Saturday 10 December 2016

Battle! And the Carlos Ezquerra/James Coburn Connection

A pile of Battle Picture Weekly comics arrived in the Little Shop this week, and while that particular comic was not a part of my childhood, one of the artists I noticed supplying multiple covers certainly was. Carlos Ezquerra drew the definitive Strontium Dog and arguably the definitive Judge Dredd for 2000AD and his (mostly pre-Tharg) work for Battle really stood out as I leafed through the pile readying it for its eBay listing (which has now SOLD). 

Not all the covers pictured below are by Ezquerra, but most of the best ones are. Look out for Major Eazy, drawn by Carlos to sort-of-resemble the none-more-cool Hollywood star James Coburn, who had starred in Pekinpah's Cross of Iron that year. Ezquerra obviously enjoyed drawing Coburnesque characters: he later used the same look (with shorter hair) for his adaptations of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat in 2000AD.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Shelley, the Queen Mary, and Agnes Pinder Davis

In the late 1920s, John Lane at the Bodley Head published 'The Helicon Series' of small poetry books, with new illustrations. They're pretty scarce these days, none less so than the edition of Shelley's Keats elegy, Adonais. The striking, Beardsleyesque illustrations are by Agnes Pinder Davis. She's a forgotten name now: light googling really only turns up this blog entry, which reveals the fabulous fact that she designed the carpet for the main lounge of the Queen Mary – but only after Duncan Grant's initial design was deemed too avant garde!

These quick snaps of her illustrations for Adonais don't do them justice. They work beautifully, and along with the slightly textured paper, rough cut page edges and simple boards design, make for a very special little volume.