John Coulthart

The Preston SF Group was pleased to welcome Lord Horror artist John Coulthart as a guest on the 12th of September 1995.

John Coulthart was born in 1962 and left school in 1979.

In 1980 he met an aquaintance of the rock group Hawkwind (he was a big fan at the time) who put him in touch with the band and he spent the next five years designing album covers, 7" and 12" single covers, badges, T-shirts and two books of lyrics. It was through Hawkwind that John met Michael Butterworth in 1982 which was his first contact with Savoy Books.

After finishing with Hawkwind in 1985 he considered illustrating a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories. At the suggestion of fellow Hawk-artist, Bob Walker this idea became a comic book project and he spent the next two and a half years adapting two H.P. Lovecraft stories: The Haunter of the Dark, published in a large format, limited edition by Caermaen Books in 1988 and The Call of Cthulhu, published in The Starry Wisdom anthology by Creation Books in 1994.

Around this time David Britton and Michael Butterworth of Savoy began to take note of John's work and asked him to contribute to a series of comics based on Britton's Lord Horror character which they were developing with artist Kris Guidio. This became the controversial Hard Core Horror series, an alternative and exaggerated history of the events of the Second World War. John's main work was on the final issue, set in the Nazi death camps.

Savoy Books have been the subject of many police raids and seizures for over fifteen years, most as a result of Chief Constable James Anderton's exception and since 1990 copies of the Lord Horror novel and thousands of Savoy comics have been seized by the police.

The novel was cleared of an obscenity ruling in 1992 but the comics, regarded by the courts as a lower art form and more likely to corrupt young minds, have fared less well.

On July 17th 1995, after a five day hearing, ten Savoy titles were declared obscene in a Manchester magistrates court, the only British comics to have had such a ruling made against them.

At present John is working on the final Lord Horror series, Reverbstorm, an eight issue series which began in 1990. He is also working for Tekno Comics on the Teknophage and Mr. Hero titles. He recently inked an issue of Bryan's Teknophage work and will be drawing an issue or two by himself later in the year.

In March he was filmed by the BBC for a new series, The A-Z or Horror, to be broadcast after Christmas.

John is also working with Alan Moore on a couple of projects; Illustrating Yuggoth Cultures, a book of H.P. Lovecraft-oriented stories and essays, and also a short comic story written by Alan. He is also drawing a longer comic story about voodoo and pirates which Jamie Delano is writing.