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#FXC17 Exclusive Interview: John Bolton On Horror, His Art & His Graphic Novel: Shame

Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.

Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.

There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.

On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.

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31 Days of Horror 2014 – L’Inferno (1911)

LInferno 1911Think of the high pitched screech of metal across metal, the low guttural growl of a wild animal or the rapid plucking of violin strings again and again to illicit a sense of tension. Undoubtedly, one of the most important elements of any horror film is sound: both in music score and in effects.

Still, visceral imagery and the underlying text that a film is based upon can have an enormous affect on the mindset of a viewer.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, at the origin of the art form we call film, the black and white L’Inferno, released in 1911, silent and arresting, tested the relevance of this treatise. The result was an overwhelmingly popular and horrifying experience for all of those that viewed the film then, as well as those that view it today.

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Saturday At The Movies: Eraserhead

Jack Nance as Henry Spencer

I love horror films, but there are a few that have worked their way into the recess of my mind and made a permanent home for themselves. One such film was Eraserhead, a 1977 black and white film which went past the definition of surreal. Eraserhead was written, produced and directed by filmmaker David Lynch, who would later go on to direct such movies as The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. This dark and brooding film may have been inspired by Lynch’s fear of fatherhood, his daughter’s extensive surgery for her severely clubbed feet and his five years of living in a troubled neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Hmmm… thought provoking since I was born and raised in Philadelphia and I love horror stories.  More about David Lynch’s Eraserhead after the jump.

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Saturday at the Movies: Nosferatu 1922

During the  month of October, many of the articles I contributed to the 31 Days of Horror here at Biff Bam Pop! were about movies that just scare the crap outta me. There’s stuff like Trilogy of Terror, White Zombie and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, but this one… this one not only won’t I watch it again, but I get scared just thinking about it. Read my thoughts on the original silent Nosferatu after the jump.

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Saturday At The Movies: Lord of the Flies 1963

Survival of the fittest – it is perhaps the most true of all laws. Whether it is in the darkest jungle, the hottest desert, the frozen wastes, the deepest oceans, or on a school playground – the strongest survives by preying on the weakest. That last example is important, as children following this rule are perhaps the cruelest. This covers many stories in our culture, most chronicling a descent from civilization into savagery. We’ve seen it recently in The Hunger Games, before that in Battle Royale, but we’re going to go back a bit further, to what some may call the original Hunger Game… Lord of the Flies. More savagery after the jump…

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