So I decided that for once, I wouldn’t spend the whole con at my table, instead wandering around and looking at other folks comics and even attending panels now and then. It was neat. The best line I can recall from any panel is Dylan Meconis, in her spotlight panel, suggesting that “the Hero’s Journey” is the french fries of story structure.
Here I am at my table, in a photo taken by Joshin Yamada:
Yes, that is one of my favorite shirts. My one regret about this photo is that it doesn’t show my new sneakers, which are bright bright red.
(Edited to add: And actually, I wish I had put my left hand on my chin, so my pose would more closely echo the post of the character on the cover of “How To Make A Man Out Of Tin Foil.” Oh, well, next time.)
More Joshin pictures from Stumptown: Jake Richmond (colorist of Hereville, creator of Modest Medusa, looking as if he’s doing algebra in his head), Becky Hawkins (rockin’ the lace), Ben Hsu (giving the ever-reliable thumbs up. You can’t go wrong giving a thumbs up!), Jaymz Bernard (sporting a t-shirt that matches her arm tattoo), Diana Nock (I don’t have a snarky comment for Diana), and Taran Manley Lee (flanked by Taran’s frequent sidekicks Jenn Lee and Kip Manley).
I was sharing my table with Becky and with Diane Riffe, who was their with her very first mini-comic, an adorable all-ages tribute to Diane’s dog Luna. Alas, Diane didn’t happen to be there when Joshin came by, so as far as I know she escaped unphotographed.
I got this email last week (posted with permission, of course):
I am an ELL [English Language Learners] teacher at Freedom Middle School in DeKalb County, Georgia. My students are all refugees who just arrived this year. Most of them are from Nepal or Burma, but I also have students from Thailand, Russia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Eritrea. The languages spoken in my classroom include Tiringia, Amarhaic, Arabic, Karen, Thai, Russian, and Burmese. Depending on their home country and situation, their educational background varies greatly.
We are reading Hereville and they LOVE it! Since they are learning English for the first time, we spent the first part of the year reading children’s books. When we began reading your graphic novel, which is accessible and age appropriate, they were so excited. They whine and complain every day when we finish our lesson.
I was wondering if you would be willing to meet with my students for a Q&A session. They would prepare questions ahead of time to ask you, and then each of the 15 students would ask their questions. I think the students would really enjoy meeting the author of the book they are enjoying so much.
I am not able to pay you for the session as my school does not have extra funding, and our county is struggling as well this year. But I could send you my lessons that I’ve used to teach Hereville. You could include those on your website, and perhaps that would help encourage other teachers to use the books in their classroom.
ELL Teacher, Intensive English Program
Freedom Middle School
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Needless to say, I said yes (I always say yes to Skype visits for schools that don’t have funding for author visits). The visit is scheduled to take place tomorrow; I’m really looking forward to it. And I’m looking forward to posting Sara’s Hereville lesson plans sometime in the future.
I’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend, sharing a table with autobio cartoonist Becky Hawkins and her shoulder angel. We’ll be at table R-06 in Artist’s Alley; if you’re in Seattle, please come and say hi.
What: Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite book premiere.
When: Thursday, November 15, 7:30pm.
Where: Powell’s on Hawthorne, Portland, Oregon
For those of you in or near Portland, Oregon, please come join me at Powell’s on Hawthorne, 7:30pm on Thursday.
I’ll be there to sign books, answer questions, and show a slideshow (including a super-cool animated film of my drawing process). There will be a reading from one of the Hereville books. For the first time ever at a Hereville event, long-suffering Hereville colorist Jake Richmond will on hand to answer questions and sign books.
About Hereville: How Mirka Met A Meteorite
Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite is a sequel to Barry Deutsch’s cult hit kid’s graphic novel (is there such a thing as a cult kid’s graphic novel) about “yet another monster-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish Girl.” It’s published by Abrams Books, through its Amulet imprint, and features writing and art by Barry Deutsch and colors by Jake Richmond.
Story: Mirka thinks she’s ready to be a sword-fighting hero – but she’s totally unprepared for having to save the town from a meteorite strike! But things get even more complex when the meteorite is turned into an exact duplicate of Mirka – except “stronger, faster and prettier,” as the Meteorite would be the first to say. Action and adventure gets mixed with an identity crisis turned to flesh, and Mirka must not only be brave but also make a leap into empathy to make things come out right.
Kirkus (starred review):
Watching Mirka fight the seemingly perfect version of herself is riveting. Deutsch has created a wonderful world in Mirka’s insulated Orthodox village and continues to capture it adroitly—though he has left himself enough room to blast Mirka out to space without readers batting an eye. Mirka is unflinchingly likable because she is so tempestuous and inexact, and really, who can’t relate to that?
This truly clever series is lots of fun.
School Library Journal (starred review):
The endlessly creative panel and perspective work adds visual interest and gives experienced graphic-novel readers plenty to savor. A well-crafted addition to a truly distinctive series.
Deutsch again melds fantasy, realism, and a whopping dose of imagination, incorporating both the particularities of traditional Judaism and the universal foibles of a girl who dreams big but forgets to plan ahead.
Comics Worth Reading:
Deutsch has become even more accomplished in his story construction, clearly and cleverly setting up later plot points through small, funny scenes early on. His facility with expression continues to be a high point, with Mirka’s reactions, and those around her, entertaining and involving.
Deutsch continues his delightful and unique series featuring a modern Orthodox Jewish girl who is often bolder and braver than most 11-year-olds (boy or girl) might be…. Deutsch is a masterful storyteller.
…Magical, scary, funny and deeply emotional. Here is a book that is asking your children ‘what sort of person do you want to be?’ In a culture so caught up with cheap reality television and tabloid sensation, this is a little reassuring voice in the crowd. Its central message is all about being the better version of yourself, and perhaps not in the way we expect.
