Monday, February 08, 2010

Angel Badia Camps

* 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!

Things don’t always work out quite as you have planned. The original idea was for me to profile a number of Spanish artists, drawing from my collection of their work in British comics, say, three a day. However on sending through scans of the very first artist our glorious leader declared – “Stop! Who is this, he’s incredible, let’s have a week devoted to this guy."

So here it is a week dedicated to the '60s work of the great Spanish artist Angel Badia Camps. Who? Well there’s the rub; Camps is one of many hundreds of Spanish artists who plied their trade in British comic books over the decades, some of whom later made it over to the states working for Warren or Skywald but most remain little known outside of their native Spain (in fact many are still unknown even there).

But first a little background information. Unlike in the U.S, British comics started out (from 1890 on) as weekly publications mostly aimed at young readers and drawn in a cartoony style. The great expansion of more realistically drawn comics began in the early 50s with titles such as The Eagle, Schoolfriend and Cowboy Comics. Within a few years the market had expanded to well over 100 titles appearing on the newsstand every week, encompassing several main genres- boys adventure ( sport, westerns, war, science fiction, crime and classic adaptations, everything except superheroes in fact), girls comics ( ballerinas, boarding schools and ponies), romance, humour and nursery stories. These comics ranged in size and shape from the likes of the tabloid sized Eagle which could print fully painted strips in vibrant colour to black and white magazine sized weeklies such as Lion, Tiger, Valentine and Girls Crystal and the pocket sized “Picture Library” comics which featured 64 paged strips topped off with a painted cover.

To fill the demand British publishers such as Amalgamated Press ( later known as Fleetway and then I.P.C ) Hulton, Pearson, D C Thomson , Micron and others naturally tried to recruit local artists but without much of a tradition of realistic strips to draw from talent proved to be thin on the ground. Great artists did emerge and names such as Frank Hampson , Ron Embleton, Frank Bellamy and Don Lawrence might be familiar to some of you, but there were simply not enough of them to satisfy demand and to fill that gap the publishers had to look elsewhere. Starting in late 1954 artists from Europe began to find work in the U.K through agencies such as A.L.I from Belgium, Cosmopolitan , D’Ami and V.V from Italy and S.I, Bardon and Creacciones from Spain. To get an idea of the sheer numbers involved I should mention here that I know of at least 75 artists from Argentina, 150 from Italy and over 370 from Spain who have worked at some time in British comics. Soon it became apparent that different nationalities were particularly adept at certain genres; all were put to work on the numerous war comics which flooded the newsstands, The Argentinians ( such as Alberto Breccia and Arturo Del Castillo ) were masters of the Western and the Spanish came to dominate the enormous number of romance titles.

One of these romance artists was Angel Badia Camps.

Continued tomorrow.


  1. Love to see more pages or the whole 'Dream Portrait ' you've posted of Camps from ''Serenade'. The art is not only lovely but the story itself looks intriguing!

  2. Anonymous2:53 AM

    These Spanish artists were great, I enjoyed much of their stuff in the pages of the Warren magazines. Also Mr. Roach's Excellent write up on them in the "Warren Companion" by TwoMorrow's publishing is super informative!


  3. Anonymous5:33 AM

    I just unearthed some Old Warren material with Spanish art contributions, sure brings back memories.

  4. Love his black and white, and the simple yet effective use of basic color on it!

  5. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Badia Camps? I would love to get some of his Three Investigators covers! I can't find him anywhere on the web. Any leads? Thanks!

  6. I enjoyed much of their stuff in the pages of the Warren magazines

  7. The art is not only lovely but the story itself looks intriguing!

  8. Incredible !
    You are talking about my father! (By the way the family name is Badia not Camps, Spanish people use first the name of the father -Badia- and after the name of the mother -Camps-).
    He is still alive (81) and living in Barcelona and now he is an artist (paintings). He spent part of his life with comics and books.
    I knew about this blog from a facebook page where you can find paintings of my father. It is managed by his nephew.

  9. I just unearthed some Old Warren material with Spanish art contributions, sure brings back memories.

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