Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Born in London, 23 May 1951, Bolton trained as civil engineer, then worked as a clothes salesman in London. Inspired by a childlhood love of drawing and painting, he took a 3-year course at East Ham Technical College, graduating with a degree in graphics and design. His first professional sales were made in 1971 when he contributed illustrations to a book on horses.
His first comics-related work came via Granddreams, illustrating annuals such as The Magician, The Lone Ranger, Planet of the Apes, Flash Gordon, New Avengers and Tarzan. His first strips appeared in House of Hammer in 1976, including adaptations of 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness' and 'One Million Years B.C.', and early episodes of the Steve Moore-written 'Father Shandor' series. Switching to colour, he made an immediate impact drawing 'The Bionic Woman' for Look-In. Bolton won the Eagle Award for Favourite Comicbook Artist (UK) in 1979.
His American debut came with 'Kull', written by Doug Moench for Marvel Preview in 1980. A year later, his first painted strips - 'The Llehs' - appeared in Epic Illustrated followed in 1982 by 'Marada the She-Wolf'. Dozens of short horror tales appeared in Twisted Tales, Alien Worlds, Pathways to Fantasy, Tales of Terror, Alien Encounters and Cheval Noir over the next few years, as did The Black Dragon. Bolton could also turn his hand to mainstream comicbooks, which he did with a run of back-up stories in Classic X-Men in 1986-89 and Wonder Woman Annual (1988).
Over the years, Bolton has also published portfolios, illustrated trading cards and worked as a storyboard and concept artist.
A Short Film About John Bolton (2003) was written and directed by Neil Gaiman, although it featured a fictional version of Bolton's life. Bolton is played by John O'Mahony, with Marcus Brigstocke playing an interviewer who discovers, to his cost, what inspires Bolton's disturbing art. Bolton himself had a cameo in the film.
His latest work is Shame: Conception for Renegade Arts Entertainment, released in July 2011; at the time of writing he is working on the second book in a proposed trilogy.
Examples of John Bolton's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.