "..ENJOY YOUR REVENGE!". In both instances the innovative dynamic quality put into the art does not exist in the source material to be copied from in the first place, never mind accurately..!

Timeview by David Bellamy

Frank's Doctor Who illustrations for Radio Times were later collected in Timeview with a commentary by David Bellamy. He notes the contrast between his father's method and approach and that of the generality of other artists who normally use tracings and try-outs in a series of steps towards assembling the final image. And he described seeing his father colouring the background of the illustration for the Loch Ness storyline "WE ARE DEALING WITH A MONSTER THAT IS NOT OF ORDINARY FLESH AND BLOOD" It was really whizzed in!

Radio Times (29 May1971 - 4 June 1971)

"The Movie Crazy Years" front cover featured FB's own 'director's chair' in the foreground as a visual reference 'prop'.

Radio Times 7-13 July 1973
"Saturday Night Theatre: The Ministry of Fear"

Daily Mirror  Garth: Ghost Town G152

Another of Frank's self-posed photo shots, salvaged from his studio and, as noted by Alan Davis, was used both as reference for Radio Times (7 July 1973) "Saturday Night Theatre: The Ministry of Fear" and for Garth: "Ghost Town" G152 centre panel.

Frank Bellamy was interviewed in the BBC TV programme about journalism, Edition, presented by Barry Askew, broadcast on Friday 30th November 1973.

Edition began with a close-up on a Bellamy drawing of Barry Askew in a hectic pose, at his desk, paper strewn about, above him is the legend "POW!" [Unfortunately this is not known to exist in film or paper form ~Norman]

BA: "Edition... POW! That's one man's view of me sitting here in the Edition studio. The only thing he hasn't drawn are my tortured tonsils, for which, my apologies at the outset! Frank Bellamy, whose cartoons have a unique, unchanging quality, stretching from Dan Dare in the EAGLE, to Garth, which he now does in the Daily Mirror..".
John Allard's artwork on "Garth: Sundance"

Frank Bellamy's first art on "Garth: Sundance"
Both the above are the re-coloured strips by Martin Baines

Garth. The newspaper strip represented a change in format, both in terms of the scale and quantity of the original artwork and its visual and narrative themes targeted at the newspaper readership.

Having expressed a preference in the Fantasy Advertiser interview for drawing at same-size and not more than a quarter-up, the lettering by John Allard had established that originals were drawn at two and a half times printed size (original image area 5ins x 20½ins).

It also unavoidably represented a return to working with an art assistant, John Allard, who had been the Daily Mirror editorial assistant to Garth creator Steve Dowling from the strip's beginning and creditably succeeded him for a time as the artist on Garth in his own right.

John Allard, in addition to lettering the strip and applying mechanical tints, continued to draw backgrounds and some fill-in frames, for the early stories; but again, as with Dan Dare, where the art assistant contributes to the actual drawing, there is a marked incompatibility in individual art styles when they are mixed and not matched.

Fantasy Advertiser asked Frank Bellamy what he thought of artist's aids like zip-a-tone, letrafilm and mechanical tint.

FB: "I can't comment on them because I've never used them."

FB: "Another thing I've never used is process white. I'm not showing off here, but I'll give you a prize if you can find any correction done with process white on any of my work. It's a bit more purism, but if you slap a piece of process white or process black on a piece of artwork, over a mistake, on the way to the engraver it could flake off, or the camera could pick up the grey unevenness. But in the first place - although it sounds hard - you shouldn't have had to use process white in the first place."
The Newspaper Strip Society Newsletter No.4, February 1981 features "In Conversation with John Allard" by John Dakin covering his time as art assistant from the beginning of the Garth strip and concluding with his working with FB under Mirror editor Mike Malloy:

