Frank Bellamy

Frank Bellamy

Frank Bellamy and Frank Hampson must be the two greatest artists that Eagle employed, and it would be both invidious and impossible to rate one above the other: impossible because their styles and approaches were so very different.

Bellamy was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in 1917. He was called up for war service in 1939, spending much of his time painting aircraft recognition pictures. He was employed by various comics, then by Swift [a junior version of Eagle], before moving onto Eagle itself. He worked for the Daily Mirror after leaving Eagle, drawing GARTH, and died of a heart attack in July 1976.

Here are 5 pages of artwork :

His Dan Dare work remains very controversial amongst the fans : he is hated firstly for having dared to take over from Hampson,and secondly because he didn't draw the strip as Hampson had.

He took over in the middle of a story [Terra Nova] and also drew its sequel, Trip to Trouble, together with Don Harley and Keith Watson.

But then he was given the editorial brief to revamp the strip - to update it - and as he himself said, if that's what the editor wants, that's what you do. But FH's carefully built up files/models etc were discarded.

All of this wasn't helped by the weak scripts he was given by Eric Eden [though I like Nimbus until the end]. The other great snag was that he was working with two other ex-Hampson team artists, Keith Watson and Don Harley [although KW soon left]. FB was not a team worker, but an individualist. The styles clashed horribly - usually in the same issue and sometimes on the same page! He was happy to be relieved of the strip and move on to the much more congenial Fraser of Africa.

Personally, if I couldn't have FH drawing Dan Dare, then I'd take Bellamy - providing it was just Bellamy ... and I rather liked his modernisations [which effectively disappeared with him].

Frank Bellamy