Buy Bryan Talbot original artwork

Buy Bryan Talbot original artwork

This is the only place you can buy original Bryan Talbot artwork - except from Bryan in person at a convention.

The Legend of Luther Arkwright

The Legend of Luther Arkwright collates all details about Bryan's latest graphic novel.

The Legend of Luther Arkwright page collates all details about Bryan's latest graphic novel.

Heart of Empire - Directors Cut

Buy the Heart of Empire Directors Cut


This labour of love from Bryan and myself contains every single page of Heart of Empire in pencil, ink and final full colour format - as well as over 60,000 words of annotation, commentary and explanation from Bryan... - as well as the whole of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright!



Or see the Heart of Empire Directors Cut page for more details.

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Bryan Talbot t-shirts

Also see the Bryan Talbot t-shirt shop! - we've got a vast array of Bryan's images on lots of different t-shirts, as well as other items like mugs and fine art prints: - but if there's anything else you'd like just let us know on Twitter or at the Facebook group.

The Grandville Annotations

The annotations for Grandville Force Majeure by Bryan Talbot

Bryan and myself have created a series of annotations for the Grandville graphic novel series, explaining references and homages to other works, how the pages are drawn, inked, coloured and put together.

All of the annotations are now complete and online for:

- Grandville

- Grandville Mon Amour

- Grandville Bête Noire

- Grandville Noël

- Grandville Force Majeure

This is the new version of the Bryan Talbot fanpage
But the whole of the original Bryan Talbot fanpage is still online.

The Frank Fazakerly homepage

This is the official home on the web for Bryan Talbot's Frank Fazakerly.


The cover to Frank Fazakerly by Bryan Talbot

To Be Perfectly Frank

This is the introduction that Bryan wrote for the 2020 release of Frank Fazakerly as a free download.

"Perfectly Frank" was the title proposed to me by one James Manning when we met in London in 1978 for the strip that he was asking me to produce for the new monthly magazine he was editing, Ad Astra. Envisaged to be a British equivalent of the glossy U.S. publication Omni, it was publicized as "Britain's FIRST (yes, in caps) Science Fact/Science Fiction Magazine".

The cover to yhe first edition of Ad Astra magazine, which featured Frank Fazakerly by Bryan Talbot

I've just had a quick search for it online and can't find a single mention. There is a magazine with that title, but it's the official publication of the American National Space Society, established 1989.

Although only working on a shoestring budget, Ad Astra (Latin for To The Stars) lasted for 16 issues, filled with articles on science, predominantly space research, and SF stories and reviews - and my strip was in every issue. Except it wasn't called Perfectly Frank. At the time, Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em was an immensely popular British TV sitcom and James envisaged the strip as "Frank Spencer in Space". That was the entirety of the concept. Frank was the hapless protagonist of the series, who got into a silly situation every episode, due to his accident-prone nature, and James figured I could transpose the whole formula to an SF setting.

I said "Okay", went off, and created something different, though still a comedy, and with a gormless protagonist called Frank. To his credit, James didn't bat an eye and accepted the strip on the spot. My idea was "George Formby in Space". Formby, whose comedy-adventure movies were massive during the war and still popular and on TV while I was growing up, came from the small Northern industrial town of Wigan, just like me. In fact, he was a schoolfriend of my maternal Grandmother.

The story concept, although not the plot, was directly inspired by the idea behind the Bob Hope movie Paleface. In the film, Hope plays an itinerant dentist ("Painless Potter") in the wild west, who becomes a feared gunslinger, not because he's brave (he's quite the opposite) nor a good shot, but because circumstances are such that he ends up getting the credit for the real sharpshooter, Calamity Jane (played by Jane Russell). And that was the notion behind The Fazz - over the course of his misadventures, he would have become a massive intergalactic hero despite being a wimp, while Zelda did all the heroic stuff, and who would indeed, eventually, liberate Earth from the iron rule of the robots.

But it never happened. Ad Astra folded at issue 16 because of falling sales, and the story was only about a sixth of the way through, at least. As it was the last issue, James allowed me to finish on a double-pager. I'd met James through my first publisher, Lee Harris, whose Alchemy Press published my underground Brainstorm Comix series. FF was my first regular paying strip and, as you'll see, some bits are appallingly badly drawn. Originally meant to be in a half-page format, James gave it a full page from issue 2 onwards, and later told me that it was the most popular regular feature in the magazine.

As you'll see, if you've not already come across it, it is basically a parody of the 1930s Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers movie serials, with pastiches of Dan Dare, Star Trek and other space opera standards thrown in along the way. There are costumes, robots and spaceships based on 1930s - 1950s pulp SF magazine illustrations and Art Deco touches here and there. I especially like The Chrome Queen's Bride of Frankenstein-inspired head design. The Mingon is a cross between the Mekon from Dan Dare and Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon.

