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Friday, August 17, 2007

Sticking with British Cartoonists for a moment...

...my cartoonist chums Mike Lynch and Grant Miehm (sorry Grant, can't find Captain Scarlet yet) will get a real kick out of these, and for those of you who are new to Frank Bellamy's work it'll introduce you to more of his awesome talent and I thought we'd widen the net a little to include some Great British cartoonists who I'll blog about in the weeks to come:


When TV21 started running Star Trek, Frank Bellamy drew covers for the series. These were later dropped to allow more space for the stories which were illustrated by several artists including Harry Lindfield and Jim Baikie during a run that lasted for over 250 issues. Fans of the series, like Mike Lynch, can find details about reprints and the like, here at Rich Handley's site.

The printed comics themselves, TV21, Look and Learn, Eagle, etc, were a thing of wonder. The colours were vibrant and the artwork was often spectacular, none more so than Frank Bellamy's; but his originals were many, many times better. This is not often the case nowadays, as we can cut corners and add filters and cut and paste and shrink individual characters and panels and generally make the printed pages look a lot better than our originals. We can also go straight from pencil to colour in Paintshop or Painter or Illustrator, in short, we have things a little easier today, if we choose, than they did back in the day. A quick look at the Frank Bellamy collection on Comic Art fans, shows a little of what we are sometimes missing today:

From the collections of Chris Power, Terry Doyle, Jaume Vaquer and Paul Stephenson














You know, as I look at these and look at the other British cartoonists, many of whom were Spanish, it occurs to me that we really did have a Golden Age that gave birth to 2000AD which went on to launch the careers of many of our cartoonists in the US. Our culture, here in the UK, has last much in the last few decades. It's a pity we didn't cherish the work and reward the creators accordingly while that Golden Age lasted. In many ways we are graphically-illiterate philistines in the UK.

4 comments:

Mike Lynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for this, Rod.

Bellamy's TREK work is not so well known in the US. Fun to see him get "off book" what with drawing those 2001 space suits, and the odd looking shuttle.

Alberto Giolitti, who did a lot of the Gold Key/Western Publishing comic book series, would show things like a transporter that had dual mounted ray guns "zapping" Enterprise crew members to transport them. (Of course, Gioletti, working from his home in Italy, had not seen the show and only had some promotional photos that were mailed to him as a guide.) This kind of made-up, off-book art would not happen today when drawing classic TREK!

Are there any books in print of Bellamy's comic book work especially TREK?

Norman Boyd said...

Hi Mike et al.

Having just launched the Bellamy Checklist website (http://www.frankbellamy.co.uk) a couple of months ago, I'd thought I'd tackle a common misunderstanding.

If you take a look at my note accompanying the entry for RADIO TIMES (27/06/1970 - 03/07/1970)at the top of the Radio Times page (http://www.frankbellamy.co.uk/radiotimes.htm) on my website, you'll see what I mean.

Bellamy, in fact, did NOT illustrate any Star Trek strips in comics, but only a single page, in comic strip format, for the Radio Times.

As far as covers go, he did only one cover whilst Star Trek ran in UK comics - and that was when it first appeared in Joe 90 #1. His cover is actually of the Joe 90 story, not Captain 'Kurt' and his crew - we hadn't got the TV series here at this point in Jan 1969, so it's not surprising the letterer knew no better! [And wasn't it Harry Lindfield that drew it? - I could be wrong!]

I'll add a blog entry some time soon about the whole affair to, hopefully, clarify it all. Keep an eye on http://www,frankbellamy.blogspot.com

Regarding books in print of Bellamy's work, the short answer is 'no'! many series have been reprinted over the years - take a look at my rather scruffy , but accurate page (http://www.frankbellamy.co.uk/notes/reprints.htm)
and let's hope for the future!

Rod McKie said...

So, he drew one cover for the series. I think you are misreading the post Norman, I'm using Bellemy as a link to other cartoonists who I'll feature when I find the time, there's no suggestion that the Ster Trek pages here are by Frank Bellemy.

Mike's looking for Bellamy work because he appreciates it, but I can assure you as long as it's full of Trek strips ge won't mind if Frank Bellemy drew them or not. He's not just a cartoonist, but an avid fan.

When I cover Doctor Who he'll be in his element, especially when I give him Roger Langridge's font for lettering the comic.