30 November 2007

John Byrne ... a legend!

John Byrne. There's a name that I don't often think of nowadays, and it makes me sad.

As a kid, I grew up reading comic books, as many kids do I guess. Realising I had artistic skills I found myself eventually trying my hand at drawing the superheroes I read about every day. From that moment on I wanted to be a comic book artist! I wanted to do what my favourite comic book artists were doing...especially John Byrne, he stood out for me.

The crazy thing is I don't even know what it is about his style that I love so much. I can feel it, but I can't describe it...I can see it, but I can't describe it. That's the very nature of great art though isn't it?

Anyway, at some point I approached Marvel Comics, in the UK, in the hope that I could introduce myself as an up and coming comic book artist, and see what happens. I must have showed some promise as someone decided it would be a good idea for me to write my own short story and draw it. So I did. It featured Spider Man and the plot had something to do with some alien race, teleportation, etc. Hey, at the time I thought it was pretty cool, gimme a break. :)

Anyhow, I gave the story to Marvel and waited for the issue with my story in it to be published. I waited some more. And a little more. Eventually I learnt that that particular comic was cancelled, so my short would never see the light of day. I was gutted.

In between then and now, I got into computer game development in a big way, got married, had kids, and so on. At some point, without realising it, comic books stopped featuring in my daily life, and my life as a grown-up, responsible parent quickly overshadowed my passion for the art of comic books. I didn't mean to forget, it just happened. My collection of comics are stored away, out of sight, and therefore out of mind. I miss them.

And then I have the odd day, like today, when something triggers me back to the 1980s and John Byrne. Today that trigger was a web bookmark in my temp folder. The bookmark belongs to John Byrne's website, Byrne Robotics. Why the bookmark is in my temp folder I have no idea, but I'm glad I found it...it's my very own time-travel machine!

John, if you're reading this (very unlikely I know) I just want to say THANK YOU for being you and crafting all of those gorgeous comics, especially the X-Men Phoenix saga...pure clarity and perfection! From when I was just a kid, to this day, I am in awe of the work you did not just on X-Men, but on Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four, Superman...oh, way too many comics and characters to mention!

My best wishes to you JB, and thank you for the feel-good memories that will be with me forever.

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