SMASH Reading This Saturday!

Writer Chris A. Bolton will read from SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE this Saturday at the magnificent Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon! Green Bean

It's part of Green Bean's epic Superhero Weekend. The reading starts Saturday at 2 p.m., but you won't want to miss out on any of the festivities all weekend-long:

Sunday is Superhero Day! The line-up of events is SUPER — with make-your-own mask and cape activities, a Kryptonite scavenger hunt, and plenty of superhero stories to share! It's only $10 per child to participate. Register now by calling 503-954-2354.

Walk In

Green Bean Books is an amazing bookstore! One glance inside means instant love. If you live in Portland and you have kids, you owe it to yourself — and your kids! — to check it out.

Emerald City Comic Con Report, Part 3: Pictures from the Floor

We had so many photos from this year's Emerald City that we couldn't fit them all into one post! If you've ever wondered what it's like to wander the floor of a sold-out comic convention, here's your photo tour. (Click any of the photos below for a larger image.) Smash ECCC 1 Outside the convention center.

Lego ECCC 1

Lego ECCC 2

Lego ECCC 3 Lego Rivendale! (We want to go to there.)

Smash ECCC lobby In the lobby, superheroes mingle with ordinary folk.

Crowd ECCC Crowd? What crowd?

Escalators ECCC Escalators are your best friend.

Batcave ECCC Welcome to the Batcave, kids!

Boom ECCC The Boom! Box.

Gotham ECCC Because we can't get enough of Legos... Gotham Park!!

R2D2 ECCC Life-sized Lego R2D2!

Fluffy ECCC Too fluffy and cute for words.

Alley ECCC Artists Alley took up three rooms this year — and we only got to see ours!

SMASH meets Super-Kyle!

We received a fan letter from Matthew Dixson, who brought his son Kyle by our table at the Emerald City Comic Con. We found out Kyle has his own superhero character named Super-Kyle ("Great name!" says my brother), and real-life Kyle promised to show us his team-up with Smash. Well, here it is! (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

Super Kyle Meets Smash

Matthew writes:

After watching your panel, my son, the artist, was extremely excited to meet you, he kept saying he should make a comic of his own... We went to your booth to purchase Smash... We talked briefly with you about a Super-Kyle (that he has been drawing for years) vs. Smash team-up, where they both mistakenly thought they each were the villain, then after an epic battle they realized they were both friends.... So included is his "Smash vs Super-Kyle".... Enjoy!!! On the bottom it took me a minute to figure out what the little Superman getting bitten was.... Kyle explained that Superman bites Super-Kyle to give him his powers... Gotta love those 8-year-olds! Thanks for inspiring him. — Matthew

Thanks for sharing, Kyle — we're already huge fans, and we can't wait to see more of Super-Kyle!

If you have fan art, kids' comics, or anything else you'd like to share, please email us at We'd love to hear from you!

Emerald City Comic Con Report, Part 2: Cosplay-O-Rama!

Following up on our previous post about our experience at Emerald City: it wouldn't be a comic convention without a ton of great costumes! So now, please enjoy some Cosplay-O-Rama. (Click any of the photos below for a larger image.) Aquaman

Wonder ECCC 3

Cap ECCC 3

Ultimate Spidey Miles Morales is all grown up! (And forgot his mask...)

Smash ECCC 4

Cap ECCC 3

Family ECCC The family that cosplays together stays together.


Force ECCC

Robin ECCC



Korra ECCC

Group ECCC


Snow White ECCC

Sparrow ECCC


Halo 2 ECCC

Tomorrow: pictures from the floor, Lego-mania, and more!

Emerald City Comic Con 2014 Report, Part 1: SMASH!

Click any of the photos below for a larger image. Smash ECCC 1 The Bolton brothers are open for business!

Q&A ECCC From Friday's "Comics are for Kids Again" panel, left to right: Kevin Konrad Hanna (Creature Academy), Jake Parker (Missile Mouse), Shelli Paroline (Adventure Time), Chris Giarrusso (G-Man), Kyle Bolton, and Chris A. Bolton.

Panel Size ECCC The Bolton brothers hosted a panel on Saturday called "Kids Make Comics!" Using the basic lessons in our pamphlet "How to Make Comics — the Smash Way" (click here for the PDF), they presented an interactive tutorial for a very large crowd of enthusiastic young talents. As Kyle and Chris assembled comic panels before their eyes, the kids helped out with dialogue suggestions, voted on an ending, and asked some fantastic questions.

Setup ECCC Setting up for a reading from Smash: Trial by Fire.

Reading ECCC Chris provides the helicopter sound effects as Kyle plays the role of Andrew Ryan.

Q&A ECCC Answering one of the many great questions from the enthusiastic young audience.

Smiling ECCC The panel was so much fun, the boys had the time of their lives.

Aftermath ECCC Chatting with many parents and kids after the panel.

Mary Lee ECCC Chris and Kyle with their editor at Candlewick, the fantastic Mary Lee Donovan.

Geoff ECCC Posing with longtime fan Geoff Sherwood (wearing his signed T-shirt) and his daughter, Saraya (who bought our last pair of goggles).

Chris Photo ECCC Chris takes a picture of Ariel and Prince Eric cosplayers.

Kyle Fans ECCC Kyle poses with two young fans.

Tomorrow: cosplayers galore!

Find Us at the Emerald City Comic Con!

Come visit us at the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington, from Friday, March 28th through Sunday the 30th! You will find us at Artist's Alley table LL-14 (click here for a map). We'll be selling copies of Smash: Trial by Fire and the Emerald City-exclusive poster below.

