Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: SHAME: Pursuit


WRITER: Lovern Kindzierski – @Lovern
ARTIST: John Bolton
ISBN: 978-0-9868200-5-2; paperback (April 24, 2013)
64pp, Color, $9.99 U.S.

With his cousin Chris Chuckry, Lovern Kindzierski founded Digital Chameleon. The company revolutionized the art of creating comics by making Photoshop and computer coloring the industry standards. Kindzierski also writes comic books. His latest project is Shame, a series of three graphic novels that he writes and John Bolton draws and paints. Published by Renegade Arts Entertainment, the first book, Shame: Conception, was released in 2011. The second book, Shame: Pursuit, was recently published.

Shame is set in the Middle Ages, described as the infancy of humanity’s spiritual development. The series focuses on two witches, Shame and Virtue. Shame is Virtue’s mother and daughter, and Virtue is Shame’s mother and daughter – as far as I can tell. Their father is Slur, the willowy and physically shifting demon of ignorance. Shame imprisoned Virtue in Cradle Mound, a jail made of thorny vines and guarded by flesh-eating plants, monstrous birds, and Harpy-like nannies.

Shame: Pursuit finds Shame waging war on the world, destroying her rivals who are magic users and killing anyone else who gets in her way. Slur is always nearby to encourage Shame or prick her nerves. Meanwhile, Virtue comes closer to breaking free of Cradle Mound, but she will need help. That comes in the form of Merritt, a brave young warrior who is not quite like other warriors.

It is like nothing I’ve read in quite a while. Shame: Pursuit is a doozy, and I had a difficult time figuring out what was going on because I had not read the first book, Conception. I didn’t even know that this series existed until Renegade Arts Entertainment sent me a copy of Pursuit for review, although I think I had heard of Renegade Arts before I received the book.

I find the characters to be quite attractive and engaging, especially the lovable Merritt. Everyone, except Merritt, seems to be so devious and deceptive. Also, the story is weird, like a Ralph Bakshi animated fantasy film.

I really like the art for Shame by comic book artist and painter John Bolton, whose work I’ve admired for ages. There is a dreamy quality to his art that is ideal for fantasy storytelling. Bolton has been one of the few artists whose paintings for comic books are as effective as comic book art drawn traditionally with pencils and with pens and brushes for inking.

Bolton paints Virtue with a photorealistic touch, giving her the qualities like that of a model who walks the runway for the biggest shows and gets the all the magazine covers. What Bolton does with Merritt’s facial features, physique, and clothes is uncannily, eerily natural and genuinely human. I say witchcraft is involved in this man’s art.

Strange as Shame: Pursuit is, I want to find the first book, and I would like to read the final book.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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