Tag Archives: john bolton

Review: Hope

In the battle between good and evil, things are never really black and white as many people would like to believe. As there is no physical markers that one sees that would automatically tell you what intentions that person possesses. As an avid Star Trek fan, I always marveled at how the franchise, no matter which series you talked about dealt with social issues. The one episode from the original series, that has stuck with me to today, and really doesn’t feel dated at all, is “Let That Be Your Battlefield.

The story revolved around a centuries old war between two alien races, where they simply hated each other because of the side of the face where they have certain colors. The magnitude of what Gene Roddenberry was telling with one particular story cannot be underscored, as it still rings true today, that race is a construct and racism itself is an idea which is thought not inherited. It is always interesting when fiction creeps these ideas in to the reader’s subconscious, and it is always interesting to get into fiction, where these things are more obvious. In Lovern Kindzierski and John Bolton’s Hope, the world of Shame is continued on with this installment, as Hope looks to be reincarnated into a human body.

We are brought to Shame’s castle, where most of her demons have been vanquished, as Merritt looks for anyone looking to do harm to Grace and Hope.  As they leave the castle, they make their way down the rod to safer pastures, as though the demon hoard seems t be gone for good, one can never be sure. As we soon find out that Shame and her evil witch, Mother Virtue are hunting for Hope. By book’s end,a new enemy has emerged, as our heroes race to stop them before they can fulfill their promise.

Overall, the book is if HR Giger and Alejandro Jodorowsky worked in the medieval world in a battle between good and evil. The story by Kindzierski is exciting, action packed and unfolds likes well won action adventure. The art by Bolton feels visceral and can be in any museum. Altogether, a graphic novel which engulfs the reader into this magical world and gives fantasy fiction fans a grand tale.

Story: Lovern Kindzierski Art: John Bolton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Harlequin Valentine

Neil Gaiman tends to make the already fantastic into something even More. In Harlequin Valentine, he does it again, with a simple twist on a classic story. Spoilers ahead.

Harlequin Valentine has roots in the Italian Commedia dell’ arte tradition; a tradition still played upon and taught in theatre classes today. The Harlequin is a character from the Commedia with iterations backwards and forwards in literature: a version of the trickster archetype that is largely motivated by his unrequited love.

In Gaiman and Bolton’s version, however, the object of his affection takes over the role when she bests him by eating his heart, left pinned to her front door on a chilly Valentine’s day. Missy is nonplussed when she finds the heart on the door, proceeding to unpin it, store it in a plastic bag, and clean up the blood. Harlequin describes her actions with all the creepy over-observing of a stalker, obsessed with Missy as an object rather than an individual.

As Missy goes about her day, trying to solve the mystery of the heart, Harlequin follows, assigning the other men in her life to other Commedia stereotypes disdainfully. Gaiman’s tale and Bolton’s art work together to keep the story tight, Harlequin’s perspective hyper-focused on Missy as the day unfolds. Both Gaiman and Bolton bring an eerie sensibility to an otherwise light-hearted trope, without applying too heavy of a hand. The result is spell-binding.

My recommendation is this one is a buy! Now’s your chance to get a reissue of a now 16 year old book in a shiny new shell. If you already own it, however, no need to add another copy to the collection. All content included is from the original 2001 publication, including Gaiman’s clever essays on both Commedia, and Bolton’s artistic methods.

Story: Neil Gaiman Art: John Bolton
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy, unless you’ve already got a copy!

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Hardcover Collected Edition of Grayson, Phillips & Bolton’s User Hits Stores this May

Image Comics has announced that the groundbreaking three-part Vertigo miniseries—User written by Devin Grayson and featuring breathtaking art by Sean Phillips and John Bolton—has found a home at Image with an all-new hardcover collected edition set to hit stores this May.

User explores sexual identity and online role-playing in the text-based MUDs of the nineties. The series was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for its authentic portrayal of gender fluidity when it was first published, and it remains as relevant and powerful today as it was when first created.

