Please welcome my guest blogger, Chris Bolton. Chris, along with his
brother Kyle, has a new graphic novel out and will be giving away a copy to one
INTERVIEW WITH SMASH
by Chris A. Bolton
Hello, blog readers! My name is Chris
A. Bolton and today I have something special for you. Rather than blather on
about myself, how and why I wrote the all-ages graphic novel Smash: Trial by Fire(on sale September 10th from
Candlewick Press), or what it was like working wth my artist brother Kyle, I
decided to let the pint-sized superhero and star of our
book speak for himself. Without further ado, please welcome...Smash!
CHRIS: I know you're very busy with homework and fighting crime, so thanks for
taking the time to speak with me. To start off, your real identity is--
SMASH: Whoa! Easy, there. First rule of
being a superhero: keep your secret identity a secret.
CHRIS: That sounds like pretty good advice.
SMASH: I got it from a guy named the
Wraith. He's this old-school crimefighter who could phase through walls and
stuff, but now he's retired and trains dogs. He's always trying to make me his
sidekick, and I have to keep telling him to go away. Sidekicks spew! I want to
be a full-on superhero, not somebody's understudy. Wraith should be my sidekick!
CHRIS: But you're only ten years old, Smash. Isn't that a little young to be fighting crime?
SMASH: I don't know. I mean, I can fly, run
really fast, and punch through walls without feeling any pain. Can you do all that?
CHRIS: No, I cannot. Where did these powers come from?
SMASH: That's also a secret.
CHRIS: This isn't going to be much of an interview if you won't answer any
SMASH: Hey, you called me, remember?
CHRIS: Let me tell you what we know from TV news footage. The super-powered hero
known as Defender was captured by his arch-enemy, a criminal mastermind called the
Magus. There was a freak explosion and a mysterious ball of energy erupted from
the building. Next thing we know, Defender is declared dead by the police --
and suddenly, a young boy who has his powers appears, wearing a smaller version
of his costume. Is that about right?
SMASH: Here's what I can tell you: my powers
are totally real. And yes, I am ten years old. But that's all I can say!
CHRIS: Were you a big fan of Defender's before you got his powers?
SMASH: Heck, yeah! Are you kidding?
Defender was the greatest hero that ever... hey, wait a second! You're trying
to trick me! I'm still not telling you if I got my powers from Defender. But
yeah, Defender was awesome. And so were his powers.
CHRIS: So now, as the hero called "Smash," you're attempting to pick
up where Defender left off. Even though you have his -- er, these powers, do you really feel that a ten-year-old kid can carry on such a
SMASH: Uh, well... I'm trying to! I guess I've got a few things to learn. I mean, it's not
like you get flying powers and all of a sudden you're an eagle, you know? Taking off and landing are HARD. So is everything
that happens between take-off and
landing! But I'm working at getting better.
CHRIS: We've also seen TV footage of you clinging to a flagpole. It kind of
looked like maybe you're afraid of heights?
SMASH: What? NO! Who said that? I'm not
afraid of heights! I LOVE heights! Heights are the best, they're my favorite --
I wish I could fly HIGHER!
CHRIS: Okay, okay, relax.
SMASH: You tell all the bad guys out there
that I'm NOT afraid of heights! Go ahead, say it!
CHRIS: Smash is not afraid of heights.
SMASH: That's better. Geez, thanks for
giving away my biggest weakness.
CHRIS: You mean, it would be your weakness, if you were afraid of heights. But you're not,
so it isn't.
CHRIS: Moving on. In the new book Smash: Trial by Fire,
my brother and I attempt to tell your story in the graphic novel format...
SMASH: Yeah, you guys really missed the
mark on a bunch of stuff.
CHRIS: Such as?
SMASH: Well, for one thing, my secret
identity. You were WAY off on that one! Who's this Andrew Ryan kid? I've never
even heard of that dude!
CHRIS: Well, we did some research and made an educated guess...
SMASH: WAY off! Way, way, way off!
CHRIS: Okay, got it. What else?
SMASH: Your brother, Kyle? He's a really
good artist, but he drew me all wrong. Like, he made my arms super-skinny and
my chest flat. But anyone can see my arms are really HUGE, with muscles on top
of muscles, and my chest is BUFF! It's like a block of concrete over a six-pack
CHRIS: I'm looking at you now, and you just look like a normal kid in a costume.
SMASH: Well, you should get your eyes checked!
Because I am HUGE! I once flew past The Rock and he was all, "Whoa! That
kid's so ripped, I'm gonna quit wresting and become an actor!"
CHRIS: I really don't think that happened.
SMASH: You don't know, you weren't there!
Anyway, I really liked the book except for those parts.
CHRIS: I want to ask you about the Magus. Here was Defender's greatest nemesis,
a criminal mastermind who commands an army of deadly Minions. After many years
of fighting, the Magus finally beat Defender, once and
for all. With that in mind, how did it feel when you came face-to-face with
such a dangerous enemy?
