Lesbian Protestant Science!

Ha, got your attention with that title, right?

In this blog, I’d like to showcase the three running comics series I have right now: one is for lesbian magazine Zij aan Zij, the second for protestant magazine Predikant & Samenleving, and the third is popular science magazine Wetenschap in Beeld.

minnie-plato

The comic about bisexual Minnie is the longest running, I’ve been drawing it for 13 years! In this episode, Minnie gets philosophical (as I get in Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics). I used this story as well in my latest book, on Love.

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Reverend De Heer (my alter ego) has been running since 2012. I love drawing it, it gives me a chance to comment on a lot of current issues. Most Dutch Protestant reverends are rather laid-back people who are pretty open-minded about everything – I should know, I’m the product of two of them (see for more on this my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics).

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The third comic is the newest: I’ve been drawing this for a popular science magazine for less than a year. I love doing research on different scientific topics (much like I did in Science: a Discovery in Comics) and it’s always a challenge to get all the information in the panel.

I like that being a simple comic artist gives me the chance to touch upon so many different subjects at the same time!

The Coloring Process

I live in the fortunate circumstance that my husband Yiri is also an artist and helps me with my books. Not only does he provide necessary feedback and peptalks, he has taken on the coloring ever since 2009, when we started Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics.

Since then, he has colored Religion, Science – which almost killed him (no kidding! He had a heart attack while we were working on that 192-page monster) – and World Domination. It took a lot from his health and especially caused chronic shoulder and neck pains. So we decided to do things differently for the book about Love; after all, too much love will kill you, as the song says.

Our coloring process in the last year has been this:

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We’re in the last phase of the book now, the deadline for the publisher is next month. So far, this new routine is fast, fun and relatively stress-free. And Yiri is not half dead, which is a great relief to both of us.

Finishings

When making a graphic novel, there are many milestones that can be celebrated with a heart-felt: “Finished!”. There’s the moment all the pages are drawn; then when they are all digitalized, lettered and put in the right order; when they’re all colored; when the file is sent to the publisher; when the file is sent to the printer’s; and then, finally, when the actual book arrives and can be held in my greedy hands. Finished!

booklet

Yiri and I especially celebrate the first finishing: when all the pages are drawn. It has become tradition to make a little doodle in a tiny booklet, marking time and date.

Here’s the first Finishing, in 2009, when we made Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics:

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This one was drawn a year later, in 2010, when finishing Religion: a Discovery in Comics:

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Science: a Discovery in Comics was a heavy one – it was finished in the summer of 2012:

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The fourth book, about World Domination, is not out in the States yet, but I have just made an info page on my site if you want to take a look. This is how I felt when finishing it, in 2015:

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And just a few weeks ago, the last pages of the book about Love were drawn!

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We’re now in the process of finishing up the other finishings: the colors, the text corrections, the index etc. But those are minor finishings – the big one is out of the way!

Here’s another drawing from the little book, by the way, the only one in English:

doumph

Words to live by!

Loss

I have not been very active online these past weeks – no blogs, no webcomics even – and the reason is the news of the death of the man I was in a relationship with from 1997 until about 2002. I met him when I was 24 and he was 60 years old – yes, that’s some age gap, but that isn’t the most controversial thing. He was an extraordinary person: ex-legionnaire, talented author, energetic bon-vivant and, alas, the cause of the death of his second wife in 1991, in the tragic culmination of a marriage turned bitter. The story of his crime has become the most widely known thing about him, and I regret that.

There was so much more to him.

Since he was a bit of a notorious figure, the Dutch media reported his death widely and of course this elicits comments from people who knew him, think they knew him, or did not know him at all. Some of the stories that emerge are true, others are total rubbish. It’s so weird to read these things about someone you know so well, almost as if total strangers come unbidden into your living room and start yelling random insults – it’s both frightening and infuriating.

But it’s nothing in comparison to the public avalanche about his person some fifteen years ago, one in which I personally got caught up because I was his girlfriend. I did get involved with the press then, just to get my story out, and learned the hard way that it’s much better for my equilibrium not to. So eventually our relationship became something I never talked about, and that was okay. He and I knew what we had had, and that was enough.

But now he’s dead, and I feel loss and grief and an inability to express it.

I loved this man. What we had was good. His crime stood not in the way of us loving each other. I always felt safe with him, and he went out of his way to take the best care of me. When I think about us, I smile: yes, we were a weird couple, but the affection and passion we had were deep and genuine, and even after we broke up we still held a soft spot for each other.

