Image Comics to Pulp 3,000 Copies of The Art Of Brian Bolland, Unless…

In 2008, Image Comics published the phenomenal hardcover volume, The Art Of Brian Bolland, celebrating and reflecting the comic book artwork of one of the medium’s true masters, Brian Bolland. It cost $50.

Often referred to as the “artist’s artist,” Brian Bolland has spent the last quarter century producing some of the most memorable and inspiring illustrations the comic industry has ever seen. This handsome volume is a retrospective of this astonishing artist’s career and a look at the man himself.

Eleven years later, it’s not selling so well. And there are three thousand copies left in a warehouse, Bolland posted to Facebook,

Image Comics have informed me that the cost of warehousing this book exceeds the sales of the book. There are two choices: Either I or someone else could buy some or all of the inventory or they will be sent to be pulped. There are 3,095 copies in stock at $7.78 per book. I thought I might buy 100. I have no warehouse space here or the money to buy or store the whole lot. If anyone wants multiple copies now’s your chance. You’d have to do it directly with Image. I could make myself available to sign them if you want. Chris Caira, Scott Dunbier, Joe Pruett, Nick Landau.

From Image: “Please reply by Friday, March 22, 2019 with any copies to be purchased. Should we not hear back from you by that date, we will proceed with recycling the inventory.

An intriguing behind-the-scenes look. Once upon a time, when the first publisher of my comic The Flying Friar went bust, Diamond Comic Distributors decided to send the remaining copies of that graphic novella to me via my local comic shop. It was a nice, generous surprise, though I was later told that the paperwork involved along with the labour made it cheaper and easier to just send them to me.

It was only about thirty copies. This is a little more – and a little heavier and thicker. Still, that’s one hell of a wholesale price for Brian to be offering out there, considering the price is eight times that – and if that book were published today, it would be closer to the $80 mark.

Someone might want to consider wholesaling the deal of a lifetime. I already have my copy and it is exceptional. Full price… here’s what Bolland said about the book on publication.

An old and dear friend of mine recently said to me: Are you still doing that drawing?” Whenever the sub-ject of what I do for a living crops up in conversation and it’s usually when there’s nothing, for the moment, more interesting to talk about – they always start by asking me if I’m still doing it, as if it might have been an occupation I had only until a proper job came along.

I said: “Yep. Still doing it.”

“So what is it you draw then?” she continued.

“Er… Batman, Wonder Woman. For America mainly. Judge Dredd for this country sometimes. Other charac-ters that you won’t have heard of.” I always start off by naming characters that most people have heard of, even if I haven’t drawn them for years.

“Do people print any of them then?” she went on, warming to the subject, but with her eyes flitting around the room to see it there was anyone there who she might have a more fruitful conversation with.

“They all get printed.” I insisted.

“Where could I see them then?” She asked. A tricky question. I think of all the comics I’ve drawn that are now sitting on shelves turning yellow, the piles of photo-copies, and the plastic ring-bound folders with old covers of mine stuffed inside. I think about directing her to a shop in town where there might he one of my things sitting in the graphic novel section, but then probably not.

What I’d really like to do is reach into my sports bag and pull out a big chunky book with a nice glossy cover with the words THE ART OF BRIAN BOLLAND written on the front, stuffed full of just about everything I’ve ever done (so far). You know the kind of thing. Start off with pictures of me looking adorable as a baby. Then show all the drawings I did as a kid, however awful they were. A few more pictures of me with a ridiculous hairstyle. Then get into the good stuff. Comic strips that people would have heard of. Lots of sketches, line drawings, full color work. Hefty lumps of text where I get to talk about ME. While I have an attentive audience, why not throw in some of the holiday snaps I’ve always wanted people to see and some drawings I wouldn’t want to show the vicar and that I should have burned years ago. Make it look as if I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing all these years. Well, here is that book.

You have the advantage over me, friend. You’re probably standing in a bookstore reading this. You can tell if it’s a good looking book or a sorry mess. I can’t. All I have to go on is what I’ve seen so far on my computer screen. I’m in the hands of experienced publishers, though. Desperado. Image. What could go wrong?

However it turns out, the next time a friend of mine or a family member says to me: “What exactly is it that you do, Brian?” I’ll whip out this book and say: “I do this.”

Brian Bolland 2006

 

 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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