English version below.
I was about to proudly announce that my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics will be published this year by NBM – when the attack on Charlie Hebdo happened and left me speechless.
This might not be the best time to promote a work that puts pictures and religious thought together. Or maybe it is the best of times, now that there’s this enormous graphic surge of cartoons that cry out for freedom of speech.
I don’t know. But here are two pages of my upcoming book that have some bearing on all that is happening.
Here’s the New Year’s card Yiri and I made:
Yes, it’s a direct tribute to this famous Calvin & Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson:
What are we dancing about in the New Year? Well, for the pending publication of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, for starters. It will be out at NBM in Fall, and this is the cover:
I made this comic for the online magazine FictionCrowd.com:
This weekend Holland commemorates the 201st anniversary of the landing of William, the first King of our monarchy. Each year, this landing is re-enacted on the beach of Scheveningen – William arrives by boat from England, whence he was summoned to rule the newly “liberated” Netherlands (although some of the French occupants were still in the country at that time). It was a daring, risky enterprise, which turned out extremely well: most of the Dutch people (well orchestrated by politician Van Hogendorp) were ecstatic to have the old power back and embraced William and his family as their new royal house.
People even stood on the roof to cheer their new ruler as he rode into The Hague!
This comic is part of a travelling exhibition, initiated by Museum Meermanno. The exhibition consists of ten panels, telling the history of William I in comics (by me) and adjoining texts (by Marc Kleijnen). The exhibition can now be seen for free in the library of Heiloo.
My comic book about Religion (yet to be published in the U.S., hopefully next year) has just been released in South Korea! It’s really strange to see my pictures combined with (for me) illegible signs – and even stranger (but very nice-strange) to find that people so far away are not only reading the book, but actually twittering about it!
Here are the tweets I found:
This cover is so different from the original one, but I do like it. I drew the front illustration especially for the Korean edition. The title translates to something like “Religion is a personal affair”.
This is a bit about the history of Hinduism:
And here’s the sedar table, at the heart of Judaism:
This is about meditation, in the chapter about Buddhism:
It’s a very gratifying thought that people in a country so far away, with such a different cultural background, seem to appreciate the outlook on religion of a Dutch protestant Christian-raised, Buddhism-interested, Hinduism-infatuated, Judaism-appreciating, Islam-valuing girl like me!
Publisher Bulkwang has published all of my three books in the last year! The cooperation over such a distance and language barrier was managed smoothly by Amo Agency. I’m very proud of this!
This book will probably be published in the U.S. with the title Religion: a Discovery in Comics.
And we continue the history of Holland – specifically, the life of William I, the first King, who found himself pretty down and out under Napoleon’s rule, until…
This comic is part of a travelling exhibition, initiated by Museum Meermanno. The exhibition consists of ten panels, telling the history of William I in comics (by me) and adjoining texts (by Marc Kleijnen). The exhibition can now be seen for free in the library of Eygelshoven.
Two weeks ago our beautiful sweet Siamese Boris died. We miss him greatly, not just as a pet but as a friend who always seemed so tuned in to our moods and feelings. He was almost eighteen and had a great life and a good death – yet this does not make the sadness any less, only “cleaner” perhaps, since there are no regrets.
Apart from all the “usual” mourning, I have an additional, specific problem. Boris was also a character in our books – a mostly silent one but still part of most of our backgrounds. (I blogged about the cats in my books two years ago, here).
We’re about halfway working on our next book and of course Boris has made his appearance. So what do I do, do I keep drawing him? Or do I just drop him from my pictures? Do I need to address his absence in any way, and how can I do that without distracting from the theme of the book? (which is World Power, something most cats have little interest in)
After pondering it for a while, I came up with this solution, in the first panel of a chapter in which I discuss the progress of the book with my brother:
That’s Yiri holding Boris’ picture next to what I call my “deity drawer”, a small cupboard for incense, some god statuettes and assorted spiritual books. It’s also the place where I put pictures of the dearly departed. (The deity drawer is featured in my book about Religion)
It is addressed. Boris gets his place among the legendary mortal supporting comics characters.
And we will have to face the problems of the world without him from now on – quite literally in our lives but also in our books.
Sleep well, dear Boris, you will live on in our hearts.
Here’s the continuation of a bit of Dutch history in comics – the story of Holland’s first King, William I.
This was probably his lowest point: exiled from The Netherlands, having to negotiate with Napoleon and England for a bit of compensation of his losses…
This panel and nine others are still on tour throughout The Netherlands. Check the site of Museum Meermanno to see if they come to a library near you.
Yiri and I are working hard on our next book and have just decided to call it Global Power: a Discovery in Comics, rather than World Domination: a Discovery in Comics. There’s a subtle difference there.
I’m so excited about it and really in a nice work flow right now. But the thing is, it won’t be out for at least a year – it’s scheduled for Fall 2015 in The Netherlands, and Who Knows When, if at all, in the States. So marketing-wise there’s no point in talking about it yet.
But I’m so excited about it!
Last week, I had the idea of putting in a scene between Yiri and me playing a game of Monopoly – but I wasn’t at all sure how well known the game really is. So I posted the question on my Facebook page and was swamped with reactions like “Really?! You don’t know how popular Monopoly is???”.
So no trouble there.
Here are two pages of the end result. There is a third page as well, but I’ll leave that for later. Ha, how’s that for a cliffhanger, marketing-wise…?