Frank Bellamy Thunderbirds Art Prints Released, and do check out “True Brit”!

Comics Unstripped Exhibition Leaflet - SNIP

Last month, we plugged the fantastic Comics Unstripped exhibition at Kettering Museum and Art Gallery (and Colin Noble reviewed it here). The exhibition, which runs until 20th August 2016, features work by Frank Bellamy – who lived in the town – Doug Braithwaite, John Byrne, Alan Davis, Glenn Fabry, Adi Granov, RM Guera, Esad Ribic, Alison Sampson, Bill Sienkiewicz and Barry Windsor Smith, as well as some of the newcomers in the business, such as Hal Laren and Karen Rubins.

This week sees the associated Super Heroes and Heroines Family Fun Day (Wednesday 3rd August, 1-3.30pm) – a family fun day in the Manor House Museum Gardens where you’re invited to come along dressed as your favourite super hero or heroine! Get along to take part in craft activities, trails, face painting and lots more!

Visit Kettering Borough Council’s Children’s Activities page for more details.

FAB Prints - Thunderbirds ArtIf you read our earlier features on this exhibition, you’ll recall we mentioned a number of tie-in items are on sale, including a tie-in souvenir booklet True Brit, written by Paul Holder and based on the brief Frank Bellamy biography he wrote for True Brit: A Celebration of the Great Comic Book Artists of the UK edited by George Khoury, utilising images taken from original art.

Also available are Frank Bellamy prints to order printed on 300gsm heavyweight archival fine art paper to the original size (approximately 41 X 63cm) and postcards of other unpublished Bellamy works as well as his Thunderbird 6 film poster.

Sadly, the only way you can lay your hands on the booklet and souvenir art cards is by getting to the exhibition, because Kettering Museum doesn’t have an online shop, but three Frank Bellamy art prints featuring some of his amazing Thunderbirds art from the 1960s TV Century 21 comic can be ordered by enquiry to fabprintsATfrankbellamy.com.

True Brit Digital Edition - Cover

We also mentioned the excellent True Brit book edited by George Khoury in our earlier items, first published by TwoMorrows Publishing. A title now out of print, surely deserving of some UK publisher interest in a second edition, George himself dropped us a line to mention the 284 page remastered digital edition of the book.

It’s well worth a look – especially as it expands considerably on the print edition.

True Brit probes the rich history of British comics artists, their influence on the US, and how they have revolutionised the way comics are seen and perceived.

The entire book has been reconfigured in full colour for digital release, and includes more than 75 new pages not in the original print version, celebrating the rich history of British comic book artists with a wide selection of breathtaking art, intimate photographs and in-depth interviews with the men who have transformed the comics field to the sensation it is today.

Thanks to bestsellers such as Watchmen, drawn by Dave Gibbons (just in case anyone out there needed reminding) to The Ultimates (drawn by Bryan Hitch, ditto), British comic artists have revolutionised the way comics are seen and perceived. In True Brit, the creators describe themselves how their art has evolved and how it has affected and changed the industry – and have helped sell millions of comics.

A page from the Leo Baxendale feature in the digital edition of True Brit
A page from the Leo Baxendale feature in the digital edition of True Brit

This book features interviews with and art by Leo Baxendale (The Beano, WHAM!), Brian Bolland (Batman: The Killing Joke), Ron Embleton (TV Century 21) Dave Gibbons, Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan), Alan Davis (X-Men), Bryan Hitch , Dave McKean (Sandman), Kevin O’Neill (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta), and many other great gents!

A page from the Brian Bolland feature in the digital edition of True Brit
A page from the Brian Bolland feature in the digital edition of True Brit
A page from the Alan Davis feature in the digital edition of True Brit
A page from the Alan Davis feature in the digital edition of True Brit

“There’s enough information here to suggest why skilled British cartoonists were ready to leap into post-Comics-Code-Authority American comics,” enthuses Publishers Weekly.”The big question is whether there is any such thing as ‘British comic art’ anymore; the answer may be that these artists helped make comics the lively international literary field it is today.”

A page from the Ron Embleton feature in the digital edition of True Brit
A page from the Ron Embleton feature in the digital edition of True Brit

“It’s one of the best books that I have found on modern comic artists,” enthuses downthetubes’ Colin Noble. “It’s one of the few books that helped me to understand that I was not the only one to think that appreciating the work of the Embletons, Don Lawrence et al was important.”

George says that he would love to get a second edition of True Brit on the shelves, which he hopes could include material from the likes of Simon Bisley and Glenn Fabry. , and a few others he feels he missed.

“I did the book because it seemed to me that most UK artists weren’t appreciated enough, especially their rich history and legacy,” he says.

•  Download a PDF preview of True Brit here on the TwoMorrows site or simply just go with it and order the digital edition here

Read Colin Noble’s review of the exhibition here

Comics Unstripped runs until 20th August 2016 at the Alfred East Art Gallery, Manor House Gardens, Sheep Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN16 0AN. It’s easy to get to by train, bus or by car. The gallery is situated in the  close to the Library and the parish church of SS Peter and Paul Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 4.45pm (Last Admission 4.30pm), closed Mondays and Bank Holidays. Entry to the Alfred East Gallery is free, however charges apply for some events and activities. More details online here | Facebook

• The Frank Bellamy blog has posted images from the exhibition here

• Buy True Brit: A Celebration of the Great Comic Book Artists of the UK from amazon.co.uk – or the digital edition direct from Twomorrow, as above, which has more content in colour

Associated Events

Super Heroes and Heroines Family Fun Day – Wednesday 3rd August, 1-3.30pm

A family fun day in the Manor House Museum Gardens dressed as your favourite super hero or heroine! Come along to take part in craft activities, trails, face painting and lots more! Visit Kettering Borough Council’s Children’s Activities page for more details

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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