Sunday, 29 July 2007
Uncollected: Heros the Spartan
Over at Yet Another Comics Blog, Dave Carter asks what omnibus editions we’d like to see.
Well, I’m not too keen on omnibuses as such: I’d rather have books that I can hold open without having to undertake a course of weight training first. But there is one comic collection I’d very much like to see but probably never will: Heros the Spartan, written by Tom Tully and drawn by the incomparable Frank Bellamy, the supernaturally-tinged story of a Roman soldier, born in Sparta, posted to a monster-haunted ancient Britain.
One problem with reprinting Heros is its format: it appeared stretched across the centrespread of the tabloid sized Eagle comic, treating the whole area as a single page. The landscape pages of Frank Miller’s 300 - a story and format inspired by Heros - are not much more than a quarter of that size.
(Click to enlarge)
Even so, Bellamy’s work on the Thunderbirds comic strip from TV21, which used the same format, has been reprinted several times, at least in part. But Thunderbirds has a life of its own, as demonstrated by the existence of an ongoing comic even now. Heros never stuck in the popular consciousness like his stablemate Dan Dare. I guess that if anyone was going to reprint the strip, it would have been to cash in on 300, with Frank Miller cover quotes.
Frank Bellamy – The Checklist says that one Heros story, “The Island of Darkness”, was reprinted last year by Douglas Shaw, but my Google-fu has failed to turn up any more information about either Shaw or the reprint. I guess I’ll have to ask.
It would still be nice to see the whole thing. If my quick calculations are right, all of Heros the Spartan would fit on to only about 100 big, wide pages. Even at 360mm by 580mm, that needn’t be a wrist breaker.
Heros the Spartan by Tom Tully (script) and Frank Bellamy (art), Eagle Annual 1966, Odhams Books, 1965
Page of Heros the Spartan downloaded from an art dealer a while ago – I’m afraid that I didn’t note the name or URL