Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frank Bellamy's King Arthur and His Knights

Out now from Book Palace Books. Frank Bellamy's King Arthur and His Knights: The Complete Adventures is a companion volume to the Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood: The Complete Adventures volume published in March 2008. This new volume contains two complete serials, 'Swiss Family Robinson' and 'King Arthur and His Knights', drawn by Bellamy for the children's comic Swift.

'Swiss Family Robinson' was the first strip that Bellamy drew from first episode to last (he had previously drawn episodes of 'Monty Carstairs' for Mickey Mouse Weekly and a few episodes of 'The Fleet Family' for Swift). Originally published in Swift v1 #30 to v2 #29 (9 October 1954 to 16 July 1955), the strip has never been reprinted.

'King Arthur and His Knights' is an early classic. By the time the strip began appearing (again in Swift v2 #31 to v3 #18, 30 July 1955 to 5 May 1956), Bellamy had a firm grasp of the storytelling techniques he was to use so brilliantly in later strips. Although he was not allowed to break out of the panel borders, which became something of a trademark in his artwork, he made full use of widescreen panels in jousting and battle scenes, giving 'King Arthur' a dose of Cinemascope-like swashbuckling action that was at odds with the staid and gently humorous with other strips in the pages of Swift. Although aimed at a young audience, Bellamy packed every line of all 41 episodes with excitement and drama.

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