Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mea Culpa, Brian Bolland

Original vs. Replica 
(or Paxton vs. Pullman)

OK, this is a little strange and could almost qualify as shameless self-promotion if it weren't for the fact that, apparently, I've unknowingly become a minor headache to comic art legend, Brian Bolland... 

While checking stats for this Blog, I noticed there were several links from an article on the La Covacha website:

After hitting the "Translate to English" option in my Chrome browser (hey, I barely read and write in English, let alone another language), I read through the article "WTF | THE "COVER" OF THE KILLING JOKE IS NOT OF BRIAN BOLLAND" by Alberto Calvo.  It talked about how, many times, my replica of Brian Bolland's "Killing Joke" cover is used on websites in place of original Bolland's work.

WTF, indeed!

He lays out the basic, obvious reasons for this:

     1. It is not obscured by logos (mostly because I dislike lettering so much)
     2. The images are both online and larger in size than most

I'm also sure a lot of it has to do with some one doing a Google Image Search, seeing my picture, thinking they've found it, and grabbing the wrong one.  Y'know, like how people confuse Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman all the time.  Then, some one else sees that picture labelled as Brian Bolland's on their website, grabs it for their own, and the confusion compounds itself,   (Although, I've seen some examples where my signature is rather obvious in the picture, so that's kinds strange... You'd think they'd ask "Who the heck is this 'John Douglas' guy signing his name to Brian Bolland's cover?)

Here is a section from the article (and I will blame any quirkiness in grammar on the translation software, not Mr. Calvo):
When Brian Bolland came to Mexico a couple of years ago as a guest of La Mole Comic Con, he who made me realize that, apparently very popular, image was not its cover, but a recreation was. Some fans who have made use of services bound for filling their volumes of paperback used that image as cover, which no longer wryly funny, because some of them took to sign a copy on the cover of the original artist was replaced by a copy.
First, I find it terrifyingly euphoric that Brian Bolland has even seen any of my artwork.  I mean, I'm just a guy in the middle of nowhere, so the thought that one of my artistic heroes--or any comic creator for that matter--would have seen anything I did is almost too bizarre for me to wrap my mind around.  On the other hand, I am mortified if it has caused him any sort of distress, as mentioned in the article.  So, there is a half-eaten worm in that apple, if you will.  Mea Culpa!

While I understand it, I also find the confusion a little embarrassing in the "My version doesn't match nearly enough" kind of way.  I shot the finished painting with a sub-par camera, so the picture is a little blurry in a couple spots, the color is slightly shifted and washed out, and there is even a spot on the top-left where the light from the lamp reflected into the picture.  Sure, I could go back and color correct everything, but that would even cause more confusion, methinks.

I do have to admit, though, when I do stumble across my artwork out in the wilds of the internet, regardless of the context, I'm one step from clutching an imaginary Oscar and saying "You like me!  You really like me!"

All that said, it's kinda weird to read an article about yourself, especially since I had no idea it was being written.  WEIRD!  The world is a funny place, sometimes...

* * *

Oh, and one correction from an otherwise good article: I do **NOT** do cover replicas on request.  They are **HUGE** (20" x 30" / 50cm x 75cm), they take **FOREVER** to do, and it is generally a pain in the butt to try and match someone's style as closely as you can, line-by-line.  I am doing them as a favor for a friend of mine that runs a local comic book shop (speaking of which, I am currently finishing up the next one in the next couple weeks).  That said, if you are an eccentric billionaire with ridiculous amounts of cash to waste and want to have a giant comic book cover replica, please contact me. :-D

Here's a link to the Original Post featuring the creation of the "Killing Joke" Cover Replica.



  1. OMG this is soooo funnnnnny! I mean, it's not. It's really not, I'm sure, for the poor dudes that took your picture to get autographed by Mr. Bolland only to find out it wasn't his. I would feel really bad for them if they'd actually paid their hard earned pesos for it.

    But you know what? They took your work FOR FREE! So it's funny. Oh man, I laughed.

    And I can't imagine it was too much of a problem for Mr. Bolland. "You mean this isn't your picture Senor Bolland? But I'm here, I need you to sign something! How 'bout I just buy some of your product and you can sign that?"

    1. I'm sure it's a very minor occurrence, but there is a sociopathic part of my personality that says "Hey, Brian Bolland has seen my work!" and capers about in glee, ignoring all the rest.

      I picture the grimace on Brian Bolland's face and having to patiently explain, "No, that's not my art..." and thinking he should really get around to hiring those goons to work over that John Douglas chap for copying his cover...

      Oh, wait, there's a knock at the door.