"... John Allard was told at very short notice that he would revert back to assistant artist on the strip. After just two weeks of illustrating Sundance, John stepped down and Frank Bellamy began in mid-story [28 Jun 1971]. Under the terms of the agreement John Allard continued to do much of the background artwork and he even drew the occasional complete panel (the last panel of Sundance for example). This situation continued until the end of Ghost Town.
Last strip in "Garth: Sundance"
 Beginning with his eighth story Frank Bellamy drew the strip entirely on his own. The title strip of Mask of Atacama [12 Jul 1973 G165] is the first Garth strip to bear the famous Bellamy signature.
Menomonee Falls Gazette #157 showing the start of FB's signature
now it was all his own work

With sex and violence becoming commonplace in the media, to coincide with the change in artists it was decided at editorial level to make several changes. Now Garth would kill, sometimes quite viciously; and although there had always been a certain amount of nudity in the strip, it would now become more sensual by the inclusion of bedroom scenes. As John Allard recalls with amusement the sexual element was included partly to dispel some of the unsavoury rumours, that had been circulating around the newspaper offices, about Garth's relationship with Professor Lumiere. As well as these changes there was also the more realistic Bellamy style to turn the strip into something very different. Garth himself looked broader in the shoulder with slimmer hips and a more contemporary hairstyle; and his features were more strongly defined.
All this led to a completely unexpected occurrence, the Daily Mirror offices were flooded with letters complaining about Garth's changed appearance. Charles Roger, the then head of the Mirror's strip department asked Frank Bellamy to adapt his pencils to the old style in which Garth had been drawn. Understandably Bellamy angrily refused, and there the matter was left, never being taken as far as editorial level. John says it was the only time he ever saw Frank Bellamy lose his temper. John had lunch with Frank a few times and found him to be nervous, quietly spoken, courteous and proud of the recognition his work received."

It must have been a feeling of deja-vu all over again - flashback to Dan Dare when FB not only began work part way into an already running story, "Sundance", but again, as with Dan Dare, some readers noticed the change and wrote in..!

But, quite avoidably, it might be assumed, had management dealt with staffing issues more adroitly, the situation had created something of a turf war, or, given the western- themed first story, a range war, albeit with the shooting only on paper.


Having brought in Frank Bellamy he had then not given a free hand to do his work in the way he saw fit. The resulting problems were still in evidence even after he was drawing and signing the work as his own. Examples from "The Mask of Atacama" and "The Wreckers" (and, thanks to Alan Davis, now online) demonstrate there still existed a quite remarkable situation where the lead artist was being expected to fill-in the actual drawing as best as could be done, in and around whatever space was left by the previously set-out lettering panels and word-balloons. These comparisons show him reworking a particular strip to make better use of its layout possibilities, including breaking-up the dialogue to improved dramatic effect, as only he could have visualised it.

That the scripted visuals were also subject to revision by the excising of extraneous elements unnecessary to the dialogue is demonstrated by a comparison of the scripted directions with the finished strip for "The Women of Galba" [Again see Alan's great site ~Norman].

Scriptwriter Jim Edgar, who lived not far from Frank Bellamy's home in Northamptonshire, was interviewed by John Dakin in The Newspaper Strip Society Newsletter (No.2 July 1980):

JD: "Did Frank Bellamy have any say in the scripting or plotting of Garth?

JE: "Frank Bellamy had little or no say in the scripting or storyline of Garth. However, some of the stories emerged from discussions between myself and Frank. He certainly was fond of the western aspect and accordingly several westerns were written. Frank usually worked tightly to the scripts which were always written by me."

In Edition, presenter Barry Askew questions Frank Bellamy about the scripts.

BA: "Does the scripting give you a problem - I mean how do you relate the script to your work?"

FB: "I keep in general to the script. But occasionally, you get little things on a typewritten manuscript don't work visually. Then it's up to me to, er, re-draw, or re-think, or present it, in a different manner."

