On Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:30 PM, WILLIE NELSON: A GRAPHIC HISTORY writer T.J. Kirsch will be doing a live video Q&A with the fine people from Fantom Comics. Mark your calendars, and be ready with your questions!
Here is more info from Fantom Comics…
“We’re doing another comic creator event for your enjoyment. We’ll be talking to cartoonist T.J. Kirsch about his work; in particular about his newest project Willie Nelson: A Graphic History, in which he teams up with several other artists to tell the story of this country music icon from Hill County, Texas.
T.J. Kirsch is also the creator of Pride Of The Decent Man, a story with an episodic plot about a man from an abusive household who tries to lead a straight and narrow path, and his friend who always pulls him in the opposite direction and into significant trouble.
If you would like either of these books, please contact us at FantomHQ@fantomcomics.com or call during business hours at (202)-241-6498.“
Planet Earth, engaged in an intergalactic conflict, owes its salvation to the clone of Leonardo da Vinci and to the rebirth of his genius. Author Stéphane Levallois has created the fantastic universes of many of the big Hollywood blockbusters (Alien, King Kong: Skull Island, Harry Potter and many others).
The result of two years of elaboration and work, this space opera exemplifies his talent in two areas that he masters to perfection: the universe of science fiction and art. To build his story and compose his boards, Levallois draws from the painted and drawn work of the Renaissance master, selecting a large number of drawings and paintings by Leonardo to represent the characters, vessels or even the architectures in his story.
The grand scale result is stupefying as Leonardo’s everlasting visions are successfully projected into a stunning futuristic setting. A visual experience not to be missed, in a large format hardcover.
10”x14”, 96pp., color HC, $29.99 US. HC ISBN 9781681122649. DIAMOND CODE: AUG201471; Pub Date: October 14th, 2020
The highly successful series of graphic novels co-published with the Louvre museum in Paris (“Glacial Period”, “Museum Vaults”) continues with its next outstanding graphic novel. This time, the author invites us on a guided tour of the museum… by night… when the works of art come alive.
Our guide: a deaf night watchman who somehow manages to communicate with the souls of those ethereal and timeless works of art. A visual tour de force with a strong edge of the frighteningly fantastic.
61/2 x 9, 72 pages, full color trade paperback with flaps: $14.95 US ISBN: 9781561635771. DIAMOND CODE: AUG201473
Superstar European SF and Fantasy comics artist Enki Bilal revisits the Louvre in twenty-two portraits… He imagines 22 fates of men, women and children whose lives have been affected by a work of art. 22 portraits for 5000 years of creation.
They haunt the halls of the Louvre … they are long dead, often violently … they are a Roman legionary, a muse, a painter, a German officer … Each, one day, met a painter or a sculptor and was their model …
Bilal felt them, wandering the corridors of the Louvre, close to the work that tipped their life: Mona Lisa, the Victory of Samothrace, Christ reclining, an Egyptian mask …Bilal startlingly brings them back to life.
Both a work of Fantasy and a masterful homage, this was presented in a special exhibition in the Louvre in early 2013.
9 x 11 ½”, 144 pp., color Hardcover, $29.99 US, HC ISBN: 9781561638413; DIAMOND CODE: AUG201474
Fabian is supervisor at the Louvre. He loves his job. He also loves Mathilde. When it comes time, she presents him to her family in their vast country house and not without some apprehension, as the Benion clan is a bit special.
There’s her father, Louis, who heads since 1975 the family furniture company founded in 1947, and two brothers, Maxime and Joseph. They’re not bad guys, just rather clumsy and with a decidedly unsubtle sense of humor. The fact that Fabian works in the Louvre is a welcome coincidence, since they just found in the attic a painting by an ancestor in the nineteenth century.
It’s a sorry representation of a cross-eyed mutt. What is the value? ask the Benion. Is this an eyesore or a masterpiece? Fabian, pretty embarrassed, punts on the question. So for the Benion, case closed, if it ain’t an eyesore then no doubt it has its place on the walls of the Louvre!
Fabian is left hoping the whole delusion will just go away, until one day the two brothers show up at the Louvre and ask. Getting the Cross-Eyed Mutt into the Louvre would demonstrate his commitment to becoming a member of the Benion family! Fabian is now in a pickle when he meets Mr. André Balouchi, an oddball frequent visitor of the museum who turns out to have quite a bit of clout…
A raucous satirical comedy that asks: Who decides what makes a work of art worthy of being in a major museum?
