(1935- ) Prolific and very accomplished UK Comic-strip artist, with a bold, slick and sophisticated line style; he is possibly the finest draughtsman in the comics medium. His firm control of composition and skilled command of narrative make him one of the most sought-after comics artists in both the UK and mainland Europe. However, little of his very substantial output has been of lasting value, since much has been in the form of joky newspaper strips with a soft-porn slant or ephemeral children's comics featuring strip versions of tv series. His drawing is always arresting, and some of his newspaper strips have been republished in collected form, including Danielle, The Seekers (1966-1971 Daily Sketch, reprinted in issues of Menomonee Falls Gazette and continued 1979-1984 in The Comic Reader US) and Modesty Blaise (1978-1979 London Evening News).
On leaving school at 16, JMB took an apprenticeship with Link Studios, London. He began to undertake freelance work on his own account in 1954. His remarkable drawing skill first became evident in Wrath of the Gods, a series set among the Gods of ancient Greece. He went on to draw Kelpie, a Sorcerer's-Apprentice tale for the children's weekly Wham. Further sf-oriented strips followed, including several for comics based on Gerry Anderson (1929-2012) tv series.
In 1982 Ertha, written by Donne Avenell, began in full colour in the supplement to the Sunday newspaper News of the World. JMB resuscitated Jane for the Daily Mirror, produced the album series Zetari and did a brief run on Dan Dare for Eagle. His work for US comic books includes Espers: Assassins (1987), "Wild Cards" in Epic #4 (1992) and A Silent Armageddon (graph 1993) for the Dark Horse James Bond series. He continues to draw and paint El Capitan Trueno for the Spanish market and Judge Dredd in the UK. [RT]
John M Burns