Bolton, Chris and Kyle.jpeg

CHRIS A. BOLTON has written short fiction, stage plays, sketch comedy, and screenplays. He wrote and directed a web-series called Wage Slaves and had his first professional short story published in Portland Noir (Akashic Press, 2009). He wrote the graphic novel SMASH: TRIAL BY FIRE (Candlewick Press, 2013) and is currently writing the second SMASH book. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

KYLE BOLTON 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 is a true Seattleite, whose daily activities include a trip to the dog park powered by coffee and imagination. Kyle currently draws and lives in West Seattle with his wife, Jamie, and dog, Zeus. For more of his work, visit




SMASH: Trial by Fire

Candlewick Press – September 10, 2013

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.


Praise for SMASH: Trial by Fire

2013 Junior Library Guild Selection
2014 Children’s Choice Award Winner
Oregon Spirit Book Award Winner
YALSA Nominee

Smash is an action-packed crowd-pleaser….The full-color artwork is full of kinetic energy. Action sequences are rendered with a cinematic feel, heightening every punch, explosion, and impact. Smash pays homage to the genre while adding tweaks that make it all feel fresh. This is sure to be a draw for superhero fans and reluctant readers alike.“—School Library Journal

“Mixing humor with action makes for a winning combination; a vivid palette and classic comic book-style greatly enhance the graphic novel package.“—Horn Book

“The comic book art and fast-paced story hooks readers in the first of a new series.“—2014 Children’s Choice Book Awards

“Kids and adults can enjoy this superhero title that’s filled with humor, action, and art that makes it a fun ride for everyone.“—Good Comics for Kids

“There’s no shortage of superhero graphic novels, but Smash: Trial by Fire is more well done than most….[I]t’s full of drama, humor, and seriously thrilling action sequences. To summarize: kids are going to love it.”—100 Scope Notes blog

“Smash battles his way through robots and other minions to a climactic and rousingly destructive…climax that, natch, paves the way for sequels. Three cheers for the underdog.”—Kirkus Reviews


Jessica SpiveyB