Desert Island Comics – Episode 55 – Brendan McCarthy

Published On April 20, 2013 | By | Comics, Desert Island Comics

Desert Island Comics, where one comicker gets to choose just 8 essential comics to go with them onto their very own desert island. There may be no food, little drinking water, and zero chance of a hot bath, but those 8 favourite comics, along with just one luxury should keep them happy while they go slowly mad.

This week, it’s been a little strange. See, the way these work is that we send out a call for submissions (and do feel free to get in touch if you fancy doing one yourself) and then I add in the picks to whatever has been chosen. I try not to go down the boring route of just slapping up 8 covers, and try to find something worthy of the pick. And this week, I got something akin to stage fright.

Because this week it’s the turn of Brendan McCarthy, an artist whose work is just a continual joy to behold. His comics work is unique and hugely influential; his early Dredd look that I’ve always loved, the trail-blazing pop star superheroics of Paradax (the first super-media brat), designing the pop star superheroics of Morrison & Yeowell’s  Zenith (the second super-media brat – so many similarities!), the edge pushing Skin, the trippy Rogan Josh, indeed in any of his works there’s an inspired visual madness that’s enthralling.

The-Zaucer-of-Zilk_1-665x1024 Milligan and McCarthy1

His work continues to be all about inspired madness, with recent comic outings including Spider-Man: Fever, where ol’ Spidey gets abducted by hungry spider-demons from another dimension and needs the help of a very Ditko-ish Dr Strange to get out, or the single issue of Solo for DC where he re imagines some very familiar characters (it’s soon out in a big hardcover collection). Then there was the yet to be collected (but it will, either by 2000AD or IDW) and absolutely brilliant Zaucer Of Zilk scripted by Al Ewing. It was a highlight of my immersion in 2000AD last year.

But even better is the news that Dark Horse are releasing a big hardback of McCarthy’s early works. Coming in September,  The Best Of Milligan And McCarthy features Paradax, Freakwave, Rogan Josh, Skin, and more. It will be a must buy. Brendan kindly (foolishly?) sent a pic of himself and Peter Milligan from the time… oh, the wonderful 80s:

M&M 1980s

Okay, on with the Desert Island Comics. I just hope I’ve done them justice visually…

Desert Island Comics – Episode 54 – Brendan McCarthy


Doctor Strange by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee

First one has to be the entire run of Ditko’s 60s Marvel Doctor Strange… Can I do that? Alright, narrowing it down, how about the Eternity storyline that ended Ditko’s run. That OK?


The Airtight Garage by Moebius.

A great pice of stream-of-consciousness surrealism. It was very a pivotal influence on the 80s British invasion of comics at the time.


RanXerox by Libertore

The two books (which have been collected into one ‘bumper edition’, I seem to recall.) Liberatore was and is a genius.


Rupert Bear by Alfred Bestall

I have a good collection of prime Alfred Bestall stories. Sublime, English childhood pastoral mysticism. (I prefer collections, because I like to look at the art.)

Carmine Infantino - Mystery In Space #90 (1964)

Adam Strange by Carmine Infantino (and various writers)

Carmine Infantino’s sci-fi masterpiece. elegant, sexy, Ivy-league futurism.

Tank Girl v2 04 - 34

Tank Girl by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett

Jamie Hewlett’s later Tank Girl art was a anarchic pinnacle to me. One of the Titan editions will probably do the trick.

SWIMINI coverart

Swimini Purpose by Brendan McCarthy

Can I take one of my own? I do like to look at my own work, so a copy of Swimini Purpose will be packed.


O.M.A.C. by Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer and D. Bruce Berr

I think I would miss having some Jack Kirby and I adore the Mike Royer period of his work… so an edition of that nice DC OMAC book is my final choice. It’s a mighty bizarre comic!

I’m struggling to call it a day here, because if somebody put together a book of Infantino’s 60’s Flash and Batman covers, I’d have no choice … Also, some Sergi Toppi would be swell. Some Frank Quitely would also be grand. WE3 probably. And one of Grant’s Doom Patrol TPBs would be nice too. And a bit of Mattotti would be enjoyable, some classic Kubert too. All of Wrightson’s Swamp Thing run…

I’ll stop now. I can’t stand it!

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One Response to Desert Island Comics – Episode 55 – Brendan McCarthy

  1. Martin Wisse says:

    Considering it’s not even a full Marvel Essential collection, denying the whole Ditko/Lee Dr Strange run would be cruel.