FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ARCHIVE

Byrne Robotics : FAQ : Who Is John Byrne?

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is John Byrne?

 

 Biography

John Byrne has worked continuously in comics since 1975, following his first professional sale in late summer of 1974. Beginning humbly enough, with the likes of WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH and DOOMSDAY + 1 (for Charlton Comics), and IRON FIST and THE CHAMPIONS for Marvel, he eventually moved on to Marvel's number one cult book, X-MEN (not yet Uncanny) in 1977.

It was his work on X-MEN which truly ignited John's star, and from there he moved to CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, and a five year run on Marvel's flagship title, FANTASTIC FOUR. Seeking new heights to conquer, in 1986 John accepted the daunting assignment of revamping the oldest and most famous of all superheroes, Superman. Beginning with the hugely successful MAN OF STEEL miniseries, John brought SUPERMAN back into the attention of the fans, and that success continues today. In 1990, John decided to venture into the unpredictable waters of creator owned works, launching NEXT MEN in 1991. Following that success he brought out DANGER UNLIMITED, followed by BABE in 1995. Since then, he has written and drawn such titles as WONDER WOMAN, X-MEN: THE HIDDEN YEARS, LAB RATS, DOOM PATROL, and BLOOD OF THE DEMON. In 2005, he returned to Superman performing art duties for ACTION COMICS.

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 Where and when was JB born?

JB: Born not far from the town of West Bromwich, in England, on July 6th 1950. Father Frank (now Lord Rushton), mother Nelsie. No sibs.

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 Where does JB live?

JB: Bounced back and forth between Canada and England until I was 8. Settled in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1958. Moved to Calgary, Alberta in 1966. Moved to Chicago (when I got married) in 1980. Brooklyn Heights from 1983 to 85. Since then, Fairfield, Connecticut.

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 Is JB married?

JB: Formerly married to Andréa Braun, mother of Kate and Kieron Dwyer.

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 What was the first comic book JB ever read?

JB: Depends on how you define "comic book". First place I encountered the form was in a hardcover British SUPERMAN ANNUAL published around 1956. First in the more traditional format was SUPER COMICS, an Australian reprint title that had, in the one I read, a Superboy, a Batman, and a Johnny Quick story.

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 Did JB go to art school?

JB: Alberta College of Art from 1970 thru 1973.

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 What was JB's first professional job in comic books? At Marvel? At DC?

JB: ROG-2000 for Charlton, appearing in E-MAN was the first published. My first professional comic book sale was to Marvel, a short story called "Dark Asylum" written by David Anthony Kraft, which languished in a flat file somewhere until it was used as filler in GIANT-SIZED DRACULA #5, long after the first ROG story. First DC was UNTOLD LEGEND OF THE BATMAN #1.

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 How did JB get his first job at Marvel?

JB: Nic Cuti, then an editor at Charlton, was the first to give me regular work. He'd seen the ROG-2000 story I'd illustrated (script by Roger Stern) in CPL fanzine, and offered me a ROG backup (script by Nic) in E-MAN. Out of this came WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH, DOOMSDAY+1 and finally SPACE: 1999. During this time Chris Claremont saw my work and began agitating for me to draw something he had written. When Pat Broderick missed a deadline on the Iron Fist series in MARVEL PREMIERE, John Verpoorten fired him and offered the book to me. (Remember when missing a deadline got you fired, not turned into a Hero of the Republic?) I turned around the first script in time to meet the deadline, and so started getting more work from Marvel, until I was able to leave Charlton and focus entirely on the Marvel stuff. (1/19/2006)

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 Other John Byrnes

JB: There used to be a painter in Calgary named John Byrne. He did Indian heads and things like that. He was very well known and respected, locally. For years my father had a print of one of his paintings on the wall of his office at City Hall. When people would ask "Did your son paint that?" Dad would indicate the date and say "Yes, when he was eleven."

"John Byrne" is a very common name. I have been told "Byrne" is the seventh most common name in Ireland -- and as to "John", well in all my years in school I was never once the only John in my class. (Curiously, a websearch reveals that many of the "other" John Byrnes are also artists in some fashion or other!)

Still, when I call catalogs to order model airplanes or faux antiques or whatever, about 7 times out of 10 the person I end up talking to will ask if I am "the" John Byrne.

Usually I say that depends on who they think "the" John Byrne is!

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