The Art of Jock

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

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Our Verdict

This inspirational book covers the gamut of Jock's career and gives fans a unique insight into how the artist works.

For

  • Beautifully laid out energetic art
  • Covers all areas of Jock's career
  • Behind the scenes insight
  • Fascinating acetate overlays

Against

  • No work from Star Wars VIII
  • Bit light on text

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 design 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.

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

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.

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

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.

This article was originally published in ImagineFX magazine issue 142. Buy it here.

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The Verdict

10

out of 10

The Art of Jock

This inspirational book covers the gamut of Jock's career and gives fans a unique insight into how the artist works.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.