This year it was The Art of Brian Bolland (Desperado Publishing/Image, 2006) which is superb. I've been a fan of Brian's work since his days on 'Judge Dredd' in 2000AD and have followed his career ever since, even when he started working for DC in the USA (Camelot 3000, The Killing Joke). The book covers every aspect of his work, from his art school days to his latest work, although most of his later strips ('The Bishop & the Actress', 'Mr Mamoulian') were also printed in full in Bolland Strips!.
I can't recommend the book highly enough. Artwork aside, Brian Bolland keeps up a running commentary throughout, writing about his childhood and putting the artwork into the context of his life with some fascinating details along the way -- why he began signing with a backwards 'N', sketches for projects (such as an earlier Art of Brian Bolland volume) that never happened. One or two illustrations are published without comment (or explanation -- such as page 176's pic. of Redfox) but generally there's a wealth of detail.
What we need now is a companion volume, The Cover Art of Brian Bolland, reprinting all his covers for Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Wonder Woman, etc.
Some random news items...
- One book I missed off the recent Carlton list is Angel Fire by Chris Blythe and Steve Parkhouse which is due for publication in August 2007. It's a reprint of the graphic novel that was previously self-published (2004) and picked up in the USA by NBM (2006). More information in these interviews at Sequential Tart and Silver Bullet Comics.
- Down the Tubes (30 April) carries news of a new line of classic literature adaptations to be published by Classic Comics. The first release will be Henry V by Neill Cameron (script/pencils) & Bambos (inks, colouring by Jason Cardy & Kat Nicholson), which will appear in 3 different versions (the original Shakespeare text, a Plain English text and a simplified quick reading text) in October. Macbeth by John McDonald & John Haward (colour by Nigel Dobbyn) follows in January 2008, also in 3 versions. The Spring 2008 lineup is Jane Eyre by Amy Cozine & John M. Burns and Great Expectations by Jen Green & John Stokes. Forbidden Planet International blog has more pics and links.
- 7-year-old Beano reader James Thompson from Sheffield beat 27,000 other entrants to design a new character for 'The Bash Street Kids'. His winning design appears on the BBC News website (28 April). The new character, Wayne's in Pain, will debut in the 5 May edition. Further reports in The Scotsman (28 April) and the Yorkshire Post (28 April).
- Tate Etc. is the magazine of the Tate Gallery which recently hosted a Hogarth exhibition. The latest (Spring 2007) issue contains 'The Real Comic Book Heroes' by John Carlin.
- Paul Gravett reviews Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland in The Independent (27 April).