University honour for comic book artist

The man who introduced Alice in Sunderland to the world has been honoured by his adopted home city.

Bryan Talbot was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts at Sunderland University's graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light – the first time a doctorate has been given to a comic book artist.

Bryan was delighted to accept the honour on behalf not only of himself, but his profession: "This doctorate, a first in the UK for work in the comics medium, is an indication of the growing recognition of the graphic novel as a respectable vehicle for entertainment, education and communication and the medium itself as a legitimate art form," he said.

"There's still a lot of prejudice and preconceived notions of what comics are but we're getting there."

Bryan is renowned as the creator of Britain's first graphic novel, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, in 1978.

Since then, he has written and drawn many stories for mainly British and American publishers and produced magazine and book illustrations for publications as diverse as Wired magazine, the Guardian and The Radio Times.

The Wigan-born artist has drawn famous characters, such as Judge Dredd for the British weekly science fiction comic 2000AD and written and drawn Batman and other books for DC Comics in the USA.

The massively-acclaimed Alice in Sunderland – which explores the history of Sunderland and Alice author Lewis Carroll's Wearside connections – was published in 2007.

Professor Peter Fidler, University Vice-Chancellor, said: "Bryan's work is renowned across the world. He is a true heavyweight in his field and it was a pleasure for us to pay tribute to him."