In between books

I have been a bit silent on this blog lately, and it’s because I didn’t know what to write. There’s enough going on, but that’s exactly the problem.

056-books

 

We flew back from New York end of October, after a successful launch of Religion: a Discovery in Comics. We had fun at SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival, and the first positive reviews are emerging, such as these by readers on Goodreads:

“I LOVE this book! A concise, thoughtful, entertaining overview of five major religions, with a feminist critique added for good measure. Adorable illustrations.” – Vicki

“Religion is not my cup of tea and never was, but I liked this book. (…) Now I’ve got a book to advise to those who are not sure about “what’s that religion thing anyway”, what to think about it and why it is important at all.” – Ekaterina

“A lively, intelligent, and witty survey of the world’s major religions from the Dutch comics artist. De Heer can be critical but is always respectful. Entertaining, informative, and provocative.” – Edward

And then, just after we started to get over our jetlag, our new Dutch book came out, Wereldheerschappij in Beeld, about World Domination. We had a lovely, well-attended presentation in bookstore Scheltema and I gave the first copy to Gean Ockels, who said some very touching things about it.

presentation presentation2

This is her favorite picture from the book – her father in space:

wubbo

A few interviews with me about this book are on the way (in Dutch) and it had a few very good reviews already.

On 12 November there will be a special Amsterdam presentation of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, at the American Book Center, organized by graphic journalism site Drawing The Times. This event is free to attend and will be taped, so I hope to be able to post it here later. Also, I will draw on the windows of the American Book Center somewhere next week.

So I’m really between books: definitely in my mind but also quite literally in my house, with stacks of books to sign and post.

And then there’s a third book on my mind: the next one! After all the promotion has died down, it’s time to retreat and start thinking and drawing about Love. The Dutch publication of Liefde in Beeld is planned for Spring 2017.

See why I don’t know what to write about…?

Comics about the U.N.’s Global Goals

sdg00_cover

This weekend the UN officially announced the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development – goals which are aimed to be met by 2030 and which must be spread far and wide around the entire globe.

What better way to communicate them than through comics? Margreet de Heer is proud to have cooperated with Reading with Pictures and Comics Uniting Nations to produce these 20 comics pages. Together, they read like a comic book, but the individual pages can also be used to illuminate separate goals.

Feel free to use them and spread them around! They can also be found on Margreets site, including a pdf and powerpoint.

sdg00_intro

 

sdg01_poverty

 

sdg02_hunger

sdg03_health

sdg04_education

 

sdg05_genderequality 

sdg06_water

sdg07_energy

sdg08_work

sdg09_infrastructure

sdg10_reducedinequalities

 

sdg11_cities

sdg12_consumption

sdg13_climatechange

 

sdg14_ocean

sdg15_forests

sdg16_peace

 

sdg17_cooperate

 

sdg18_epilogue

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – the Launch

Today is the official debut of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, at the Small Press Expo in Washington!

book
Proud author and book

The book looks beautiful, it’s hardcover just like the other two in the series, Philosophy and Science, and has unique endsheets that the original Dutch version didn’t have. It’s a must-have! If you’re into the subject matter, of course.

The book describes the five major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. It gives information on their histories, holy people, books, places and practices, as well as some personal observations and experiences the author had as a preacher’s daughter and theology student.

Here’s an animated preview from the chapter on Hinduism and Buddhism:

hinduism-buddhism

Just click on the picture to see the video on Youtube.

Today, author Margreet de Heer will be signing her book at SPX and tomorrow she’ll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Check her and the new book out at the NBM stand!

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – What is God?

“God” is a word that gets thrown around a lot – but people mean a lot of different things by it.  My personal opinion on the nature of god (or whatever you want to call it), as expressed in my upcoming graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics, is this:

god

Whether you consider God to be an entity, energy or a concept, you would be limiting Him/It if you would consider him/it anything less than Everything. And that means it encompasses a lot of contradictory viewpoints, which I personally think is very freeing.

Just two more weeks before the book premieres at the Small Press Expo!

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – Drugs

Today I received a pack of postcards I designed for OPEN Foundation, an interdisciplinary organization that aims to stimulate research into all aspects of the psychedelic experience. I sat in at one of their conferences in 2010, drawing cartoons on the spot, and recently they made some of those into postcards. It had been long enough to be pleasantly surprised by my own work:

drugs

Especially the lower postcard ties in nicely with my upcoming book Religion: a Discovery in Comics. Towards the end of the book, I briefly explore certain scientific research into the religious experience (including looking for the “god gene”) as well as the link there seems to exist between mysticism and the use of certain drugs.

My view is that both drugs and meditative practices can alter the brain and release certain chemicals, resulting in “religious experience”. The fact that we can put it in terms of chemicals in no way distracts from the “holiness” of these experiences, in my opinion. It’s just another way of looking at what happens when these experiences occur.

Here’s how I draw it in my book Religion: a Discovery in Comics:

religion-drugs

The book is almost here! It will debut at SPX next month, and I will be there to sign it for you!

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – the Contents Page

Wondering what my upcoming book Religion: a Discovery in Comics is all about? Here is the contents page to give you an idea:

religion-contents

Each of the main religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) is feraured with a 3-page “history-in-a-nutshell”, a spread about what I think is the “core” of that religion, a bit about their holy books, and where applicable about their holy places and symbols. The “eggs” each deal with an issue relating to that religion that I feel I have to walk on eggshells about.

The final chapters of the book deal with women in religion, scientific research on religion, the smorgasbord of the “new spirituality” and the spiritual/religious process as I see it: a continuous process of searching, finding, enjoying, discussing, rejecting and then searching, finding etc. again.

Curious? Only one more month before the book is out!

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – Walking on Eggshells

When the idea came up to draw a graphic novel about religion, I figured it would be easy. After all, I’m a relative expert, with loads of study and personal experience on the subject. It seemed a matter of “just getting everything on paper”.

But when I started, I suddenly felt paralyzed. What would people say? Religion is not as neutral as Philosophy or Science – everyone seems to have a passionate opinion about it, good or bad. How was I going to make a book that would not offend, infuriate or upset people?

When I pondered this one night, just before falling asleep (when the best ideas come) I got the image of walking on eggshells – a wonderful visual that would work very well in a comic! It is fun to look at, and in this way I could address my own concerns as well of those of others.

eggshells

After drawing this, I felt free to find my own voice on the subject. I would draw all the general information on the five main world religions, and also weave in my own “spiritual path”. I sincerely belief that religion is very personal, and we can’t really say anything useful about it without specifying what it means to us personally.

personal

This approach proved to be the key for me – and I happily delved into drawing, less afraid of breaking an occasional egg here and there.

There are eggs breaking on the following subjects:

– treating religion as something “personal”

– treating judaism, christianity and islam as fellow religions, instead of enemies

– criticism on christianity

– the matter of depicting Muhammad in islam

– expressing my sympathies for hinduism

– depicting buddhism in a Western, popularized way

– (lack of) women in religion

Curious about what kind of omelette I made with all these broken eggs…? Find out in September, when the book comes out!