Brian Lewis: All About Science #12 – Mendel

The thing that always hits me when looking at Lewis’ art is his references must have been hard to come by. He could easily get children to pose for him, but Czech architecture? National dress? Mendel himself? You might be surprised to learn a photo exists of Mendel. Have a look at this old video on YouTube for an interesting documentary.

Brian Lewis: All About Science #11b – Galileo


The second page of this subject emphasising his building of a telescope and his subsequent interest in space. But it also tells of his clashes with the Roman Catholic Church at a time when (illustrated!) heretics were burnt at the stake!

Lewis’s art here appears muted to me! But it might be this is a one more commission on top of his work for other comics at the time.

Brian Lewis: All About Science #11a – Galileo


In this episode we look at Galileo Galilei and his creation of the pendulum. He was born in Pisa, but everyone will remeber what is now considered as a myth of how Galileo dropped balls from the top of the leaning tower of Pisa.

A biography by Galileo’s pupil Vincenzo Viviani stated that Galileo had dropped balls of the same material, but different masses, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass. This was contrary to what Aristotle had taught: that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, in direct proportion to weight. While this story has been retold in popular accounts, there is no account by Galileo himself of such an experiment, and it is generally accepted by historians that it was at most a thought experiment which did not actually take place.

We see Lewis’ signature that appeared in many of his illustrations and comic strips. Very abstract, where contemporaries like Bellamy and Noble signed in a straight signature

Lewis signature

This week Lewis produced 2 pages – inside and outside back cover. The colours are different in the reprint of this strip in issue #16 Interesting that the publisher reprinted this so soon in a work that spanned 2 years – perhaps another indication that this inside cover was seen as disposable

Brian Lewis: All About Science #10 – Ampere

I suspect that Lewis would not be allowed to show the final panel now – even though the first panel may have more effect on a child’s imagination, especially followed by the graveyard scene. What an atmospheric panel. This is the Brian Lewis, artist that I love. Small, almost cameos with outline but subtle atmospheric perspective!

The International System of Units names the unit of electric current after the gentleman who was one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism, Ampere was a driven scientist whose posthumous work was entitled “Essay on the philosophy of science or analytical exposition on the natural classification of human knowledge”

Brian Lewis: All About Science #09 – Bernoulli

Have you ever used a spraygun? What about that toy from childhood, Blopens? Bernoulli’s Principle states that as the speed of a moving fluid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases.

Lewis again demonstrates, using a silhouette against the other panels of full colour. I particularly like the illusion of depth in the mountain panel. The village is inked in outline; the mountains have no outlines

Brian Lewis: All About Science #08 – Archimedes

Again I don’t have Number 7 so can’t tell you what appears there, but on the basis that Archimedes features again, I’m guessing Archimedes. This episode relates very quickly how his invention (since lost to posterity) of the “huge burning glass” was set againt the Roman fleet. at Syracuse and how Archimedes worked on the mathematical model of PI when he was killed. An interesting article on Wikipedia mentions:

Archimedes may have used mirrors acting collectively as a parabolic reflector to burn ships attacking Syracuse.

A quick search on Google shows many references to “huge burning glass” in history – none connected to this as such, but once again Lewis’s strip has inspired me to look further – surely the purpose of the comic strip in “All about science”.

The panel showing the ships burning is beautifully drawn and the last but one panel of Archimedes shows the shadowy figure of a Roamn soldier about to kill him.

Brian Lewis: All About Science #06 – Archimedes “EUREKA!”

I haven’t got All About Science numbers 3-5 so I don’t know what appeared in this feature. But here we have Lewis’ brilliant ‘comedy’ on that famous Eureka moment.

Archimedes has a wonderful paunch, that I as a middle aged (who am I kidding) man understand. In just three panels we get driven along and want to know more. I found the story engaging until I got to the science!

I’m disappointed because I don’t think the five panels are clear enough to explain the concept. A gold block (the same weight as the one that allegedly created the crown) and the crown are weighed and found to be the same. Then first the gold block goes into a full jug of water and the spillage is retained. I would then do the same with the crown and only then weigh both ‘spilages’ and find one heavier.

I’m guessing, and it i a guess, that Lewis is merely following his script. Nice last panel of the King dominating he panel and the people!

Footnote: why does it say ‘pitcher’? Perhaps international editions meant the translation had to carry across the Atlantic and ‘jug’ doesn’t mean the same

Brian Lewis draws Isaac Newton

This is the first piece of a long intermittent series that Lewis did for Orbis Publications.
His simple rendering of the snow scene to tell us Newton was born in winter and the claustrophobic street scene in grey emphasises not only death but the grim reality of Newton’s time. In contrast we see the sunny shaded scene under a tree. I love pictures that overlap – as long as they are clear – and love this bench edge and table edge heading into the white border! Something interesting happened with the lettering in the second to last panel. It looks like a last minute editorial change. Whether Lewis did the lettering himself or not, I don’t know, but I assume that each country of this co-edition would want space left for them to fill in their home language.
In just 9 panels Lewis draws you along and in a later issue he covers Newton’s work on telescopes.
A lovely piece of work, completely ignored!

Brian Lewis Comic Artist


Brian Lewis

Originally uploaded by standby4action

Born in 1929, this underrated British comic artist , illustrated many UK comics during the Sixties and Seventies to his death in 1978.

I have uploaded and scanned all the issues of ALL ABOUT SCIENCE I had – several were missing

Lewis’s illustrative work appeared in the mid to late 1950s and from 1959 to 1962 in “Science Fiction Adventures”, “New Worlds”; and “Science Fantasy”, the publications edited by John Carnell for Nova Publications,

He drew many strips for Fleetway comics of the Sixties including Smash “Charlies Choice” which spoofed contemporary spy films such as Bond and “Man from Uncle”. He also drew Mann of Battle in the Eagle. He was involved in TV21, Countdown and produced fantastic covers and art for House of Hammer

For more details on Brian Lewis:

bearalley.blogspot.com/2008/06/brian-lewis.html and www.britishcomicart.netfirms.com/lewis/lewis_index.html

This Flickr set is taken from “All about science” the “colour encyclopedia of science in weekly parts” published by Orbis in the mid-seventies. Brian Lewis illustrated the interior back page series “Discoverers” featuring scientists of history. It’s interesting to note that normally readers would bind these partworks (there were many) by taking the pages out of the exterior covers and disposing of them – thus Lewis’ work here tends to get forgotten!