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.
Really, we’re off that board in a number of ways.
It’s not like it’s something new for “comic book” writers and illustrators to adapt classic works of fiction and non-fiction into the form of sequential art. DC Comics published a visual history of the The Bible in 1975 by industry legends Sheldon Mayer and Joe Kubert. Robert Crumb adapted The Book of Genesis nearly a decade ago. And, of course, we’ve seen countless visual versions of much-loved novels by industry favourites such as Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time by Hope Larson, Richard Stark’s Parker by Darwyn Cooke, Beowulf by Santiago Garcia and David Rubin, Paul Auster’s City of Glass by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft – by various creators in various publications.
These, of course, are just a few.
The interesting thing is that mainstream publishers of traditional fiction and non-fiction formats have gotten in on the graphic novel game in a big way over the last decade.
And today, big time mainstream publisher Simon & Schuster, known more for those traditional formats of fiction and non-fiction, dip their toes in the warm pool of sequential art with the release of the visual version of Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth!
Remember the days when Vertigo Comics was regularly publishing comic book fiction that pushed the boundaries of the art form, giving voice to dozens of burgeoning writers and artists each month that would never have been heard from in mainstream publications?
It was probably the mid to late 1990’s or early 2000’s.
And you were probably in high school or college at the time – and my, oh my, weren’t those the glory days of comic book reading?
It’s a little strange then, that with all the great comics that Vertigo was publishing at the time, a title such as the 2001 three-issue miniseries, User, flew a bit under the radar, even though it won industry awards.
It’s stranger then, that the same title is compiled in a handsome hardcover format by an entirely different publisher (one who has taken up the philosophical mantle that Vertigo Comics once owned), over fifteen years later.
And that the story of User, released (again) today, still resonates!
Just ask any writer of Biff Bam Pop! Heck, ask just about any reader that frequents these digital pages. This site has a love for pop culture, sure, but there’s an underlying need and desire to listen, to read about, and to share favourite music.
Ask Andy Burns, Editor-In-Chief of Biff Bam Pop! and his ever-lasting love of prog-rockers, Yes. And yes, he was there in New York City last weekend when Yes finally entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ask Less Lee Moor, resident Managing Editor of this site as well as the Editor-In-Chief of Popshifter. Besides sharing her enthusiasm for all things music in her regular Pump Up The Jam column here on BBP!, you’ll find that she often waxes lovingly for Richard Oakes-era Suede on social media.
These are the bands, this is the music, that we all grew up with – specifically through our formative years.
And that bit of musical magic brings us straight to the excitement of The Complete Phonogram Hardcover, released today.
The uncharted ether of imagination.
That’s what brings us to today.
Over the last month and a half, we’ve begun unofficially celebrating the year of comic book legend Jack Kirby’s birth here at Biff Bam Pop! The “King” as he’s affectionately called, would be 100 years young this year…and make no mistake, his many pop culture creations live long and strong.
You know many of them: Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer, X-Men, etc., etc., etc.
Without Kirby, you could argue there would be no superhero comics, no Marvel Cinematic Universe, no Wednesday Run!
But beyond those characters listed, did you know about Kirby’s early 1970’s Fourth World creations: his “Cosmic Odyssey”? It was a series of interconnected titles that would tell one complete story, a publishing revelation, far ahead of its time!
Well, look no further than today release of the Kirby-inspired, late twentieth century release of, Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition – and discover the King’s imagination run rampant across the universe!
A hero comes to a King.
A monster needs to be slain.
And so begins the old English epic of Beowulf, a poem that has inspired so many writers and artists in so many different genres: from painting to film to television to fiction to music to even video and board games. Beowulf has touched all aspects of human creativity.
Today, the translation of that ages-old story gets the graphic novel treatment with the beautiful hardcover of Beowulf, published by Image Comics.
You can find the first part of our trilogy of lists here, which showcases a number of more affordable trade paperback collections.
Last week, the second installment focused on hardcover collections, although slightly more expensive. You can find that list right here.
Today, we’re getting into the crème-de-la-crème of comic book collections. Save these for someone you really care for…or for even someone like yourself! Who wouldn’t want these tomes wrapped up?
With only a few days to go before Christmas, and without further ado, here is the final installment of our list of comic book collections for the 201 6holiday season!
Last week, we highlighted a number of trade paperback comic book collections, perfect gifts for friends and loved ones (or yourself) this holiday season.
If you haven’t already, you can check out that particular list right here.
But maybe you want to kick it up a notch this month.
Maybe you’ve got a special someone that really only likes hardcover books on the bookshelf. Or maybe you’re looking to find something that carries a slightly higher budget than softcover collections.
No worries. This week, we’ve got your back.
Here’s the second installment of our Holiday Gift Guide: Comic Book Collections!
Team Up With BATMAN & SUPERMAN IN WORLD’S FINEST: THE SILVER AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 On The Wednesday Run
The answer is no, if we go by the title, merchandising, clips and various trailers to the March 24th sure-fire blockbuster film premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Black and blue. God versus man. Day versus night.
If we didn’t know better, we’d think that Batman and Superman never got along! But we all know better than that, don’t we?
Still, can you believe there’s a generation of kids out there who might think that Bats and Supes are the worst of enemies when, in truth, they’re the best of friends? In fact, they’re the world’s finest friends, to be sure!
That’s why today’s release of the hardcover compilation, Batman & Superman In World’s Finest: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1 is the real-deal story primer for the upcoming film.
Follow me after the jump for the black and blue scoop!