Artist of the Week #3: Brian Bolland

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Every week How to Love Comics spotlights a comic book artist that should be on your radar. We present you a gallery of their work and then leave you some reading recommendations if you are starving for more of their work. We have cleverly titled this Artist of the Week.

This week we feature the legendary Brian Bolland. For many, he is best known for being the artist on Batman: The Killing Joke – a story that is seen as being one of the best Batman stories of all time. For others he is best known for his work on with Judge Dredd in the British anthology 2000AD. Bolland’s interior work is few and far between, but he has had an illustrious career as a cover artist – mostly at DC Comics/Vertigo. Overall, he has amassed a large collection of work throughout the past 30 years, which has elevated him into one of the most respected artists today.

As you will see in the gallery below Brian Bolland uses a mixture of heavy inks and extremely fine detail in a way that complements each other harmoniously. His characters are interesting to look at, with finer details added to them in a way that avoids them from being stock standard.

Below is a gallery of his work from various points in his career. Enjoy!

Wonder Woman #63 cover by Brian Bolland.

Wonder Woman #63 cover

2000 AD Prog 1865 by Brian Bolland.

2000 AD Prog 1865

Dial H #6 cover by Brian Bolland

Dial H #6 cover

The Flash #117 cover by Brian Bolland

The Flash #117 cover

Judge Dredd #4 cover by Brian Bolland

Judge Dredd #4 cover

Royals: Masters of War #1 variant cover by Brian Bolland

Royals: Masters of War #1 variant cover

Tank Girl: Apocalypse #4 cover by Brian Bolland

Tank Girl: Apocalypse #4 cover

Dial H #7 cover by Brian Bolland

Dial H #7 cover

Animal Man #5 cover by Brian Bolland

Animal Man #5 cover

Batman: The Killing Joke page 33 by Brian Bolland. Colours by John Higgins

Batman: The Killing Joke page 33. Colours by John Higgins

You can find more Brian Bolland art all this week on our Tumblr.

Brian Bolland Recommendations

Hopefully the gallery has you excited about Brian Bolland’s art, so much so that you want to go out and read some of his work. Here are two comics and an art book I would recommend.

Batman: The Killing Joke cover Brian Bolland. Alan Moore.

Batman: The Killing Joke

Written by Alan Moore. Art by Brian Bolland. Published by DC Comics.

Batman: The Killing Joke is one of those stories that is perpetually in the top 3 of best Batman stories of all time. It is a powerful, disturbing and the quintessential Joker story. The Killing Joke explores not only The Joker’s origin but also his relationship with Batman. The hatred Batman has for the Joker is also a big theme and nearing the conclusion of the story the reader contemplates if he has finally been pushed over the edge – would Batman kill the Joker?

The basic plot of the story is that the Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and decides the best way to hurt him is to torture him physiologically. With Gordon missing Batman goes to his aide in an attempt to save him. The Killing Joke also has big ramifications for Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), which would send her character in a different direction for more than 20 years.

Brian Bolland’s art in the Killing Joke is powerful. The way he draws the Joker in some panels is enough to send chills down your spine. They are enough for you to believe that the Clown Prince is truly insane. The current edition of the graphic novel has been recoloured by Brian Bolland, which has allowed him total control over the art. In this edition certain colours have been replaced, which allows for his art to be even more chilling.

The Killing Joke is available in a hardcover edition as well as digitally.

Judge Dredd - The Complete Brian Bolland cover by Brian Bolland.

Judge Dredd – The Complete Brian Bolland

Written by John Wagner. Art by Brian Bolland. Published by IDW Publishing. 

Throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s Brian Bolland was a regular on the Judge Dredd strip in 2000AD. Judge Dredd – The Complere Brian Bolland collects all the Judge Dredd stories possible (There are two stories they can’t print for legal reasons) in the one hardcover edition. Originally printed in black and white, the whole thing has been coloured and is presented in an oversized format.

If you are familiar with Judge Dredd then you will know what to expect. For those who arn’t expect to see some classic stories of the hard-boiled future cop, including The Cursed Earth, Judge Death and more.

The Art of Brian Bolland Cover

The Art of Brian Bolland

This is not so much a comic as it is a Brian Bolland centric art book, that features a cross-section of his work throughout his career. Written in a first-person perspective by Bolland himself, this book details his career from his early days up until the 21st century. This makes the art book personal and shines because of it.

The art of Brian Bolland is available in a nice hardcover edition.

Check out previous Artists of the Weeks.

Have Your Say

Are you a fan of Brian Bolland’s art? If so will you be checking out any of the comics he has worked on? You can let me know in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Trevor Van As

Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he's not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.

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