Bolland’s brilliance: an interview with comic-book illustrator Brain Bolland (video).
Brian Bolland is a British comic book artist who gained fame through his work with 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd and Camelot 3000, as well as his critical success with Batman: The Killing Joke. Bolland’s self-penned Batman: Black and White story followed, before he focused on cover artwork for DC Comics’ series, including Animal Man, Wonder Woman, and Batman: Gotham Knights, and even the Vertigo imprint series, The Invisibles, and Jack of Fables. Bolland is not only an interior and cover artist but also a writer and artist of comic strips and pin-ups. Two of his most notable works are the semi-autobiographical humour strip Mr. Mamoulian and the whimsical rhyming strip The Actress and the Bishop. In his book, The Art of Brian Bolland, he showcases his works to date, including his work as a photographer.
Bolland’s career began when he joined the art agency Bardon Press Features after finishing his college course. While working with them, he produced a number of two-page strips for D.C. Thomson, and even though he referred to this period as his “lowest time,” he learned the simple rules of comic book storytelling, which turned out to be the best kind of training ground. Bolland then found regular employment drawing comics, with Judge Dredd from 1977 to 1980, turning out to be quite a hit.
In 1977, Bardon agent Barry Coker showed Gibbons and Bolland mock-ups from a new science fiction comic IPC was planning to publish. Gibbons joined Carlos Ezquerra in “jumping into 2000AD feet first with issue 1 (or Programme, later Prog 1), but meanwhile, Bolland would have to keep drawing Powerman on his own.” Powerman dropped to a monthly schedule, and Coker soon got Bolland “a cover on 2000 AD in May ’77 with Prog 11” (7 May 1977; signed “Bollo”). These early covers of Bolland fall into the category of coming up with cover ideas, and if they liked them, he would draw the cover, and they would write a one-page text story based on it to go inside.
Bolland worked as a team with influential figures in the current British comics scene, including Dez Skinn, Nick Landau, Richard Burton, Angus McKie, and Dave Gibbons, who became his firm friend. Bolland’s works on Judge Dredd helped the comic book industry become successful. Bolland’s works have become timeless pieces that entertain people even today.
One interesting tidbit about Bolland is that he was actually born in Butterwick, a small village in Lincolnshire, England. He initially studied graphic design at Norwich School of Art before starting his career as a comic book artist. While working on Judge Dredd for 2000 AD, Bolland became known for his highly-detailed and realistic art style, which helped to distinguish the series from other science fiction comics of the time.
In addition to his work on comics, Bolland has also been involved in other creative endeavors. He has worked as a freelance illustrator, producing artwork for book covers, magazines, and advertising campaigns. He has also created concept art for films, including the 1995 movie Judge Dredd, which starred Sylvester Stallone. Bolland’s art has been exhibited in galleries around the world, and he has won numerous awards for his work, including the Eisner Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Inkpot Award.
Despite his success as a comic book artist, Bolland has been somewhat elusive and rarely gives interviews or makes public appearances. He has also been critical of the comic book industry and the way that artists are often undervalued and exploited. Nonetheless, his impact on the world of comics is undeniable, and his art continues to inspire and captivate readers around the world.