Whether you know it or not, you’ve likely been blown away by Jock’s work in the past few years. While readers will know him largely from his work with 2000 AD and DC/Vertigo comics, he has also contributed design work to a multitude of other projects including posters for Mondo and the film industry. Credits include Children of Men, Dredd, Batman Begins, The Losers, X-Men: Days of Future Past and most recently the stunning Ex Machina.
MondoCon 2015 hosted a series of panels. This recap covers the highlights of Jock’s where he talked (or didn’t) about his past, his career and what lies on the horizon!
1Beginnings. Jock grew up with artistic leanings but it was discovering 2000 AD around the age of 13 that inspired him to follow that career path. Leaving home for London, he assembled a portfolio which ironically caught the attention of 2000 AD at a comic book convention back in his home town of Glasgow.
2The Losers. Jock’s big break after 2000 AD was illustrating this comic series. Vertigo, the American comic company behind the series, was at first reluctant to allow Jock to do the covers, fearing a style similar to that of 2000 AD, somewhat cartoonish and colorful. However Jock insisted he had other ideas and they finally let him send in six ideas. Five of these were ultimately used as covers.
3Comics/Posters/Movies. His movie work is digital and comics work still drawn by hand. Each for reasons of adjusting the work or time. The main difference between his different outlets is lead time, far more for posters than comics. His Shaun of the Dead print was worked on for around 11 months, with comic books it can be only a few days. His Mondo work often just relies on the property, no further brief. He sees the creative directors (Jay and Rob) at Mondo as being a resource to draw upon, providing valuable feedback.
4We nearly had a Jock-inspired Dune film. Jock was originally brought into the film industry by Peter Berg who was in line to direct an adaptation of his comic series The Losers. Despite leaving the project, Berg remembered Jock’s talents and called on him to contribute concept work for his later films including Hancock, Battleship and Dune. Berg’s Herbert adaptation collapsed, meaning we’ll probably never see Jock’s take on a Fremen or Sandworm.
5Jock inspired scenes in Battleship. The infamous game adaptation still has little of a script on display but during pre-production there was even less. Jock found himself producing images for the film which the script was then written around.
6Intentional and accidental leaks. Hearing of a new Dredd film being in development, Jock put out a piece of concept art he drew on social media. Someone found access to his online directory and found 3 more pieces of art which soon spread online. He received a call from the producer of the film and instead of being in trouble found himself with an offer to work on the film.
7Jock’s current film project? Sounds like Annihilation from what was said during the panel. Jock mentioned he was working with garland once again and had been sent “pictures of cancer cells” for inspiration. Annihilation is a adaptation of a sci-fi/biological horror book by Jeff VanderMeer.
8Jock was nearly the drummer for The Cure. One of his hobbies is drumming and back in his early twenties he responded to a advert in NME for a band looking for a replacement drummer. He went through several rounds of auditions and at the final one found it was for The Cure. He was required to play along to a new song of theirs (unheard) in front of their managers and his performance was recorded. He didn’t get the job, but still plays. He did spend a few years in bands touring and on one such expedition spent his spare time painting Judge Dredd on the tour bus.
9Weirdest commission/sketch request? Superman in a wheelchair and this was several years ago so Christopher Reeve was alive. He did it, not wanting to displease people early in his career but would never contemplate it now. “It’s just SO wrong”.
10Jock’s take on a lightsaber? Jock was approached by the makers of Star Wars Episode VIII through his website. He was pretty coy about the whole thing but the room signified their approval of the announcement with a hearty round of applause. Rian Johnson is making a good start in my opinion. Jock is in for a hell of a year and even if these new Star Wars films suck at least we know they’ll look good.
11‘Art of Jock’ Book Announced. The panel ended with a announcement, that was later followed by a press spiel about a collaboration between Mondo and Insight editions to produce a book covering Jock’s whole career. It will be released roughly a year from now. All of the release information is below.
Not content with a comic book career that includes DC Entertainment’s Batman and The Losers, 2000AD’s Judge Dredd and his creator-owned Wytches, Jock has also created concept artwork for a number of movies including Ex Machina, X-Men: Days of Future Past and the Dark Knight trilogy. Now, a new career retrospective from Mondo will reveal even more of the British artist’s work.
The collection, tentatively titled The Art of Jock, will feature material from throughout the artist’s entire career from 2000AD through a long collaboration with DC Entertainment (including work on Green Arrow: Year One and Hellblazer) to his movie work. It marks a continuation of his relationship with Mondo, for whom he’s previously created limited edition artwork for a number of movies, including The Thing, Zero Dark Thirty and Iron Man 3.
While this marks the first full career retrospective for Jock, it’s not the first time his movie work has seen print; 2000AD has previous published a collection of his Dredd concept art to accompany Alex Garland’s script for the 2012 movie, as well as a limited-edition portfolio of his Ex Machina work for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The book — Mondo’s first, created in partnership with Insight Editions — continues the expansion of the company known primarily for its screen print artwork for classic and contemporary movie, TV show and comic book properties. In recent months, the Austin, TX house has experimented with action figures, clothing (including some amazing holiday sweaters) and vinyl soundtrack releases.
“I’m so proud to be working with my friends at Mondo and Insight to put together the first extensive collection of my work,” Jock said in a statement. “It’s been a labor of love for months already, and we can’t wait to share more details. We’re working hard to make this as special an edition as it can be.”
The Art of Jock is scheduled for release Sept. 2016.