BA: "If you find a script that you're not, yourself, in sympathy with, can you draw to that or not?"
FB: "Well yes but er..".
BA: "If you don't actually 'feel' the script?"
FB: "Well, I try to make myself feel it and it's much better if I can get one that I am interested in in the first place. For instance, the western one, I was thoroughly interested in drawing a western because I wanted to get the little bits of authenticity into it, instead of it just being a cowboy story."

"A Cowboy Story" was, coincidentally, a two page western spoof in full colour for Bert Fegg's Nasty Book for Boys and Girls, aka The Nasty Book by Terry Jones and Michael Palin, republished as Dr Fegg's Encyclopeadia of All World Knowledge.



FB: "But I do find that when starting a new story, it takes a while to get into it, so I can feel about what I'm drawing. There's nothing worse than just getting the first script, and not knowing anything more about what's going on than a reader would. Like an actor I need to understand the character I am drawing. If I was drawing a western, for instance, I'd feel like I was walking around with bow legs, and a .45 strapped down low."

When interviewed for Look East, Frank said:

FB: "There's one thing while drawing a strip, I get very, very involved, I must get involved. ... Well, I have to. All my strip career I've tried to get involved in the characters, whether it's war, space or whatever; you must get excited about it, get the old adrenalin going. There's much more to it than just drawing the thing. It's not a hobby. It's a serious business. That's how I treat it. I shall always do so. And any development that I can think of I can assure you I shall put them in."


FB: "Accuracy is very important, because the readership - for instance The Daily Mirror, could be between thirteen and fourteen million - somewhere along the line, if I'm drawing a western, there's someone there who is probably a buff on western arms, ammunition, clothing, and I must be correct because they always like to write in and say, 'You've made a mistake'.

In Edition, Barry Askew said:

BA: "But to bring it right up to date, of course, you are, I suppose, most famous for Garth and here we have one or two examples of Garth. I think the first one is from last April."

Reprint from Menomonee Falls Gazette #135
FB: "Yes. In fact it is a western strip. Previous to the first one, which was of course taking place in the present day, he arrives in a ghost town and gradually changes off into the old west."
BA: "He's a remarkable character there, isn't he?"
FB: "You see in the second episode there, he is a western marshal."

[Camera then cuts to (est.G.282 / G.283) strips from The Wreckers].

Garth: The Wreckers G282

Garth: The Wreckers G283
 BA: "And then we bring him right up to date, if we look at, for example, yesterday's and today's. What's he doing here?"
FB: "This is, er, what we usually call a 'suit story' - where we have people walking around in suits, this is espionage sort of thing. I can't tell you further because that would be giving the show away on a present running story.
BA: "How long has that got to run?"
FB: "They usually run about seventeen weeks, it varies one way and another."

Day to day, the newspaper strip (the clue is in the name), being effectively a single bank of panels, is a limited format in terms of design options per se, let alone in comparison with a full colour centrespread.

Within these limits, the "Sundance" story makes early use of the design idea of figures which stand in front of, as distinct from within, a panoramic landscape frame background, in a 'tip-of-the-hat' to classic illustrator Fortunino Matania.

FB: "I've often been asked if people have influenced me. I find it difficult to sort out the difference between people who influence me or impress me with their work One person who did impress me was Fortunino Matania, an artist who specialized in highly detailed work on Greece, Ancient Egypt and World War One. I have a great admiration for him."

Apart from the restrictions placed on the artist in terms of available space - being at one and the same time drawn over-size but reproduced very small - also there was also the loss of colour, and the strip was rendered in pen and ink very much in a way to take this fact into account - never imagining let alone intending that it ever would be coloured.

Garth: The Cloud of Balthus E275
Black and white letterpress newsprint was never more limiting than the second Garth script - "The Cloud of Balthus" requirement to depict the detonation of a rocket vehicle in space. The newsprint format made technically difficult that which would be more straightforwardly rendered in colour. Although the creation of spectacular explosions on paper had long since been a Bellamy signature effect, the methodology of their creation involved colour washes of waterproof inks for photogravure, or even halftone, not b/w letterpress reproduction. None of which proved to be any sort of impediment whatsoever! As the innovative graphic realisation of that frame in b/w line ultimately demonstrated.

