SMASH Reading at Gatewood Elementary

We're pleased to present some pictures from SMASH artist Kyle Bolton's recent visit to Gatewood Elementary School in Seattle.

A gaggle of excited 4th and 5th graders watched a panel-by-panel slide show with Kyle performing voices and sound effects from SMASH, Book One: Trial by Fire. Then Kyle answered a LOT of fantastic questions from these eager readers. Huge thanks to Gatewood's super-librarian Jackie Snyder for arranging the event and taking pictures!

To find out how to book an event with Chris or Kyle at your school or library, visit our Events page.

Kyle (lurking in the shadows) finishes performing the opening scene of SMASH after the slide show.

Kyle poses with a happy young fan.

The students listen to Kyle talk about his art process.

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.

Indies First Storytime Pics

Bestselling, award-winning (and fellow Candlewick) author Kate DiCamillo liked what she saw on Indies First day and decided there should be a similar celebration for children's bookstores. So began Indies First Storytime Day, which encourages authors to visit their favorite independent children's bookstore on May 17th and read a book (or two) out loud. I was thrilled to participate at Green Bean Books in Portland, Oregon. Green Bean

Green Bean is basically a tiny house that is one of the ten most amazing places on the planet Earth. You walk in and fall in love with shelves full of beautiful books — and there are some dioramas that you can't take your eyes off of. (Signs ask people not to touch, which is good because even the adults could barely help themselves...)

Walk In The Indies First Storytime display, with our very own SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE right in front! I'm in the back with owner Jennifer Green, whose infectious love of children's books grabs you right away.

The Store Seriously, are you in love yet? Great things come in small packages.

Hello Kitty You could spend half the day admiring displays like this Hello Kitty corner.

Sparky Here I am reading the wonderful Sparky, written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Applehans. Now I want a sloth for a pet!

Imaginary The endpapers of Dan Santat's beautiful The Adventures of Beekle show a gallery of imaginary friends. This pumpkin-headed one is my pick!

Reading Sparky

Reading Sparky 2 Reading Sparky to a great group of eager listeners.

Dino Dinosaurs roam the beautiful back deck at Green Bean, feeding on delicious donuts.

Signing Smash Signing a copy of SMASH for some new fans.

I had a fantastic time on Indies First Storytime Day and I can't wait for next year!

Special thanks to Jennifer Green and everyone at Green Bean Books for hosting a great event — I'm even more excited to read at Green Bean Books next month for Superhero Weekend! And if you live in Portland, make sure you visit Green Bean Books the first chance you get. I promise it will be love at first sight!

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!

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!

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 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!)

Photos: Wordstock and the PNBA Nightcapper Events

Wow, what a busy weekend! On Sunday, we were at Portland's terrific Wordstock Festival of Words, where we read from Smash: Trial by Fire, answered questions, and signed books. Then we were off to the Nightcapper event for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's annual conference, where we signed and handed out copies of Smash to booksellers and librarians from around the region. We were overwhelmed by all of the enthusiastic responses to the book, to say the least!

Bolton Bros Wordstock Kyle and I pose in the iconic Wordstock red chair.

Bolton Bros PNBA At our table at the PNBA Nightcapper event, waiting for the doors to open so we can unleash our powers.

Green Bean Huge thanks to Jennifer and all the folks at Portland's Green Bean Books for providing copies of Smash for sale and for signing at Wordstock!

Kyle Phone Kyle checks his notes before the Wordstock reading.

Bolton Bros Q&A Answering questions after the reading.

Kyle Signs Kyle autographs a copy of Smash at the signing table.

Bolton Bros Pose The Bolton brothers, posing with a young fan.

Smash Girl 1

Smash Girl 2 Girls love Smash, too!

Fill-in Panel I had the unexpected honor of being a fill-in moderator for the Visual Narrator panel, featuring some wonderful comic artists: Gene Luan Yang, Colleen Coover, Shannon Wheeler, Nicole J. Georges, and Mark Russell. It was great meeting them all!

Chris and Stina Sitting with one of our colorists, the amazing Christina Mackin!

Bolton Bros Fight

Bolton Bros Fight 2

Bolton Bros Fight 3 This is how most of our story conferences look. Kyle and I always make sure to respect the other's opinion, hear each other out, and come to a reasonable compromise.

Bolton Bros Make Up And, no matter how tough it gets, we always make up afterward.

Bolton Bros Nightcapper Arriving at the PNBA Nightcapper event.

Bolton Bros PNBA Before Before the event, books piled high.

Bolton Bros PNBA 1 From the minute the doors opened, booksellers showed up to tell us how excited they were for Smash!

Bolton Bros PNBA Line The line started long...

Bolton Bros PNBA Line 2 And got longer...

Bolton Bros PNBA Line 3 And longer...

Bolton Bros PNBA Line 4 And stayed long...

Bolton Bros PNBA After Until we were completely cleaned out!

Smash Fans PNBA Enthusiastic Smash fans!

Smash Wordstock We had a fantastic time at both shows, and can't wait for next year! Thanks for checking out our photos.