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