SMASH: HA! Magus has a reputation as a big
tough guy, but he's not so bad. He took one look at me and cried like a little
baby. It was nothin'.
CHRIS: Interesting you say that. As a matter of fact, we invited the Magus to
join our interview--
SMASH: Uh, what?
CHRIS: -- and he graciously agreed! So, let's get him in here and find out what
SMASH: Hang on, what's happening now..?
CHRIS: Mr. Magus, welcome!
MAGUS: You may simply call me
"Magus." Or, if you prefer, "Master." Or "Your
CHRIS: Uh, well, I'm cool with calling you Magus...
In fact, let's go with "Master." I like that. What is your
so many years of battling Defender, how did it feel coming face-to-face with
your new arch-enemy, who's a short, ten-year-old boy?
SMASH: Short but RIPPED!
MAGUS: Frankly, I was unimpressed.
SMASH: He peed himself. I saw it happen.
MAGUS: Silence, boy! The next time I
capture you, I swear, by all the powers at my disposal...
CHRIS: Let's talk about that. Magus, you trapped Defender so you could steal his
powers. Then, after Smash started fighting crime, you tried to captured him to
take his powers. What is your obsession with these powers?
MAGUS: I merely wish to use them for the
betterment of humankind. Surely we can all agree that a small child is unworthy
to carry the mantle of "world's greatest superhero." I have had a
drastic change of heart since Defender's unfortunate passing, and I now realize
my destiny is to protect the innocent and the meek from the forces of villainy
that lurk around us.
SMASH: Uh, that's a stinky pack of lies! Magus
is evil, okay? You can't trust a word
MAGUS: Don't listen to the boy -- listen to
your master! I mean, your savior.
SMASH: Are you getting all this? Magus is
obviously the BAD GUY! Someone's gotta stop him from taking over the world. And
the last time I looked, I'm the only
person around here with super-powers.
MAGUS: Until I take them from you and claim
them for my own!
SMASH: Yeah, right! The next time you try to
take my powers, you're gonna get a tattoo of my footprint on your backside!
CHRIS: Okay, let's wrap this up before it gets out of control. Do you have any
last words for us?
MAGUS: I have perused this Trial by Fire book -- if it can truly be
called a "book" by any thinking individual -- and I find it to be
pure drivel. I never tried to hurt Defender or Smash. I only have the best
interests of the public in mind, and thus, this book is full of lies!
SMASH: And I just want to say, I kicked
Magus's butt a whole lot worse than
it shows in the book!
MAGUS: MORE LIES!
CHRIS: We'll just have to let readers decide for themselves what's true and what
isn't when they pick up their copies of Smash: Trial by Fire,
new from Candlewick Press. They'll find it everywhere books are sold starting September
SMASH: Nice plug! Who are you,
MAGUS: Okay, that was a good one. That
deserves a fist-pound.
SMASH: Get out of here, your FACE deserve a
CHRIS: And with that, we'll say goodbye.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Whap! Thud! Crash! An
action-packed graphic novel simultaneously spoofs and pays tribute to superhero
lore while inspiring a new generation of crimefighters.
Ka-boom! Clobbered by fallout from a blast that kills the
local superhero, Defender, Andrew Ryan suddenly has super strength and speed!
And he can fly! Now it’s up to him to protect citizens from thieves, thugs, and
fearsome villains. He dons a homemade costume to hide his true identity, and
Smash is born! But fighting crime isn’t easy, especially when you’re in fifth
grade. On top of evil robots and trigger-happy bank robbers, there’s homework,
curfew, and the school bully to deal with. Not to mention the Magus, a fearsome
villain who will stop at nothing to steal Smash’s superpowers for himself!
Influenced by film, cartoons, and of course, classic comic books, this vivid
escapade features a rib-tickling, high-energy storyline and the colorful,
exaggerated figures of nostalgic comic-book art: a combo perfect for kids
longing for a secret identity of their own.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Bolton has written comics, short fiction, stage plays, sketch comedy, and
screenplays. He wrote and directed several short films and an acclaimed web
series and recently completed his first novel. He lives in Portland, Oregon,
where he still dreams of acquiring superpowers.
has been drawing since the age of four, although SMASH is his first
professional comic work. A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, he has
worked for a variety of game companies creating 2D and 3D animations. Kyle
Bolton currently draws and lives in Seattle, Washington.
WIN A BOOK!
If you’d like to win your own copy of
SMASH: Trial by Fire, just send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "SMASH" as the subject. Make sure to
include your name and mailing address in the US only. This is a quick contest
so your odds of winning are really good - if you enter by Sept. 25, 2013. Good
I am a voracious reader with a penchant for new authors but will read just about anything I can get my hands on, with the emphasis on fiction but also compelling nonfiction. I work for the public library & was a bookseller for Borders before that. I review for Library Journal as well as my website at www.bookbitch.com.
I am a biblioholic.