Gibbons broke into British comics by working on horror and action titles for both DC Thomson and IPC. When the science-fiction anthology title 2000 AD was set up in the mid-1970s, Gibbons contributed artwork to the first issue, Prog 01 (February 1977), and went on to draw the first 24 installments of Harlem Heroes, one of the founding (and pre-Judge Dredd) strips. Mid-way through the comic's first year he began illustrating Dan Dare, a cherished project for Gibbons who had been a fan of the original series. Also working on early feature Ro-Busters, Gibbons became one of the most prolific of 2000 AD's earliest creators, contributing artwork to 108 of the first 131 Progs/issues. He returned to the pages of "the Galaxy's Greatest Comic" in the early 1980s to create Rogue Trooper with writer Gerry Finley-Day and produce an acclaimed early run on that feature, before handing it over to a succession of other artists. He also illustrated a handful of Tharg's Future Shocks shorts, primarily with author Alan Moore. Gibbons departed from 2000 AD briefly in the late 1970s/early 1980s to became the lead artist on Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly, for which magazine he drew the main comic strip from issue #1 until #69, missing only four issues during that time.
He is best known in the US for collaborating with Alan Moore on the 12-issue limited series Watchmen, now one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time, and the only one to feature on Time's "Top 100 Novels" list. From the start of the 1990s, Gibbons began to focus as much on writing and inking as on drawing, contributing to a number of different titles and issues from a variety of companies. Particular highlights included, in 1990, Gibbons writing the three-issue World's Finest miniseries for artist Steve Rude and DC, while drawing Give Me Liberty for writer Frank Miller and Dark Horse Comics. He penned the first Batman Vs. Predator crossover for artists Andy and Adam Kubert (Dec 1991 - Feb 1992), and inked Rick Veitch and Stephen R. Bissette for half of Alan Moore's 1963 Image Comics series.
Works other than comics include providing the background art for the 1994 computer game Beneath a Steel Sky and the cover to K, the 1996 debut album by psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker. In 2007, he served as a consultant on the film Watchmen, which was adapted from the book, and released in March 2009. 2009's Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars Director's Cut for the Nintendo DS and Wii platforms featured hand drawn art by Dave Gibbons.
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