Andrew "Andi" Watson (born 1969) is a British cartoonist and illustrator best known for the graphic novels Breakfast After Noon, Slow News Day and his series Skeleton Key and Love Fights, published by Oni Press and Slave Labor Graphics.
Watson has also worked for more mainstream American comic publishers including DC Comics, a twelve-issue limited series at Marvel Comics, several series for Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics.
He is currently writing and drawing children's books, notably the "Gum Girl" series.
Andi Watson was born in the Wakefield Infirmary and raised in Kippax, West Yorkshire by working class parents. He studied foundation art at Dewsbury college followed by a graphic design / illustration course at Liverpool Polytechnic (now Liverpool John Moores University). He currently lives in Worcester.
For his final degree show Watson produced the small press comic Samurai Jam along with T-shirts and bubble-gum cards. The comic was rooted in skateboarding and punk rock culture and artistically influenced by Japanese Manga, specifically Akira, and the American alternative comic Love and Rockets. Three issues were produced by 1993, photocopied with covers spray-painted with a stencil, which generated some interest within the British small press comics scene.
Watson approached various American publishers and was taken on by Dan Vado of Slave Labor Graphics in 1993 who published four issues of Samurai Jam. These were not a success, due in part to the wildly different art styles Watson employed with each issue, but Vado kept the door open and Watson returned in 1995 with Skeleton Key, a monthly 16-page comic that ran for 30 issues and cemented his reputation.
After Skeleton Key Watson moved to Oni Press with Geisha, a graphic novel about a robot girl artist. Rather than approach the issue of her being a robot Watson used the story to examine the ideas of fake and real. The book was an artistic bridge for Watson between the manga-inspired Skeleton Key and his current, more European, style.
The Geisha one-shot comic marked a dramatic shift in Watson's style, bringing in stylistic influences from European creators such as François Avril and Dupuy and Berberian, but retaining the slow pacing of long-form Manga. This came to fruition with Breakfast After Noon, a "slice of life" story set in the industrial city of Stoke-on-Trent in Britain. This was followed by the novella Dumped, a love story produced in association with the BIG festival in Turin.
Watson returned to Slave Labor in 2002 with Slow News Day, a graphic novel set around a small town British newspaper which dealt with English attitudes to Americans and the theme of big versus small audience.
He followed that with a one-shot featuring the fox spirit Kitsune from his earlier series Skeleton Key, this time in a tale set in medieval Japan, scripted by Woodrow Phoenix.
He then created twelve issues of a romantic comedy series Love Fights published by Oni and followed that with Paris, a limited series for Slave Labor scripted by Watson with art by Simon Gane.
Recent solo work by Watson has been all-ages stories targeted at children/young adults. Glister is about the adventures of Glister Butterworth – girl-magnet for the weird and unusual who lives at Chilblain Hall. In Princess at Midnight, Holly Crescent leads a sheltered life as a home-schooled girl by day. By night she's Princess of Castle Waxing where she wages a perilous turf war with the Horrible Horde. Both series were published by Image Comics. Both series have since been republished. Glister was published in the UK in an altered, expanded form as a four-book series by Walker Books. Princess at Midnight is currently being serialised online.
Gum Girl, Watson's current work, features stories about a girl called Grace Gibson, who is a young superhero fighting strange villains in the town of Catastrophe. The four books in this series are published by Walker Books.
Andi Watson has worked as the writer on a variety of licensed properties, most significantly a 2-year run on the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics from Dark Horse Comics and Marvel Comics' Namor.