British comic artist Ian Gibson has passed away.
February 20, 1946 – December 11, 2023
As Rich Johnston informed us a couple days ago Ian’s passing was not unexpected:
Ian Gibson has been ill for some time. And in July, he told his fans, “This is difficult – I barely have the energy to type. So I feel the need to apologise to all who have enjoyed my work over the years that I’m not well enough to fulfill their desires for commissions or even simple sketches.
“I hope my recent revelations concerning my health haven’t been taken as ‘trawling’ for sympathy. Rather I have been trying to explain why the old man who was known for five pages of pencils in a day and five or more finished pages in a week can no longer hold a pencil. It has been very heartwarming to see all your beautiful responses. Bless you all”
Rebellion Publishing has a profile of Ian’s work with their 2000 AD and other English comics.
A renowned writer and artist, with a career spanning half a century, he was responsible for the art on some of 2000 AD’s most distinctive and iconic stories, including ‘The Ballad of Halo Jones’ with Alan Moore and ‘Robo-Hunter’ with John Wagner and Alan Grant.
Jerry Bails’ Who’s Who shows Ian did cross the Atlantic and work for U.S. comic publishers.
Update: John Freeman at downthetubes has a wonderful memoriam to Ian Gibson and his career.
Ian had a pleasant clean style with a touch of cartoonishness that made his art even more appealing.
Unlike far too many of his comic book fellows in the 1980s and 1990s, who seemed more interested in creating comic pages for the resale market rather than any kind of continuity, Ian was dedicated to the tradition of sequential storytelling at which he excelled. Though his splash pages and covers are also worthy of praise.
Along with the Judge Dredd comic books Ian also drew the Judge Dredd daily and weekend comic strip for a few years in the mid-1980s (exact dates unknown).
Downthetubes published an interview with Ian a few years ago and touched on his Judge Dredd comic strips:
Steve: Is there a comic strip/character you wished you’d had a chance to work on?
Ian: Not really.I was kind of hoping that when Frank Bellamy left us, that I’d be able to pick up the Garth gig [for the Daily Mirror]. But that would have just been as homage to Frank. And I got the chance to salute his work for the format of the daily strip, when I was asked to do “Judge Dredd” for the Daily Star. So, even though the money was the other side of pathetic, I wanted to pay my respects to legends of the genre, like Al Williamson and Frank.
As the 20th was turning into the 21st Century he created Annie Droid for The Saturday Times.
From an Amazing Stories interview ten years ago Ian talks Annie Droid:
AS: You’ve worked with Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse among others, but it sounds like the Annie Droid strip you did for the The Times newspaper in Britain is quite close to your heart. Tell us about it. Would you like to bring it back?
IG: Annie Droid was me being let loose on an unsuspecting Times readership! I was allowed to write exactly what I wanted and to dream up the silliest situations for life inside your computer… Yes! Yours too!
When I got the chance with Annie Droid, I had a lot of steam in the creative boiler to keep me going for a couple of years on the madness of the Millennium Bug.
It was printed in the Saturday Times, and the Millennium happened on a Saturday – what a deadline! So the readers woke up that morning to find Annie Droid had saved the world – must have made their toast and marmalade taste so much better! I did have plans for a continuation after the hiatus of the Millennium had passed. But The Times eventually realised that they didn’t have a clue as to what my story was about – so they cancelled it at a week’s notice! A short time to wrap up a saga – but I managed it.
One more interview – here’s Ian from last year talking about his career with Paul N. Neal for Tripwire. A frank interview about the industry and the people and situations he had to deal with. Especially endearing is his describing various publishers, editors, and writers as “complete tosspots.”
ComicArtFans has a wonderful gallery of hundreds of Ian’s comic pages and special art, including dozens of Gibson Judge Dredd comic strips (it’s where the above samples came from).