Saturday, 14 April 2007

Loving the Alien: Massimo Belardinelli, d. 2007

On Down The Tubes, John Freeman has reported the death of long-serving 2000AD artist Massimo Belardinelli.

As John writes, Belardinelli will probably be best remembered for his work on Ace Trucking Company, which was created specifically for him. But I liked his work on Dan Dare most.

In those days, 2000AD had yet to start running “credit cards” giving writer, artist and letterer details, but there was an “Artist: Belardinelli” credit on Dan Dare, so he was the first 2000AD artist whose distinctive syle I could put a name to.

The revived Dan Dare strip was the lead feature in the first months of 2000AD. The character and setting were completely revamped by editor Pat Mills and writers Kelvin Gosnell and Steve Moore, and as a result this version of Dan Dare has been widely disliked for its lack of fidelity to Frank Hampson’s original. But judged in its own right, it was a lot of fun, largely due to the grotesque inventiveness and energy of Belardinelli’s art. I will remember his work fondly.

Panels from:
Dan Dare, Space Hyper-Hero “Saga 2” part 1, art by Massimo Belardinelli, 2000AD Programme 12, IPC Magazines, 14 May 1977

Dan Dare, Space Hyper-Hero “Saga 2” part 5, art by Massimo Belardinelli, 2000AD Prog 16, IPC Magazines, 11 June 1977

Addendum (10:10 PM)
Steve Holland has more details of Belardinelli's life and work outside of 2000AD at his Bear Alley blog.

Further addendum (10:30 PM)
Coincidentally, issue 21 of 2000AD Extreme Edition, currently on sale, reprints 49 pages of Belardinelli artwork, making up the complete story The Dead, written by Peter Milligan.

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