Saturday, July 19, 2014

Where Monsters Roamed by John Bolton

'Where Monsters Roamed' by John Bolton
from John Bolton: Halls of Horror, issue No.2, June 1985, Eclipse Comics

The House of Hammer was a UK magazine, published from 1976 – 1978, that featured stills and articles about Hammer films, black and white comic adaptations of the more famous Hammer movies, as well as a variety of supporting strips, all on horror / occult themes derived from the films. It resembled an amalgamation of the Warren's magazines Creepy and Eerie with Famous Monsters of Filmland

The artwork in HoH was very well done, and this was true of the 'backup' features; the most memorable of these may have been the iconic ‘Father Shandor’ series that showcased as its hero the priest from the 1966 film Dracula: Prince of Darkness.The Shandor strips were later recycled in the early 80s in the UK comic book Warrior.

The House of Hammer magazine lasted until issue 23, after which time it went into limbo, before undergoing a seemingly unending series of short-lived revivals by its creator, the unusually-named Dez Skinn.

John Bolton, at that time in the late 70s still early in his career as a comic book artist, did some outstanding work for HoH. In June 1985 US comic book publisher Eclipse Comics obtained the reprint rights for Bolton’s HoH strips and printed them, in color, in two issues of the comic book John Bolton: Halls of Horror.

Bolton provided new illustrations for the comic book covers,
and added new panels, some of these featuring a character modeled on Vincent Price (serving as the EC-style Horror Host) who introduced each story in the anthology.  

Eclipse retitled the strips, presumably to avoid copyright and / or licensing infringement. Thus, the adaptation of the 1966 Hammer film One Million Years B.C., which appeared in issue 14 of HoH (November, 1977), was renamed ‘Where Monsters Roamed’ when published in John Bolton: Halls of Horror.

The murky coloring probably detracts from the original black and white artwork rather than adding any enhanced visual qualities, and the reduction of the original artwork to fit the confines of the comic book page means the illustrations are quite small and cramped. But Bolton’s draftsmanship still shines through, despite it all. 

Posted below in its entirety, here is ‘Where Monsters Roamed’, aka One Million Years B.C., by Steve Moore (script), John Bolton (art), and Tim Smith (colors).

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