Brendan McCarthy was an early artist for 2000 AD, and is best known as the creator of the British skinhead comic 'Skin'. He began his comics career in 1977, creating 'Sometime Stories' with his friend Brett Ewins. His first paid published work was however the weekly 'The Electric Hoax' page, which was co-written by Peter Milligan and published in the UK music paper Sounds. McCarthey also went to work for the science fiction comics magazine 2000 AD, where he started out with a 'Tharg's Future Shock' story in 1977. He also cooperated with Brett Ewins on several 'Judge Dredd' comics, as well as 'The ABC Warriors', between 1977 and 1981.
He then left the comics scene for a couple of years. He returned to the scene in 1983, when he contributed a 'Freakwave' story to the American anthology comic 'Vanguard Illustrated'. McCarthy then made the anthology Strange Days, working together with Ewins and Milligan again on stories with 'Johnny Nemo' and 'Paradax'. These characters appeared in several other US anthologies throughout the 1980s.
He also returned to 2000 AD with new 'Future Shocks' and 'Judge Dredd' stories. In 1987, he began the national newspaper strip 'Summer of Love', yet again with Milligan. McCarthy and Milligan subsequently contributed to British anthologies like A1 and Hollow Circus, as well as Deadline magazine.
By the late 1980s, McCarthy drew for the new 2000 AD titles Revolver and Crisis. In Revolver, he drew 'Rogan Gash', and in Crisis, he began his comic 'Skin', the story of a skinhead growing up in London of the early 1970s. To get 'Skin' published, McCarthy and Milligan had to get around a lot of repression and censorship. But it was worth it: 'Skin' is one of the landmarks in British comics.
McCarthy's final comics work was 'Shade the Changing Man', a series for Vertigo, also scripted by Milligan. He then went to work in TV and film design.