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:
Yesterday, I did a book signing at comic store The Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, and it was a great experience. The store is small but very complete, and they set me up a nice little corner with both of my books, Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics and Science: a Discovery in Comics.
The right part of this picture was taken by Clay Fernald, who did a great interview with me that was published only hours before on DigBoston.com. I think it had some effect, since people came in steadily and I had some great conversations and signed quite a number of books.
In between, Yiri and I had nice conversations with the store owner, Tony, who told us that the store’s name is actually the title from a Ray Bradbury story from 1948 – it was adapted as a comic and published in EC Comics’ Weird Fantasy in 1953. This comic was the first that the original founder of the store ever read. Tony showed us the comic, and I think it’s a great story. There’s some wise words words about science in it that I thought I’d include here:
Yiri and I also had time to start a double-comic, but we didn’t quite finish it:
We really enjoyed our hours in the store – thank you Tony and crew for inviting us! We hope to be back some day!
Yesterday, we were at the Brooklyn Book Festival, which was awesome: great weather, lots of people, lots of sales. Here I am with the merchandise:
In the first few hours, before it got really busy, Yiri and I drew this comic:
The figure with us behind the booth is our beloved publisher, Terry Nantier. The character visiting the booth is NarcissMan, one of Yiri’s creations.
We’re having a blast here in the States. Our next stop will be in Boston next Wednesday, at marvelous Harvard Square comic store The Million Year Picnic.
On Friday we’ll be back in Brooklyn, at the esteemed Bergen Street Comics. They made a really nice announcement, which is featured everywhere, even on Times Square I think.
Last weekend, Yiri and I attended the SPX comics convention in Washington DC, where we met our publisher Terry Nantier for the first time, and also fellow NBM authors Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman. Together, we manned the NBM booth, conveniently placed close to the entrance, and had a great time meeting fans and selling books. Science: a Discovery in Comics was received very well, and Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics was even sold out by the end of Sunday!
Yiri and I gave out free “Double Dutch” mini-comics – a collection of the collaborative jam-comics we have done together lately (and also some we did with colleagues Floris Oudshoorn and Ingi Jensson). This proved a great way to introduce ourselves and to trade for some very nice mini-comics by others.
In between “business” on Saturday, I got to make some double-comics with Brent:
On Sunday, we were joined by Matt Aucoin, whose Double Think mini-comics I really enjoy. Yiri and I first met him through Streetpass, a connecting feature on our Nintendo 3DS game console – so one of the comics we made features the Nintendo (there were a LOT around during the expo!):
SPX was the first stop on our American Book Tour, and it couldn’t have been better!
More adventure to come!
In July, I went to Oxford Summer School and attended a course about the human brain – it still resonates with me, and somehow, consciously or subconsciously, these “brain”-drawings keep popping up in the comics I made since.
For magazine Open Deur I did an illustration about music – including the route musical sensation takes throughout our brain…
Meanwhile I’m working on a comic about inspiration, for magazine Speling, and this is how I depicted the ideas streaming into my mind (always while taking a bath)…
And this is an excerpt from the comic for student magazine H/Link, about performance anxiety:
So it’s not a big surprise that when Terry Nantier of NBM Publishing asked me to do a drawing they can make into a print to go with bigger orders, this is (part of) what I came up with:
The print is called The Science of Making Comics, and will be available with orders from $30.
I’m sure they’ll be available at SPX in Washington next week, where I’ll be signing my books Science: a Discovery in Comics and Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics – so if you’re curious about the print (or the books), drop by our booth at G1-2!
Science: a Discovery in Comics has officially hit the stores and it’s time to officially promote it, with an official Promotional Tour! Margreet and Yiri are coming to the USA, and here are the dates and places:
September 14-15: SPX, Washington, table G1-2 (NBM Publishing)
September 22: the Brooklyn Book Festival, NBM Publishing booth
September 25: the Million Year Picnic, Cambridge – book signing
September 27: Bergen St. Comics, Brooklyn, NY – book signing & bubbly!
Margreet will be available for interviews or other public appearances – just contact NBM Publishing for more info.
Readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of writer Neil Gaiman – from his Sandman in the nineties, which was a huge influence in my decision to try to make the leap into a life in comics, to his Calendar of Tales last Spring, on which I collaborated; and now there’s his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for which he’s making a grand final Signing Tour. Yesterday, he was in a bookstore in Rotterdam, and my husband and I went there to listen to him being interviewed and have our books signed.
(Photo by Snuggly Oranges)
When Neil came in everyone applauded, and interviewer Marcel van Driel started a relaxed, funny & informative conversation with him. Despite the fact that Neil must have told the same things over and over again in the past weeks, he was very involved and attentive and witty. I tried to sketch him, and failed miserably:
Then I tried not to capture him realistically, but get a bit of his posture and demeanor in a more caricaturized drawing, and also failed at that:
So eventually I decided to go full caricature, and came up with this, which did not totally fail, I think – but judge for yourself:
After the interview, the signing started. In the past weeks, Neil has signed for audiences of over a thousand people – fortunately, here were “only” about 200 people. Yiri and I waited until the very last to get our stuff signed (and made jokes about “The Author at the End of the Line”). I was surprised, impressed and delighted that after 2 hours of signing, Neil Gaiman is still able to direct all of his attention to the person in front of him, and be interested, courteous and, well, charming. I hate getting all fan-girly, star-struck and nervous, but Neil makes it really easy to connect with him – in fact, he made me feel like he’s just a human being; well, a human being endowed with awesome superpowers, but a human being nonetheless. I think. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Something Completely Different from Another Dimension either).
I asked Neil to sign my “winning” drawing for the July tale of his Calendar of Tales, and he said some really nice things about it, and I gave him prints of all the calendar-drawings I did and a copy of our new book, Science: A Discovery in Comics.
And then he said: “Do you want a hug?” And I said: “Yes please!”.
I have no photo of that moment. It was a very private and intimate moment between me, Neil Gaiman and my husband Yiri, who was standing aside and had been supporting me all evening and prevented me from nervously running away from this whole encounter a few times.
But I do have this, and the impression that, apart from being a talented writer whose work I find inspiring, Neil Gaiman is also a very nice person – and honestly, people with talent who are also nice make this world a much better place.