Dave Gibbons: The DCT Years

Now, if anyone has been following my blog, you may have picked up a hint or three that I am a big fan of comics. And I have been lucky enough to meet several of my personal heroes. In some cases, I have gotten sketches or autographs from them. And in some cases, meeting artists, writers and fellow fans at some event has led me to discover some really amazing stories such as The Light and Darkness War which was beautifully illustrated by one of my comic artist heroes, Cam Kennedy. And then to meet Cam, years later, at a comic convention to find out he is such a thoroughly nice guy made that comic and all his other work that little bit more special.

And in the last month or so, I have been on a reading kick of Wizard, the 1970s comic published by D C Thomson that ran from 14 February 1970 until 10 June 1978 when it was merged with Victor. And while I have been reading that comic, I have felt like the Howard Carter of comic historians in the fact that I have discovered such wonderful things as The Box, He Was Only A Private Soldier and A Wizard Artist Hunt where I have been able to put names to artistic styles that I have recognised for years, but not known who to attribute the art to. Or I have found early work that seems to have been overlooked by many fans who know their DC from their Dark Horse but have no idea about any British comic except 2000AD.

As a result of this delve into the comics of the past, I want to highlight some of the early work of Dave Gibbons as I am currently looking forward to his Comics and Creativity talk at the University of Dundee on 21 Octobeer 2015. Thanks to Ray Moore’s sterling work and his willingness to share his comic knowledge, the listing of Dave Gibbons’ work for D C Thomson is here with examples of his work.

The Wriggling Wrecker (20 July 1974 to 21 September 1974)
Wriggling Wrecker
It’s easy to see how much Dave’s work bloomed from his first work for D C Thomson in The Wriggling Wrecker to his next in Year of The Shark Men. And it is one of the joys of being a comic fan to see that transistion from young artist to accomplished highly sought after artist.
Year of the Shark Men (24 April 1976 to 10 July 1976)
Sharkmen
The Deathless Army (A Simon Gaunt story 14 August 1976) (Yes that is an autograph from Dave himself. I picked it up at Bristol Comic Expo way back in either 2005 or 2006. I think it bemused him that someone was bringing up a tatty old Wizard for signature when all the other guys in the queue had piles of 2000AD books, Watchmen, the Martha Washington books or The Originals for him to sign.)
The Last Torpedo ( A Simon Gaunt story 28 August 1976)
Deathless resize
The Flying Tripehound (18 December 1976 to 12 February 1977)
Tripehound
And it must make people wonder that Dave must have been working on Harlem Heroes around the same time that he was working on The Flying Tripehound, not to mention that his stint as the artist of Dan Dare neatly dovetails with his work on Cat and Mouse.
Cat and Mouse (13 August 1977 to 8  October 1977, 3 December 1977, 17 December 1977 and 24 December 1977)
Cat and Mouse
He also did some work for Hotspur including The Spy in the Sputnik issues 882 dated 11 September 1976 to 889 dated 30 October 1976Sputnik
There is a fuller listing of Dave’s work for D C Thomson that have been featured in an article by all-round good egg Jeremy Briggs in Spaceship Away Part 36 Summer 2015. I am sure that there are many other early pieces by Dave Gibbons that I have yet to find, but I hope that you all enjoy this small selection of his work from the early years of his career.
All images (c) D C Thomson.
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