[As David mentions colour, we can take a look at how Martin Baines handled the explosion ~Norman]
Daily Mirror 15 March 2012 coloured by Martin Baines

The innovative design of the aliens (the eponymous Balthus and his minions) is compelling. It would be interesting to compare how such strikingly original visuals with their scripted descriptions. Even the matching costume designs worn by Garth and his female companion (revealed on removing their spacesuits - technically convincing outfits in themselves), are both sleek and inventive, particularly so considering their tops in fact consist of two sets of running contoured parallel lines!

Garth: The Cloud of Balthus E272

Otherwise, in costume design terms, Frank Bellamy invariably depicted a distinctive tapering sleeve and the folds they produce - purely as a visual improvement - irrespective of whether any official reference sources provided had this design or not.

Consistencies in Bellamy design forms, as part of a thought-through repertoire, such as the previously described sandstone geology landscapes, also included Scots pine trees - a design element which the artist had completely understood and internalised and could be produced to match whatever was required to fit a given design space. The effect of light on distinctive cracked bark and spiked greenery has a extremely pleasing design aesthetic. A possible further consideration may have been, being an evergreen, it also avoided any necessity of having to keep in mind seasonal considerations which might be set out in a script.

The Newspaper Strip Society Newsletter (No.2 July 1980) interview with Garth scriptwriter Jim Edgar concludes:

JE: "Frank lived in the village of Geddington. He was the ultra-perfectionist, the only artist I ever met who worried over getting the right shade of black. Garth was the first national strip he ever handled, and I think it was Frank's first true bid for recognition as an artist. I think his chief failing was that he never quite learned to relax on the job. This is a failing of other fine artists I have worked with. Maybe it is endemic to the profession."

But what the readership got was five years of day after day of inventive unrelenting quality.

The Fantasy Advertiser interview was recorded in May 1973. In the introduction to its later re-publication in Warrior (1984) Dave Gibbons gives an account of Dez and he seeing the episode of Garth which Frank was working on that day, and (as with the 'work-in-progress' page of Thunderbirds described previously above) Dave reports:

"He had already inked the first two pictures but the third was a loose, expressionistic pencil 'doodle'. Again, he seemed embarrassed by its sketchiness, unused to others seeing this usually private stage of the work. To our amazement, he told us that it was his practice to then go straight to ink, without further pencilling. He seemed unmindful of the incredible boldness and skill that this represented, particularly in view of the deft crispness of his finished work.

"Finally, as Dez and I were just about to leave, we asked if he ever had the chance to do anything purely for his own pleasure. Again, Frank rushed off, this time reappearing with several huge sheets of his favourite CS10 board. Evidently he'd been missing colour during his Garth years, for here were the most stunning full-colour fantasy drawings, surpassing even his Heros the Spartan work in vigour and excitement. Despite our entreaties, he was unconvinced that anyone else would be interested in seeing them, let alone publishing them and so they went back to the privacy of his studio."
Frank Bellamy being unconvinced that anyone else would be interested in seeing the above work might be thought at this distance as being entirely self-effacing but today is another age. The conception of such work up to that time was wholly commercial. And Frank had already had the lived experience of even his best efforts failing to help save Eagle or TV21 from their eventual commercial failure.

The market at that time consisted of a readership who, it may seem odd to realise, were not fans! Comics fans were, then, a minority interest group - within a minority of fantasy fans - within a minority of science fiction fans. I seem to recall from the time that someone estimated there were about a thousand comic fans, reading fanzines, attending comic marts. The actual readership of comics as such (of whom the sf and fantasy readers were another minority), generally had no idea who drew, let alone who wrote, the stuff - their interest was genre character led, plus the dictates of their age and fashion generally meant a limited shelf-life.

That such commercial work could be in any sense a form of self-expression of an 'author' published in their own right, was then an idea in the minds of only a very few.

