Recently I had the enormous pleasure of getting to hang out with Dave Gibbons, artist of Watchmen, who was in town promoting his latest book, Watching the Watchmen. The new work is a gorgeous, large-format art book filled with sketches, paintings, typescript pages and other Watchmen-related bits-and-bobs. Kaleidoscopic in approach, it’s a burst of colour and artistic insight to arguably the greatest graphic novel ever written.
As part of the tour, he stopped in Toronto to speak with Mark Askwith, producer of Space and cult-classic Prisoners of Gravity (and he was the former manager of the Silver Snail, a Toronto comics institution) in front of several hundred people. As is common at these sorts of things, there was a massive signing after the interview. Given the number of people and the paper they were all clutching, certain rules had to be addressed, but no one seemed to grumble too much.
Dave Gibbons, in short, is a hell of a nice guy. He will also use anything as a canvas. Including my head.
This little episode was prompted by someone who wanted the Doctor Manhattan sign drawn on his head. Dave said sure, did a quick drawing, and then, beer in hand, looked to me and said “Your head would be perfect.” I took some convincing, but what I ended up realizing was that no matter how stupid I looked at work the next day, it would be because of the man who helped bring us Rorschach, Ozymandias, and Doctor Manhattan. This was a man who revolutionized the genre; whose classic nine-panel set up told perhaps the most riveting of comic-book stories.
The ink would wash off.
There’s no way I’m ever going to forget being drawn on by the man who drew the smiley face spattered with blood.