There’s much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan Schiff, proofreader of Margreet de Heer’s graphic novels, explains.



I translate my comics from Dutch to English myself, but I would be nowhere without my trusted Californian proofreader Dan Schiff




There’s so much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan himself explains:


I take the proofing seriously and think hard because I know translators will be using the English language version. I know it is easier to not go back and redo comics as a deadline approaches, so I feel I need to let Maggie know when a change might simply be a rewording to consider, of if it is a glaring error that MUST be attended to.

Although we call it the English language, British spelling (humour instead of humor), overly formal words (whilst instead of while) regional terms (biscuits instead of cookies) are swapped out for American versions of these terms.

Proofing comics includes noticing alignment of word balloons and captions to make sure they are consistent throughout the strip. It also includes noticing if the handles of the word balloons are pointing at the correct person, and if the coloring is off or not blended in a small area.

Punctuation widely varies and is the subject of passionate expression of views. Exclamation points, after much discussion, can appear singly or in sets of three, but never ever two side by side!! (Joke there!)

I argue my case for each proofing change, but The Stripmaker is the final voice, and as long as the pros and cons of my suggestions are considered, I am happy with whatever Maggie chooses to change, or leave as it is.

That‘s it. Waaaaay TMI, but picky picky is my job.”

Dan and I have been collaborating for over 15 years now, mostly with an ocean and a continent between us, but recently he came over for a European trip and we met up – that’s when Dan came up with the idea of the photo comic above, which we shot in comics store Lambiek. Apart from a dedicated proofreader, Dan is also an artist himself with a great sense of composition and humorous timing!

Looking forward to many more projects together, Dan!


Another Book Presentation

Last Saturday my newest book was launched, the Dutch ‘Wetenschappen in Beeld’, a 192-page comic book about science. It is the third book in the series of which ‘Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics’ is the first (the second is about religion).


The presentation took place in comic store and gallery Lambiek in Amsterdam, and was framed by a mini-expo I organized with twelve fellow comic artists, who made amazing banners on the theme of ‘Comics and Science’.

Ten of the twelve huge banners of the mini-expo (which was only “mini” because it was just there for a day).


Click twice on the picture to see the twelve banners in more detail.


VIP guest and speaker was “math-maiden” Ionica Smeets, who is a doctor in mathematics, science journalist and comics lover – she was so kind as to receive the symbolic first issue of the book.

Ionica Smeets, me and Yiri before the crowds came in.


But first, Klaas of Lambiek welcomed everyone and passed the book to my publisher, Esther van der Panne of Uitgeverij Meinema.

Klaas Knol welcomes everyone to the party.
Klaas passes the book to publisher Esther van der Panne.
Esther van der Panne said a lot of kind words about the book and about Yiri and me – especially pointing to the wonderful coloring Yiri did on the book.
Then Esther passed the book to me and Yiri and I mumbled some words of thanks…
…before passing it to Science Incarnated, Ionica Smeets, who held a delightful talk about her pet subject: mathematicians who died in freak accidents, or “fallen stars”, as she called them.


And that’s when the party really started! I signed books for about two hours, so I had not as much time to socialize as I had wanted to, but I still had a great time and enjoyed the presence of so many colleagues, fans and family members!


(Pile of books sold to Evil Scientist)


(photos by Lambiek and Sjaak van der Leden)


Presentation of the Philosophy book

There was no festive presentation for ‘Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics’ – but the launch of the original ‘Filosofie in Beeld’ in March 2010 made more than up for that. It still reverberates – so here are some impressions:


Presentation of ‘Filosofie in Beeld’ – March 2010


The book presentation was held at my favorite haunt: comics store Lambiek in Amsterdam – the place where I worked for five years and which still feels like home to me. The symbolic “first copy” was given to a representative of Philosophy in the person of “philosophy babe” Stine Jensen who is famous for her wonderful accessible books and TV programs on all kinds of philosophical subjects.


Dutch “philosophy babe” Stine Jensen: click on the picture to visit her site!


There were four speakers: first, Klaas Knol of Lambiek opened the festivities and handed the book to the publisher, Kees Korenhof of publishing house Meinema. This is extra poignant to remember, since he unexpectedly died last week, 63 years old. He was a gentle, humoristic, professional man. He was the kind of publisher who would approach writers and suggest a book for them to write – instead of waiting behind his desk for manuscripts to come in. He really knew how to get the best out of people, and it is thanks to him that I became a published author – the first comic artist ever to be published at Meinema, which is mainly a publishing house for philosophical and theological texts.

Kees Korenhof reminisced about meeting Yiri and me for the first time in Café Luxembourg, a luxurious establishment in the center of Amsterdam, which I had suggested as a bit of a bold statement: many famous writers meet there with publishers and journalists, so it was a bit pretentious of me – but I think he saw the humor in that. He also shared memories of my grandfather, who had published theological works at Meinema in the eighties, and who he had met then. My grandfather has been dead since 1995, so I found it quite touching that Kees “united the generations” in this way. I often regret not being able to show my grandfather my work and imagine he would have liked it.


Left: Kees Korenhof; right: me
(middle: Hobbes)


Kees Korenhof passed the book to me. I don’t remember what I said exactly, I hope it was brief and something like: I will now pass on this book to Stine Jensen. Oh, I thanked some people, especially Martijn Meijer who had given feedback throughout the project – and Yiri, who was tucked away in the corner and got well-deserved applause when I stressed how I couldn’t have done this without him. Not just for the coloring, but also for the immense moral and physical support he continues to give me.


Yiri and me, signing away


And THEN I gave the book to Stine Jensen and she said a lot of nice things – not just about the book, but also about how her and me could have been twin sisters in many ways: both from 1972, both into philosophy, both connections with the same cities. She was really warm and generous and made me blush.

And then there was beer, and merry-making.


Last week, I went to Lambiek to check if the english ‘Philosophy’ had arrived yet. What a contrast with 2010!

“Yeah, yeah, your book is in – here it is – now buzz off – we’re working!”


Klaas and Abel and the Book Presentation 2012…


(Just kidding, kind Lambiek guys! Although the fact that they are working hard is no joke: recently, finally, comics store Lambiek opened its online store full of great comics, original artwork and rare and special comic-related stuff. Go take a look! The site is almost as exciting and quirky as the real store!)