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Limited, 1000. Recommended. Frank Bellamy is an artist whose work reflects much of the century that he inhabited. Born a year before the end of the First World War, his art documented an age of conflict, exploration, technological advancement, and social change, one which could envisage worlds as yet undiscovered as well as worlds long departed deep beneath the sands of time. What makes Bellamy’s story so particular is his development into a pre-eminent graphic artist. Robin Hood, King Arthur, Heros the Spartan, Montgomery, Churchill, Fraser of Africa, Thunderbirds and Garth are only his most famous works. There is much more. Book Palace, 2021.

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Frank Bellamy is an artist whose work reflects much of the century that he inhabited. Born a year before the end of the First World War, his art documented an age of conflict, exploration, technological advancement, and social change, one which could envisage worlds as yet undiscovered as well as worlds long departed deep beneath the sands of time. What makes Bellamy’s story so particular is his development into a pre-eminent graphic artist. Robin Hood, King Arthur, Heros the Spartan, Montgomery, Churchill, Fraser of Africa, Thunderbirds and Garth are only his most famous works. There is much more.

His story follows the course of many of his contemporaries, a driving determination to secure a living as an illustrator, bolstered by sporadic exposure to art tuition, stints in a provincial studio “learning on the job”, and the “pilgrimage to London” and more specifically Fleet Street, which in the 1950s was a veritable Mecca for aspiring illustrators.

From a relatively staid and unremarkable (yet highly competent) artist to a ground-breaking master of the comic strip, his rise to fame presents not just a fascinating tale about his life and work but also the story of UK comics from what was a golden age through to the influencing of the next generation of comic artists — and creatives in other fields — who would succeed him.

Typical of those who fell under Bellamy’s spell is Oliver Frey who graces this edition with his introduction.

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