‘As a writer he’s an engineer. Whether it’s a short, punchy comic story or a novel, Rich brings to it the inherent eye of the Midlander. Derby (coincidentally our joint home town) is famous for its engineers. From Rolls Royce aeroplane engines, to the railways, canals and narrowboats - it built a reputation for hard work and an eye for detail. Every machine-head, cog and piston supremely crafted, well oiled and made to last. You can’t escape the form and function he brings to bear on his work, the clarity of his vision. The invention.’
From a Foreword by Liam Sharp, Uncanny X-Men, Hulk, 2000 AD
Richard ‘James Johnson’ was born in Derby, England in 1976. Having studied Graphic Design at Bedfordshire University he went on to win a prestigious D&AD first award. Developing a taste for writing early on in life, his passion for storytelling culminated in two books (he’d rather forget) at the age of twelve. In addition to his work as a writer, he’s also an accomplished Illustrator and Graphic Designer, which he also lectures on and leads a degree level course in Nottingham. The Enemy’s Son is his first novel.
The son of an aircraft engineer and cook, he was encouraged from an early age to follow his interests and overactive imagination. Never deterred from a high level of passion and enthusiasm, he developed a number of obsessions that still help shape his writing and artwork today.
In 1982, at six years of age, he had begged his parents to take him to see The Dark Crystal. ‘The film had a profound effect on my life, sparking an interest in not just sci-fi and fantasy, but the arts in general.’ A child of the eighties – Saturday morning cartoons and film became an obsession; from Star Wars to Indiana Jones, The Thing to American Werewolf in London, Akira to My Neighbour Totoro, Kurosawa to Eastwood, Ray Harryhausen to Peter Jackson – he has admired and continues to admire pioneers in their field.
As well as his love of film and literature, James is also an avid appreciator of comic books, in which he also writes. Personal favourites include the classic British weekly war series, Battle, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and Garth Ennis’ run on Hellblazer and subsequent Preacher series.
During the mid to late 90s, he studied at University where he developed his interests further. From researching examples such as the Bauhaus, it helped underpin a lot of the theories and philosophies of design he had questioned. He discovered more influential films and literature and began to understand the underlining themes and complexities of certain classics such as Brave New World and Blade Runner.
Milton’s Paradise Lost opened his eyes to religious interpretation - discovering how seminal and influential it was on the likes of Tolkein, he noticed they only took the essence; the representation of these characters and religious connotation, using symbolism and metaphor. As he slowly gained confidence in his own writing, it was in his late twenties he began to map out his own epic story, which would eventually become Erth Chronicles.
James Johnson’s writing is often referred to as highly imaginative, cinematic and fast paced - a reflection of his continued interest and passion for the visual arts.
James Johnson books reviewed
The Enemy's Son
Born on the flying city of Newton, Pirian Horncastle has always felt the weight of the Erth pulling him towards his destiny. He and his parents are among the very few inhab...
- The Enemy's Son - Born on the flying city of Newton, Pirian Horncastle has always felt the weight of the Erth pulling him towards his destiny. He and his parents are among the very few inhabitants who remain free of the 'Dosage' - a controlling drug that turns most of the population into psychopaths. When Pirian’s father, Jeradon Horncastle, is falsely accused for the murder of their Emperor, both are outcast into the raging seas below. Washed ashore, they are brought to the attention of the Rojin, a spiritual people who Jeradon had once slaughtered. But in a twist of prophecy, their enemy and his son hold the fate of the Rojin people and the very soul of their immortal leader in the palm of their hands.