User HC (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0159-7, Diamond Code MAR170839) hits comic book stores on Wednesday, May 17th and bookstores on Tuesday, May 23rd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 17th.

Review: Shame Trilogy

shametrilogycoverThe Shame hardcover collects all three parts of writer Lovern Kindzierski (Tarzan), artist John Bolton (Books of Magic), and letterer Todd Klein’s (Sandman) fantasy saga featuring archetypical characters such as Virtue, Shame, and Slur. It is a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy story (Apologies to Mr. West.) and a true showcase of Bolton’s talents as a watercolor artist even if its gender politics are of an older age with plenty of gratuitous ass shots and creating kind of a virgin/whore dichotomy between Shame, who enjoys sex, and Virtue, who is innocent and “pure”. The three graphic novels  tell a tale as old as time about the battle between light and darkness with a messed up family dynamic caught in between. Think Electra complex as Shame transforms her mother Virtue from a happy nun into the receptacle of her demon spawn child.

Even if I didn’t really connect with the characters in the Shame trilogy, the world that Kindzierski and Bolton have created is quite captivating as they combine elements of Grimm Fairy tales, old Red Sonja comics, Heavy Metal Magazine, and C.S. Lewis/George MacDonald type allegories to craft a unique world of beautiful nymphs, creepy rhyming shadows, and constantly perturbed peasant population. Bolton is skilled at showing both the beautiful and the grotesque as the nymphs that Virtue sends to protect her daughter Shame from her evil father Slur and his minions have a celestial, Pre-Raphaelite vibe with spring colors following through their bodies. But eventually, as Shame begins to grow into her evil birthright, they become twisted like Slur and his minions. The first volume “Conceptions'” color palette also gets progressively darker and sexier as Shame seduces an Incubus to get human semen and have her mother Virtue reborn as a child so she can imprison her like Virtue did to her as a child. Again, the family dynamics of this comic are quite messed up.

When Bolton goes grotesque, it is quite a treat. His design and Todd Klein’s lettering for Slur and the Shadows forshameinterior are reminiscent of the work of The Maxx‘s Sam Kieth as well as that artist’s early horror-tinged work on The Sandman. Kindzierski adds to the eeriness of these creatures by giving the Shadows rhyming dialogue recasting this fairy tale trope in a horror setting. Bolton makes them silhouettes, which contrasts greatly with the photorealism of his figures and the richness of his background setting whether it be the woods or a ruined castle. They twist and bend and are easily his most sequential work. Their and Slur’s pliable shape show that they are willing to do whatever it takes to rule the entire world through violent and manipulative means as their effect on Shame, Virtue, and the world around them can be felt stronger during each volume of the story.

Kindzierski and Bolton excel at beginning each volume with a strong, distinct start without piling up unnecessary exposition to explain the time gaps between each one. Sometimes, a simple costume change will suffice as Merritt, the “Chosen One”/white knight character, looking more like Louis XVI in the zenith of his decadence instead of Sir Lancelot or even Westley from Princess Bride. Or they can plunge the readers into an immersive action sequence like the start of “Pursuit” where Virtue, who is now a young woman dressed as a hybrid of Red Sonja and Leela from The Fifth Element is on the run from Shame’s goons. There is a lot of leaping and dynamism in Bolton’s art as she evades monsters and finds shelter. She represents rugged survival in the face of great evil while Shame is pure decadence in her dominatrix threads.

