An Easter egg is: “an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in a work such as a computer program, movie, book, or crossword.” I have hidden a few easter eggs in my books, and today, as we’re approaching Christmas, I’ll reveal some of them to you.
When you open Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, the first thing you see is the endsheets (only in the US edition!). I have laid them out in a grid and filled them with pictures from the book:
But… wait a second! These are not ALL from the inside of the book! One of these is not like the others! It’s actually not even drawn by me! Can you tell which one it is?
This is Emma Ringelberg, who assisted me on the lettering of the english version. She’s a comic artist herself and makes really nice stuff, check out her blog.
On page 67 of Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics starts the chapter on Free Will, with an autobiographical scene about my time in America when I was a student. It opens with this picture:
Does that ring a bell with some of you who are autobiographical comics hoarders, like me? It should, because I drew it with this panel in mind:
Just one page further, page 68, is a dialogue between Yiri and me about Fate and Free Will:
Never have philosophical issues about Fate been better drawn in comics than by Bill Watterson in Calvin & Hobbes. I had this strip in mind when I drew mine, and had to stop myself from using the exact same phrasing “Too bad you were fated to do that”. That would just have been too obvious.
In Science: a Discovery in Comics you’ll find this scene of a fierce debate pro and con Darwin’s theory of Evolution, that took place in Oxford in 1860, and was attended by a crowd of interested people, eager to see sparks fly:
One of the people in the crowd is none other than Redmond O’Hanlon, the great novelist/adventurer who so much regrets not having been born in the nineteenth century.
(At the moment he’s back on Dutch TV with a superb series on 19th centuries heroes of his)
That’s all for now folks!
Have a happy holiday!
In a few months, Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics and Science: a Discovery in Comics will be published in South Korea. I’m very thrilled about this! It’s really strange to see my work translated into a language I can’t read at all. I love the Korean letters, they look really mysterious and elegant:
The publisher is still deciding on what covers to use. Every culture is different, I’m learning more and more that what “works” for a Western market does not necessarily translate somewhere else. I can see that maybe the image on the Philosophy cover of an open brain may be seen by some as a pretty gruesome picture! So I’m happy to help in coming up with another design. This is the proposal I made for the Korean publisher today – the upper one is Philosophy, the next Religion and the bottom one is Science.
They’ll be deciding on it later. I’ll let y’all know how it turns out!
Today 198 years ago Ada Lovelace was born – an exceptionally bright woman who became the first ever computer programmer. She led a short but interesting and in the end rather tragic life, which I’d like to commemorate with this comic:
This page is actually NOT from my book Science: a Discovery in Comics, but from a small booklet I made about seven famous friendships – of which that between Ada and Charles Babbage was an important one.
But Ada Lovelace IS mentioned in my Science book, in the chapter about women scientists. By now, she is a role model for female scientists everywhere, and even has her own celebratory day in October, Ada Lovelace Day.
Happy birthday, Ada! We who are all seated behind our computers today, salute you!
Festivities are in the air – here in Holland we have no less than TWO this month. On the 5th of December, we celebrate Sinterklaas, the white-bearded saint from Spain, who visits our country with his army of Black Petes to shower the children with lavish gifts.
Here’s a comic I did in 2006, combining Sint and the political climate that year:
A year before, I made this one for girls magazine Yes:
And as soon as Sint leaves, we’ll be getting trees in to prepare for Christmas, which is always fun.
Season’s greetings, everyone!
You can order them here!
It’s Evolution Day – the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species! Today, 154 years ago, Darwin’s work finally appeared in print, more than twenty years after he returned from his famous journey with The Beagle.
To celebrate, here are two pages from my book Science: a Discovery in Comics:
Want to read more?
(Or check it out at your library, I hear the book has hit many libraries by now)
It’s part of a comic artist’s life that assignments come and go. Last year, I was asked by magazine Open Deur to make a comic for their back page. It was a bit of an experiment for them, for the run of one year. And now the year is over and they decided to discontinue the comic.
Open Deur is a Dutch magazine that’s given out for free in churches. It has a very liberal and open character (hence the name: Open Door) and every issue has a special theme – sometimes very biblical, at other times more general. The editors gave me free range, and I took the opportunity to make the comic into a bit of an experimental place for myself. In ten issues, I have drawn very different things. I drew a Sandbox Dialogue, a comic featuring God and also did some full page illustrations. But what kept coming up were the adventures of a nameless family: father, mother and son.
Here’s the mother and son in a story about the bible book of Esther:
And here’s one about Freedom, that did not get published in the end since the back page was needed for something else:
I liked how these characters “worked”.
Maybe they’ll pop up in a later comic, you never know. But for now, it’s the end for this particular comics run.
On to the next assignment!
Science: a Discovery in Comics has been out for two months now, and has received a few really good reviews:
“Her art is simple and straight-forward, and she always chooses function over form: everything works to service the lessons she is trying to impart. When people ask me about how comics can serve a purpose in the classroom, this is precisely the kind of book I use to demonstrate that very thing.”
“A truly sharp and witty book.”
“Clear, concise, appropriately challenging and informatively funny, Science – A Discovery in Comics is a wonder of unpretentious, exuberant graphic craft and a timeless book we can all enjoy.”
“Science: A Discovery in Comics is a book that will inspire both five year olds and their grandparents as they laugh along in discovery.”
“I can’t recommend this one highly enough, both for younger readers and adults who enjoy overviews of expansive subjects.”
“If you have a curious kid in your household, you could do worse than get her this book. Even if that kid is 60 years old.”
There have also been three great interviews:
- by Clay Fernald for DigBoston.com
- “Dutch cartoonist makes learning science easier” – by Andrew Smith
- “A Discovery in Comics” – by Suzette Chan for Sequential Tart
Needless to say, I’m over the moon with all these positive reviews and interviews!
Go buy my book! That many reporters can’t be wrong!
Sometimes I come across an old comic I made that makes me giggle. This one about Stella, which appeared in 2007 in magazine Flo’, still makes me laugh. I hope I captured something Calvin&Hobbes-y in there:
Just click on this picture and it will take you there:
On display in Museum Meermanno in The Hague right now: a great exhibition of 200 years of Dutch comics! Ever since I helped putting Dutch Comics History online on Lambiek.net, the subject has been a bit of a hobby of mine. So I was very pleased and honored when the museum asked me to draw a magazine to accompany the exhibition. It’s become a 40-page comic book, relating the history of Dutch comics mostly through several children of the past, who tell which comic they like best and why. The book is for sale only at the museum, as long as the expo lasts, which is until January 12, 2014. But here’s a bit of a preview:
I also made a short VideoScribe (in Dutch) with a few of the old comics and children from the book. Click on the picture to see it on YouTube: