Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Frank Hampson's Titans

A few days back, we looked at The Titans, Marvel UK's utterly mental 'landscape' format book. I was reminded that one of the benefits of this bizarre comic was the posters they ran in the middle of each issue.
More often than not, they were clumsy reprints of images we'd already seen in the american books, but occasionally they were originals. And two of them were done by legendary illustrator Frank Hampson, creator of that most british of heroes Dan Dare.

Frank did a poster of Spidey for one issue that we all hated. An ultra-realist, he put every fold & crease in the web-spinner's costume, making our hero look, well, like a normal person. As great as Hampson was, he just couldn't draw in a way completely alien to his sensibilities ie. Marvel style.
Unfortunately, although I remember that Spidey poster very well, I don't have a copy of it. Neither does Sean, who sent me Hampson's other contribution to The Titans, this piece:

I mean, this has literally NOTHING to do with the Marvel universe whatsoever. Oh sure, there's some vaguely scrawled nonsense at the bottom trying to tie it in to some previous story, but truthfully, as beautiful as it undoubtedly is, it really just looks like a sample piece Frank had lying around his studio. Actually I remember being truly appalled by this piece as a kid , like: If you can't draw Marvel style, get out of my comic! Kids are so unforgiving, aren't they?

Anyway, like I said, I don't have the Spidey piece, and haven't managed to locate it on google, so if anyone out there does, scan it & send it, so we can all see it, ok? Come on, share with the class.


  1. Excellent post. I remember this illustration at the time. Now you've really made want to track it down.

    I remember actually liking this at the time because I had a bit of reference. It was because it was observably an older version or cousin of Dan Dare as shown by the 'SUPERDARE' on his gun and his eyebrows.

    I was lucky that while at primary school I had a great teacher called Mr Hunt who saw how into comics I was, that he gave me a couple of his own from his childhood and one of these gems was Eagle so I had meet Dan Dare already and in my child mind it didn't make a figs difference. It was later when I made the distinction and thought that USA comics were best and they had defined barriers of reality and I dismissed all the Brit comics.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Welcome aboard Del, we also had an art teacher who liked comics ( who I really should do a piece on ).
    Funny how as kids everything seemed the same-old stuff, new stuff, whatever. All equally great. Another post subject...

  3. Great blog, you're very prolific! We share a lot of the same comic-book memories. I did a blog piece about the first Hampson spread a while back. Here's the url for the blog piece:
    and here's the url to the jpeg of the scan of the spread:
    Feel free to use the jpeg on here if you wish.