Many people will know the name Dave Gibbons from his seminal artwork on Watchmen or for co-creating Rogue Trooper, a staple 2000AD character, or for his work on everything from Batman and Aliens to Doctor Who and Dan Dare. His legacy of work is vast, far too much for any one blog post to even hope to cover a fraction of. He even collaborated on the classic videogame Beneath a Steel Sky (and its Apple Arcade remake) and worked on Kingsman: The Secret Service which led to the successful movie series.
He may have been appointed Comics Laureate nine years ago but for pig pals he’ll forever be associated with one page of our piggy publication. In #49 Lew Stringer’s script for The Superhero’s Day Off was brought to stunning (and incredibly funny) life by one of the greatest superhero comics artists of all time. Lew and Dave had been friends for a long time by this stage, and Dave’s son was a pig pal, so he was on board to work for Uncle Pigg for a special one-off collaboration.
Back in the review for this issue of OiNK Lew told me how Dave added in little extra gags where he could, such as the kid reading an issue, the newspaper headline and the dog’s face turning blue from lack of air in the depths of space, our superhero blissfully unaware. I explain how, while at the time I didn’t have a clue why this strip’s artist was being hyped on the cover, “as a child I loved this page and having been a fan of Christopher Reeve’s Superman films I got all the little jokes (my personal favourite being him signalling the bus) even if I didn’t appreciate the significance of its inclusion in the first place.”
I also asked co-editor Patrick Gallagher what it was like to have Dave working on their comic. “Yes, when Mark (Rodgers) told Tony (Husband) and me Lew’s idea to collaborate on a page with his friend Dave Gibbons,” he said, “we were thrilled and all gave it the big OiNK thumbs up with our trotters! And all credit to Lew’s brilliant writing talent for providing Dave with a killer script that matched the super-heroic credibility of his drawing talent.”
Now, Dave has decided to write a memoir of his comics work over the years and OiNK has been included.
Confabulation: An Anecdotal Autobiography is being billed as “a comprehensive, in-depth and personal journey through the eyes of one of the world’s most famous comics creators!” Inside its gorgeous hardback cover you’ll find a series of alphabetically chaptered stories, each described as an “extensive anecdote”. It also contains a staggering 300+ pieces of art and photographs in its 256 pages, many of which have never been published before. Dave also discusses the reasons why Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore and he no longer speak, for the first time.
Lew Stringer has already got his hands on a copy and says it’s a great book, hugely entertaining yet extremely informative. According to Lew, “[Dave] talks about his earliest days on D.C. Thomson comics, through to the Watchmen era, The Originals, and beyond. This really is one of the best autobiographies by a comics creator that you’re likely to see. Dave’s had (and is still having) a significant career in the business and his affable personality comes across well in his illuminating writing style.”
As for that word, what does ‘confabulation’ actually mean? According to the Bing dictionary it means, “to fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for loss of memory”. I think this book could be a fun read!
Written by Dave with Tim Pilcher, Confabulation: An Anecdotal Autobiography is published by Dark Horse and is on sale now at all good book and comic shops. If you live in Northern Ireland may I recommend Coffee & Heroes in Belfast, a simply superb shop that would be more than happy to order it for you. You can also read Lew’s post about the book and see his own photographs in his Lew Stringer Comics blog post.