Hello there Adventurers. Greetings! Welcome to the mighty Great Wizard's biography area for many of the contributory artists of the Fighting Fantasy™ Gamebook's. These pages will profile the current artists.
Malcolm was born in 1957 and graduated from the Ipswich School of Art in 1977. Little is known about his career outside of Fighting Fantasy but a glimpse of his talent and a sample of commissions can be found on his website (www.malcolmbarter.co.uk).
Forest of Doom (1983) is the only Fighting Fantasy book internally illustrated by Malcolm Barter. The Forest of Doom was the last Fighting Fantasy gamebook to have every full page illustration accompanied by a caption that gave the number of the paragraph depicted alongside a short extract from the text. Some of his illustrations also feature in ‘Out of the Pit’ (1985) – a catalogue of Fighting Fantasy monsters.
Malcolm recalls, “The commission came via my then agent John Craddock”, “I remember, along with a couple of other illustrators I was asked to submit a sample picture, as the original artist Penguin had intended to use was unavailable… I was fortunate enough to get it.” he adds, “My favourite illustration would have been the sample I drew to get the job (see image above)! It wasn’t used in the book and that pissed (sic) me off. I don’t think they could find it at the time.”
The advent of the Internet brought many FF fans and the series’ original creators together. “I was a tad late getting into the Internet, but was blown away by what was on there re: The Forest of Doom and me!”, “It didn’t quite shock me into action though. Seven years later I decided to contact a chap named Demian Katz on one of the RPG sites and quell the rumours concerning my possible early death...I’d no idea the influence it had had on other people and I’m still amazed by it all… In the last few months I’ve been in touch with artists, publishers, authors and RPG enthusiasts in the UK, USA, France and Spain.” As a result Malcolm more recently has illustrated the French adaptation of Fighting Fantasy (Defis Fantastiques) by Scriptarium in the form of a revised Titan Atlas.
Malcolm came out of hiding to meet everyone at the first ever Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014 in Ealing, London on September 7th. Little did he know until they met at the Fest that he had breakfast with The Warlock (Jamie Fry) as they were staying in the same pub nearby. The Warlock fondly reflects on his memories of the illustrations in the book everytime he walks around a Forest, imagining what his next encounter might be!
A quote from ‘You Are the Hero’ asks, “Whether Fighting Fantasy ever manages to reach the masses in the same way that it did back in its heyday of the 1980s, do the fans and creators of the series believe that people will still be talking about Fighting Fantasy in another thirty years’ time? and Malcolm replied: “Yes. Whilst playing the holographic version.”
(some quotes are derived verbatim from ‘You Are The Hero – A History of Fighting Fantasy’ by Jonathan Green)