Wednesday 5 June 2013

Heros The Spartan—Proof Positive!!!

We have now reached that very exciting moment with Book Palace Book's epic 'Heros The Spartan' project, when we finally have a first glimpse at the printed proofs of what the team have been working on for the last eighteen months.

There is a lot of careful checking to be done, but the printed pages are looking nothing short of stunning, with razor sharp repro of the scanned 'Heros' pages looking every bit as vibrant as the day the were first published in the Eagle some fifty years ago.

Next week we should be receiving the mock-ups of the leather slip-cased edition, which crams in an extra 24 pages scanned from the original art in a sumptuous leather binding, but for now our energies are focused on any last minute tweaks that need to be made to ensure that this gi-normous book (each spread of 'Heros' is reproduced at the same size as the comic was printed) is as perfect as it deserves to be.

This had been a tremendous undertaking and we have had a lot of help from dedicated Bellamy collectors from around the globe. The introductory chapters, which feature Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons interview with the great man (many thanks to both Dez and Dave), also include mouthwatering reproductions of key examples of Bellamy artwork, which are largely sourced from high resolution scans and add an extra zing to the whole production.

The location of Bellamy Heros originals was as problematic as can be anticipated with artwork of this vintage. The search was ongoing throughout the eighteen months that this project occupied us and we did manage to unearth a lot of Heros artwork that had remained unseen for decades. One of the spreads high on our list was, of course, the famous massacre of the fifth legion, which was one of the strip's many high spots in terms of artistry. We did locate the spread in question, but the collector had the artwork framed and was extremely reluctant to let us near it, let alone prize it out of it's frame. After a lot of pleading, he did provide us with a photo which captures the main action of the scene and which was good enough to run in the book, we would have loved a razor sharp scan of the entire spread, but we were really pleased to be able to reproduce at least a sizeable chunk of the artwork and at the same time we managed to locate another three spreads which again have added a lot of extra lustre to what is already a very desirable book.

This is without doubt, the most ambitious project that Book Palace Books has invested in, and the production costs reflect this. It is, therefore doubly, heartening to see such a healthy demand from people who are determined to ensure that they don't miss out on what is a very limited print run (600 copies of the regular edition and 120 copies of the numbered leather edition), to the extent that the sheer volume of pre-publication orders we have received have just about cleared our production costs.

So to all of you who have pre-ordered and all of you who have helped in our quest to make this the ultimate tribute to the incredible artistry of Frank Bellamy—a very big thank you.

The  waiting is nearly over!


  1. At last! I'm expecting good news from Spain. I love British artists. I love Frank Hampson. And I love Frank Bellamy. Two Franks, isn't wonderful?

  2. Hi Andoni, Great to hear from you again. I remember you were one of our most enthusiastic 'Wulf the Briton' customers.

    Great to have you on board for 'Heros the Spartan"!

  3. I have a pre-order since December 2012!
    And, of course, I love Ron Embleton!!!

    Greetings from the north of Spain!

  4. Many thanks Andoni—you are one of those loyal supporters who make this sort of venture so rewarding.

  5. Er, what are you doing with those proofs afterwards...?

  6. They have to go back to our printer, otherwise they have nothing to refer to. The box that they are sent in is absolutely massive and as they are all on coated stock (the final paper will be matte archival paper as with 'Wulf the Briton), they are quite difficult to handle on mass.

    We will probably receive a limited selection of pages on the final matte stock and those we can keep.

    The matte stock is really stunning and perfect for presenting repro as close to the original comics as we can get withh the added bonus of durability.

    Talking of repro, there was quite a bit of judicious reconstruction required on some of the later episodes as it seems cost-cutting affected the print quality of some of these episodes, with blacks being thinly applied, which gave certain areas of solid black a patchy appearance when overprinted on color areas abutting white areas. All those artifacts have been carefully removed as well as colors such as light blues brought back into the mix to achieve a result which looks as if the pages have been reproduced directly from the original art. As a consequence, the pages have none of that second generation repro look that bedevil a lot of comic reprint projects.

  7. I'm deliberately not clicking on these images to save myself for the happy day this volume arrives. Although, saying that, I think I can see a spread there I first viewed 25 years ago in a British fanzine. 25 years down, a few months to go... must resist the click...