About six months ago I was trying to find a copy of a compendium of comic strips called Brainstorm by Bryan Talbot, one of the comic scene’s most influential writers and illustrators. Being published in 1970, and with a small initial print run, it was proving a hard book to find.
I had discovered Brainstorm after realising that a member of the iconic UK hip hop outfit Taskforce had taken the moniker of “Chester P. Hackenbush” after the main protagonist in Brainstorm. Stay with me.
After calling several bookstores across Europe I eventually found out that the original publisher, a chap called Lee Harris, was selling copies over the desk at his shop in Portabello Road. I raced down to buy a copy immediately and, after meeting Lee, discovered that he and Bryan Talbot had been friends for many years. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking comics, publishing, counter culture and the sixties (Lee has published an anthology of his written work Echoes of the Underground: A Footsoldier’s Tales).
So. The initial lead towards the content came from a musical source. The next content level was relevant and automatically enriching (personally finding the source, meeting the publisher then buying two books). The next stage of this human content development becomes more complicated…
After our initial meeting myself and Lee became friends. I reviewed his book for him, spread the word about where to easily buy Brainstorm and sent new customers his way. All of this led to Lee quoting my review on the back cover of his new book and, more importantly, staying in touch with me.
After my adventures with Lee Harris I made contact with Chester P Hackenbush on Facebook. Immediately (!) he got back to me and was keen to know more about potentially meeting Bryan Talbot. In the space of two months I had found a rare comic book, met a counter culture icon and made contact with a musical pioneer. All of this came from the power of the content in Brainstorm.
A couple of months ago, Lee called me to invite me along to a private showing of the Art of Bryan Talbot on the 19th March. He casually asked if Chester P. would like to come along to meet Bryan. Chester replied almost instantly saying he’d be honoured. I was about to meet two individuals who have had a distinct creative influence on my life. Everything started to fall into place. It felt almost cosmic. As if these three artists were meant to come together.
What’s interesting about this situation is the power of Brainstorm’s content. For a comic published over thirty years ago to bring three very different individuals together is a seminal achievement. To some it may seem like a small drop in the content ocean but to me the process has been incredibly exciting and has quite enriched my life. The strategy behind the content has been organic, human, natural and incredibly powerful.
The most fascinating part of the process is that each individual has worked individually and unknowingly collaboratively. Such is the power of content to press strangers together. To build action behind an idea and to rejoice in their creativity. The metadata is word of mouth. New strangers. Filled with possibilities.
There’s a link here about Bryan’s exhibition with a great photo of all three of them.
Have a look through these to find a picture of me at Lee’s book launch looking quite drunk.
Thanks for reading..