A downthetubes reader dropped us a line to ask what John Bolton had been up to comics-wise recently, which gives us the chance to plug the Renegade Arts fantasy project Shame by the artist, working with writer Lovern Kindzierski. John recently did a signing at Forbidden Planet to promote the series, and promote the stunning-looking and well-received Shame – Hope, a continuation of the saga, released earlier this year.
The Shame trilogy – an adult fairy fantasy – centred on the purest woman on Earth, who allows herself one selfish wish, which is enough to conceive the most evil woman the world has ever known.
The project launched back in 2011, when Lovern Kindzierski casually asked Renegade Arts if they were interested in looking at some of the projects he’d been developing,
“I said sure, we’ll take a look but will only take on a story if it is just too good to turn down,” publisher Alexander Finbow recalls. “Shame just happened to be one of those stories. Lovern’s brief pitch was good and the outline for the three book series was even better. He told me that he and John Bolton had been looking to create the book for a long time but that schedules, broken promises and editorial interference had prevented it from happening… Shame has been a joy of a book to edit.”
Shame: Conception introduced a world much like our own but with magick and those with the power to control it, for good and for evil. In this first tale in the trilogy, we meet Shame, discover the unique circumstances of her creation, and follow her choices as her true nature is revealed.
Shame: Pursuit finds Shame bending the world to her evil desires, whilst her mother/daughter Virtue seeks to escape Shame’s living prison. 60 pages of painted John Bolton artwork – arguably the finest of his career – depicting Lovern’s fantastical tale of powerful, beautiful women wielding huge magical powers to damn or save their world.
Finally, in Shame: Redemption Virtue is once more a prisoner of her daughter. Her only ally, Merritt, seems firmly under Shame’s control, and Slur’s plan to unleash his demon hordes is about to be put into action. Can Virtue outwit Shame and save the world from becoming hell’s plaything?
“Working on Shame, more than any other story I have worked on is like working on a film as I become the costume designer, location manager and director,” Bolton told web site GNN back in 2015. “My painting style varies from page to page depending on what I want to emphasise, sometimes draining the colors in one frame and enhancing in another. I like to take something simple and exaggerate for impact.
“… Lovern and I have a fantastic working relationship,” he says of working on with Kindzierski on the project. “Lovern is open to any ideas I come up with and then ultimately it’s up to him whether to include them or not, but whatever he does I am always happy.”
In the recently-published Shame: Hope, Kindzierski and Bolton return to the world of Shame. This new story picks up where Shame left off, and makes a perfect jumping on point for new readers. Lovern sets the story up perfectly for fans and new readers alike.
Shame is dead, her demon father blasted back to hell. Hope, newly born into the body of a young woman, stumbles from the battle-scarred castle still filled with Shame’s malevolent servants. The evil queen may have been defeated, but her dark forces are determined to stamp out Hope’s return to the world. This one shot story continues the acclaimed Shame series, following the ultimate story of mother-daughter conflict.
John Bolton, who works from his studio in London surrounded by giant aphids, grotesque masks, animal skulls and other bizarre objects, was seven when he first encountered a paintbrush and it was love at first sight, offering him an output to visualise and create what he saw in his mind and put it to paper.
Thus began a life-long ambition of creativity, with influences acquired from a wide variety of sources, but all connected by one underlying theme – the interesting and bizarre. John has been painting now for three decades. His painting displays a thorough understanding of each medium and subject he chooses to tackle. Inspiration comes not from outside influences, but from the story he is illustrating. The style stems from the content and emotion of a particular story.
Comics writer and colourist Lovern Kindzierski is the winner of the 2017 Joe Schuster lifetime lifetime achievement award honouring Canadian comic book creators. His colouring work has appeared in many comics and magazines for publishers such as DC Comics and Titan Comics, and as well as Shame his writing career includes work on titles such as Star Wars Tales.
• Copies of the Shame trilogy collection signed by John Bolton are available from Forbidden Planet
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• Read the 2017 #FXC17 Exclusive Interview: John Bolton On Horror, His Art & His Graphic Novel: Shame