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.“
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.
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.