Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Lost in Translation - Ian Kennedy's Tybalt
Take for instance the story of Don Lawrence, who in 1976 at a UK Comics Covention discovered that his Trigan Empire work was appearing in comics all around the globe. Like Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson who had made a similar discovery when he was invited as guest of honor to the Lucca Comics Convention a year earlier, he felt flattered but also irritated that he was receiving no extra remuneration to enhance the fee he was receiving for continuing to produce The Trigan Empire.
Lawrence decided to have it out with the publisher and within half an hour found himself to all intents and purposes unemployed.
Or take the story of Norman Worker who was happily working in his father's furniture shop whilst dreaming of a career as a writer, when the "safe" job disappeared with the bankruptcy of the business. His cousin Peter O' Donnell who would find fame as the creator of Modesty Blaise, recommended he try his hand at writing comics and whilst the UK market was relatively tough to break into he did with O'Donnell's help get an introduction to the Swedish Publishing house Semic.
His work initially included scripts for Buffalo Bill and The Saint, but it was as writer for adaptations of Lee Falks The Phantom that he really found his niche. He wrote 127 Phantom stories along with a lot of other features for comics such as Fantomen. The cross pollination of talent continued as UK artists working for publishers such as Semic and Oberon were regarded as well as treated with a lot more favor than was the case back home. It wasn't surprising then that Ian Kennedy was high on the list of desirable artists when it came to putting visuals to some of Worker's scripts.
At this point I'll let Andreas Eriksson take up the story:
The concept was retooled, as the main character was forced to change his identity to Rey Tybalt, and he took work as a pilot - presumably to let Ian Kennedy draw more airplanes. References to his Mark Hunter background were made throughout the Tybalt episodes however, so despite different titles it is essentially one comic from start to finish. The name change also meant that Tybalt moved to the comic book Fantomen instead, a book dedicated to Lee Falk's jungle hero The Phantom. (Worker was also one of the main writers of Phantom stories for Fantomen).
32 Tybalt episodes were published from 1990 to 2002, from 1998 and onwards Swedish writer Mats Jönsson was the scripter. The first four Tybalt episodes are in b/w, the rest in color as Fantomen turned to color printing from 1991 onwards.
And here as a taster is some pages from the last Tybalt black and white comic, it seems amazing (and ironic) that these stories have never appeared in English.
Many thanks to Andreas for providing us with these amazing scans and background information.