The Art of Jock

Judge Dredd and Bat­man are just two of the char­ac­ters show­cased in this lux­u­ri­ous trib­ute to the Scot­tish artist

ImagineFX - - Reviews - Au­thor Will Dennis Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books Price £45 Web www.ti­tan­ Avail­able Now

His dy­namic and en­er­getic art is beau­ti­fully printed on high-qual­ity pa­per…

Look­ing to be in­spired from a truly great comic book artist? You don’t need to look much fur­ther than Jock, aka Mark Simp­son.

Highly ac­claimed and hugely tal­ented, over the past two decades Jock has be­come well known for his ground-break­ing comic art from 2000 AD, The Losers and more re­cently, Bat­man and Wolver­ine.

He’s equally re­spected for his con­cept art, which has de­ter­mined the look and feel of films like Dredd and Ex_Machina. There’s also a third string to his bow, in the form of his work with pop cul­ture poster com­pany Mondo.

All these cre­ations and more are gath­ered to­gether in this col­lec­tion of Jock’s work. While the 160 pages of this hard­back are rel­a­tively light on text, this has the ben­e­fit of giv­ing max­i­mum space and at­ten­tion to his dy­namic and en­er­getic art. It’s all beau­ti­fully printed on high-qual­ity pa­per, with sump­tu­ous fin­ishes, which goes some way to jus­ti­fy­ing the rel­a­tively steep pur­chase price.

Fol­low­ing a fore­word by film di­rec­tor Peter Berg, and an in­tro­duc­tion by DC Comics co-pub­lisher Jim Lee, the book be­gins proper by show­ing us a series of glimpses in­side Jock’s stu­dio. Then it’s on to the first main sec­tion, ex­am­in­ing his comic work and fea­tur­ing full-colour re­pro­duc­tions, process sketches on trac­ing pa­per on top of the fin­ished art, and in­sight­ful looks be­hind the scenes.

As well as a look at his com­mer­cial work for the likes of Marvel and DC, we also get to fo­cus on one of Jock’s own gothic hor­ror comic, Wytches, with its retina-pierc­ing colours. And there’s also some­thing de­light­fully un­ex­pected: an ac­etate over­lay that shows the orig­i­nal of the Frank Miller trib­ute cover from The Dark Knight 3: The Master Race, over the fi­nal, printed ver­sion.

The se­cond sec­tion of the book fo­cuses on Jock’s work for Mondo, in­clud­ing trib­utes to Zom­bie, The Dark Knight Rises and Shaun of the Dead. To hon­our the for­mer, there’s an­other ac­etate treat; for the other two there are spe­cial fold­out pages.

The fi­nal sec­tion re­views Jock’s ca­reer as a con­cept artist for the film in­dus­try. He’s ac­tu­ally been work­ing on Star Wars: Episode VIII too, but sadly there’s no art on show for that here.

This small dis­ap­point­ment aside, this is a thought­fully pre­sented and fully com­pre­hen­sive look at a true great. In short, ex­actly what a comic artist trib­ute should be.

Gothic hor­ror comic Wytches fea­tures Jock’s line art cou­pled with Matt Hollingsworth colours.

Jock’s soar­ing art skills come into play for the vari­ant cover art of Su­per­man: Amer­i­can Alien is­sue 7, from 2016.

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