The title of this post comes from a great Bolland Supercover, a welcome change after a few lacklustre weeks. The anatomical close-up of a frog and an astronaut’s face shows the kind of detail that Bolland will become famous for by the end of the next decade, especially on his covers for US comics.
Apparently this cover was provided by Trevor Goring, who would later be responsible for some fantastic, atmospheric Future Shocks, and Kevin O’Neill, whose work on Nemesis the Warlock Book III was largely responsible for my continuing with 2000AD and reading comics past childhood. It’s pretty disappointing that this work together is so uninspiring…
A nice Kevin O’Neill cover opens up the first non-weekly publication from the House of Tharg, depicting some sort of war robot with a back-mounted flamethrower. Nice piece and totally unrelated to anything of the regular strips appearing within the pages of the first Sci-Fi Special (not that it’s called a Sci-Fi special for this first summer). Cover price is 30p, compared to the usual 8p, and tough luck, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Asteroid Belt and Saturn – there’s no Galactic Groat price, so presumably (unlike the weekly Prog) it wasn’t available outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
This prog sees a departure from the usual style of cover, as (I believe) Pat Mills wanted to get Brian Bolland on board, but the artist was still on contract to produce comics for Nigeria. His way around this was to commission Bolland to produce some covers, and get a writer to put together a story behind the cover. Though I don’t think Mills was editor at this time, so he either commissioned the covers before going to freelance writer, had a lot of influence over the next person to take the mantle of Tharg, or I’m completely wrong about all this. Anyway, cover-wise we get an eye-catching composition of a robot in a warzone, clasping a frightened dog to itself.
Another Bolland cover here, though I don’t find his distinctive style coming through in this recreation of the M.A.C.H.1 splash page. Not sure what Tharg told Brian to draw, but the presence of a ship and a conventional jet plane instead of the Blackbird that features in the story suggest either a breakdown of communication or script changes after the commission.
Bolland’s second cover for 2000AD (his ‘day job’ was still illustrating Power Man for Nigeria at the time, but while Dave Gibbons and Kevin O’Neill (who had also drawn for Power Man) had managed to escape to 2000AD, the most Bolland managed in the early days was to provide roughly a third of the early 2000AD covers). This one features Probe on the verge of being torn apart by Yeti, with a border of hieroglyphs / circuit diagrams. Probably my favourite cover up to this point. Continue reading
2000AD is in the dozens now, Dare’s second saga is beginning and both front and back covers are given over to the spacer. The front is illustrated by Mike Western, with a ship by Belardinelli bodged in a few times. Continue reading