Except Virtue doesn’t end up saving the day. In Shame‘s third volume “Redemption”, Kindzierski and Bolton fall into the old cliches of a male chosen one character saving the day even if he has been portrayed as a naive nincompoop up to this point. Merritt makes Frodo Baggins or First Year Harry Potter look like Seal Time Six as he decides to lose his armor and warhorse before wandering into some mysterious thorns. He also completely falls for the fact that Shame says she’s oppressed by her father Slur when she’s actually in cahoots with him. In “Pursuit” and “Redemption”, it seems like Kindzierski is deconstructing these cheerful hobbit type heroes that save the day for some reason or another and will let the ultimate survivor/magical badass Virtue. Except she gets the weird pregnancy/magic light plotline while Merritt freaks out about blood and gets to wield the magic sword. Bolton excels at showing Merritt’s struggles and his doughy body compared to the beautiful forms of Shame and Virtue, but the character is heroic just for the sake of the plot and really has annoying personality and zero street or any kind of smarts. And somehow he gets to be the big damn hero.

Iffy gender politics and fantasy cliches aside, the Shame trilogy is the pinnacle of painted comics storytelling as writer Lovern Kindzierski sets artist John Bolton loose on this fantasy/horror/fairy tale landscape and uses a variety of water color and brush techniques to depict everything from beautiful women and fashionable, sexy outfits to sinister eldritch beings and creepy castles. The comic is a true testament to his captivating imagination, and the ending teases a new character with loads of potential.

Story: Lovern Kindzierski Art: John Bolton Letters: Todd Klein
Story: 6 Art: 10 Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Renegade Arts Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Art of Army of Darkness

Art of Army of Darkness

J. Scott Campbell, Arthur Suydam, Nick Bradshaw, John Bolton, Ben Templesmith, Tim Seeley, George Perez, and many more incredible artists! (a)
Michael Hussar Movie Poster (c)
FC • 208+ pages • $39.99 • Teen+

Since July 2004, Ash Williams — the reluctant hero of the cult classic film, Army of Darkness — has been an integral part of Dynamite Entertainment’s publishing line. Throughout the years, dozens of highly skilled comic artists have drawn and painted our hero, Ash (not to mention the Chosen One’s interchangeable armament of chainsaws and mechanical gauntlets, of course). This gorgeous hardcover art book stands as a testament to the unyielding spirit of a horror cinema icon, as captured by some of the comic industry’s most beloved talents: J. Scott Campbell, Arthur Suydam, Nick Bradshaw, John Bolton, Ben Templesmith, Tim Seeley, George Perez, and many more!

ArtOfAOD-Cover

Chris Claremont and John Bolton’s Marada The She-Wolf

Marada The-She WolfTitan Comics has announced the launch of Marada The She-Wolf by the legendary Chris Claremont and John Bolton.

Hitting stores on November 12, 2013, comes the shield-shattering saga of Marada the She-Wolf – white-haired, blood-soaked swordswoman and mercenary, object of unearthly desire and descendant of Julius Caesar!

Chris Claremont is one of the best-known writers currently working in comics. His work includes The Uncanny X-MenCaptain BritainFantastic Four and Gen13. During his 17 years as X-Men writer, Claremont co-created characters such as Rogue, Psylocke, Mystique, Emma Frost, Sabretooth, Gambit and many more!

Claremont has written many classic X-Men stories, including those which are providing source material for this summer’s The Wolverine movie, starring Hugh Jackman, and summer 2014’s hotly-anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by Bryan Singer and starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult.

John Bolton is an award-winning comic artist and illustrator. He has collaborated with some of the industries most prestigious comic writers, such as Neil Gaiman on The Books of Magic for DC Comics, Mike Carey on God Save The Queen for Vertigo DC Comics and Clive Barker on Hellraiser.

From the world of film Bolton has worked with Robert Zemeckis, Sam Raimi and Jonathan Glazer.

Descended of Caesar, and preceded by her legendary reputation as a warrior,Marada The She-Wolf follows Marada’s adventures across the Roman Empire. Together with her magical accomplice, Princess Arianrhod, they battle evil demons, wizards, witches and unearthly terror! Check out the teaser trailer here

Collected together for the first time ever in one deluxe hardcover and featuring beautiful restored artwork by John Bolton and never-before-seen sketches and artwork! This is the ultimate vision of the ultimate fighting fantasy female!

