A dramatic opening page of Thunderbirds art by Frank Bellamy from the 1960s comic TV Century 21 is currently on offer on the Heritage Auctions web site, with current bids at the $1400 mark.
The page, which featured in Issue 146, published in 1967, finds things are not “FAB” for Brains, Virgil, and Scott on this page, but since they are British, “Thunderbirds are GO!” by page end.
Gerry Anderson’s International Rescue team created legions of fans on both sides of the Atlantic (and around the world as well), and Frank Bellamy’s art style for this series was a bold and brilliant choice. As with other strips based on Anderson’s Supermarionation series in the comic, such as Fireball XL5 and Stingray, the strip depicted the heroes and their rescue machines in a more comic book, realistic style instead of drawing the puppets from the TV series. For many, that editorial choice, along with the comic’s memorable early “future newspaper” editorial, are what make these stories so memorable even today.
This page also features a couple of great panels of Thunderbird 2, the fan-favourite craft from the beloved series.
Signed under the image area, the art is ink and watercolour on illustration board with an image area of approximately 12″ x 16.25″. There is production tape in the margins, but the image area is in excellent condition, which is good news as many pieces from this era are faded after being exposed to light when on exhibition.
You can bid for the art here on Heritage Auctions. The auction (check featured items here) runs 10th – 12th August 2017, and also includes gorgeous art by Milton Caniff, Marvel superhero art by Dick Ayers, John Buscema, John Byrne and David Cockrum, a stunning Will Eisner‘s The Spirit lot (a complete seven-page story, published in 1950) some dramatic pages from Watchmen by Dave Gibbons, including a climactic splash page from #12, a page of Lt. Blueberry art by Moebius (bidding at $11,000!), and this stunning Batcave Revealed art by Dick Sprang, released way back in 1993…
Yours, perhaps, for over $5000. Or, alternatively, look out for a copy of The Art of Richard W. Sprang on eBay…
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.