Raider of the hidden book collection

bolland2 (2)I’ve been having a clean-up; an early Spring Clean, if you will, albeit one probably a year late (“two years late” according to Claire). My backroom den, which has been my Covid-enforced office space for close on two years now, is currently the subject of a clear-out and tidy-up and its been a sobering experience. I’ve too many books, too many  CDs, too many DVDs and Blu-rays. More on the latter perhaps in a post tomorrow.

But I’ve been unearthing lots of books that were hidden behind the towers of life-debris; some old favourites I know so well, and some surprises, half-forgotten. The odd one or two I’d totally forgotten.

The scary thing is when I have picked up the odd book and found either a receipt tucked away in the back of it, or have made a curious query on my Amazon account and discovered with a yelp of incredulous horror how long ago I bought it. For instance, one of the books that caught my eye was The Art of Brian Bolland– its a fantastic book, by the way, absolutely essential for anyone remotely familiar with his art- and I found that I bought it in 2013. Years have a way of sneaking past you, I know, but I have had that book approaching nine years now, and for the last few years its been out of sight, almost forgotten.

bolland1Mind, on the subject of years getting past you, alongside The Art of Brian Bolland were a few gorgeous hardbacks of artist-themed collections of Judge Dredd strips which IDW publishing released around the time I bought that Bolland book. One collects Bollands Dredd work, while another collects some of the best of the late Carlos Ezquerra‘s work (including his complete Apocalypse War epic) and another two volumes contain the best of Cam Kennedy’s Dredd work – which I remarked upon in this blog back in the day. Why I mention these books in particular, is that browsing through them yesterday (really, its  a wonder I got anything done, how much stopping to read stuff I was doing), I was looking at the dates the stories were originally published in 2000AD. Bolland’s mostly dated back to 1978, 1979… Ezquerra’s Apocalypse War ran for 26 deliriously exciting weeks in 1982, and Kennedy’s sublime work from around 1984 onwards. Some of this stuff is 40+years old or awfully close to it, and I can recall reading most of it like it was yesterday. Those early days of 2000AD; there’s never been anything like it since. I still recall meeting my mate Andy in school every week to discuss the latest events as that Apocalypse War unfolded. Drokk it, as if I didn’t feel ancient enough the way the world is going lately, I have to have my head spinning with memories of the Apocalypse War, role-playing games and Blade Runner: 1982 was like some very fine wine, I just didn’t really appreciate it at the time (does anyone, when so young?).

I keep returning to that Art of Brian Bolland book; I can’t keep away from it, its exquisite. Its a large-format book printed on heavy-stock paper, with all of Bolland’s elaborate, detailed inks perfectly reproduced. Every page is a new marvel to linger over.

Unfortunately, and much to Claire’s annoyance, my backroom clear-out is taking much longer than expected….

One thought on “Raider of the hidden book collection

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    Hmm, I never picked this one up at the time.
    I did pick up the IDW Dredd book, and also the Brendan McCarthy. I was never a fan of Ezquerra’s work except for his (very earliest Strontium Dog stuff), and Cam Kennedy never really grew on me, he always seemed like a less interesting version of Mike McMahon.

    I was reading about the creation of The Killing Joke recently and it struck me that Bolland literally hasn’t done any comics in the time since – 35 years! A few pages here and there but otherwise it’s been covers. I can understand people not drawing comics any more if they don’t have to as it’s incredibly hard work, but damn that’s a crying shame.

    Did you see the Artists Edition of Bolland’s work that’s out later this year from Rebellion? Scanned from the original artwork at full size so you can see all the little physical details of the work. I have several of them for other artists (Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Watchmen, Miracleman etc). They’re not cheap books but they’re fantastic.
    And they’re working on a McMahon edition and a Kevin O’Neill book too!

    I too have way too much stuff, but in the process of house moves and clearouts etc it’s been ruthlessly organised into specific plastic crates and stored carefully in the loft when there isn’t room downstairs. I occasionally reshuffle items between upstairs and downstairs to refresh the shelves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s