Tags: Bryan Talbot, Dark Horse
For the past three decades, Bryan Talbot has established himself as a force in the underground comics scene in a manner almost unfathomable in the US. Such a contrast is particularly jarring given the way that I’m first introduced to the legend, surrounded on all sides by costumed show-goers all shuffling about on their merry way to the next flashy bit of flashy Hollywood eye candy on the showroom floor.
For most of his allotted signing window at the Dark Horse booth, there’s a fairly steady stream of fans queuing up to see him, copies of Alice in Sunderland or The Tale of One Bad Rat or any number of the artist’s seemingly infinite works in hand, each one with a kind word or two about the ways in which his work has affected them over the years. But it’s hardly the manner of rock star welcome one might hope to see for an artist of Talbot’s stature.
But expecting impatient hordes is a bit of a fool’s errand. It’s precisely Tablot’s staunch independence that has established him as such a cult figure in this scene, the manner of visionary whose prophetic work is only embraced by the mainstream decades later in a rather watered-down form.
We sit down in the press portion of the Dark Horse booth and begin the conversation by talking about superheroes. It can’t be helped—we’re surrounded by them, and really, weaned on American comics of the 50s and 60s, they’re every bit a part of Talbot’s vocabulary as that of those caped fan boys roaming the hall of the San Diego Convention Center.