two arts books from kinokuniya: The Art of Brian Bolland and a book of paintings by Tetsuya Ishida.
Ishida (http://fullofroses.blogspot.com/2006/09/tetsuya-ishida.html) died aged 31 in 2005, leaving behind 180 paintings that mixed self-portraiture with surrealism and social commentary; endlessly downbeat but arresting images.
Brian Bolland I first encountered reading 2000AD and the Killing Joke way back when. The book collects his works from his teenage years to the present and his reflections on his career were instructional and inspiring.
Bolland was at last year's SD comic con, where I wanted very badly to shake his hand and tell him how big a role he played in making me want to draw comics growing up. But comic-con is huge and getting from the SLG booth to his was a long trek, plus the queue was outrageous so I ended up passing a couple of comics and a note to above effect to his assistant which I don't know if he ever read :p
More than that though I wonder about rapports and friendships amongst artists. Bolland, Grant Morrision, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons et al... they were brought together by their love of comics, and became a community of sorts offering mutual support, competition and inspiration. Maybe a sense of mission too.
It's something I wonder if i'll ever find, a meeting of minds, lifelong friendships struck over conversations about comics and stories we can't wait to tell. I don't know if it's a matter of fortune or the shape of my own personality. A little of each, maybe, perhaps. And maybe the important thing is to be creating comics, whatever else transpires :p