If you have a young daughter into which you’d like to instill a deep and profound love of graphic novels you could do worse than slipping How Mirka Met a Meteorite into their stocking this Christmas.
About the Author
Cartoonist Barry Deutsch lives in Portland, Oregon, in a bright blue house with bubble-gum pink trim. His 2010 graphic novel Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword was the first graphic novel ever to win the prestigious Sydney Taylor Award, and was also nominated for Eisner, Harvey, Ignatz, and Nebula awards. Deutsch won the national Charles M. Schulz Award for best college cartoonist in 2000 and was nominated for Comic-Con’s Russ Manning Award for Promising Newcomer in 2008. He is currently working on a third Hereville graphic novel.
Barry speaks at a previous Powells event.
Hi! Sorry I’ve been blogging so little lately. I’m just spending long days every day drawing Hereville. And it’s not just the time; it’s also, somehow, mental creative energy being expended. Even when I have a few hours after work, I just don’t seem to have it in me to write new posts.
Anyway, this too will pass.
I’ll be appearing in Vancouver, Canada this weekend, at the Vancouver Comics Arts Fest. It should be a lot of fun, and I think admission is free; so if you’re in Vancouver, please come see me and say hi.
Here’s the page from Hereville 2 I finished yesterday — and it’s a pretty spoiler-free page. I’m pretty happy with how this page looks.
It has two unusual elements for me. First of all, it’s yet another attempt at an Eisner-style collage layout. I wouldn’t say it’s completely successful — certainly not as nice looking as an Eisner page, but that’s a given, isn’t it? — but I think this works better than the Eisner-attempts in book one did. (Which were pages 31 and 32, if you’re wondering and have book 1 handy.)
Secondly, drew panel one with the kind of over-the-top foreshortening that artists like Jim Steranko used to such great effect, which is not something I can recall ever attempting before. I think it came out okay, but I probably won’t be doing this often in the future — it’s so visually oddball looking (to my eyes, at least) that I think it’s bound to distract from storytelling in most contexts.
I’ll be at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon this weekend. If you’re there, please come up and say hi.
I’m planning a very light con schedule this summer, incidentally, since most of my time is going towards drawing the second Hereville book. But in May I’ll be appearing at VANcaf in Vancouver, Canada, and in August I’ll be at GeekGirlCon in Seattle, Washington.
I’m in Ohio today; I’m typing this from the library of Worthingway Middle School in Worthington, Ohio. I’ll be speaking to the kids here today, then this afternoon I’ll speak at Kilbourne Middle School, and tomorrow I’ll be visting McCord Middle School. School appearances are always fun for me, and this time I’m expermenting with some new material, a “workshop” on writing and drawing a comic strip. Wish me luck!
Then, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be at the Mid-Ohio Comic Book Con. I’ll be at table 1013; please come and say “hi” if you’re there.
I just did an author visit at the Agnon School in Cleveland via Skype, and it was so much fun! I got to talk to their 4th grade class, do live drawing demonstrations for them, show them an animated film of my drawing process, and answer their questions.
And when I was done, I was right here in my studio in Oregon.
To conclude: living in the world of the future is teh awesome.
Here are the live drawings I did for the kids. When I do this presentation, I first demonstrate for the kids how to lay out a face by using the eggshell-with-a-cross method, which is a very easy method. Then, I call on the kids to answer questions like “what should the nose be like?” or “what expression does this person have?,” and then I draw whatever they tell me to. (I draw a lot of mohawks and afros, therefore.) It’s a lot of fun. After the presentation is over, I email the drawings to the librarian, so she can print out a copy for any kids who want.
Right now it’s mostly well-off schools that have Skype setups, but nothing about being able to use Skype is so outrageously expensive that any school couldn’t do it. All that’s required is a computer monitor large enough to be seen by the whole classroom, and an internet connection. For the kids growing up now, talking to creators and other folks from all over the world is increasingly becoming an ordinary part of education.
Many thanks to Aimee Lurie, the kick-ass librarian at Agnon School who put this all together!
I’ll be at Comic-Con in San Diego this week, starting with preview night tonight and through the end of Comic-Con on Sunday.
I’m in Artists Alley, table DD-5, a fair amount of the time. I’ll have copies of Hereville and my new short story, How To Make A Man Out Of Tin Foil, with me.
I’ve never been to Comic-Con before — which is to say, I’ve been to the comic book convention that takes place in San Diego before, but as far as I can recall I’ve never been to it since it became, you know, COMIC-CON! I’m completely intimidated by the sheer hugeness of Comic-Con, but also excited.
I’m planning to spend some time going to panels, looking at other cartoonists’ tables and trying to enjoy the con, so I won’t be at my table every minute — but I’m planning to be at my table at least a few hours a day, possibly more. In addition, I’ll be doing a Hereville signing at the Abrams booth Friday and Sunday mornings.
Comic-Con is so huge that you pretty much need a strategy to attend. I’ve decided not to try to attend any of the really BIG events — the Whedon appearance, the Matt Smith appearances, and so on — because it would require too much time spent in line.
Although seeking a chance to talk to the big celebrities can lead to extremely treasure-able memories. Winter McCloud told me a great story about getting called on to ask Kristin Chenowith a question at a panel at a previous Comic-Con. (Chenowith, who is less than five feet tall, commented, “wow, you’re as tiny as I am.”) Winter (who is not shy, and who is, like me, a big fan of musicals) asked Chenowith if she’d sing just for a few moments. The crowd erupted in applause at Winter’s request, and Winter was rewarded with this performance:
I’ll be in Montreal, at Babar en ville (1235A Greene Ave, 514-931-0606) from 5 to 7pm on Monday, signing copies of Hereville. If you’re in town, please stop by and say hi.