In Memoriam: Eagle artist Gerald Palmer

Rescue of the Cythara, 1983 by Gerald Palmer | Jersey RNLI collection
Rescue of the Cythara, 1983 by Gerald Palmer | Jersey RNLI collection

We’re sorry to belatedly report the passing of comic artist and illustrator Gerald Palmer, who passed away peacefully at his Jersey home on Wednesday, 16th August, 2017, aged 82.

Born in 1935 in Jersey, Gerald was encouraged toward an artistic career at school and by fellow artist Edmund Blampied. He went on to study at Portsmouth College of Art, gaining his National Diploma in Design in 1955.

His immense talent gained him a career as an Editorial Art Assistant with Hulton Press in Fleet Street, later going on to join a team illustrating books and magazines in the UK and Europe. He was one of the team who worked on “Dan Dare” at Bayford Lodge for Eagle, credited as working on stories such as “Safari in Space” and “Trip to Trouble“.

"Dan Dare" from Eagle cover dated 28th November 1959, Volume 10 No 41. The difference in artwork styles by Frank Bellamy, Don Harley, Gerald Palmer and Keith Watson is evident (via the Frank Bellamy Checklist Blog)
“Dan Dare” from Eagle cover dated 28th November 1959, Volume 10 No 41. The difference in artwork styles by Frank Bellamy, Don Harley, Gerald Palmer and Keith Watson is evident (via the Frank Bellamy Checklist Blog)

He is credited with 19 different cutaways in Eagle, the majority of which were in Volumes 12 and 13 in 1961 and 1962 and while his subjects were as diverse as an oil refinery and Big Ben they consisted mainly of historic locomotives and then modern jet aircraft.

Two of Gerald Palmer's cutaways for Eagle: a Dassault Mirage IV for Volume 14 Number 13 and a NA T-30 Sabreliner for Volume 14 Number 28
Two of Gerald Palmer’s cutaways for Eagle: a Dassault Mirage IV for Volume 14 Number 13 and a NA T-39 Sabreliner for Volume 14 Number 28

In recent years Gerald provided some terrific Dan Dare centre spreads for Spaceship Away.

Spaceship Away Issue 8 features a centre spread by Gerald of the Anastasia, Dan Dare's personal spacecraft, in atmospheric flight.
Spaceship Away Issue 8 features a centre spread by Gerald of the Anastasia, Dan Dare’s personal spacecraft, in atmospheric flight.
An illustration of the 1960s take on Dan Dare for Spaceship Away Part 18, art by Don Harley and Gerald Palmer
An illustration of the 1960s take on Dan Dare for Spaceship Away Part 18, art by Don Harley and Gerald Palmer

He also worked in book illustration work, on titles such as art for A Jersey Childhood by Doris Carter and, as Jeremy Briggs noted on Bear Alley back in 2007, two of Collins “Orbit Books” – Planes Book One and Rockets and Spacecraft Book Two.

An illustration of a Vulcan bomber for Planes Book One by Gerald Palmer
An illustration of a Vulcan bomber for Planes Book One by Gerald Palmer
In The Clear by Gerald Palmer
In The Clear by Gerald Palmer
Vulcan Operation Black Buck by Gerald Palmer | Royal Air Force Museum
Vulcan Operation Black Buck by Gerald Palmer | Royal Air Force Museum

In later years Gerald focused on fine art, working in various media, on subjects ranging from portraits and aviation to landscapes, seascapes and still life. A member of the Guild of Aviation Artists, his work was regularly exhibited and is much sought after.

The Jersey Post released a set of six stamps on the 1st June 1984 to commemorate the centenary of the RNLI in Jersey. One of the 20½p stamps featured the St. Helier 44' Waveney Class lifeboat, the "Thomas James King" by Gerald Palmer and depicts the service to the yacht "Cythara" in atrocious conditions on the 3rd September 1983.
The Jersey Post released a set of six stamps on the 1st June 1984 to commemorate the centenary of the RNLI in Jersey. One of the 20½p stamps featured the St. Helier 44′ Waveney Class lifeboat, the “Thomas James King” by Gerald Palmer and depicts the service to the yacht “Cythara” in atrocious conditions on the 3rd September 1983.

He also produced postage stamp designs for the Jersey Post Office, and is regarded as one of the island’s best-known artists, alongside Edmund Blampied, Ian Rolls and Eric Walker. In 1980, he and fellow artist Diana Bowen launched the ‘Portelet Exhibition’ which has become an annual event.

Alongside his art, his interests included designing and building various model aircraft, from skimmers to gliders, skin diving, sail boarding and sea fishing.

He leaves his wife, Val, children Fiona and Chris and grand children Rachelle, Josh, Alex and Kath.

• Gerald Palmer, born 1935, died 16th August, 2017

Web Links

Studio Eighteen: Gerald Palmer Gallery

Art by Gerald Palmer on public display in Jersey can be found here on This Island Wiki

Back issues of Spaceship Away featuring Gerald’s artworks (Part 8 and 18) are still available in limited quantities from the magazine’s official web site

Buy Signed prints of paintings of Jersey by Gerald Palmer and Diana Bowen

Notice of his death appeared in the Jersey Evening Post on 21st August 2017. With thanks to Jeremy Briggs for news of Gerald’s passing

All art © Gerald Palmer except Dan Dare © 2017 Dan Dare Corporation

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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