Jim McCarthy author and illustrator in his UK studio


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

Hallo and welcome to my official website. My name is Jim McCarthy and I am a British based writer and illustrator. I am in the process of producing insightful, contemporary graphic novels linked to music subjects, with titles including Guns and Roses, Michael Jackson, KurtCobain and The Sex Pistols. I started writing about music and other media for Deadline Magazine in London. My first piece was about my good friend Jah Wobble, whom I met when we were both in early recovery.

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

 Biography in a nutshell…

I studied art at Ealing College, London. After this tenure, I worked as an artist in Europe for three years. Traveling to Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, and various parts of the UK. At that time I was based in Wardour Street, London. At this time, I produced graphics and cartoons for industry practices during a period of over three years. I also worked in Soho, London on early graphic training programs for Coopers and Lybrand amongst others.

I started at the number one selling comic 2000AD in 1977 and 1978 on Tharg’s Future Shocks, sharing art duties with the feted artist Brett Ewins (RIP). This was a partnership that continued on my return in 1986 for our long run on Bad Company with Peter Milligan. I would work solo with Milligan again, on our occult detective series Bix Barton, and I worked steadily at 2000AD throughout this period until 1996, briefly returning in 2001 and 2002 to draw more Future Shocks.

In an interesting turn of events, I returned 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. As was Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel, revamped in a Manga styled format.

The Voices Of Latin Rock book dealt with the Mission District in San Francisco, and the explosive fusion of Latin, salsa and rock. I had chronicled this as a writer and 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 Escovedo family play crucial roles in the development of this sound. As Latin music continues to become more mainstream, interest in its musical roots grows. This book sheds light on these musical pioneers, and is gorgeously illustrated with over 800 black and white and a colur photo section by Jim Marshall, Rudy Rodriguez, Joan Chase and others, plus artwork of dozens of rare album covers.

My 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.

2016 was an exciting year for me as a writer with Living For Kicks – A Mod’s Graphic novel, my first original stand-alone graphic book for Omnibus Press, released in May. This is possibly my favourite work so far. Further books were released in the 2016 schedule; a 2000AD trade paperback Bad Company: First Casualtiesand Who Are You? The Life And Death Of Keith Moon plus my first Macasso E-book entitled Voices Of Latin Rock – The E-Mix.

Voices Of Latin Rock. –The E-Mix is the first e-book on my Macasso e-books imprint, published in 2017. It was a considered follow-up to my very first authored book Voices Of Latin Rock published ten years ago. It is a companion and an enlargement on, the information contained in the first book. This further e-tome is the most in-depth information available on that heady and exhilarating time in the San Franciscan Bay Area locales and beyond. I felt these people and those times need to be properly detailed and preserved for posterity. It arrived with the release of Santana 5 and its  excellent sales. The e-book arrived just at the right time. The first Voices book arrived in the swell, after the huge sales and surge of the Supernatural release.

Wake Up And Live: The Bob Marley Graphic Novel received a summer 2017 release. Well received; all these latter five books had an appealing and very different slant for me as a writer. Marley was written in authentic Jamaican patios, the Mods book, was an original and exciting tale set in early 1960’s Soho, London. Keith Moon was great also for me, as someone completely into drums and drummers. Bad Company re-visited a glorious time earlier in my life. The Voices e-book, added to the first book and fills out the spaces and personalities in a heady time for that fabulous city San Francisco.

Other, contemporary published graphic novels linked to music subjects have been Reckless Lives: The Guns And Roses Graphic, Metallica – Nothing Else Matters. Also in print are Gabba Gabba Hey – The Ramones Graphic Novel, Neverland – The Life And Death of Michael Jackson, three Bad Company paperback collections, Godspeed – The Kurt Cobain graphicDeath Rap – Tupac Shakur, Eminem – In My Skin, How To Draw Monsters For Kids, plus The Sex Pistols Graphic book.

I have also produced comic art / illustration for many publishing houses in London amongst them 2000AD; for whomI have co-created comic characters Bad Company, Bix Barton, The GrudgeFather, Kid Cyborg and worked on Judge Dredd etc..

I am currently based on the sunshine coast in East Sussex.