Unpublished - from Bob Monkhouse's collection
An unpublished 'Heros' type themed montage spread which has since come to light was in the FB collection of Bob Monkhouse.

Garth: Wolfman of Aussensee F130 - note the flowery-shirted David Bellamy

Some 'guest-appearances' in the Garth strip include his son David, in a flowered shirt, at the party in the "Wolf Man of Ausensee" story. Previous to this, Garth is driving Frank's Datsun 260Z Sports. And, (assuming Garth's adventures are related in chronological order, which they may not be), it is subsequently destroyed by an alien spacecraft in "Women of Galba" - and replaced (presumably from the insurance write-off payout) with RYK 274L, which features in "Freak Out to Fear". The Star Inn at Queen Eleanor Cross, Geddington appears as a location in "The Spanish Lady" (K.67 and K.76). David Bellamy has said the place is exactly as quiet as the postcard of it itself. This location also appeared in an episode of David Dimbleby's "Seven Ages of Britain" (shown Sun 7th Feb 2010).

Garth: Wolfman of Aussensee F127 - note the Datsun 260Z Sports

As with the previously mentioned parallel inspiration and motifs found in contemporary movies, there is a 'Garth'-look Robert Redford (in a sequence while clean-shaven) of the movie Jeremiah Johnson, which may possibly have influenced FB's subsequently revised styling of the character - assuming it isn't a complete coincidence (worldwide premiere at Cannes 7 May 1972 - the US premiere was not until the December) - which I would very much doubt!



It likely wouldn't have been entirely gone from FB's mind that he had taken over Dan Dare and Garth mid-story and readers had noticed and commented on the abrupt stylistic change. So once again another stylistic change by FB was not conveniently between stories break point. And FB resorted to subtlety - or, out and out subterfuge - (seeing that the style change is extraneous to the context of the storyline) - by gradually, unnoticeably, adapting Garth's Greek god statue type close cropped hairstyle (as FB had inherited it - as originally depicted - and up to the Wolf Man opening scene) to 'Jeremiah Johnson' style - over several banks of daily strips in 'The Wolf Man of Ausensee': from/between F.125 to F.143. This final form is as appears on the 1975 annual cover

Daily Mirror Book of Garth 1975
The covers of the Garth Book collections gave FB two opportunities for Garth in colour.

Original art for Daily Mirror Book of Garth 1976
[I wasn't clear on why David said this and put together a montage to ask him for further details and David, true gentleman that he is added this paragraph~Norman]

Garth morphs under FB's pen. I added Redford as a comparator

In Frank's first daily strips, Garth's close-cropped, Greek god statue style, is long down his neck but otherwise short curls in outline devoid of internal linework detail (no bulk to the hair) (E.162-E.166 and so on, such as last frame E.185, E.229 - E.235; Balthus E.240, and still sort of ad hoc indeterminate in definition to F.109 first frame, say and the end of Orb, to Wolf Man F.125), at which point it is still a 'moveable feast' as it were but this time, I surmise, with intent, to F.175 for example and mutating to F.194 and F.208 and from then on: i.e. the outline of the top of the head transmutes from short curls (almost 'spikey') to a smooth wavy cut, as you say, outline depicting bulk.

DISC music magazine also featured a distinctive colour full page cover of Garth - an example that areas can sometimes be more effective without a border, vignette shape - plus some b/w interior illustrations and interview with Garth by Fox-Cumming and scriptwriter Jim Edgar.


Two posters in comics line and full colour style for Gerry Cottle's Circus: one of the sensational Cimarro Brothers high wire act and one featuring Khalil Oghaby "Mighty strongman from Persia". Probably not coincidentally, Gerry Cottle was in the same class at school as Frank's son David - then already knowing that Cottle wanted to run his own circus when he left school.

From Once Upon a Time by David Larkin
Plate # 13: "Lord of the Dragons Unpublished Illustration 1975".

