||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2010)|
February 9, 1956 |
Gauley Bridge, West Virginia
|Area(s)||Penciller, Inker, Writer|
Timothy Truman (born February 9, 1956) is an American writer, artist and musician. He is best known for his stories and Wild West-style comic book art, and in particular, for his work on Grimjack (with John Ostrander), Scout, and the reinvention of Jonah Hex, with Joe R. Lansdale. Truman is currently writing Conan.
Truman was born in 1956 in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. After graduating from Gauley Bridge High School in 1974, Timothy Truman attended the Columbus College of Art and Design while also attending West Virginia University. From 1979 to 1981 he attended The Kubert School in New Jersey and graduated on the Dean's List.
After graduation, he moved to New York City and worked in the fantasy role-playing game industry for a few years providing illustrations for various companies, including working for TSR, Inc. as a staff illustrator.
With Flint Henry, Truman co-authored Rifts Dimension Book 1: Wormwood (1993), which was critically acclaimed for its vibrant backgrounds.
Truman's first professional comics work was Grimjack with writer John Ostrander, for the independent comics company First Comics. Grimjack first appeared in Starslayer No. 10 in November 1983, before moving to his own series after issue No. 18 in 1984, and continued for 81 issues. Along with being a fan favorite and often imitated character, Grimjack almost single-handedly defined the "grim and gritty" action comic character archetype.
Truman has been continuously creative for more than 20 years, displaying his pulp sensitivities in his writing. In 1985, he created Scout, which was followed by Scout: War Shaman, a futuristic western. A year later, he relaunched the Hillman characters Airboy and The Heap for Eclipse Comics. He also developed The Prowler, a Shadow type character, and adapted The Spider for Eclipse.
In 1989, at DC Comics he created Hawkworld, a reinvention of Hawkman. With author Joe R. Lansdale, he reinterpreted Jonah Hex as a horror western. In it, their creation of villain Edgar Autumn elicited a complaint from musician Edgar Winter.
Truman was chosen by Dark Horse Comics to illustrate a newly completed Tarzan novel and wrote a story arc for the comic book. He also wrote virtually the entire run of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for Valiant Comics. For the defunct SF imprint of DC, Helix, he created The Black Lamb. He also worked on a typical pulp adventure Guns of the Dragon, featuring Enemy Ace and Bat Lash; and wrote Star Wars at Dark Horse Comics. While at Dark Horse Comics, he took over the writing of Conan from Kurt Busiek in 2006, and after that series ended he started Conan The Cimmerian
Truman's startling work, Simon Girty, Renegade was a two-volume black and white graphic novel that translated the horrors and triumphs of the American settler's western frontier in a fresh, interesting light. In bold, black and white use of positive and negative space, Truman appealed to both young and old audiences. It was especially important for West Virginians that had been struggling against novelist Zane Grey's portrayal of Lewis Wetzel in an overly romanticized, florid light. Truman himself is an avid historian who dislikes nothing more than to see a drawing of a war using the wrong weaponry, and the second volume of his two-volume series on Simon Girty was devoted to the errors caught in his first volume.
Tecumseh! a graphic novel based on the West Virginia Outdoor Theater, is a colored graphic novel that shows the play from beginning to end. It renewed interest in the warrior in Appalachia. When asked why he used "Tecumseh" instead of "Tecumtheh" he explained he didn't want to explain to the mainstream audience the variance in spelling – the movement on pronunciation began with General William Tecumseh Sherman who came from a family that wanted to commemorate the warrior, but felt the lisping "Tecumtheh" would be unmanly.
A longtime fan and musician, Truman has also been able to integrate his love of music into his love of comics and illustration. While working for Eclipse comics, Truman included a Flexi disc recording inside Scout No. 19 that provided a soundtrack to one of the scenes in the comic. He also released an album through Eclipse Records with his band The Dixie Pistols entitled Marauder. The album included a short comic book featuring the wedding of Emanuel Santanna that took place between the first series Scout and the second series Scout: War Shaman.
While writing the biography of one of his favorite guitarists, Carlos Santana, for Rock-It Comics, Truman found out that the musician had been a longtime fan of his comic, Scout whose main character, Emanuel Santanna, is the namesake of the famous guitarist. Naming the characters after favorite musicians is a common convention that Truman has used throughout the Scout series.
Truman has also had a long relationship with the band the Grateful Dead creating artwork for CD covers, tour posters, limited-edition T-shirts and a color comics page in each issue of the Grateful Dead Almanac.
Truman built a recording studio in his home and while producing recording sessions for Cherokee singer/songwriter Terry Strongheart, they decided to form a new band with some of Truman's friends and Strongheart's daughter called the Terry Strongheart Band. Two CDs have been recorded, the first entitled Tears and the follow-up Indian School.
Awards and nominations
- Miller, Donald (January 23, 1996). "Frontier Roundtable", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. B9.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Kapalka, Jeff (March 13, 2005). "Second-string heroes get second chance", The Post-Standard, p. 27.
- "The Winter Brothers vs. Jonah Hex Goes Supreme". Newsarama. January 25, 2003.
- Tim Truman on Conan the Cimmerian, Newsarama, May 21, 2008
- Personal conversation at Gauley Bridge Re-enactment
- Scout: War Shaman issue 14, where the letters page shows several examples of this
- Tim Truman in a podcast interview on the "reboot" of Conan the Cimmerian at ComiXology
- Comic Geek Speak Podcast Interview (December 2005)