‘They are, first and foremost, just great stories’ – John Higgins on comics, characters and what to look for at his exhibition

Watchmen, Judge Dredd, Razorjack: John Higgins has been instrumental in the creation of some of the most revered characters in comic book history. We quizzed him about the comic book world, the exhibition of his art in the Victoria Gallery & Museum and, of course, his explosive new book, Beyond Watchmen and Judge Dredd: The Art of John Higgins. 

Beyond Watchmen and Judge Dredd: The Art of John Higgins

Can you tell us how you entered the world of comic book art?

There was a door marked “This way”!

The first step was to work on alternative press magazines, no money but great grounding for getting professional paying work.

What inspired you to write this book and how did you go about it?

I am a conceited megalomaniac and think the world needs more of me.

Or, the exhibition gave me the opportunity to tell how I became a freelance comic artist and how you can too, from getting work and transferring your ideas into a script and then on to the finished printed page, with step by step guides, from traditional art to digital.

What do you think it is about Watchmen and Judge Dredd that comic book fans became so enthralled with?

Comics are all (usually) collaborations, these comic books and characters are a realisation of many peoples input. They are, first and foremost, just great stories, created by talented creators, believable, realised alternative worlds with characters that have something to say in the great tradition of thought provoking SF literature.  I am proud to be associated with them.

Were there any major changes during the developing and illustrating of the characters, or did you always have a clear idea of what they should be like?

Any character starts off on a blank piece of paper, and they develop as you get to know them. Once they start to talk back, you know they have arrived.

Your work is currently being exhibited at the Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool. Are there any pieces that really stand out for you?

The curator Leonie Sedman, has presented my work with a perception and eye for themes that I didn’t see, so it all looks new and fresh to me. But my character, Razorjack, her head is on display, she is worth checking out. Just don’t look her in the eye; she will shrivel your soul.

Are there any stories behind any of the pieces which you think visitors would be interested to know?

Some of the comic page art have what are called ‘easter eggs’ dotted amongst the elements of the story. I put these in as personal details to amuse my self during the blood, sweat and tears process of telling stories in comic strip form. See if you can spot any, they are worked into the strangest places, such as amongst the mutant cannibal gang standing in the Cursed Earth or with Judge Dredd in Mega City 1.


For more information on John’s book, Beyond Watchmen and Judge Dredd please visit our website.

The exhibition, Beyond Watchmen and Judge Dredd: The Art of John Higgins, is open from 10 March 2017- October 2017 at the Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool. Find out more here.


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