Brendan McCarthy

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Brendan McCarthy
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Artist, Colourist
Notable works
Shade, the Changing Man
Rogan Gosh
Mad Max: Fury Road

Brendan McCarthy is a British artist and designer who has worked for comic books, film and television.[1][2] He co-wrote the film Mad Max: Fury Road. He is the brother of Jim McCarthy.[3]


Brendan McCarthy was born in London. As a boy McCarthy soon began drawing his own home-made comics.[citation needed]

After leaving Chelsea Art College in London, where he studied film and Fine Art Painting, McCarthy decided to become a full-time artist. He created the independent comic book Sometime Stories with art college pal Brett Ewins.[4][5] His first paid commercial work was a one-page strip Electrick Hoax in the British weekly music paper Sounds with another art-school escapee, writer Peter Milligan, in 1978. McCarthy held a solo exhibition of paintings, drawings and collages at Car Breaker Gallery[6] in London, a squat in Ladbroke Grove's Republic of Frestonia.[7]

McCarthy started working for 2000 AD including Judge Dredd and at the same time he was working on designs for his first television show – the unmade Dan Dare live-action television series for Lew Grade's ATV in the late 1970s. It was to have been a stylish retro 50's take on the classic Eagle hero with James Fox as Dan Dare.

Inspired by George Miller's Mad Max 2, McCarthy mulled over a post-apocalyptic surfing story, later written with Peter Milligan and called Freakwave.

In 1983 McCarthy collaborated with Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins on Strange Days, an anthology title published by Eclipse Comics. He also drew a two-issue series featuring his alternative media-brat superhero Paradax from Strange Days.

Returning to the pages of 2000 AD, he again drew Judge Dredd, depicting the Judda and Brit-Cit Judges. In 1986, McCarthy and Milligan produced Sooner or Later for 2000 AD.

Around this time, McCarthy designed and storyboarded the Arabian cel-animated TV series, New Babylon and also The Storyteller for Jim Henson's company.

McCarthy designed the characters for Grant Morrison's Zenith strip which started in 1987,[8] Doom Patrol (creating Danny The Street) and on Morrison and Mark Millar's Marvel series Skrull Kill Krew.[9] He also produced covers and character designs for Pete Milligan's revamp of Shade, the Changing Man.

Cover of the Rogan Gosh collected edition.

Over the next few years he worked for the 2000 AD spin off titles Crisis and Revolver. For Revolver, McCarthy drew Rogan Gosh (later compiled into a single edition by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics). For Crisis, he drew Skin. Both books were created with and written by Peter Milligan. Skin proved to be highly controversial, with Crisis refusing to release the story and their printers refusing to print it due to claims of it being "morbidly obscene".[citation needed] The story was eventually being released by Kevin Eastman's Tundra Publishing in 1992.

McCarthy worked as designer on the films Highlander, the first live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, Lost in Space and The Borrowers. He was also hired by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels to write and design visual gags to the film Coneheads.

McCarthy spent much of the remainder of the 1990s working in film and television, most notably as the production designer of the international hit CGI animated science fiction TV series ReBoot and as the character creator for War Planets.

He was then asked to co-write and design Mad Max: Fury Road with director George Miller after meeting Miller in Hollywood and pitching a storyline which became the seed of the new story. Also with Miller, McCarthy created, co-wrote and designed a new CGI animated feature called Fur Brigade which awaits production.

