May 03 2012

The Odyssey in Korean

Published by under odyssey

I got an awesome surprise package in the mail yesterday. A box from Candlewick which turned out to contain 4 copies of my first translated edition: The Odyssey in Korean!

I suspect prose authors feel the same excitement when they get a copy of their book with an unfamiliar cover and a foreign title, but then of course the interior is completely impenetrable. With a graphic novel, on the other hand, I get to see my own artwork interspersed with cool Korean pictographic text and — best of all — sound effects. It’s *so* cool to see what they did with the sounds.


Then again, maybe the impenetrable wall of foreign text is cool:

So now the question is, do I have any readers out there who are fluent in Korean? If so, would you like a free copy of The Odyssey (on the condition that you read it and tell me what you think of the translation)?

By the way, the publisher is Prooni Books. For some reason Google Translate doesn’t work on their site.

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May 01 2012

MoCCA Postscript

Published by under appearances,reviews

In my attempt to keep my write-up short and quick yesterday, I forgot to mention the amazing Alec Longstreth. I met this dude when we did a talk at CCS a few years ago, and I have to say that among the many super-nice people in the comics world, this guy might just be the nicest. And I don’t just say that because every time I see him he gives me comics and refuses to take my money (though that is certainly a concrete example).

Alec had a mega-beard last time I saw him, because way back in 2008 he pledged not to shave until his book Basewood was done. Well, it is now done, and he’s clean-shaven once more. Check out the story —  it’s quite good (though I always find the covers confusing, since he has this “Basewood is just a story in my ongoing magazine I call Phase 7” thing going on). But anyway, it’s a very humanistic, meticulously drawn story. With dragons.

Also, check out this cool poster by my friend Casey.

Coloring due today. Back to work!

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Apr 30 2012

MoCCA 2012

Published by under appearances

Had a great time at MoCCA comics festival this past weekend. Tabled with my friend Tim Decker, author/illustrator of excellent historical picture books which are not really for kids.

The Decker/Hinds table (pictured: the two artists, plus Tim's wife Mandy doing the actual work)

I didn’t sell a huge amount of books, but that’s okay, as I feel these shows are more for marketing and networking. Highlights were meeting Tom Gauld, one of my favorite cartoonists, and P. Craig Russell, who was the guest of honor this year, and whose work in many ways parallels (and predates) my own. Also in the “always delightful” category were such folks as Colleen Venable, Mo Willems, Lucy Knisley, and many more. I also saw one of my favorite teachers from Parsons, Warren Linn — he moved on years ago to be full-time at MICA, so it was great to see him again. Actually we were sitting next to a bunch of his current MICA students on one side, and on the other side were a bunch of current Parsons seniors, some of whom I had met before when visiting drawing classes there. So that was good for some nice conversations (most notably with Yasmin Liang), even though it did make me feel old 😉

I also met the lovely folks at Seven Stories Press who are publishing The Graphic Canon, a super-cool and ambitious mega-volume in which excerpts from several of my books appear. It goes on sale in just a few weeks, and can be pre-ordered now.

I didn’t bring home a lot of other books, but some things that especially caught my eye were Spera, Kiki of Montparnasse, and Baby’s in Black. I really look forward to those, just as soon as I finish up the coloring on Romeo & juliet, which is due (gulp) tomorrow!

Boba Fett on the accordion

a fan trying out one of Tim's dad's way-cool cigar box guitars.

(Photos by Alison Morris!)

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Mar 07 2012

Romeo & Juliet coloring work-in-progress

Published by under romeo and juliet,shakespeare

I haven’t been posting much as I have my nose to the grindstone coloring Romeo & Juliet. But for some reason this partially colored page demanded to be scanned and posted.

(Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio on their way to the party at the Capulet mansion, just after the Queen Mab speech.)

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Feb 06 2012


Published by under beowulf

I’d like to tell you a story. It’s about two huge fans of a certain Old English Epic poem you may have heard of. Beowulf.

Back in 1998, after self-publishing my first graphic novel Bearskin, I had decided to adapt Beowulf. It was one of my favorite works of literature, and a great action story which I hoped would resonate with both literature and superhero fans. The original text of Beowulf is in the public domain, but it’s not really readable in Old English (though it’s kind of fun to try), so I started researching different translations to use as the basis for my book (note that this was before Seamus Heaney’s translation came out, and in any case I strongly preferred to use one that was in the public domain). I soon came across a resource that proved absolutely invaluable in this search.