I think it’s important I say this publicly. Not only for myself, but to convey to the world that things are never that black and white. That there’s more to a person than just the things he did wrong. That love can be a real thing even when there’s vast differences in age and background.

It was during our time together that I started drawing comics. At one point I thought my debut would be a graphic novel about us, but I abandoned this plan when I realized how much that would brand me as “the girlfriend of a killer”, a label that certainly would have hindered me as I embarked on my comics career.

Still, that’s over a hundred comics pages just lying around, gathering dust. Now seems the perfect time to show some of them.

So here’s the condensed version of the life of Richard K., up until 2001:

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This layout is inspired by Joe Matt, especially his early comics in Peepshow. I liked the “in a nutshell”-concept, the black and white grid and how much you can fit into it.

We corresponded a lot when he was in jail, and this is a letter he wrote to me in 2002, and which I turned into a comic. It’s a lovely letter, it shows so well how linguistically versatile he was, and it’s also a rather nice love letter, touching humorously upon our issues of flirtatiousness and jealousy and also, I think, expressing much tender fondness between us. I know he displayed this comic on a wall in his house up until the day he died:

letter01 letter02 letter03 letter04 letter05 letter06

He also makes an appearance in my book Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, as “Gerrit, an old family friend” – explaining how Nietzsche’s work has influenced his life:

gerrit01 gerrit03

Rest in peace, dear Richard K., my Klink – although I doubt that your vivacious spirit will have much use for eternal rest. May you live on forever in Dutch literary mythology for the whole person that you were – and let it be known that you were loved.

Also Available in September: More from de Heer and get your WAR FIX!

NBM’s September selections in this month’s Diamond Previews continue in the tradition of publishing quality educational graphic novels with gripping (and real) subject matter. Also being solicited are other examples of our educational side and our true war stories depicting the perils of war.

Margreet de Heer’s RELIGION: A DISCOVERY IN COMICS is not her first graphic novel with us! We have previously released two others in her “Discovery in Comics” series to great acclaim. These two titles are available now from to order from your local comic shop or bookstore. We have had lots of feedback from parents, educators, and students alike who have used the books as a great tool to introduce difficult concepts. The approachable access to the text makes this series very readable for high schoolers and struggling students.

SCIENCE- A Discovery in Comics

SCIENCE- A Discovery in Comics
Margreet de Heer

Science: dull or hard to understand? Not if you read this book! The creators of ‘Philosophy – a Discovery in Comics’ take on a new challenge, and explain the different scientific disciplines in clear, colorful chapters.
Who exclaimed “Eureka” and why?
Why did Galileo get into a fight with the Church?
What happens when you have your DNA tested?
All these questions and more are answered in a chronological journey from ancient times to modern Quantum Theory, with creators Margreet and Yiri as your witty guides.
A great comic book for anyone who wants to learn in a fun way the bigger framework of science, or brush up on what they learned in school.

8×8, 192pp., full color hardcover, $19.99,

ISBN 9781561637508

Diamond Order Code: MAY131196

Philosophy- A Discovery in Comics

PHILOSOPHY- A Discovery in Comics
Margreet de Heer

A fun introduction in comics to deep thinking and the history of Philosophy!
What is Thinking? And how does our thinking set us apart from other animals?
Now that we’re thinking, what is Reality? Is there an objective reality or are there numerous subjective realities? And do we move in it with a free will or is everything predestined?
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Erasmus, Descartes, Spinoza, Nietzsche: just a few philosophers who have pondered these questions.
Comic artist Margreet de Heer and her husband Yiri travel through the history of Western Philosophy and draw a colorful picture of all these questions.

8×8, 120pp., full color hardcover, $16.99,

ISBN 9781561636983

Diamond Order Code: MAY121212

For more information, preview pages, or to place your order, visit our website!

As a companion for September’s WALKING WOUNDED, David Axe, a journalist who covered the War in Iraq, presented his story in WAR FIX, illustrated by Steve Olexa. The dark story is presented in black and white–but it is sometimes consumed by the darkness, much like the protagonist himself. Upon release, the book made lots of waves, winding up in the 2008 Best American Comics compilation! Click here for preview pages and ordering information!

