Happy 1st Anniversary, SMASH!

Today marks one year since the publication of Smash: Trial by Fire! And Smash brought some cake to share with all of you... Smash Cake

Uh, hmm, sorry about that. We'll get that mess cleaned right up. Anyhoo...

Our graphic novel has had a remarkable first year, earning rave reviews and prizes like the 2013 Oregon Spirit Book Award and a Children's Choice Book Award.

Kyle and I have made appearances at classrooms, bookstores, and comic conventions, where we've gotten to meet enthusiastic Smash fans and introduce our 10-year-old superhero to some eager new readers, as well.

From the bottoms of our hearts, we want to thank all of our readers and fans for making this first year so fantastic. Thanks for reading! And huge thanks to everyone who's helped us get the word out about Smash — we couldn't have done it without your support.

We're excited to see what the future brings!

Smash Cover Small

To celebrate our first anniversary, here's the blog tour we took to kick Smash off:

Random Chalk Talk — Guest Post on the evolution of SMASH from webcomic to book.

Powells.com Book Blog — Guest Post on the birth of Smash, featuring the scandalous true story how we designed and created the character.

Who R U Blog — Q&A with Kyle and me talking about what it's like to work together as brothers and other titillating tales.

Book Bitch — Exclusive interview with none other than Smash himself! (Plus a surprise guest.)

Cynsations — Guest Post, "Graphic Novel 101" — how we make the comic.

Green Bean Teen Queen — Guest Post about the magic of libraries and how they helped create a certain pint-sized superhero.

Charlotte's Library — Guest Post featuring a comic titled "The True Origin of the Brothers Bolton." Yes, it's all true!

Hooked On Books — Guest Post featuring the SMASH playlist, for the perfect soundtrack to accompany the book!

Bildungsroman — Q&A with Kyle and me.

— Chris A. Bolton

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.

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!)

Day #8 of the SMASH Blog Tour — The Last Stop!

Today is a little bittersweet for us — the final stop on our 2013 Blog Tour! We're breaking down the equipment, unloading the tour bus, and unpacking our suitcases. It's been a great trip and we can't wait to hit the (virtual) road again! Our farewell post — for now — comes courtesy of the Bildungsroman blog (hey, if you can pronounce it correctly, give yourself a pat on the back). It's a Q&A with Kyle and I, where we discuss, among other things, the genesis of Smash: Trial by Fire, what it's like working together as brothers, and what super-powers we'd love to have.

Smash Cover Small

Here's a taste, for those of you with siblings of your own:

Any advice for kids who are dealing with sibling rivalry?

Kyle: Well, only to the youngest. Always remember to love each other. As corny as that sounds, that is what will ultimately win the argument. One of you will remember that you love the other, then this fight is pointless. That's the idea anyway. If that's not happening, go talk to Mom.

Chris: Are you kidding? I still deal with it. What I wouldn't give to draw like Kyle! One thing I can say from experience is that siblings who are close in age (and might even have to share a bedroom) can get pretty fierce with each other. Sometimes it can feel like a household apocalypse! But later in life, those same siblings might be very surprised to discover they have a lot in common. As adults, they might even enjoy spending time together in ways that used to drive them crazy. So, there can be a light at the end of a long, sometimes very dark tunnel.

Check out the Bildungsroman blog — and if you've missed any stops in the tour, you can find them all right here. Thanks for reading along with us, and we hope you'll join us again on our next tour...which we hope isn't very far off!

Day #7 of the Blog Tour - The SMASH Playlist!

We're feeling a little musical today. Tapping our toes, clapping our hands, shaking our booties a li'l bit. That's because today we're on the Hooked On Books blog, which features books for t(w)eens reviewed by t(w)eens — what a fantastic concept! It's a wonderful blog, and we're honored to share a Guest Post about the SMASH Playlist. That's right, our ideal soundtrack for fighting crime, whether you're young or old!

Here's a little taste:

Andrew flies: "Short Change Hero" by the Heavy

The tone of Smash: Trial by Fire is intended to be fun and fast-paced, but with real stakes involved. We wanted the danger to feel very immediate to our hero, and to off-set that danger with a lighter touch. When Andrew flees from the bully, he stumbles into freeway traffic and discovers quite by accident that he can fly! "Short Change Hero" has a bouncy tone that fits the mixture of Andrew's panic turning into euphoria that turns into... well, air-sickness. It's fast and fun without feeling frivolous — which is very much what I hope readers take away from the book.

Click here to read more — but make sure you've got your dancing shoes on!

Which leaves just one more stop on our Blog Tour! We'll save the tears for tomorrow, when we end this wild ride with a bang. To follow the whole tour — including any stops you may have missed — click here for our full Blog Tour agenda.

Day #6 of the SMASH Blog Tour — Time for a Comic!

We've had a fantastic time on the SMASH Blog Tour! In fact, we're already getting a little misty-eyed that we're so near the end. But, there's still more to come before it's over. Today is something really special. The terrific Charlotte's Library blog — the only place to go for Tuesday time travel books! — has been kind enough to feature a short biographical comic illustrated by Kyle, called "The True Origin of the Brothers Bolton!"

Bolton Brothers Comic

That's right, this one is all about Kyle and I as kids: how we came to writing and drawing, how we learned to collaborate through trial and error, and how Smash came into the world. It's full of salacious scandal and stories that no living soul (outside our family) has ever been exposed to. So, click here and enjoy!

There are still two more stops on our Blog Tour. And if you've missed any, click here to see them all!

Day #5 of the Blog Tour: Smash Meets Asterix! (Sort of...)

The SMASH Virtual Tour Bus has rolled on into another blog. Today we're parking at the Green Bean Teen Queen blog (yeah, say THAT five times fast!) for a Guest Post called "Asterix and the Library." This one is a look back at my childhood, and how my local library introduced me to the adventures of a certain little Gaul who tosses Roman soldiers like tennis balls. Click here to give it a look. HUGE thanks to the Green Bean Teen Queen for opening her fantastic blog to my sentimental journey.


Now we're climbing back onto the bus — whew, what's that smell? One of us probably needs a shower — and heading toward our next stop. Follow the whole tour here! And we hope to see you back tomorrow.

Day #4 of the SMASH Blog Tour — How to Make a Graphic Novel!

The SMASH Blog Tour continues ever onward! Today we have a Guest Post on the Cynsations blog run by writer, graphic novelist, and all-around miracle worker Cynthia Leitich Smith. I wrote a piece about how we made Smash: Trial by Fire, covering the whole creative process from soup to nuts. Thanks to Cynthia for letting us take over her blog a bit!

There's much more to come! Click here to follow the whole Blog Tour.