Jim McCarthy author and illustrator in his UK studio


© Steve Forrest – Workers’ Photos
For the New York Times photo shoot

Welcome to the official website of British writer and illustrator Jim McCarthy. Jim produces insightful, contemporary graphic novels linked to music subjects, with titles including Guns and Roses,  Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain and The Sex Pistols. He also writes about music, his first piece was about Jah Wobble whom he met when they were both in rehab, and he has since gone on to write a book on Latin rock.

Jim has authored numerous graphic novels and created comic graphic artwork being published in both the US and UK markets. Subsequently his work has been translated and published in Russia, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Norway, Italy, Poland, France, Croatia, Germany and Japan.


Jim McCarthy studied art at Ealing College, leaving in 1975 and working as an artist in Europe for three years. Traveling to Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, and various parts of the UK. Jim produced graphics and cartoons for industry practices for a period of over three years. He also worked in Soho, London on early graphic training programs for Coopers and Lybrand among others.

He started at 2000 AD in 1977 and 1978 on Tharg’s Future Shocks, sharing art duties with Brett Ewins, a partnership that would continue on his return in 1986 for their long run on Bad Company with Peter Milligan. He would work solo with Milligan, again, on their occult detective series Bix Barton, and McCarthy would work steadily at 2000 AD throughout this period until 1996, briefly returning in 2001 and 2002 to draw more Future Shocks.

McCarthy would return to comics full-time in 2003 writing the first of a number of biographical graphic novels, including Godspeed: The Kurt Cobain Graphic, that was re-released in digest form in 2011, and Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel.

The Voices Of Latin Rock book dealt with the Mission District in San Francisco, and the explosive fusion of Latin, salsa and rock is chronicled from a writer who has followed the music and the musicians for over 30 years. The book covers the stories of prominent Latin rock bands including Santana and Malo, examining in detail the pioneering records and the ways in which both reflect a wide spectrum of Latin influences. It highlights the cast of characters and emerging period in the US during the late ’60s,
with all the cultural background events including the Summer of Love, Woodstock, political activism, and the record label expansion.  Legendary figures such as Bill Graham, Clive Davis and the Escovedos family play crucial roles in the development of this sound. As Latin music continues to become more mainstream, the interest in its musical roots grows. This book sheds light on these musical pioneers, and is gorgeously illustrated with over 800 black and white photos by Jim Marshall, Rudy Rodriguez, Joan Chase and others, plus artwork of dozens of rare album covers.

This innovative book has resulted in a series of music concerts in San Francisco promoting autism awareness and has featured Carlos Santana, Booker T, Los Lobos, Sly Stone, George Clinton, El Chicano, Malo, Taj Mahal, Mike Shrieve’s Spellbinder, The original Santana Band with Neal Schon, The Doobie Brothers among others. The money was raised for the Alex Speaks Autism Awareness charity foundation, the proceeds being distributed to schools supporting autism in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 10th Voices Of Latin Rock show was held at Bimbos in January 2015, with another stellar musical cast.

McCarthy currently has four graphic novels in the pipeline for publication as well as a return to 2000AD with Bad Company: First Casualties.

McCarthy is currently based in Sussex.