In 2004 McCarthy created an illustrated visual autobiography of his original art and design work titled Swimini Purpose. This was released in 2005 in the UK, as a limited artist's edition.[10]

In 2006, McCarthy was featured in the final issue of DC Comics' Solo.[11] His comic had new takes on characters such as The Flash, Batman, and Johnny Sorrow and he considers the single issue to be one of his best works.[citation needed]

In 2009, Brendan was commissioned by Marvel Comics to create a new take on Doctor Strange. The bizarre mini-series, Spider-Man: Fever, appeared in April 2010.[12][13]

Brendan returned to 2000 AD in 2010 on a Judge Dredd story with Al Ewing spoofing the Dr Who TV series, and with whom he created a popular new story, The Zaucer of Zilk,[14][15] which he has described as a cross between Harry Potter and Aladdin Sane: "A glammatronic phantasmagoria."[16] The series debuted in March 2012. It was rapidly reprinted by IDW in a new format with both issues quickly selling out. The Zaucer of Zilk comic appeared in many "best of the year" lists.

In 2012, McCarthy traveled to Namibia in Africa, to visit the set of Mad Max: Fury Road, which featured his script and designs.[17] He also finished the design and editorial chores for The Best of Milligan & McCarthy, a brand new collection of his most famous comic works co-created with Peter Milligan. Dark Horse released the edition in September 2013.[18]

Mad Max Fury Road was finally released in May 2015. McCarthy attended the Hollywood premiere. The film received many "best of the year" awards including six Oscars.[19] It was McCarthy's first Hollywood screenplay, and he was the original Production Designer on the movie.

McCarthy wrote and drew a graphic novel titled Dream Gang for Dark Horse Comics that was released in July 2016.[citation needed]

A collection of his classic Judge Dredd stories from over 35 years of work was collected by IDW in hardcover and released in January 2017.[citation needed]

Brendan completed artwork on a new Chopper strip for Rebellion Publishing in 2018 and a sequel to The Zaucer of Zilk, published in 2020 in 2000AD. His whimsical new UK strip, Nakka of the S.T.A.R.S., was published in 2021.


Interior comic work includes:

Covers only[edit]


  • 1992: nominated for Eisner Award for "Best Cover Artist", for Shade, the Changing Man[20]
  • 1993: nominated for Eisner Award for "Best Cover Artist", for Shade, the Changing Man and "Best Graphic Album: New" for Skin[21]


  1. ^ Brendan McCarthy
  2. ^ Bishop, David (2007) Thrill-Power Overload. Rebellion, 260 pages, ISBN 1-905437-22-6
  3. ^ Windsor, John (8 April 2001). "Justice for Dredd". The Observer. Retrieved 7 March 2011. Bad Company was launched as a comic in 1988 by Ewins, Milligan and Jim McCarthy, brother of Brendan, a Dredd artist
  4. ^ "Sometime Stories". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Sometime Stories number 2". The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy.
  6. ^ Notting Dale. Carbreaker Gallery
  7. ^ The Republic of Frestonia. Car Breakers Gallery
  8. ^ Bishop, 2007, page 120
  9. ^ Brevoort, Tom. Formative Crisis,, 29 January 2009
  10. ^ "Review of Swimini Purpose: Life in Pictures". 2000AD Review. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007.
  11. ^ Cardwell, Mark. "Interview: Brendan McCarthy". Dogmatika. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  12. ^ Hudson, Laura (21 January 2010). "Preview of 'Spider-Man: Fever' by Brendan McCarthy – EXCLUSIVE". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  13. ^ Mautner, Chris (3 February 2010). "High Fever: An interview with Brendan McCarthy". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  14. ^ Keily, Karl (2 December 2011). "Brendan McCarthy Brings "The Zaucer of Zilk" TO "2000AD"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  15. ^ Byrne, Carol (5 April 2012). "West Clare goes graphic for Zaucer of Zilk". The Clare Champion. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  16. ^ Wells, Pete (7 April 2012). "Brendan McCarthy – Digidelic Zaucery!". 2000AD Covers Uncovered. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  17. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Brendan McCarthy Goes Full Throttle for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'". 27 May 2015.
  18. ^ Wolk, Douglas (5 November 2013). "The Best of Milligan & McCarthy". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road wins most awards of the night with six Oscars". 29 February 2016.
  20. ^ "1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  21. ^ "1993 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved 26 April 2012.

External links[edit]