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.
The cover pictures a mutant apparently hiding from an alien spaceship in Hammersmith tube station. No idea what this is about, but a quick flick shows I’ll have to wait to find out. The artwork isn’t up to much, but I like the way the London Underground roundel gets used in the ‘O’ of ‘metro’ (probably courtesy of Jan Shepheard or Kevin O’Neill).
This post has been in ‘drafts’ for nearly three months now, so probably about time I finished it and published…
The Supercover story on prog 20 is ‘The Man Who Stole the Stars!’, which is fitting as when I read this, on the day that his death was announced, it called to mind the late David Bowie’s songs ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ and ‘Starman’ (amongst other space-themed songs).
Over the page, however, we get the first instalment of a large-creature-based strip to replace Flesh with the polar bear Shako! Continue reading
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.
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
It seems that most of the covers in the early days had speech bubbles on. Much later I’m sure years passed between covers featuring speech bubbles. We’ve got quite a nice ratio nowadays of speech versus speechless covers. Pteranodons, tyrannosaurs and giant spiders feature on this particular cover (plus the Trans-Time rangers issuing the afore-mentioned speech bubbles).