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Writer and artist
A 1981 Kubert School graduate, artist/writer Timothy Truman has become one of the most distinctive voices in comics as well as one of its most original artistic storytellers and stylists. Throughout his 20+ year professional career, Truman has been one of the few artists to make formative contributions to both mainstream and independent comic book scenes.
Among Truman’s earliest professional works is a series of backup stories in DC’s Sgt. Rock — a character co-created and made famous by Kubert School founder Joe Kubert — beginning in 1981 with issue #354 and lasting for a few scattered issues. But Truman’s best-known early work was about to appear on the then-blossoming early-1980’s independent comics scene.
Truman was to play a key role in developing that independent scene. One of those early contributions was the character Grimjack, co-created with writer John Ostrander. Grimjack first appeared in November 1983 in issue #10 of Starslayer — an important and well-regarded comic book anthology of that era which is perhaps best known for debuting Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer in issue #2. Grimjack went on to star in an impressive 81-issue run of his own title from publisher First Comics.
Grimjack was on the leading edge of a wave that subsequently swept through all of American comics, the “grim and gritty” approach. In contrast to the utopian superhero ideals that dominated the industry’s prior history, “grim and gritty” comics took a more intricate and shaded approach to storytelling. Characters, even heroes, could show their humanity and flaws — and so could the world in which they lived.
The Grimjack saga embodied a number of qualities that Truman has successfully blended and explored throughout his career — elements of pulp fiction, science fiction, and rough and tumble frontiers of all kinds. In the process, the series foreshadowed a key trend in comics of the era. Indeed, according to Truman the phrase “grim and gritty” itself was coined during a Grimjack editorial meeting!
Truman continued his tear through the developing indy comics scene with the debut of his 1985 series Scout, the near-future saga of Apache warrior Emanuel Santana, set against the background of a post-holocaust United States with the Southwestern states seceding from the Union. One of his best-known works, Scout was published for some 40 issues through two series. In 1989, Truman took his brand of intricately textured, character-driven twilight-view science fiction/adventure to DC for Hawkworld, a major revival of the Hawkman character which was an important part of the mid/late-80’s DC resurgence which included Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight.
At about the same time, the creator’s interest in Westerns led him to write, draw, and self-publish the highly-regarded Wilderness graphic novel — a biography of controversial Revolutionary War-era figure Simon Girty.
Collaborating with writer Joe R. Lansdale, Truman continued to explore Western themes. Lansdale and Truman’s brilliant take on DC Western antihero Jonah Hex (Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo, 1993; and Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such, 1995) is the stuff of legend. The creative duo’s 1994 stint on The Lone Ranger and Tonto for Topps Comics is also highly regarded.
Truman has done a number of projects for a wide variety of publishers in recent years, including Turok (Acclaim Comics), Star Wars (Dark Horse), and The Kents (DC).