The Happy Warrior, by Frank Bellamy (1957)

Frank Bellamy was a self-taught British comics artist, best known for his adventure comics. He was born in 1917 in Kettering, Northamptonshire.  began his artistic career working for an art agency in Kettering, where he made paintings for a local cinema. During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force, painting aircraft recognition pictures. After serving in the Royal Artillery during World War II, he returned to the agency until 1948, when he left for London, becoming a freelance illustrator for several magazines. For Eagle magazine, he created the comic 'Commando Gibbs', an advertising comic for Gibbs toothpaste, which marked the start of his career in comics. Often collaborating with writer Clifford Makins, he created a considerable number of comics for several magazines during the 1950s and 1960s.

Garth, by Frank Bellamy (1972)

His work for Mickey Mouse Weekly includes 'Monty Carstairs', 'Secret in the Sands' and 'Walt Disney's Living Desert'. For Hulton Press' Swift, he made a series of historical adventure strips, 'Swiss Family Robinson', 'King Arthur' and 'Robin Hood'. In 1957, he drew a biography of Winston Churchill for Eagle, called 'The Happy Warrior'. In 1960, he took over the famous series 'Dan Dare' from its creator, Frank Hampson. Hampson's original was quite popular, making it a tough act to follow. Bellamy mostly followed scripts by Eric Eden.

The same year he also created 'Fraser of Africa' (6 August 1960- 12 August 1961) for Eagle. Set in Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania) and Kenia, it follows a white hunter, Martin Fraser, and a Maasai warrior, M'Kuki, who search for a Hollywood star, Jed Brewster, who is presumed lost during a safari trip. Bellamy was able to depict African wildlife quite accurately, thanks to a farmer in Kenya with whom he corresponded. Much of the artwork is done in yellow and brown, which matches the parched savannah and gives it an unique atmosphere. The series also ran in Pilote as 'Frazer l'Africain' (spelling the name with a "z" instead of an "s"). 'Fraser of Africa' was an inspiration to Belgian comics artist Willy Vandersteen whose comic strip, 'Safari' (1969-1974) for Pats, also starred a white hunter and a Maasai warrior in Central Africa. 

Thunderbirds, by Frank Bellamy
Thunderbirds

During the sixties, he created several comic adaptations of great books, and he also published in The Sunday Extra, Boy's World, Look and Learn, Joe 90 and T.V. Century 21. He also drew the 'Thunderbirds' in a dramatic two-page format for the weekly comic TV Century 21. His last important work was on the series 'Garth', that he drew in The Daily Mirror from 1971 until his death from a heart attack in 1976.

Garth, by Frank Bellamy (1972)
Garth, by Frank Bellamy (1972)

The Happy Warrior, 1957

www.frankbellamy.com
www.frankbellamy.co.uk

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