(1949- ) London-born artist and illustrator of US Comic books, with a strong, decorative line style. He worked as Barry Smith until 1983. He began his career with a series of back-cover pin-ups of Superheroes for the UK Marvel-Comics reprint weeklies Fantastic and Terrific in 1967. He travelled to the US and began working for Marvel on X Men (#53 1969), but was forced to return to the UK in 1968 when his visitor's visa expired. He continued to work for US comic books, however, drawing Daredevil (#50-#52 1969), Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD (#12 1969) and The Avengers (#66-#67 1969 and #98-#100 1972) and some short horror tales. A turning point came when he was chosen as the artist to draw Marvel's adaptation of Robert E Howard's Conan stories. Here his extraordinary narrative talent became increasingly evident, reaching a peak with the particularly inventive and skilful Song of Red Sonja (Conan #24 1973). For his work on this series he was awarded two Academy of Comic Book Art Awards (1971, 1972).
In 1974 BWS left the comic-book industry to found the Gorblimey Press to publish his portfolios and prints. In 1975, he joined Jeff Jones, Mike Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson at The Studio – premises the artists shared and the subject of a coloured art book, The Studio (graph 1979) with text by "J.S.". This was a period of experimentation, with only a few short comic strip pieces being published in Epic Illustrated #16 (1983).
BWS returned to comics with Machine Man #1-#4 (1984-1985), and has since worked on many mainstream comic-book characters, including The Uncanny X-Men (intermittently 1984-1987), Daredevil (#236 1986), Wolverine (1991), Archer and Armstrong (1992-1993), Eternal Warrior (1993) and many others. His own creation, Rune, featuring an ancient, cannibalistic power-seeking alien, began publication in 1994. [SH/RT]