Once Upon A Time - some contemporary illustrators of fantasy - edited and the artists introduced by David Larkin (A Peacock Press/ Bantam Book, 1976) includes, "Lord of the Dragons" unpublished illustration and a reprint of the Doctor Who 'Loch Ness monster' interior colour illustration for Radio Times. There is no further information on the reasons for the original creation of "Lord of the Dragons" but it is self-evidently an exemplar demonstration of fine line and wash pen control.

Frank Bellamy's dynamic depictions of hands and fists are another recurrent signature design motif.

In contrast to the anecdotal stories of certain artists so unconfident of their attempts to render the complexities of the human hand, that they resort to posing their subjects with their hands in their pockets or behind their backs to avoid dealing with the problem!


In the words of John Constable, "We see nothing truly until we understand it."

The hand is so anatomically complex that ad hoc observation alone - without knowledge and understanding - is generally not sufficient to bring to an artist's attention the actual form of the structures they are looking at.

Garth: Wolfman of Aussensee F128 - note the fists and hands

It needs to be known and understood for example that the webs of skin between the fingers are half-way along the finger joint and not at the knuckle-joints themselves.

A characteristic aesthetic of Frank Bellamy hands and fists is the particular notice he must have taken of the slight convex curve along the backs of curled fingers for this to become such a distinctive feature in his work.

FA: "One famous Bellamy trademark has always been the hand, with its fingers pointing out of the frame at you..."

FB: "Yes, this is another little thing of mine. I like to give another dimension to my artwork, a sort of 3D effect. The fingers pointing out are just a part of this development. I've always had a great regard for professionalism. One of the best things that was ever said to me was when I was called a "professional's professional". And this just underlines what I mean. I'm a great believer in doing a professional job. This kind of work has been under-rated for many years. Throwaway artwork to be looked at and immediately discarded. This is a viewpoint I strongly disagree with."

Garth: The Women of Galba G11 - note the 3D effect of the pointing finger

FA: "How much comic strip work do you think you have done to date?"
FB: "A rough estimate would be about 20,000 frames - most of them being in full colour."
FA: "And that's since 1953?"
FB: "Yes. It might not sound much, but it has been a lot of very hard though enjoyable work."
==================================================
Well, that's it! Many, many thanks to David Jackson for this excellent overview - he certainly challenged me to provide images to accompany  the five parts of this overview of FB's life. I've written roughly 35,000 words of a biography myself and when retired will add more but until that time I am so grateful that we have an extensive biography on these pages. But more thatn that David has challenged me to look more closely at FB's work.

So that's another article added in this the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Frank Bellamy's birth. Is there anything more to add? YES. I have plenty more surprises up my sleeve!

If you would like to write an article, I'd be extremely happy to add it to this blog, just let me know

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - Garth: The Spanish Lady (K78)

The Star Inn, Geddington
Here's the latest strip by Frank Bellamy that appears on Heritage which comes from "The Spanish Lady" story which ran originally in 17 March 1976 - 7 July 1976 (K65-K160). It was reprinted in Garth: The Spanish Lady (Daily strips, Garth No. 3), London: John Dakin, Nov 1979 which was an A4 size reprint of 20 pages. It also appeared Garth: The Spanish Lady from the "All Devon Comic Collectors Club Daily Strips" collection - Collectors Club Editions No.3 [No date]. Its latest repint was back in the Daily Mirror newspaper itself  - Daily Mirror Wednesday 8 June 2011 - Tuesday 2 August 2011, coloured by Martin Baines

K78 episode of  "Garth: The Spanish Lady" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 1-4-75 (Daily Mirror, 1975). Frank Bellamy was a perfectionist who created some of the best color work to ever appear in British comics. His meticulously-drawn strips were always vibrant and full of life. In 1971, he began drawing the Garth strip in the Daily Mirror, which he drew until his death in 1976. This ink over graphite on Bristol [sic: CS10) daily has an image area of 20.5" x 5.25", and is Excellent condition.
If you're wondering what "Canary sack" is, which Francis Drake mentions in the first panel - Wikipedia comes to our rescue. Sir Richard Grenville has a very exciting biography which I'll leave you to explore.