It seems a fellow named Syd Allan loved Beowulf so much that he had put together a website,, comparing every available translation of the poem. You could choose from several key sections of the story, and read them in over 20 different translations, ranging from the 1800s to the 1980s (in subsequent years I think he more than quadrupled the number, adding many new translations as they came out and finding more obscure ones as well). He also summarized the available Beowulf films, comics, and novelizations. Using this site I was able to quickly settle on the Gummere translation for my book, and when I later went back to choose an easier translation for the Candlewick edition, I again found it by way of Syd’s site. I should also mention that when my book came out, Syd happily added info and samples to his page on Beowulf comics, and said nice things about it. Syd and I haven’t really correponded that much, and we’ve only met once (we arranged to have lunch at one point just so we could each put a face to the name behind the emails, and of course geek out a bit about Beowulf) — but it’s always been nice to know that his site was out there, a functional monument to the greatness of this poem and a resource for folks like me.

But apparently there aren’t a huge number of people looking to compare ~100 translations of an ancient viking poem, and Syd eventually got tired of putting energy into the site and let it lapse. However, he kindly made the whole thing available in a zip file via Google docs, here. Also, the Internet Archive, aka Wayback Machine, has it archived here.

So, I post this as a tribute to Syd’s hard work, and as a place where those links can live for my own reference and that of anyone searching for Beowulf translations. Enjoy.

(PS, the title of this post, “Hwaet” is the opening word of Beowulf. In Old English it means “Listen”, so it should more properly be followed by an exclamation point, comma, period, almost anything but a question mark. But since it scans like modern English “what”, I tried to make a little joke there about my reaction to finding that the site had gone down.)

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Jan 05 2012

Last Year’s PA Farm Show

Published by under animals,horses,sketchbook,travel

I recently came across these in a sketchbook and realized I hadn’t posted them. Mind you, there’s a ton of stuff I forget, or don’t have time, to post — but these I had definitely meant to, so here you go.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Dec 23 2011

Romeo & Juliet – digital inking in Manga Studio – the party scene

Here’s a little holiday present: my first making-of video for Romeo & Juliet, showing how I inked the double-page party spread using Manga Studio.

There was an export problem I couldn’t figure out how to fix, so the audio is a little out of sync at the end.

Warm holiday wishes to everyone!

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Nov 23 2011

Credit card apps follow-up: the stress-test!

Published by under reviews,tools & tech

This is an addendum to my lengthy review of the Square and Intuit GoPayment credit card processing apps. I have now used both apps and card readers under a heavy-use and, as it turns out, a poor-signal scenario. I processed over a hundred credit card sales on my phone at the NCTE annual convention last weekend, and here are the results.

In short: Intuit won, because Square choked on a weak signal.

I started out with Square, and the first two transactions worked fine, although they were a little slow because the exhibit hall was IN A BASEMENT (what were they thinking???). I had 1-2 bars of cell, and most of the time no 3G. So anyway, on the third transaction, the Square app froze at the receipt screen (wouldn’t allow any text input), and I had to cancel out the sale and do it on Intuit’s app. This happened again on the next transaction, and that was it for Square. In better signal conditions I expect Square works fine, but not in a basement. Intuit kept working like a champ, so Intuit got all my business last weekend.

Plus, as I mentioned, Intuit lets you set up item prices, so it does the math for you and generates an itemized receipt.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Nov 23 2011

NCTE 2011 recap

A huge thanks to all the great attendees of NCTE 2011 in Chicago last weekend. It was a wonderful show. I sold lots of books, got incredible feedback, and had great conversations with lots of smart, passionate educators, authors, and publishing folks.

If anyone is reading this who took pictures with me, please send me a copy or a link. Also, if you or anyone you know bought a copy of Gifts From the Gods, please check it and make sure it’s signed and personalized correctly. A few people left signed & personalized copies at the table by accident (and presumably walked off with unsigned copies). I’d love to get these books to their intended recipients.

Thanks! More Romeo and Juliet samples coming soon.

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Nov 17 2011

Romeo 3D

Published by under romeo and juliet,shakespeare

I thought it would be interesting to see if sculpting a few of my main characters in 3D would improve my ability to draw their likeness easily and consistently. I built a low-poly 3D base head and used Mudbox to sculpt the details. Obviously I didn’t take it to a fully-finished level, especially the hair, but this is more or less what Romeo looks like.

The jury’s still out on whether this was useful or not, but it was kind of fun anyway, and makes me feel just a little less out of the loop as far as 3D graphics.

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