Hitsville UK by John Riordan
Hitsville UK

John Riordan is a British comics artist and illustrator, best known for his absurd humoristic comics series 'William Blake, Taxi Driver' (2007-2009), 'Hitsville UK' (2010-2018) and 'Culture' (2014). A recurring theme in his work is his love for rock music. But he has also created an ambitious award-winning graphic poem about the financial crisis: 'Capital City' (2013).

John Riordan was born in London. He inherited his cultural interests from his mother, who enjoyed painting, and his father, who was a huge music fan. Among his graphic influences are William Blake, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Glyn Dillon, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy, Jaime Hernandez, Peter Blegvad, Frank Hampson, Jon Link and Mick Bunnage, Winsor McCay, Charles M. Schulz, Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett. He also loves the novels of Kurt Vonnegut and musicians like Björk and Damon Albarn. Rock has always remained one of his passions: he plays in a band himself, named The Little Philistines. He studied art at the Camberwell College of Arts at the University of the Arts in London, following it up with a similar art course at the University of Oxford.

William Blake, Taxi Driver by John Riordan
William Blake, Taxi Driver

Riordan drew a weekly comic strip named 'William Blake, Taxi Driver' (2007-2009) for Time Out London magazine. It stars the 19th-century British poet and painter reimagined as a taxi driver in London. Blake often takes historical characters along in his cab, among them John Milton and Isaac Newton. Riordan went a similar absurd route with 'Hitsville UK' (2010-2018), an indie comic book series which borrowed its title from The Clash song of the same name. Scripted by Dan Cox, 'Hitsville UK', revolves around a record company that wants to sign a potentially succesful rock band. Yet their universe is inhabitated with monsters. One band, Carrie Nation's Revenge, are actually monster hunters in disguise. During its run, up to seven comic book issues were published by the authors, who label it a "musical-pop-art-soap-opera in comic book form". In order to understand the plotline it's necessary to read the entire series from the first volume on.

Culture by John Riordan

In 2013 Riordan created the graphic poem 'Capital City'. Inspired by the way William Blake tackled the big issues of his lifetime, like the American War for Independence, Riordan wanted to turn the economical crisis into an illustrated mythological poem. To prepare himself for this project he studied economics. 'Capital City' won an Association of Illustrators Award. A year later he started a gag webcomic named 'Culture' (2014). It revolves around two microbes in a petri dish who talk about events in film, theatre, art exhibitions and/or on television. The absurd premise in combination with the high brow discussions makes it one of the more peculiar comics ever created. Riordan enjoys 'Culture' since it is something he can draw in a small amount of time and instantly put online.

In 2015 BBC Four celebrated the pop art movement in a week long radio and TV celebration. To promote the event, Giordan created an advertisement, naturally done in the style of a pop art painting. He wrote and illustrated the book 'Sound and Vision: A Guide to Music's Cult Artists - From Punk, Alternative and Indie through to Hip Hop, Dance Music and Beyond' (2016). His art has furthermore been published in The Guardian, Reader's Digest and Times Higher Education Magazine.

Capital City by John Riordan
Capital City


Series and books by John Riordan in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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