Wednesday, June 10, 2015



ART: John Bolton
ISBN: 13 – 978-0865620476 and 10 – 086562-047-4; paperback; (October 2001)
104pp, Color, $19.95 U.S., £11.99 UK

Born in London, England, John Bolton is a comic book artist and illustrator who is known for his painted comic book art.  He was one of the early British comic book artists to work in American comic books.  Bolton's initial American work included comics featuring Robert E. Howard's character, Kull, and Marvel Comics' X-Men.

With long-time X-Men writer, Chris Claremont, Bolton produced the fantasy comic book series, Black Dragon.  He worked with author Clive Barker, including producing some comics based on Hellraiser, the film franchise that Barker adapted from one of his short stories.  He drew the first book in Neil Gaiman's miniseries, The Books of Magic (DC Comics).  Bolton also drew the miniseries, Batman/Man-Bat (DC Comics), which was written by Jamie Delano.

The Art of John Bolton is an over-sized, paperback art book that was originally published in Germany by mg/publishing as part of a series called “Art Fantastix.”  In 2001, SQP, Inc. published an American edition of The Art of John Bolton.  The book includes 84 paintings by John Bolton, which the book's editor subjectively chose as the “best works of John Bolton.”  The book also includes seven production sketches, which are drawings (in some combination of pencil, ink, charcoal, etc.) that are later turned into full paintings.  The book's cover features the painting, “Libertine,” which Bolton finished in 1996.  The production sketch for “Libertine” is also included in this art book. 

Like the great fantasy artists, John Bolton resides in his own unique corner in the world of dark fantasy art.  Bolton captures the imagination by transforming familiar elements of fantasy and horror into something fresh and new.  Bolton also manages to add danger to his fresh, new visions.  Extravagant daydreams become disturbing, but gorgeous nightmares.

Undead pretty thing and vampire vixens take on a new allure under Bolton's brush.  They are alluring and shocking, sexy and bizarre, and resplendent and macabre.  Calling this book The Art of John Bolton seems inadequate.  John Bolton is a visionary, and the works contained herein will reveal that this artist is indeed a visionary, even if the title seems not up to the task.  If you have ever admired John Bolton, this book is a must-have.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux; support on Patreon.

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