Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Frank Bellamy’s Heros The Spartan: "... pages and pages of pure joy"

Today, guest author Bryn Havord shares this excerpt from his upcoming four page feature on 'Frank Bellamy's Heros the Spartan', which will appear in issue five of illustrators quarterly (available mid November) ~ Leif

What a fantastic opportunity for a teenage boy: Art editor Arthur Roberts gave me my first job in Fleet Street, as a lettering artist on the thinking childs’ comics Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin.

When one thinks of Eagle, Frank Hampson’s strip of Dan Dare and the Mekon immediately spring to mind.

Eagle Comics

However, Frank Bellamy who had worked for the comic producing ‘The Happy Warrior’, featuring the life of Winston Churchill, ‘The Shepherd King’, the life of the biblical King David, and ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’, amongst others, replaced Hampson and spent a year drawing Dan Dare, but his triumph for the comic was producing Heros the Spartan in 1962 and 1963.


Illustrators editor Peter Richardson has edited and designed a beautiful book entitled Frank Bellamy’s Heros the Spartan. Available in two luxurious editions measuring a gigantic 
11 x 14 inches, the deluxe limited edition of only 600 copies with 272 pages features a beautifully designed blue hard cover with embossed and varnished detailing. The leather bound and numbered edition, restricted to 120 copies, features a beautiful gold embossed red cover and slipcase, plus a tipped in numbered plate, and an additional 24 pages of some of the most stunning Heros originals, which have previously remained hidden in private collections.


It was a privilege to be invited to do some minor production work on the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Bellamy’s incredible artwork at close quarters once again. Richardson has excelled himself with the editing and in his powerful designs of introductory pages featuring Bellamy’s drawings in monochrome...


... in contrast to page after page of colourful spreads, many of which have been scanned from the originals.


There are forewords by John Byrne, Dave Gibbons, Walter Simonson, Ken Steacy, and John Watkiss, with an introduction by Norman Boyd, each giving their own views and insights into the working methods and life of this incredible artist. It is one of the best books of its kind that I have ever seen: pages and pages of pure joy. There must be plenty of us old codgers left who want to take this trip down memory lane, and 
I only hope that Geoff West, the publisher at Book Palace Books, has ordered enough copies to go round.

~ Bryn Havord

* Frank Bellamy's Heros the Spartan is now available from Book Palace Books

1 comment:

  1. I thought with all the things I've blogged about this book myself, by now I'd be tired of it....but this has just whet my appetite even more.
    Great stuff Leif!