Smash ECCC

In addition, we'll be at the following panels:

Comics are for Kids Again! Friday, March 28th - 1:00PM Room: TCC 302

For many years, the comic industry ran away from its kid-friendly roots, toward more serious, dark, "adult" work. Now a slew of comics and graphic novels are embracing younger readers and finding a new generation of eager comic lovers! Panelists include Jake Parker (Missile Mouse), Shelli Paroline Lamb (Adventure Time), Chris Giarrusso (G-Man), Kevin Konrad Hanna (Creature Academy), and Chris & Kyle Bolton (Smash: Trial by Fire).

Kids Make Comics! Saturday, March 29th - 5:00PM Room: TCC 302

Making comics is fun... and so easy, any kid can do it! Chris and Kyle Bolton, the creators of the all-ages comic SMASH, offer quick and easy instructions for kids of all ages to create their own comics, learn to work together, and have fun doing it.

SMASH Reading at Laurelhurst Elementary School

Last week, we had an incredible time visiting several classrooms' worth of fourth- and fifth-graders at Laurelhurst Elementary School in Seattle. The event was put together by Sue Nevins of Seattle's fantastic Mockingbird Books and overseen by Laurelhurst school librarian Tom Brown. Of course, we took lots of photos! (Click on the image for a bigger version.)

Laurelhurst The Bolton brothers arrive at Seattle's Laurelhurst Elementary.

Welcome A grand welcome!

Brothers Pose The brothers pose before the event. (Chris on the left, Kyle on the right)

Warm Up Laurelhurst librarian Tom Brown warms up the crowd.

Reading Comics We start with an excerpt from Smash: Trial by Fire, with Kyle and I performing the voices of the characters and providing sound effects.

Smash Draw Kyle demonstrates "How to Draw Smash."

Making Comics Kyle and I show the kids how we make comics, with me describing the panel that Kyle draws in front of the students.

Dialogue We ask the kids for dialogue suggestions, then they vote for their favorite.

Panel Two Kyle draws the second panel.

Class Vote Then we have the kids vote again. Is this how the story should end? The choice is theirs!

Shoes Some kids wanted their shoes signed afterward. (I just hope their parents didn't get mad!)

Signing Afterwards, we signed books for all the kids who ordered a copy.

Swarmed Sue capably handles crowd control as we're swarmed by eager readers.

Synchronized Signing By now, Kyle and I have mastered the art of synchronized signing.

Group Shot HUGE thanks to super-powered school librarian Tom Brown (left) and the amazing Sue Nevins (far right) from Mockingbird Books!

We had such a great time and loved meeting so many enthusiastic young Smash fans!

Want us to visit your school, library, or classroom? If we're available, we'd love to! Send us an email at

Indies First Photos

Kyle and I were honored to participate in Indies First on Small Business Saturday. I appeared at Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR, and Kyle was at two bookstores, Queen Anne Book Company and the University Bookstore, both in Seattle, WA. Here are some pics! Info Smash Chris works the info desk at Powell's Books. (With a little help from Smash.)

Kyle Queen Kyle gears up outside the Queen Anne Book Company.

Lanyards Powell's created its own lanyards for the event.

Indies First Kyle heads into Queen Anne...

Info Tips Chris asks a Powell's employee for some tips.

Indies First Kyle browses the front display. (Note Smash: Trial by Fire right in front — hooray!!)

Gloria Smash A real-life superhero: Powell's kids books expert Gloria Moe poses in Smash goggles!

Kyle Signs Kyle is only too happy to autograph a copy for a customer.

Info Back Rear view of Chris helping a customer. (Powell's is a HUGE store and it's so easy to get lost in there!)

U Pose Kyle moves on to the University Book Store.

U Books Kyle chats with fellow Indies First authors and customers alike.

We both had a great time and are looking forward to next year!

SMASH Supports Small Business Saturday!

Black Friday sales are great, but Small Business Saturday brings crucial attention to companies that need your financial support. Small businesses are the economic heart of any community, and we're thrilled to have a day set aside to promote them. As part of Small Business Saturday, Kyle and I are proud to participate in Indies First, a movement that has more than 300 authors helping to promote independent bookstores.

Either Kyle or I will be at these stores in person, to suggest some of our favorite books to share with loved ones on your gift-giving list:

Indies First

Drop by and say hello! Click here to read more about Indies First.

And thank you for supporting small businesses and independent booksellers!

SMASH Goes to School!

Yesterday, SMASH creators Chris and Kyle Bolton went back to school! To the Oregon Episcopal School, that is, where they gave a presentation on "How to Make Comics — the SMASH Way!" First, Chris gave an overview of six easy steps kids can use to make their own comics. Then Kyle demonstrated how to draw Smash, giving tips and helpful pointers to all the young artists in the room.

They gave one presentation to two 5th grade classes (click here for pics), then another to a dozen middle school students. Even though both creators were a little nervous about talking to that many kids, they had a great time — and the kids were fantastic! Hugely enthusiastic, full of great questions, and head-over-heels for Smash!

Here are some pictures of the middle school session, courtesy of OES Web and Communications Editor Tom Berridge.

Chris and Kyle OES

Chris (left) listens happily to Kyle's drawing advice.

Kyle at Board

Kyle demonstrates how the design of Smash basically boils down to a large circle above a bunch of rectangles. (The artists in the audience were amazed by that!)

Poster Lineup

When the Boltons finished, the lineup to get posters signed began.

Kyle Draws

Librarian Patrick Fuller looks on as Kyle sketches Smash for some eager fans.

Smash Sketch

One young artist takes Kyle's lesson to heart with a great Smash sketch of her own!

HUGE thanks are owed to OES's wonderful librarians: Lara Ingham, Heidi Hackenjos, and Patrick Fuller. (Extra-special thanks to Emily Alkek from Powell's Books for setting up the event!)