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James has always been into comics. He brought his first copy of 2000AD at the age of eight at issue one, and was instantly hooked. later, he went through the usual teenage angst, worrying what other people would think of a grown man still reading comics, and then came to a characteristic decision of: "sod what they think - I'll do what I want, when I want, dammit!"
Then it was off to University, for what he knew to be the best time of his life. Whilst there he desperately sought an original "look", and settled on Arkwright in his down and out phase.... even down to the army surplus greatcoat and ankh. People that he didn't know at the time, but met years later still remember that look: as James says "the art of originality lies in concealing your sources."
The Arkwright stories were encountered in the late '80's and devoured in the graphic novel form.... until the third and final book failed to come out. Then came the Valkyrie Press edition.... when the final issue came out, he carried it home reverentially, and told the student flatmates that nothing short of the third world war was reason enough to disturb the reading of this comic, and that physical violence would be performed on the person of anyone interrupting without a Very Good Reason. The comic - the last issue of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright - was everything that had been expected, and more.
Then, on leaving University came The Real World. He encountered PC's, and then later Macs. And firmly decided that if he had any say in the matter he would work with Macs and not PC's, because "why spend time and part of your limited mental processing power trying to work out how to use the damn computer, when you could be using that same limited mental power to be creative!" So he taught himself how to use Macs, and got a cushy job as a graphic designer. Then he taught himself how to teach other people how to use Macs and got himself a cushier job teaching other people how to use Macs... and then the Net happened. James sat there in utter delight... the first ever search he performed was at Yahoo for Bryan Talbot's work... there was nothing. Three realisations hit him at once:
1) There would be a lot of money available teaching people how to use, create and manage this new medium...
2) People would not give any credibility to anyone without their own website
3) The most important thing about a site is how often it is updated .....
And so was born the Official Bryan Talbot fanpage, with the extra bonus of a legitimate reason to work on it during office hours. Since then the Prime Directive of websites has been applied: that the site owner cares enough about it to update it every two weeks, without fail - as otherwise, if you as the owner aren't interested in it then why should anyone else be? Reading Bryan's work was an epiphany, and the website was a mission to tell as many people as possible about it, because until some years later he had never met anyone else in person who had also read these comics. The chance to work and talk to Bryan was amazing: no other artist, author, film or rock star had had such an impact on his life as this one man - and here he was offering to let him create the Official fanpage!
An entire career was built around the principles learnt running that one site,and so when Bryan suggested this CD he absolutely leapt at the chance. The official site is still up and running, and is still updated every two weeks, and James still has a day job consulting with other people on how to make their site successful.
James and Vanessa on honeymoon.
Heart of Empire Directors Cut and the Adventures of Luther Arkwright: All text and images contained on this CD
are copyright by Bryan Talbot 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001:
no part of this may be reproduced in whole or in part in any medium whatsoever,
without the express, written advance permission of Bryan Talbot.
This CD authored in conjunction with Bryan Talbot by James Robertson.
For more information about Bryan and his work, visit the Official Bryan Talbot fanpage