2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, April 20, 2007

Massimo Belardinelli 1938 - 2007

I first read news of art droid Massimo Belardinelli's death on a couple of web sites at the start of this week. Given that in recent years there have been reports of this type about him that were inaccurate, I was initially dubious about believing the latest batch of obituaries. But as more and more web sites report it I guess I have no choice but to accept the news as fact.

It's still relatively early days for The Prog Slog, so I am certain that I will write about Belardinelli's 2000 AD work (which is all I know, really) on more than one occasion over the next few months as I have Meltdown Man, Ace Trucking Co and Slaine to look forward to. Having recently finished reading his run on Inferno, I found it impossible not to believe that he could ever have not enjoyed drawing. His artwork always looked like he was having a good time.

When writing about prog 1, I missed the opportunity to talk about the centre spread he drew for the Dan Dare strip (the reproduction of which is above, totally lifted by me from Lew Stringer's blog http://lewstringer.blogspot.com). I've read thousands of comics over the years and, arguably, it would be easy for me to become jaded by much of the samey artwork that I've seen. Other pieces, however, stay with you and I can never forget the impact that seeing this centre spread for the first time had on my nine year old mind. It was as if the comic itself had cast a hook into my brain that I've never successfully been able to wriggle free from. The cover to the first issue is completely forgettable, thanks mainly to it being designed to have a big free gift taped to it, but of all the content from this prog that got readers coming back for more, it was this.


  • Absolutely agree. When I first clapped me peepers on that centre spread I had a "moment". At that point SF in space meant Star Trek and flying saucers. I was too young to have had exposure to SF spot illustrations in new wave media, and hence the sheer otherworldiness of this spread literally sparked something awake in my mind. I don't often enthuse about such things - on this occasion I make the exception. Bellardinelli's Dare was *the* reason for me to buy 2000ad, not the embryonic Dredd. Later I became aware of all the negative stuff written about Dare's resurrection from Eagle. At the time I thought these people were wrong, now I can see their point - the writing was pants, and making Dare act and talk like a tough Yank superhero was a mistake. However, the look created by Bellardinelli was exactly correct for a character who'd been awoken from suspended animation to find his world completely changed. If only someone could rewrite it...

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 9:15 pm  

  • I will always remember Bellardinelli was his exquisite aliens. Perhaps of all his work on 2000AD, the little known 'The Dead' is, for me, his very best work, concentrating on just drawing peculiar looking creature after peculiar looking creature.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 12:57 pm  

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