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You are in the Biographies section > SMS

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In the Biography section, you can find the life story of everyone involved in the creation of the Heart of Empire Comics: Bryan Talbot, Angus McKie, Ellie DeVille, and even the story of those only involved in this CD - James Robertson!

Building relationships with SMS.

Early 1960's: A bungalow and sheds lie becalmed in midsummer Hampshire countryside. An abandoned tram is a galleon filled with firewood. A small boy keeps watch with a plastic telescope from the tram's bare roof. Above him, seagulls resist being sucked into the blue. In a minute he will jump to test his theory of flight. Just before he does, he is trying to match his view of a wood through the telescope with that of his naked eyes. Abruptly, he realises it is him that is seeing this.

Mid 1970's: The edge of the New Forest, a three story Victorian gothic house is surrounded by the rolling black shapes of wind-tossed trees. The building's size is hinted at by dim night-lights at the windows, it's mock-Tudor facade given frozen solidity by close-glaring lightning. Rocked by the driving rain between jagged roofs, a teenager is replacing slippery slates. He is often called up here by insistently dripping ceilings. Over his shoulder, the thunder is intimate as a rugby scrum. Below, one of the senile inmates of the nursing home wails in confusion. There is no better time to be alive.

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Early 1980's: A Victorian tenement near Waterloo station: Two squatters in their very early 20's watch as their home is wrecked to maintain the property industry. An immaculately suited Council employee, having smashed the junction box and the gas meter, shatters the toilet bowl and cistern with a crowbar. Opening his flies with professional dignity he efficiently pisses into the jagged enamel. In a couple of days the building will be completely uninhabitable. This is the sixth building the squatter in the corduroy jacket has mended and furnished in a year. Some of the buildings were modern high rise developments. Some, prestigious Victorian houses. Some, 1930;s flats.. All of them were a home for someone.

Mid-1980's: The landscaped buildings of Southampton University are a scale model for Utopia. Nearer the town, students sit in front of lorries to stop houses being demolished for an already abandoned road development. When the campaign succeeds, the philosophy student who dragged them into this returns to drawing and co-editing an amateur comic. Southampton's Archaeology Department survey the Norman Walls. In an undercroft, one of them draws comic strip layouts in his lunchbreak.

Late 1980's: Southampton in midwinter: There's no roof, back wall, water, gas or electricity. The air is full of brick dust. The men paid to do most of the seven months work think the owner isn't taking the building seriously enough as he stops work early. In whichever room that has a floor, he draws comics to pay for materials. Seventeen months after he submitted the designs for this rebuilding, the Council says this is the only possible time to make those drawings solid. Designing The City Of Agartha, he knows that this is a dumb time to be in a building site.

Late 1990's: Even with a stepladder, it's impossible to reach the apex of the attic room. The walls have been taken down to afford more space and through the new windows, it's possible to see between the trees at the edge of Rochdale to three different locations that need reclaiming, rebuilding or protecting. In between; there's slices of the city of London to redesign…

2000: He misses that roof…

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General background

Between a decade of drawing people, technology and organisms, Sms seems to have drawn a lot of buildings. The Heart of Empire project is the first time he's been asked to just do the buildings alone.

Thanks, Bryan, for the patience.

Comics artwork:

Odd mags, a variety of small press, 2000AD, Arcane, Interzone, Games Workshop, Marvel UK and Marvel US.

Illustrations/covers for:

REM, Kerosina, Games Workshop, Penguin, Pan, BBR, Marvel UK and, mainly, Interzone for which he's frequently been voted 'Best Artist'

BSFA Art award: 1998.

Art on Websites:

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Other activities:

Amongst a variety of things onstage, Has demonstrated Alien Sex, given birth, been decorticated, demonstrated the ghosts of extinct species and ritually disembowelled a Clanger. Regularly presents the robot battle: Beyond Cyberdrome at Eastercon SF conventions.

Right now, trying to save a barn.

Used Portmeirion architecture in proposing to Eira, who, in between circus, teaches.

Their weddings were held at a ruined Gothic Folly, a lake and a Victorian Gothic Town Hall.

At present he is involved in writing and directing a film project. A period Gothic Romance:

…and, yes, the buildings do play a large part.

Some buildings in comic strips:

Sanctum of Absolute Contiguity: Of our Complex Ideas Of Substances in Mad Dog. Solent City: Syd. Coaster. Aquaduct complex: Screaming of the Beetle, Arcane. Orbital Freewill Project The Good Robot, Interzone.

The Cathedral: The Cold Designs. City of Arartha/Temple of Arartha: ABC Warriors, 2000AD. City of Oogst/Threshing Plaza: Empty Maker, Games Workshop Graphic Novel. Tube Transport Complex: Down The Tubes. Ice City: Demon Queen, Red Fox. Alien Temple: Warheads. Overkill Hell labyrinth Original Sin, Hellraiser.

Click here to return to the top of the page. Also see the other biographies: Bryan Talbot, Angus MacKie , Ellie DeVille and James Robertson.

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Heart of Empire Directors Cut
Contents | Annotations | Pencils | Inks | Colours | Hi-res colours | Index

Introduction | About the author | Dramatis Personae | Interviews | Back covers | Biographies

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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

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