The Ian Gibson Column: where it began

In his weekly column, the legend that is Ian Gibson traces his love of comics back to Mexico

A genuine British comics legend: Ian Gibson

For me, it began in Mexico.

Not that I’ve ever been there. As I’m not much of a globetrotter, I never felt the need to go! And I tend to visit places on a ‘need to be there’ basis. I consider leaving my carbon footprints across the globe somewhat inconsiderate of my fellow beings – plant, animal and human.

But Mexico is where it started.

The Mayan Codex (is there a workable plural for that?) was my introduction to comics. Thank Tolque that the Catholics didn’t burn them all! So, from a fascination with all things ‘Pre-Columbian’, it was a short and easy step to find some charm in the linear depictions offered by Comics. The clean, bold lines of Jack Kirby’s Thor were some of the first American comics I ever saw.

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I did grow up with the Lion and Tiger comic weeklies. But they seemed full of either football, which I admit bores me, or glorifications of the then recent war, which I find less than helpful. We won the war – they won the peace. Let’s leave it at that!

But I did listen to Dan Dare on Radio Luxemburg and was occasionally treated to the original Eagle even though it was more expensive. But the idea of it being something anyone did for a living never crossed my mind! And I still have my doubts?!

I took the opportunity to pay my respects to these obscure Mexican origins of my illustrative inspiration in the mini series I produced with Grant Morrison for The Avengers TV show 30th  anniversary, that got named Steed & Mrs Peel for copyright reasons. I doubt that many will remember it, as our American ‘allies’ were kicking up a lot of sand at the time, in a desperate attempt to control the global market of black gold. In fact at the time of the anniversary date back in January 1991, it was the very day that Stormin’ Norman began his Desert Storm. And since then the whole world has sand in its sandwiches.

I was minded of this by doing a recent web search on comic History and found a site that never once mentioned any British Comic! The furthest back they went was the Yellow Kid. So, I got to thinking.

Some folks say too much thinking is a dangerous thing.

They could be right. It can get in the way of the drawing…!

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Ian Gibson writes every Monday at Den Of Geek. His last column can be found here. And his own website is here.