Preview: Celebrating King Carlos – ‘The Art Of Carlos Ezquerra’

by Richard Bruton

A consummate artist, a true genius – it’s fitting that part of the 45th-anniversary celebration of 2000 AD includes this lavish hardcover cover celebrating the man’s work.

Carlos Ezquerra sadly passed in 2018, way too young at 70, cutting short the career of a true artistic great.

His artistic creations include Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rat Pack, Major Eazy, El Mestizo, Fiends of the Eastern Front, DeMarco, Durham Red, Janus: Psi Division, Cursed Earth Koburn, Spector, Al’s Baby, Bloody Mary, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, and Just a Pilgrim and that’s just a small sampling of the work he did over nearly 50 years in British comics.

This 200+ page hardcover, published as part of the year-long 45th anniversary of 2000 AD, celebrates the life and the art of Carlos, from the earliest work here in the UK with romance comics such as Valentine and Mirabelle, through his work in Battle, including the brilliance of Rat Pack and Major Eazy and some never-before-reprinted short war comics from the title. And of course, plenty of material from his work at Starlord and 2000 AD, including Strontium Dog and Judge Dredd.

It’s a collection spanning 1973-2018, showcasing not just covers and illustrations but complete strips, design work, and a thoughtful and comprehensive essay on the man by 2000 AD‘s Michael Molcher.

It’s really a fitting tribute and celebration of Ezquerra, a true legend of comics who can rightly be said to have changed the face of British comics. Here’s what to expect inside…

 

As Mike Molcher points out in the essay…

“There are few artists to have had the same impact on comics as Ezquerra and yet remain utterly unique. While the wildly different styles of Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon, and Simon Bisley inspired tens of thousands of imitators, no-one before or since has drawn like Ezquerra. ‘King Carlos’, they called him – a fitting comparison to American comic book giant Jack Kirby, himself hugely influential and yet underappreciated, even ignored, during his lifetime.

Like Kirby, his work is deceptively simple – impactful, bold, gritty, with its trademark jagged ‘fish tooth’ inking line, his style filled with solidity and clarity is immediately recognisable – yet so utterly his own.

Indeed, Ezquerra is one of the very few comic artists who can truly be described as inimitable.”

And he’s absolutely right. King Carlos is rightly named, a one-off, a legendary artist, a gentleman, and one that is celebrated and paid tribute to here in The Art of Carlos Ezquerra.

The Art of Carlos Ezquerra is published by 2000 AD/ Rebellion on 10th May.

Now, just a small sampler for what to expect inside, beginning with that very first UK work in Valentine, 1973, showing an early, less heavily inked style…

Moving on to the Battle years with Rat Pack and Major Easy

And some of the never-before-reprinted shorts from Battle

Onwards to Starlord and 2000 AD with Strontium Dog, one of his finest creations and so close to his heart…

And to one of the most iconic Stront/Dredd moments there’s ever been…

Who indeed?

And finally, to Judge Dredd, Carlos’ most famous creation…

And finally, the first Carlos Dredd, Bank Raid, published in the 2000 AD Annual 1981 but meant to be the first Dredd strip…

 

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