Oh and before I forget, the reason for showing you the Star Inn, Geddinton is that it appears later in "The Spanish Lady" story, as Tony Smith points out in his article on Frank in the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph of 3 September 1987 (thirty years ago Tony!!)

K67 episode of  "Garth: The Spanish Lady" Drawn by Frank Bellamy
And just in case anyone is still reading this, if anyone around Geddington knows where the building is that appeared in episodes K68 and K69 below, I'd love to know. It could be in Kettering.
K68 episode of  "Garth: The Spanish Lady" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

K69 episode of  "Garth: The Spanish Lady" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

AUCTION SUMMARY

WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121743
SELLER:Heritage
LOT #14005
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$
NO. OF BIDS:
END DATE: 22 October 2017

Frank Bellamy Art - Sales and Auctions


Another centenary year addition to the blog!

Over the last year, Heritage Auctions have listed many Bellamy pieces of original art on their site which I make sure to list on this blog. I decided a while ago it would help me, if no-one else, if I kept the results of sales and auctions and wanted to bring them together. I do get the occasional email which starts with "Wonderful blog, I've got a FB original. How much is it worth?"

Well today is that day. I decided not to go further back then a year -life's too short! - and as prices change all the time. I will, from now on, add any new sales to the Google Doc, which you can access by clicking on the tab above!

I'm open to suggestions - as long as they don't take me a lot of work! If anyone I know wishes to break this down further - for example splitting the details so each column could be sorted easier - then let me know! I'm happy to delegate!

Here's a few facts to whet your appetite:
  • The average price of a Garth is £347.03
  • The highest price for a Garth strip this year was the recent sale of J214 episode of "Garth: The Bubble Man" - £498.52
  • The priciest original artwork by Bellamy (that has public sales figures) was a "Heros the Spartan" episode that appeared in Eagle 1 December 1962 Vol 13:48. It went for £4,332.01

Now before I get accusations of wanting to inflate prices by hyping them in this way, you can see all my artwork elsewhere on this blog - go search - and there's not much. But even so, take a look at the other pieces of original artwork in the latest Heritage sale and you'll see Bellamy's work has a long way to go! A Graham Ingels and Marie Severin EC Portfolio cover color production art piece from 1974 sold for £498.52 - so the same price as an original that Bellamy drew. I love Marie Severin's work (as well as her brother, John and Graham Ingels for that matter) but Severin watercolours "lovely and rich colors on a print of the Graham Ingels line art" does not appear to me to be worth the same as an original Bellamy.  But what do I know?

I had to add some Bellamy artwork here so chose some of the Martin Baines coloured reprints of various Garth strips

Any comments, you know how to email me

Norman

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Original Art: 2 Garths on Heritage - Garth: Ghost Town (G131) & The Beautiful People (J288)

So last weekend's Heritage auction of a Garth strip nearly hit £500! Is it because I said what a nice piece it is? Am I causing an increase in Bellamy's worth? Well you know what, that's fine with me as I own very little but am glad to see his work recognised!

[All links to the auctions are below in the auction summary]

This weekend there are two Garths and one is a very interesting piece - it comes from Bellamy's favourite Garth story - "Ghost Town", westerns being a favourite genre of his.

G131 episode of  "Garth: Ghost Town" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

The last one from this story that Heritage sold was on 18 June this year and it went for $478 inc. buyer's premium [£373.92 at the time!]. But this one has some classic heroic poses (the nearest one gets, in a comic strip, to a splash page from a comic!) as well as those 'Bellamy swirls'.

