iFanboy Upstarts: Simon Coleby

Although calling him an upstart might be a blight on his twenty-five years in the industry, artist Simon Coleby is still an unknown commodity when it comics to English-language comics — and that’s an error worth righting. Some artists only become popular after years of diligent work on the fringes of the best-sellers list, and Coleby definitely falls into that camp.

Simon Coleby came into the world of comics via Marvel’s UK only Transformers title in 1987 partnering with legendary “Robots in Disguise” scribe Simon Furman. Coleby did a handful of issues for Marvel UK spreading out to also do work for 2000AD. Balancing work between both publishers, Coleby did everything from Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper for 2000AD as well as Warheads and Death’s Head for Marvel UK. The artist even caught the eye of Marvel’s home office in New York City, doing fill-in work on Punisher 2099 and a cover for a European edition of X-Men during the Jim Lee era. Coleby did a one-off issue of Lobo for DC before coming back to the UK, rejoining 2000AD and also doing work for Games Workshop’s Warhammer Monthly series. While doing a healthy amount of penciling work, it was during this time in the early 2000s that Coleby also branched out to do inks for other artists such as Kev Walker, Phil Jimenez, Trevor Hairsine and others. After inking Hairsine on Ultimate Nightmare for Marvel, he caught the eye of DC’s Wildstorm offices in California which led to his biggest American break yet: The Authority. Coleby was tapped to draw the relaunched Authority series in 2008 with fellow Brits Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, and went on to do 17 issues of that series. After that, Coleby was a relied-upon artist for DC, doing art for DC’s Fringe spinoff, covers for Victorian Undead and wrapping up the final issues of the recent Batman: Arkham Unhinged miniseries. His next big project is a 16-page story with Brian Wood based on Lord of the Rings, although that’s reportedly done and the artist is hard at work at a new, unannounced project.

Coleby’s art has a real murky quality that is reminiscent of Batman artist Kelly Jones or Simon Bisley, but with a more realistic approach to anatomy and storytelling. I wouldn’t be surprised if DC enlists him to take on one of their New 52 books sometime in 2012, although it’d also be an inspired choice to see him jump outside the American Big Two and do work for IDW or perhaps Robert Kirkman’s Skybound line of titles. Here’s some examples of his work — tell us what you think!


  1. There’s some really fantastic work here with quite a bit of range. I especially love the Silver Surfer/Galactus piece. Coleby actually draws Galactus with character.

  2. Isn’t every title and publisher you’ve listed in the bio English-speaking?

    He’s a great artist when he’s given time but I really find his work suffers from being rushed at the end of projects. There’s a great kinetic quality to his work and that element of his art really evokes a lot of Kirby for me. Fingers crossed he gets something more high-profile in the near-future.

  3. Whats image 16?

  4. Oh hey look it’s Judge Dredd