The collection will also be available to read day and date on the iPad, iPhone, Web, Android and Kindle Fire, exclusively through the comiXology app and comiXology.com.

Retailers can order Marada The-She Wolf from the July edition of Diamond PREVIEWS (order code: JUL131283).

Nov8rix launches Renegade Arts Entertainment App

Official Press Release

Nov8rix launches Renegade Arts Entertainment App

Renegade and Nov8rix Partner to deliver graphic novels, audio books, previews and more!
If you’re a fan of John Bolton (Batman: Manbat, Evil Dead), Alan Grant (Batman,Judge Dredd), Lovern Kindzierski (Animal Man, Sandman) and Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), it’s now even easier to find their titles published by Renegade Arts Entertainment. Renegade, partnering with Nov8rix, have launched their first official iPad Bookstore app.

Comic readers who download the app, available via iTunes, will have access to titles such as Shame: Conception from Lovern Kindzierski and John Bolton, Shades of Grey: 24 Hours in London from Alexander Finbow and William Simpson (Batman, Aliens), Granny’s Attic from Liz Dodsworth and Turning Tiger from Richmond Clements and Alex Moore, Channel Evil from Alan Grant and Shane Oakley (Albion, Cthulhu Tales) and a preview comic of the upcoming The Loxleys and the War of 1812 from Alan Grant, Claude St. Aubin (R.E.B.E.L.S., Batman: Turning Points) and Lovern Kindzierski.

In addition to the above titles, the Renegade Arts Entertainment app will soon offer Doug Bradley’s Spinechillers, classic horror audiobooks and movies, narrated by genre legends Doug Bradley, Robert Englund and Jeffrey Combs, as well as The Spine Chillers comedy web comic strips, written and illustrated by Ben Clark.
“Renegade Arts Entertainment is passionate about their work. The caliber of writing, storytelling, and artwork is excellent – which demonstrates their commitment to creating the highest quality content. We are thrilled that the Renegade team selected our iPad Publisher platform to power the Renegade App on the iPad. Their content translates beautifully and is a pleasure to experience on the iPad.” said Manish Sehgal, CEO of Nov8rix.
Alexander Finbow, Editor in Chief of Renegade, adds, “We are very excited to be able to offer our titles for the iPad through our own bookstore app. It gives our readers who want the digital experience an easy place to find all our stories on a great platform. Our app lets you read them wherever you are in the world, instantly.”
The Renegade Arts Entertainment App is available now for download via the iTunes app store and at www.nov8rix.com.
About Renegade Arts Entertainment

We are a creator owned publisher of comic books, but only a few and we are very discerning with our choices. Our mix so far has been from experienced A list writers and artists and newer blood who pitched projects just too good to turn down.

Some of our projects have come from within Renegade itself, like Alan Grant and Shane Oakley’s Channel Evil and Alexander Finbow and William Simpson’s Shades Of Grey. We only publish comic books that our creators are 100% passionate about and all of us at Renegade believe are of the highest quality. For more information, please visit us at www.renegadeartsentertainment.com.

About Nov8rix

Based in the media capital of New York City, Nov8rix was founded to answer the need of businesses and individuals seeking to publish content on mobile devices.To date, Nov8rix has released 200+ apps for iOS and Android and continue to focus on creating great products and providing world class service to clients.

For more information please visit www.nov8rix.com or www.myipadpublisher.com.

Clive Barker Writes Hellraiser Only At Boom! Studios

Official Press Release

HELL HAS COME HOME

CLIVE BARKER
RETURNS TO WRITE THE NEWEST CHAPTER OF HIS SIGNATURE CREATION
HELLRAISER
IN A BRAND NEW ONGOING SERIES COMING THIS MARCH
WITH COVERS BY
TIM BRADSTREET & NICK PERCIVAL
AND INTERIOR ART BY
LEONARDO MANCO

DON’T FORGET TO ASK YOUR
LOCAL RETAILER ABOUT
THE EXCLUSIVE
1-IN-50 CLIVE BARKER SIGNED VARIANT!

