Comic Creator Spotlight: Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy and friends. Art by Ian Kennedy

Did you know veteran comic artist and illustrator Ian Kennedy – perhaps best known for his work on DC Thomson war comic Commando, but whose credits also encompass Dan Dare, other war comics strips and much more – has an official presence on the internet?

We first reported this back in 2019, the site developed by Mark Seddon, who also built Cam Kennedy’s “Kenny Who” web presence. Do visit!

Born 22nd September 1932, working initially for DC Thomson as an apprentice in the 1940s, with over 70 years work it’s tricky to list everything Ian has drawn, but highlights include Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and, of course, over 1300 Commando covers.

During the 1950s Ian turned his hand to illustrating anything and everything. His work appeared in Hotspur, Knockout, Rover, Adventure, Sun, Buck Jones and many other comics. In fact, it may be easier to list the comics Ian didn’t work for, rather than the ones he did.

Ian cites “Red Skull Branson”, for Adventure comic, as his first strip work for DC Thomson, published in 1955, working from hand-written scripts written by the weekly title’s deputy editor.

The opening page of  “Red Skull Branson”, for Adventure comic No. 1598, cover dated 3rd September 1955. Copyright DC Thomson
The opening page of “Red Skull Branson”, for Adventure comic No. 1598, cover dated 3rd September 1955. Copyright DC Thomson
Hand-written script for an episode of  “Red Skull Branson”, for Adventure comic.with thanks to Ian Kennedy
Hand-written script for an episode of “Red Skull Branson”, for Adventure comic.with thanks to Ian Kennedy
Early work by Ian – a header for the Hotspur story, “Kit Carson- Mountain Boy”. With thanks to VIC Whittle. Copyright DC Thomson
A page of “Battler Britton” Battler Britton from the ‘SUN’ No. 392, cover dated 11th August 1956. Copyright Rebellion Publishing. With thanks to VIC Whittle
A page of “Battler Britton” Battler Britton from the ‘SUN’ No. 392, cover dated 11th August 1956. Copyright Rebellion Publishing. With thanks to Vic Whittle

In the 1960s, the Picture Library became a popular format and Ian worked on Air Ace, Bunty, Battle, Thriller and War Picture Libraries. That’s not to neglect the work he did for many of the British weeklies, such as Adventure, Hotspur and Bunty.

From the 1970s onward, Ian began to specialise in science fiction comics, regularly producing work for IPC’s 2000AD and Starlord. He also worked for Battle Picture Weekly, Buddy, Blake’s 7, Eagle (Dan Dare), M.A.S.K., Victor Summer Special, Wildcat and DC Thomson’s pocket books, including Commando.

Lord Peter Flint by Ian Kennedy. Art created for a birthday card for Commando editor Gordon Tait
Lord Peter Flint by Ian Kennedy. Art created for a birthday card for Commando editor Gordon Tait
Commando 5317: Action and Adventure - Catalina Sunrise Full Cover
A recent Commando cover – Commando 5317, published last year

Ian’s site includes a bibliography, details of upcoming appearances – when we get back to those, of course – and a guide to prices for commissions ahead of convention appearances.

If you have the budget and you’re interested in commissioning a larger painting from Ian, then there’s some guidance on that, too.

• Check out The Art of Ian Kennedy at www.iankennedyart.co.uk | Twitter | Instagram

• There is also an Art of Ian Kennedy Facebook Group – this isn’t official, but items of note are posted by Mark to the group

Ian Kennedy comic collections on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, Comic Creator Spotlight, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features

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