Dave culture


RELEASED OUT NOW! 320 pages | Hardback/ebook

Author Dave Gibbons

Publisher Dark Horse

Like its towering blue übermensch Doctor Manhattan, Watchmen casts an outsized shadow over the work of artist – and occasional writer – Dave Gibbons. We should all be so lucky to be defined by a seminal work in our chosen medium, but as this “Anecdotal Autobiogra­phy” (as the subtitle puts it) proves, Gibbons’s talent has been something to treasure for over half a century.

Illustrate­d with classic pieces and rarities from his own archive, this is very much a career-focused memoir. Family details are relegated to a terse rundown of facts – frankly we learn more about Garth Ennis’s stag weekend – but the throughlin­e from childhood to fandom to profession­al is clear. This is the story of the kid who made his own Dan Dare helmet from a cardboard box then went on to draw his hero for 2000 AD, the same kid who never missed an episode of Doctor Who then supersized the show in a Marvel comic strip.

There are fascinatin­g glimpses of unmade projects, including a pitch for a 60th anniversar­y Superman story that would have returned the Man of Steel to his Depression Era roots. And there are equally insightful recollecti­ons of fellow pros encountere­d along the way. Stan Lee’s innate storytelli­ng chops are acknowledg­ed from direct experience, while Batman co-creator Bob Kane “seemed much more the Joker than Bruce Wayne”.

Gibbons writes with selfdeprec­ation, good humour and, where necessary, frankness. One of the most absorbing parts of the book charts his deteriorat­ing relationsh­ip with Watchmen collaborat­or Alan Moore, recounted with a clear sense of sadness. Confabulat­ion’s A-Z format gives it a moreish, selection box appeal, and allows Gibbons to reframe his life outside of linear chronology: the final entry is his first profession­al job. Unbound by time? Doctor Manhattan would approve. Nick Setchfield

Gibbons designed the chest symbol that he wore while posing as Big E, editor of weekly comic Tornado.

It’s illustrate­d with classic pieces and rarities

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