After graduating from London’s Central School of Art in 1974, Lincolnshire born artist Brian Bolland quickly gravitated towards the comics industry. A firm fan from an early age Bolland grew up on a steady diet of DC stories, with Green Lantern and The Flash being favourites. He spent a couple of years working on such diverse assignments as Powerman (an Nigerian published superhero comic) and House of Hammer magazine as well as illustrations for various fanzines and a short stint on Syd Jorden’s Jeff Hawke daily newspaper strip. In 1977 he came to the attention of UK publisher IPC who were on the lookout for artists for their proposed new weekly science fiction comic 2000AD. His first work for the title was the cover to Prog (issue) 11 and, after a few more covers, he was commissioned to draw the comics most popular character: Judge Dredd.
“It’d be pretty close. I’d hate to have to
live on the difference.”
Hollywood legend has it that director Howard Hawks and star John Wayne were so offended by the premise of Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (small town sheriff begs the local townsfolk to help him fight off a band of outlaws) that they made Rio Bravo (small town sheriff refuses to ask the local townsfolk to help him fight off a band of outlaws) as their own take on the bravery and stoicism of the western lawman. That all sounds a little too much like Hollywood PR to me though. Continue reading Rio Bravo (1959)
Corpse on the Imjin! And other stories by Harvey Kurtzman
When I first heard that Fantagraphics had acquired the rights to the EC Comics archive I was initially a little wary. Over the last few decades there have been several attempts to reprint the EC library in various different formats culminating with Gemstone Publishings short lived plan to reprint all the comics in their entirety, with each hardback volume containing 6 entire issues. This reprint series, which would have included all the classic EC titles – including Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror and Weird Science amongst others – stalled after only a dozen or so releases. Continue reading Corpse on the Imjin!
“This is God calling, get off the fucking tracks!”
I normally judge the quality of a comedy by how many times I have to pause the film in order to catch my breath from laughing. So it says a great deal about Ken Loach’s whisky-heist comedy that I didn’t get more than 90 seconds in before I had to hit pause. Continue reading The Angels’ Share (2012)
“Worth waiting for”
This is classic Sunday afternoon film fare. Made in 1958 the film portrays the exploits of the crew of an allied army ambulance separated from the rest of their company during the evacuation of Tobruk in North Africa in 1942. The crew is made up of an emotionally exhausted Captain (played by John Mills) a nurse, a sergeant and a South African officer they pick up on the way – and who they quickly suspect may not owe his allegiance to the Allies. They must travail minefields, quicksand and over 600 miles of desert with only the faint hope of finding safety and the promise of an ice-cold beer in Alexandria to sustain them.
A series looking at some of my favourite book
covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.
#2 Frank Frazetta’s covers for the Robert E. Howards’ Conan novels published by Lancer in the 1960’s
Texan author Robert E. Howard’s first published Conan story appeared in the December 1932 issue of the pulp science fiction magazine Weird Tales. Howard, a prolific writer responsible for hundreds of short stories, had previously experienced minor success selling to the pulps but it was his creation of a Cimmerian barbarian that struck a cord with readers. Continue reading Paperback covers #2: Frank Frazetta
“I’m seeing something that was always hidden.
I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret”
After spending the other evening immersed in the seedy underbelly of 1960’s London (thanks to ‘Peeping Tom’) it’s time for a change of pace. Tonight it’s Blue Velvet, a look at the seedy underbelly of 1980’s small town America. Hmmm… there definitely seems to be a theme developing here. Continue reading Blue Velvet (1986)