By 1980, John Byrne had been working in the industry for over half a decade, and the popularity of his work had begun to soar. In particular, his penciling on X-MEN helped make that comic book a huge seller within the growing Direct Sales marketplace of hardcore fans. As the 1980s went on, Byrne became arguably the most popular creator in the field. He would boast that his presence on a title would instantly increase sales by 50,000 copied (His “faithful fifty”-thousand fans.) He would parlay his popularity into being encouraged to write as well as draw his own material, and was a creator in huge demand. But that flowering of his popularity was only just beginning when Sal Quartuccio released THE ART OF JOHN BYRNE, VOLUME ONE . (There was never a Volume Two.) It was a slick album of new and unseen Byrne artwork, and it helped to cement Byrne’s popularity.
The centerpiece of the publication is an extended interview with Byrne, one that was conducted early enough in his career to give a sense as to what his outlook, aspirations and interests were at the beginning of his journey to stardom. It was conducted by Robert Keenan.