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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Garth by Frank Bellamy, - back in print

Garth makes his return to comics this Autumn in the pages of Spaceship Away, reprinting classic strips by Frank Bellamy.

Beginning in 1943 and running throughout the prime decades of British newspaper strips, Garth was a popular feature of the Daily Mirror until the strip was axed in 1997. Originated by Steve Dowling and John Allard, the daily strip featured the adventures of a mysterious strongman simply known as "Garth" who became involved in dangerous situations across the world and could travel in time by inhabiting the bodies of figures of the past (a similar plot device later used in the Quantum Leap tv series).

Frank Bellamy took over the artwork from John Allard in 1971 and immediately became a favourite of comic fans for his dynamic layouts and depictions of the many beautiful women Garth encountered. Whilst Dowling and Allard's work had been gripping and atmospheric it was Bellamy's tenure which most fans seem to regard more highly.

Garth had always appeared in black and white, back in the days when newspapers felt that adults didn't need garish colour on every page. However for Spaceship Away the strips have been coloured by John Ridgway, and as the samples here show, compliment Bellamy's work very well. The first serial being reprinted is The Bubble Man which originally ran in the Mirror from 16th August 1975 to 28th November 1975. (Now if only Titan Books could reprint Garth right from the start, now that their James Bond series has completed.)

Spaceship Away No.19 is the issue in which it kicks off, and the comic also features brand new Dan Dare strips, plus other classic British strips and new material. It's out in October and can be ordered online from the official website here:

(Thanks to John Freeman at the Down the Tubes blog for the preview artwork. Check out his site for regular UK comics news.)


jon haward said...

looks fab,what a great idea to colour Garth John's done a great job and i know two haward bro's who'll be buying space ship away 19"!,it's also amazing to think the art is 34yrs old but it still looks slick, Bellamy really was a great graphic designer as well as a strip illustrator.

Lew Stringer said...

You're right Jon, Bellamy's design skills were fantastic. I always liked his logo designs too.

Dave Whitwell said...

This is great news. I always feel quite guilty for not buying Spaceship Away more often. The price alone sadly kept it off my list of essential purchases. However, with the inclusion of these newly -coloured Frank Bellamy stips I'm going to have to dig deep and buy it regularly.

I also agree with your plea that one day Titan might reprint the complete Garth strips -- this strip, and Michael Hubbard's version of the Jane strip are just crying out to be reprinted.

Cheers, Dave.

Steve said...

It's always great to see Frank Bellamy's art in print but why did they have to use Comic Sans? The awful typography clashes with the superb artwork.

Lew Stringer said...

You're right Steve. I hadn't noticed at first that it had been re-lettered. Comic Sans does let it down somewhat. They should have gone to ComiCraft. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Any idea how many pages of Garth will be in any given issue?

Baden Smith

Lew Stringer said...

Not sure. At least two pages, most likely more.

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