Monday, December 30, 2013

John Bolton's Wolverine

In the early 80's the American comic industry was looking to our British brothers for new talent.
One of those brought over was John Bolton.

John Bolton was one of the very early British comic creators to come over to America along with Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Alan Davis. After years of seeing late 70's American mainstay artist like Sal Buscema and Al Milgrom whose work focused more on storytelling proficiency and promptness, the showy British work was like a revelation to American readers. 
American audiences were blown away by Bolton’s incredible realism, though it was so time consuming that he wasn’t able to work on a monthly book like the American artists were required to. Fortunately at that time there were other alternatives for comic creators.

Epic Illustrated #10, Feb. 1982 featuring Claremont/Bolton's Marada the She Wolf
Anthologies like Epic Illustrated were publishing very high quality work aimed for a more mature audience. In it artists had more freedom not only in how many pages they needed to produce but also in the subject matter. Bolton quickly started working with X-Men writer, Chris Claremont on a sword and sorcery piece called Marada.

Classic X-Men #25, Sep. 1988
Towards the late 80’s Marvel wanted to take advantage of the huge X-Men craze and put out a book that reprinted the early Claremont/Byrne X-Men. As a back-up feature they added new material with John Bolton on the art. It was the first superhero work that he had done though he brought his style of realism to it in spectacular ways. Here is a Wolverine story as presented in Classic X-Men #25, Sep. 1988.

One thing I like about this story is that it shares the theme of bears and winter with another favorite story of mine, The Demon Bear by Claremont and Sienkiewicz.
John Bolton is a treasure of the 80's and should be more highly revered than he is these days.

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