On Tuesday the 24th of October 1995, we had the return of Bryan as a guest.
Bryan Talbot was born in Wigan in 1952. He attended Wigan Grammar
School before doing a foundation year at the Wigan School of Art, before
obtaining an LSIA in Graphic Design from Preston Polytechnic.
Bryan started drawing comics for his own amusement in 1960. His first
published illustrations appeared in the British Tolkien Society Magazine
in 1969. In 1971, in conjunction with Bonk, a fellow student, he
produced a weekly comic strip, Superharris, for the college newspaper.
After completing his education Bryan worked in the drawing office at
British Aerospace and as a graphic designer at Longcastle Advertising
Agency. However his real creative spirit was devoted to the underground
press by creating the BRAINSTORM COMIX. The first three issues contained
the 65 page story of Chester P. Hackenbush - The Psychedelic Alchemist.
This was reprinted in 1982 in one volume entitled Brainstorm. The MIXED
BUNCH issue of Brainstorm Comix included a 7 page strip - "The Papist
Affair" - the seed from which The Adventures of Luther Arkwright was
later to grow. Issue Six; Amazing Rock and Roll Adventures featured
Bryan's 23 page story The Omega Report, an SF/rock-comedy thriller cum
private dick pastiche.
In 1978 Bryan began Frank Fazakerly, Space Ace of the Future, a Flash
Gordon/Dan Dare take-off, for AD ASTRA, and The Adventures of Luther
Arkwright for NEAR MYTHS. This title ran for five issues and work on the
Arkwright saga was halted until 1981, when its serialisation began
again in PSSST! magazine. In 1982, Never Ltd published Rat-trap - Volume
One of the Arkwright trilogy.
After completing Rat-trap, Bryan created over a hundred illustrations
for a series of German role-playing-game books and wrote and drew
Scumworld for a year for SOUNDS.
In 1981 he worked with SF writer Bob Shaw on the Granada arts programme CELEBRATION to produce Encounter with a Madman.
In 1983 he began working for 2000AD, and with Pat Mills produced
three books in the popular Nemesis The Warlock series. The first in
these won an Eagle award for Best Comic Album and the character
Torquemada the Favourite British Villain award for three years running.
He also worked on Judge Dredd by Alan Grant and John Wagner, which
included the production of full colour strips for the IPC annuals and
the 20 page RPG strip in the first issue of DICEMAN.
Over the years Bryan has created a variety of comic strips for
publications as diverse as HOME GROWN and IMAGINE, magazine
illustrations, including covers for DC SUPERHEROS MONTHLY and COMPUTER
AND VIDEO GAMES, Rock and SF art Prints, posters, badges and logos.
In 1989 he broke into the American market, when Jamie Delano asked
him to draw the first Hellblazer Annual for DC. This was the start of an
association over the Atlantic which has recently spread from DC to Dark
In 1990 he worked with American Tom Veitch, whose underground comix
work he had admired years before. The result of this collaboration was
The Nazz for DC, a superhero comic seeped in symbolism and graphically
depicting the outcome of achieving absolute power.
Still with DC Bryan has drawn a number of Sandman titles and a Shade the Changing Man.
In 1992 Bryan had an idea for a Batman story while lazing in bed. Two
weeks later, at the Glasgow Comic Convention, he then met Archie
Goodwin who had just taken over as the editor on Legends Of The Dark
Knight, the more prodigious of the many Batman titles. Bryan told him he
had a story and Archie told him to send him a proposal. It sounded like
a polite way of getting rid of him and Bryan didn't take it any
further. But six months later when he saw Archie again the first thing
Archie demanded to know was the whereabouts of the proposal Bryan had
promised. So Bryan sat down at the word processor and within two weeks
Archie had accepted the story and told Bryan to spread it over two
issues. The story concerned the possibility that Batman was a deluded
drunkard who thought he was a hero, or alternatively Batman has a
breakdown and believes he is a down-and out. The reality is unknown
right to the end, and accuracy in the madness element was lent by
Bryan's personal psychological advisor; Keith Marsland.
Most recently Bryan has devoted the last three years to writing and
drawing THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT, which was published by Dark Horse last
Bryan has adapted his drawing style many times for different
projects. Arkwright, was drawn in a wonderful but laborious
cross-hatching European technique. When he started working for 2000AD
and DC he developed a fluid, slick style which allowed him to push the
pages out at the required rate. For Bad Rat he wanted realism while
retaining a comic feel. To do this Bryan used photo reference to get
very realistic and accurate pictures. However, the pictures used for
reference were not cut out of magazines. Each frame had a number of
pictures taken just for that image and the detailed pencil drawings were
produced. The inking then drew thick lines around the subjects. Any
detail lost was replaced at the colouring stage.
This process produced the accurate images with a comic feel which Bryan wanted.
During the latter part of the production of Bad Rat, Bryan was
introduced to TeknoComix by Neil Gaiman. His work on Teknophage, one of
Neil's titles, helped enormously after the long time working on Bad Rat
when he was only able to do small jobs to earn money.
started by a couple of people who became millionaires in America with an
SF Cable channel. They decided to get into comics and did so in a big
way. The money was attractive and the freedom they gave and technology
used in colouring and inking was inventive. For example for a few
pictures in Teknophage Bryan drew ten or so insects, and computers
multiplied these by thousands so a veritable swarm is produced on the
So now Bad Rat is finished, what's on the horizon? Arkwright II? Well
Bryan said many years ago that there would be no follow up, but since
then he has thought of a good story, so we'll see. He is also doing some
comic script writing which Dave Taylor will be drawing. If you want to
know more ask the questions.