* This week David Roach, British comics artist of Judge Dredd, author, comics historian, and long-time TI subscriber takes over as guest author so I can enjoy a brief break. Many thanks, David!
As well as being talented strip artists many of the Spaniards were also painters and here Camps was one of the very finest. From his earliest British work in 1960 on The Sexton Blake Library through countless 100s of covers for True Life, Star Love, Love Story, Oracle et al he proved himself to be one of the most talented artists of his generation.
Looking at his painted work I think it is clear that here we have a great illustrator creating magazine standard artwork for comic books. I can see strong similarities with the likes of Lynn Buckham, Mitchell Hooks, Bernie Fuchs and particularly with Joe Bowler. The drawing and painting is absolutely there but he is also playing around with figures as shapes in a very exciting way.
Looking at a cover such as "Night Must End" or "Guy With Go" there is a real sense that here is someone at the top of his game, pushing the focus of the painting to it’s edges, using negative space, extreme close- ups, asymmetrical compositions, flat colours, textures , you name it-it’s here.
Of the many Spaniards painting covers for the romance market Camps was without doubt the top artist with many copying his style, but none equalling it.
Interestingly many of his covers were not specifically created for British comics at all. While his strips were directly commissioned through S.I his covers appear to have been painted for rival agencies A.L.I and Bardon.
Bardon had strong links with the Scandinavian market and typically would sell first printing rights to artwork for Sweden or Norway and then re-sell the images all over Europe. Consequently many of Camps’ covers started life as magazine illustrations and were then sold on to Love Story or True Life a few years later.
Even within Britain itself a lot of recycling went on with publishers endlessly reprinting and repackaging their material. For instance The cover of Pop Pic Library 33 -"All Or Nothing"- shows that title's rather overpowering recurring motif of a large guitar filing the left side . Years later another Pop Pic cover was utilised for Romantic Adventure Library with less than wonderful results – the painting is terrific...
... but now features 2 gorgeous '60s chicks apparently staring at a vast expanse of brown.