Early in the pitching and proposal process of Willie Nelson: A Graphic History, the plan was to do every part of the book myself – the writing, drawing, and everything that goes along with that. It’s a daunting and intimidating thing imagining the work that will go into a project before you start it. In 2017 and 2018, the plan was still to do it all on my own. It wasn’t until really feeling truly overwhelmed by it all that I considered bringing collaborators into the mix. I spoke with Terry at NBM, and he suggested I bring in different artists for each chapter – similar to NBM’s recent Beatles biography. This seemed like a great idea to me for a few reasons, but getting to choose collaborators I admired and friends I’d made throughout my career seemed like a great benefit. I could also devote more of my time to writing the script. The rest is history! Graphic History, that is.
Here are some very early art pieces I worked on while developing the project.
For more information on Willie Nelson: A Graphic History,go here.
This past fall, before the global pandemic shut down the very idea of live music, I attended the Outlaw Music Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY – with Willie Nelson and Family headlining. Before Willie took the stage, my friend and I got a bite to eat and ended up chatting with some fellow devoted Willie fans. I mentioned in our conversation that I was writing a graphic novel about Willie’s life – and as a sort of test of my fandom, they quizzed me on the song that opens every live Willie show.
“Whiskey River, of course!” I said, referencing the Johnny Bush cover that Willie has since made his own. I passed the test!
I’m surprised my brain worked at all that night, considering the amount of secondhand smoke in the air.
Anyway, take a look at this cool silhouette panel from Chapter 5 of Willie Nelson: A Graphic History, illustrated by another fellow Kubert School Alumni Jason Pittman. If you get a chance and need a great graphic novel to read, check out Jason’s book The War For Kaleb.
For more information on the book, including how to order, click here.
My good friend Adam Walmsley, from Cabot, Pennsylvania, did a bang-up job on artwork for Willie Nelson: A Graphic History. A fellow Kubert School classmate and graduate, Adam also took over my staff artist job at Archie Comics after I left – So we have lots of shared experiences and training. Before this year’s obvious world events, he ran a successful business caricaturing at various events. Also, he’s recently been doing lots of private commissions for art lovers of all kind. So, knowing that he’s been making beautiful watercolor realist art, I thought his work would be a great addition to the Willie project. You’ll see his illustrations in the book at every chapter break, as well as the title page ( where you’ll see a peek of the art above ), and the introductory sequential pages. I was lucky that Adam was available and willing to contribute to the project – as it certainly classed it up.
See more of his work here and here, where he shares lots of process posts and behind the scenes info on his work.
Willie Nelson, now living through a global pandemic at 87 years old, was born in Texas hill country in 1933. No one could’ve predicted the longevity of Willie’s music career, and the fact that he’d still be releasing new music at his advanced age. Yet this month, he released his 70th album, First Rose Of Spring – another collection of recordings produced by Willie’s longtime co-writer/collaborator Buddy Cannon. For someone who was born during the Depression, it’s amazing to think about also living through something as massive as the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many unforeseen cancellations for Willie this year as a result of the year’s events – Farm Aid, Willie’s Fourth Of July Picnic, The Luck, Texas Reunion – that had to ultimately become virtual events. For a humble guitar picker that loves life ‘on the road,’ that can’t be an easy adjustment – to shelter in place, to not interact with fans and audiences one on one – that’s just not as fun. It can’t be an easy adjustment for someone that’s spent three quarters of a century performing for live audiences. Luckily, for Willie, he’s able to continue to make music at home and ride out these uncertain times with his close knit family. We can’t wait to see him – and the family – on the road again.
For more information on the upcoming Willie Nelson: A Graphic History from NBM Comics Biographies, go here.
As CBR notes, “NBM has billed itself as America’s first ever graphic novel publisher and it certainly showcases a full range of content that suggests it knows how to maneuver in the industry.
With over 200 graphic novels, the company has a penchant for creating comics based on real people such as the Beatles, Bob Marley, and Da Vinci. NBM is a unique company with a lot of quirks, but it could perhaps pave the way to how the industry will change over the next couple of years since it has demonstrated continued longevity.”
Thanks, CBR! After 44 years in comics, it’s always nice to be recognized.
This week I sat down comfortably in my office and talked to Chad Burdette from the Times Union – Comics Multiverse Blog. We talked about the impetus of Willie Nelson: A Graphic History and my experience of the process overall.
As Comic Artist Laureate of The Netherlands, one of my “duties” is to hand the prestigious Stripschapprijs, Holland’s one and only comics prize, to the winner. This year, that’s Wasco, a remarkable artist whose work has influenced comics makers worldwide.
Despite the current restrictions, I was able to hand him the statuette that comes with the prize, in an almost empty cinema where Wasco was regaled with messages from his friends – you can watch the proceedings (in Dutch) in this YouTube registration.