Sunday 30 March 2014

Saying Happy Birthday to Batman With Some Rare Brian Bolland Art

Batman is 75 *exactly* today, according to geek news hub Bleeding Cool, which has been looking at old copyright entries at the US Library of Congress.

Why is he so many people's favourite superhero? (He is mine.) I'd argue it's because he *doesn't* have superpowers. He's one of us. Plus, you know, chicks dig the car. Is it no coincidence that Batman and the similarly 'human' Iron Man have the two most successful movie franchises? Discuss.

There are a fair few Batman graphic novels on the shelves at Withnail Books, though three which always disappear fast if I ever have copies are Year OneThe Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke (not least because I recommend them to customers asking where to start).

The last of these has been dismissed as 'just another Batman story' by its writer, the legendary bearded contrarian Alan Moore, but it is of course far more than that, a brief but devastating tale which continues to influence the 'modern' Batman on the page and on screen - there's more than a flavour of it in Christopher Nolan's second Bat-film, for example.

Brian Bolland's exquisitely precise art is an equally important part of The Killing Joke's longevity: he draws an arguably definitive Batman and a hands-down, no-argument-brooked definitive Joker.

As a birthday treat then, here's a bumper selection of some familiar, and some not-so familiar Bolland art, as shared by lucky fans showing off their collections of originals at the endlessly browsable There are convention sketches, private commissions (comicartfans is a great place to see pieces like this, which would otherwise never see the light of day) and original Killing Joke pages, some in preliminary form. It's all great stuff.


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