The Sci-Fi of the period was very swish, sparkly and glamorous in the main, and the notion of characters talking in a broad Lancashire accent onboard a spaceship was amusing at the time. The characters' names are typically Northern, and there's even a reference to Uncle Joe's Mint Balls, manufactured in Wigan since Victorian times and still being produced there today, as far as I know.

As for the overall plot, apart from the vague story arc I had in mind, I made up the instalments once a month, just before I had to draw them, mostly ending them on cliff-hangers. Over the two years I was producing the strip, I'd finished drawing the last Brainstorm comic, Amazing Rock and Roll Adventures, and started work on The Adventures of Luther Arkwright for Near Myths, all the while working in my first two "real" jobs, as illustrator for Lancashire County Council, then for British Aerospace on a 6-month contract, producing the comics at nights and weekends.

Bryan Talbot's Amazing Rock and Roll Adventures

On the final page, you might spot the Dan Dare-inspired eyebrows of Queen's idealised image of Frank and a reference to the Cadbury's Smash alien robots. And, for those who may have wondered...the bomb is in the... well, I think you'll probably guess.

And that would have been that. I'm not going to write a history of the Preston Speculative Fiction Society here, but that's how come the publication you've just downloaded came about. Begun by fan, later well-known filker and folk singer Lawrence Dean in the early 80s, the PSFG grew from half a dozen people (including me, Mary and writer Steve Gallagher) sitting around a pub table once a month to the biggest group of its kind in Britain at the time. Not strictly limited to SF but encompassing horror, fantasy, illustration and comics, its regular attendees included luminaries such as Bob Shaw, Ramsey Cambell and Leo Baxendale. Eventually meeting once every two weeks in a large town centre pub's upstairs function room, it attracted a large attendance, as many as over 120 one notable week, sometimes from all over Britain.

There was a guest speaker at every meeting, the roster reading like a genre fan's Who's Who: Michael Moorcock, Terry Pratchett, Tanith Lee, Alan Moore, Gwyneth Jones, Neil Gaiman, David Brin, Bill Sienkiewitz, Diana Wynne-Jones, Iain (M) Banks, Garth Ennis, Dave Sim and Grant Morrison, to name a few, some of them on multiple occasions. Richard O'Brien sang Rocky Horror songs and Kenny (R2D2, Time Bandits) Baker regaled us with outrageous anecdotes from his long career. One week we'd have a talk by a practicing witch, another a one-man play about Philip K Dick. We had the cream of UK illustrators, from Jim Burns to Dave McKean and Brian Froud, who'd give slide presentations of their work. If we had an animator guest, we'd hire video projectors to show clips from their films. Ray Harryhausen brought models from The Clash of the Titans and Nick Park brought Wallace and Gromit.

And it was all free. Run by an unelected voluntary committee (mainly the original members), there was no membership charge, no entry fee and every attendee got a free newsletter leading with a feature on the night's guest and advertising events to come in the following months. Everything was paid for, including the guest's expenses and dinner, by the SFPG raffle held every meeting, with prizes of books, video films and comics donated by members, publishers and guests, sometimes supplemented by large donations of prizes from media stores such as Forbidden Planet.

The newsletter was titled Kimota (atomic backwards, and Marvelman's catchphrase - you might notice that it's also the name of The Fazz's rocketship) and was edited and produced by PFSG stalwart Graeme Hurry. Graeme went on to produce several publications under the Kimota imprint, including collections of short stories by Steve Gallagher, Ramsey Campbell and various PSFG guest speakers. Can't remember now how it came about, but Graeme put together this collection of Fazakerly strips in 1991. The last two pages have art by cartoonist Dave Windett, a member from the beginning and a contributor to a host of comics including The Beano, Sonic the Hedgehog, Duckula and The Simpsons. Here's some of his strips free to download.  In case you're wondering about the TV show that Steve mentions in the intro. it was called Encounter With a Madman and can be watched here on the fanpage.

So, a rather long and rambling introduction to a quite short and very silly book, but I do feel these sorts of things need documenting. Now over 40 years old, this was the last comedy-adventure that I wrote up until the graphic novel CHERUBS!, drawn by Mark Stafford, relatively recently. Hope it gives you a giggle.

Does the first page of Frank Fazakerly, Space Ace of the Future bear an uncanny resemblance to the opening credits to the much later Futurama by Matt Groening, or is that just me?

Bryan Talbot

Sunderland 2020