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.
Long before the teen angst pangs of Twilight or the fever heat of True Blood, director Kathryn Bigelow had an inkling of what a southern-fried vampire romance could be. Near Dark delivered on her vision of hillbilly vamps, an eighties cult classic that’s hard to believe is coming up on its thirtieth anniversary. The cinephiles at TIFF have dug out an archival print, so this Friday, July 21st, Bigelow’s blood-sucking hicks will rise again.
Do you have a favourite monster? If you do, you probably understand the lengths one will go to satiate that monster-mania.
Me? I love vampires. I don’t know what vampire book or film I saw first. I no longer remember when this lifelong love affair began. When I look back now, it seems like it was always there. I’m not selective in my vampire love either, though I do worship at the altar of a good story; I like the feral inhuman ones, the haughty aristocrats, the grotesque parasites, the misunderstood monsters, and even some of the teenage incarnations. Perhaps I love vampires for their versatility. They are a monster with a thousand stories.
In recent years, I’ve found myself fascinated with films and books that flip the “few bloodsuckers feeding off humanity (and must be destroyed)” narrative upside down and, instead, offer up detailed, well-thought-out vampire societies. One movie of that ilk that I keep coming back to is 2009’s Daybreakers, directed by The Spierig Brothers.
I love horror, but my favorite character has always been the vampire. Those little blood suckers have gone through a wide range of metamorphosis starting with the first time I set eyes on them, which was at the tender age of seven. I am a child of the creature double feature generation and the movies offered a wide variety of horror every Saturday afternoon. I was a loyal fan to the undead ever since I watched Bela Lugosi play Dracula in a movie theatre with my mom and siblings while on vacation in Atlantic City.
My love of bloodsuckers continued up with a major crush on Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgard on the HBO series) a character from the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Series called True Blood. I even have vampires as some of the main characters in my Roof Oasis Series. I thought I had seen all there was to see about vampires, but I was wrong. I had yet to watch vampires star on a reality show. What We Do In The Shadows is definitely different, but did I like the film? Sharpen those fangs for my review. Read the rest of this entry
Holy Children of the Damned! Last week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Hotel” had the SWAT team sweeping in to save the teachers and the kiddies from an attack. What the cops didn’t know about the little tykes might come back to bite them; literally. While Alex and Holden share a coffin, Ramona and Donovan plan their revenge. If we stay away from Room 33, we might survive the night. Read the rest of this entry
On last week’s episode of American Horror Story, we were invited to a dinner party that left me looking for the nearest exit. While Mr. March entertained a room full of dead serial killers (the best kind), Alex decides to join Team Countess. I’m wondering if being a blood sucker will interfere with Alex’s day job. Read the rest of this entry
One of my favorite movies, and television series, along with a flavor of the month for horror, would be the film From Dusk till Dawn, the amazing cross-genre masterpiece from two undoubted movie masters of horror – Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Together they wove a tale of two spree killers from a straight crime drama who wander into a horrific den of vampires. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn.
I’ve had the same friends for a long time. Most of my closest friends I’ve known since the eighth grade, so our friendships developed through those awkward teen years of being idiots and finding ourselves. This includes finding our senses of humour I think, but I have two theories about that: One, the people with whom you learn to laugh will laugh with you (and you with them) no matter what you think is funny or not, forever, because it’s now just part of the dynamic of that friendship. Two, you and this person discovered your senses of humour together at the same time and therefore developed similar ones and will always find the same things funny. Two nights ago, one of my oldest pals came over to watch What We Do in the Shadows, and I can’t tell you if we laughed ourselves to tears because the film was in fact that hilarious, or if we are just that used to laughing together. I think it’s a bit of both.
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
When someone mentions the word ‘vampire’ today, too often a person’s mind can flood with images of sparkly-skinned teenagers, nauseating love triangles and eternally conflicted losers who got bitten and blah, blah, blah…this saddens me. Not in an “I’m going to reflect on my feelings and become moody and depressed like a Twi-Hard” sad; more like a sympathetic kind of sad for the person who’s had their mind corrupted by the likes of Stephanie Meyer, Anne Rice and L.J. Smith (“Vampire Diaries”).
Vampires aren’t supposed to be melodramatic; they’re supposed to be ‘bat sh*t crazy’ (pun intended)! Their ancestry includes Lilith, a Babylonian demon who devoured young babies and is often referred to as the ‘original vampire’; the lamiae, monsters who seduced the young men of ancient Greece and fed on their blood; and Vlad the Impaler, a 15th Century Romanian prince who had a reputation for torturing, impaling and devouring his victims.
I’ve already mentioned the guilty parties who have played their part in ruining the vampire image; let’s now reflect on the movies that got it ‘right’ when it comes to the blood-sucking kind…