The second piece is nice too and comes much later in chronological order, "The Beautiful People"
 
J288 episode of  "Garth: The Beautiful People" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

Heritage describe the first piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip G131 Original Art dated 4-6-73 (Daily Mirror, 1973). This science fiction strip had a time-travel element to it, which is why today's episode looks more like a traditional Western than the typical spy/adventure-stories of the series. Bellamy really laid on the detail here! Crafted in ink over graphite on illustration board with an image area of 20.5" x 5.25", it is in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection.

and the second piece:

Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip J288 Original Art dated 6-12-75 (Daily Mirror, 1975). Frank Bellamy was a perfectionist who created some of the best work to ever appear in British comics. His meticulously-drawn strips were always vibrant and full of life. In 1971, he began drawing the Garth strip in the Daily Mirror, which he drew until his death in 1976. This daily, from near the end of his life, has an image area of 20.5" x 5.25", and aside from some light overall toning, the condition is Excellent. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection
And for your delectation and delight here's the few strips around the G131 episode of Ghost Town

From Menomonee Falls Gazette #145

AUCTION SUMMARY

WHAT? Ghost Town episode G131
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121742
SELLER:Heritage
LOT #13009
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$
No of bids:
END DATE: 15 October 2017

WHAT?: Beautiful People episode J288
WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121742
SELLER:Heritage
LOT #13010
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$
No of bids:
END DATE: 15 October 2017

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - Garth: The Bubble Man (J214)

I go on holiday where there's no wi-fi or mobile phone signal and Heritage add another Garth strip for sale! And a lovely example of Bellamy's technique of "swirls". I remember on first seeing this story in 1975 how it reminded me of the horror of Quatermass, that quintessential British hero!

J214 episode of  "Garth: The Bubble Man" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

This time Heritage have another Garth for auction, another from the story "Garth: The Bubble Man". the last one I know that came to market was in 2012 and sold for £170, but that was 5 years ago!

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip J214 Original Art Comic Strip dated 8-29-75 (Daily Mirror, 1975). Garth uses a pilot's trick to throw the bad guys around. Produced in ink over graphite on illustration board with an image area of 20.5" x 5.5". In Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection. 
The whole story is one that has not been reprinted a lot and ran originally in the national UK newspaper the Daily Mirror from 16 August 1975 - 28 November 1975 - (J192-J281)

Garth: The Bubble Man was reprinted by All Devon Comic Collectors Club in their Daily Strips: Collectors Club Editions No.28 [No date]  and more recently coloured by John Ridgway for Spaceship Away (Issue 19, October 2009, to Issue 23 March 2011) and lastly coloured by Martin Baines for the Daily Mirror Wednesday 9 November 2011 to Friday 30 December 2011

Learn more about Bubble Man in a previous blog article

WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121741
SELLER:Heritage
LOT #12006
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$657.25 including Buyter's premium = £498.52
No of bids: 8
END DATE: 8 October 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Original Art: Garth on Heritage - The Angels of Hell's Gap (J30)

J30 episode of  "Garth: The Angels of Hell's Gap" Drawn by Frank Bellamy

Heritage have another Garth for auction, another from the story "The Angels of Hell's Gap" The last one sold went for $382.40 (inc. Buyer's Premium) = £296.55 and in 2016 in the UK, £280

Heritage describe this piece:
Frank Bellamy Garth Daily Comic Strip J30 Original Art (Daily Mirror, c. 1973). Someone has to protect Blanche Carrol's troupe of dancing girls, and who better than Garth, as Clay Fremont -- it's hard work, but it's got to be done! This high contrast thriller, numbered J30, was done in ink over graphite on illustration board, and has an image area of 20.5" x 5.25". The art is in Excellent condition. From the Ethan Roberts Estate Collection. .
The whole story is one that has not been reprinted a lot and 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.


WHERE?: Heritage Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121740
SELLER:Heritage
STARTING BID:$
ENDING PRICE:$406.30 including Buyer's premium = £308.18
No of bids: 9
END DATE: 1 October 2017