Monday, 16 February 2015


FRANK HAMPSON is a name that should be familiar to all readers of British comics from the '50s & '60s.  He was the main artist on DAN DARE in The EAGLE comic, and though his star slightly faded for a while after being replaced on the strip in 1961, in '75 he was rightfully recognised as one of the medium's true masters when he was voted the best writer and artist of strip cartoons since the end of World War II.  He finally departed this mortal vale in 1985 after suffering a stroke and the lingering effects of throat cancer.

With the aid of long-time art assistant JOAN PORTER, he illustrated the 56 part strip, The ROAD Of COURAGE - The STORY Of JESUS Of NAZARETH, which first appeared on the back page of The Eagle, cover-dated March 19th 1960.  In 1981, DRAGON'S DREAM published a hardback volume of the complete strip, printed, I seem to recall reading, from the original art boards.  At least, the first page certainly was, as a small patch from one of the lettering balloons had dropped off in the intervening years since first printed back in the '60s.

Interestingly, although the Reverend MARCUS MORRIS was credited with authoring the strip (he had started the script in the early 1950s), he paid GUY DANIELS half of his £20 fee per episode to write it on his behalf when it was given the green light.  However, with an unfinished script, it was left to Frank to do the actual historical research over in Palestine, in an attempt to make the strip as visually accurate as possible.

Anyway, just to demonstrate what an accomplished artist Hampson was (and Porter too, of course), here are the first three instalments from that landmark series.  Also shown is the cover to the Dragon's Dream book, but TITAN BOOKS republished the strip a few years back (with bonus material), so if you can't track down the original volume, you should still be able to get ahold of the 2110 version.  Check out your nearest comicbook store or have a look on Amazon.)

Click on images to enlarge, click again for optimum size.

Note in the panel below (from the 1981 printing), that the lettering correction patch has fallen off.

And below is how it first saw print (in 1960) after the alteration had been made.


John Pitt said...

Hampson, Noble, Bellamy, Embleton - THE FAB FOUR of the tabloid comic artists!

Kid said...

I think I'd place Bellamy fourth on that list, JP. However, they're all great.

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