And Then I Read: THE NAKED ARTIST: Comic Book Legends by Bryan Talbot

The Naked Artist cover
©Bryan Talbot

Bryan Talbot, better known for his graphic novels such as the recent, excellent magnum opus ALICE IN SUNDERLAND, is a fine storyteller, not only in his work, but in the bar or over dinner at conventions and other gatherings of comics pros. I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of his company myself on such an occasion, but through this book, I feel I’ve shared a pint of bitter, or a glass of wine with Bryan, listening to him tell tales.

THE NAKED ARTIST is a collection of stories and legends told by pros to each other about the funnier goings-on at comics conventions, artist signings, comics companies, and similar topics, all spun out in a friendly and engaging way. I’d only heard about a quarter of these stories, the rest were new to me, probably because I rarely make it to the bar after hours at conventions, usually being too tired, and not much of a drinker anyway. I had plenty of chuckles and a few loud laughs reading through what I’ve been missing!

I contributed two brief anecdotes to Bryan when he was trollng for material, and both are in here. One is exactly as I told it, the other is a little garbled, but without losing the intention, and that’s probably my fault for not being more clear. Bryan seems to have checked out the stories with those involved whenever possible, and alerts the reader when items are likely to be merely legend rather than fact. The illustrations by legendary British cartoonist Hunt Emerson are a delightful addition.

If you’ve never been a part of the back-room conversations among comics pros, or even if you have, I highly recommend this entertaining book. I picked it up at the publisher, Moonstone’s, booth in San Diego, and heard they quickly sold out. It should be available for order, though, from your local shop or the publisher. Don’t miss the fun.

The Naked Artist by Bryan Talbot

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