The Art of Ian Kennedy and Commando

8 November 2022

A new exhibition at the Mercer Art Gallery celebrates the life of one of Britain’s finest comics artists, in collaboration with Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival.

A new exhibition opens at the Mercer Gallery on Saturday 12th November celebrating the work of artist and illustrator Ian Kennedy, a giant of the British comics art scene.

Following his death in February 2022, Ian leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations. Much lauded and highly respected by fans and fellow professionals, Ian Kennedy’s career in comics spanned more than 70 years.

This exhibition features over twenty pieces original art from Ian’s studio in Dundee, spanning his entire career. The artist enjoyed a lifelong association with Commando comics, and works featured include his first-ever and final covers for the title, alongside artworks and curios from the many other titles. Characters and publications from Codename: Warlord to Dan Dare and Red Dagger to 2000AD are on display in a three-month-long exhibition, launching as part of the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival.

Anecdotes and annotations supplied by Ian’s friends Phillip Vaughan (Abertay University) and Gordon Tait (DC Thomson) accompany the pieces on display as we celebrate a genuine one-off and remarkable talent. A must-see for fans of illustration and comic art at its absolute best!

Growing up in Dundee in the Forties, Ian was enchanted by aircraft. An ear infection ended his dream of becoming a pilot, but a trip to Dundee Royal Infirmary led to meeting his wife to be, Gladys, who was a nurse and he pursued a career that involved drawing aircraft rather than flying them.

Ian started at D. C. Thomson & Co. in 1949 as a trainee illustrator, and in 1954, with a wife and son to support, took the decision to leave D.C. Thomson and go freelance. He enjoyed a career in illustration and comic books, continuing with cover art and private commission work right up to his death in February 2022 – a career of 73 years!

Ian produced many covers for different comics and annuals over the years (probably in excess of 2,000 published covers), as well as many interior strips and illustrations. In recent years, Ian continued to draw covers and features for Commando, other projects and commissions for fans.
Free admission to the Mercer Art Gallery, the exhibition continues until 8th January 2023.


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