ALSO COMING IN MARCH
HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS VOL. 1
FEATURING WORKS BY
CLIVE BARKER, NEIL GAIMAN,
MIKE MIGNOLA, ALEX ROSS,
LARRY WACHOWSKI & MORE!

December 13, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – This March, Hell comes to BOOM! Studios as master of horror Clive Barker writes the newest chilling installment of his signature creation with the new HELLRAISER ongoing series! Joined by co-writer Christopher Monfette and HELLBLAZER artist Leonardo Manco, Clive Barker’s HELLRAISER #1 features covers by Tim Bradstreet and Nick Percival. The release of HELLRAISER #1 ongoing will be joined that same month by HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS VOL. 1, the first in a series reprinting the hard-to-find Marvel Comics-era Hellraiser stories. To herald the HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS series, HELLRAISER #1 will be an epic, oversized 40-page debut that includes a story by THE MATRIX co-writer & co-director Larry Wachowski — ripped from the HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS series.

The debut volume of the HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS series sees a slew of spine-tingling Pinhead tales by such creators as Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola, Alex Ross & more, with cover by John Bolton!

“Beyond being a legendary creator of all things macabre, Clive Barker is truly an amazing individual and I’m proud to be able to work with him on reviving one of his most celebrated creations with HELLRAISER,” said Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “I’ve known Clive for years, but this is the first chance we’ve had to work together and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been unbelievably gratifying to develop this series and witness the visceral, relentless, and shocking story that Clive has in store for a new generation of horror fans. Readers beware! Hell comes home this March!”

Clive Barker has “touched” HELLRAISER only twice before: once to write THE HELLBOUND HEART, and once more to write and direct the original HELLRAISER film. With the HELLRAISER ongoing series, witness Barker’s long-awaited return to tell a new chapter in the series’ official continuity—a trajectory that will forever change the Cenobites…and Pinhead! So prepare your soul for an epic journey into horror from one of the medium’s greatest voices, and starring one of the medium’s greatest characters, in an unforgettable new chapter of HELLRAISER.

Joining the HELLRAISER ongoing series in March is the debut of HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS VOL. 1, a collection of classic HELLRAISER tales that will light your soul on fire! This must-have collection, originally published by Marvel Comics, features classic spinetinglers for die-hard fans and new readers alike, and collects a host of work from comic luminaries that you will not want to miss! Featuring the work of Clive Barker (HELLRAISER), Neil Gaiman (SANDMAN), Mike Mignola (HELLBOY), Larry Wachowski (THE MATRIX), Alex Ross (KINGDOM COME), Kevin O’Neill (LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN) and many more — including a cover by John Bolton! You will not want to miss this first volume in a series that will assemble the best HELLRAISER comics that have ever been!

HELLRAISER #1 ships as an oversized 40-page issue in March with A & B covers in a 50/50 split with art by Tim Bradstreet and Nick Percival respectively, as well as a very special 1-in-50 incentive cover with art by John Abrahamson and signed by legendary master of horror Clive Barker. HELLRAISER: MASTERWORKS VOL. 1 ships in March, featuring the works of Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola, Larry Wachowski, Alex Ross, Kevin O’Neill and more with a cover by John Bolton.

About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com)2009 “Best Publisher” of the year, generates a wide-ranging catalog of multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated comic books and graphic novels featuring some of the industry’s top talent, including Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, 20th Century Fox’s 28 DAYS LATER and DIE HARD, The Henson Company’s FARSCAPE, and the original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. This fall sees BOOM! teaming up with the legendary Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ characters Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men for a line of original superhero series, the legend’s first new superhero creations in nearly 20 years. BOOM!’s youth imprint, BOOM Kids!, is an undisputed industry leader, publishing Disney/Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney’s THE MUPPETS, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES. This year, BOOM! Studios celebrates its fifth anniversary.