WAR FIX
Steve OLEXA & David AXE
War can be addictive. So testifies journalist David Axe who’s been there, in the middle of the action in Iraq. The high is potent no matter how much you know how dangerous it is… Here’s Axe’s journal of dealing with his addiction, the high, the sheer excitement of being in there, in the battle, the cost to his life, never mind the threat. A new form of visceral self-analyzing comics journalism starts with this book… An allegory for the US? A graphic novel sure to fascinate with a talented artist to watch for!

6×9, 96pp., B&W, jacketed hardcover, $15.95,
ISBN 9781561634637

Diamond Order Code: FEB063184

Order now from our website or from your favorite comic store!

Here’s Your Handy TCAF Schedule

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This weekend you can find three of our authors attending the Toronto Comics Arts Festival.  We’ll be located at Booths 169 & 170 and will have copies of all of our latest titles on hand including Lulu Anew (officially premiering here), Ghetto Brother, Girl in Dior and more.

Our authors in attendance include Etienne Davodeau, Julian Voloj and Margreet de Heer.

Below find our signing and appearance schedule for the weekend.

 SATURDAY

9:00-10:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

10:00-11:00
Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

11:00-12:00
Étienne Davodeau at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

1:00-2:00
Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

1:30-2:30
Étienne Davodeau Spotlight: In conversation with Pascal Girard at The Pilot on 22 Cumberland Ave.

Étienne Davodeau has a long and venerated career in French comics, but his masterworks are only now beginning to appear in English. His 2014 release The Initiates, an autobiographical tale about a winemaker and comics artist who trade jobs for a year, topped many critics lists. Now in 2015 Davodeau releases the acclaimed Lulu Anew, a bestseller which inspired a feature film in France! Meet Davodeau as he converses with his former collaborator, Québécois cartoonist Pascal Girard (Reunion, Bigfoot) and moderator Thomas-Louis Côté, director of the Festival de la BD francophone à Québec in what is sure to be a wonderful discussion.

2:30-3:30
Étienne Davodeau book signing at Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor Street East

2:00-3:00
Margreet de Heer and Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

2:30-3:30
Étienne Davodeau will do a signing at the Marriott

3:00-4:00
Julian Voloj at Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1  at 789 Yonge Street

From Gangs to Hip Hop: The Story of Ghetto Brother
A look into the background of the fascinating non-fiction graphic novel Ghetto Brother, which tells the story of the 1971 gang truce that paved the way to the emergence of hip hop in the South Bronx. This is also the story of Benjy Melendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant and founder of the notorious gang “Ghetto Brothers” who, in environment dominated by drugs, poverty, and violence, promoted peace, not revenge, and after learning about his Crypto-Jewish background, reclaimed his roots. Photojournalist Julian Voloj explains how he unearthed the story and what source material was used to make this stranger-than-fiction tale as authentic as possible.
Introduction by Terry Nantier

4:00-5:00
Etienne Davodeau and Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

SUNDAY

11:00-12:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

11:15-12:00
Étienne Davodeau appearing on Truth & Intimacy in Graphic Memoir panel
Marriott Bloor-Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East, Toronto
Autobiography and memoir are among the most popular genres of contemporary comics, and with good reason: the successful comics memoir renders its subjects explicitly, both textually and visually. In this medium where so little is left to the imagination, real experience may never have been so intimate, so “true.” In this feature presentation, moderator Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading) will interview four of the most acclaimed practitioners of contemporary comics memoir, to get at the root of what it’s like to put it all on the page. Featuring Dustin Harbin (Diary Comics), Étienne Davodeau (The Initiates), John Porcellino (King Cat), and Raina Telgemeier (Sisters).

12:00-2:00
Étienne Davodeau at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

2:00-4:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

Appearing at TCAF: Margreet de Heer

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This weekend, is TCAF,  The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, a celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators.  The two-day exhibition and vendor fair features hundreds of comics creators from around the world.

NBM Publishing will be on hand with several of our creators, including Margreet de Heer, author of SCIENCE- A Discovery in Comics, PHILOSOPHY- A Discovery in Comics and the upcoming RELIGION – A Discovery in Comics.

SCIENCE- A Discovery in Comics

Margreet de Heer is a graphic novelist from The Netherlands. She has made a variety of comics, from kids’ stuff to philosophical “comic reports” for a range of newspapers and magazines, but has become known for her educational Discovery in Comics series, which started in The Netherlands in 2010 and that has been picked up in the US by NBM Publishing.

 

Margreet will be attending with NBM Publishing and will be signing throughout the weekend.

For more details visit torontocomics.com