RELIGION: A DISCOVERY IN COMICS, “is eyebrow-raising, forward-thinking, and thought-provoking.”

At least according to the Midwest Book Review, who also said that in Religion: A Discovery in Comics,

“(Margreet) De Heer recognizes the importance of the major world religions, but does not sanitize their darker aspects, to the extent that she deliberately incurs accusations of blasphemy… from atheists as well as from fundamentalists.”

 

Here’s what other reviewers said about the book:

“Refreshing in her honesty and openness, the author shares her religious roots (both parents are Christian ministers) and her journey exploring the different religions after questioning her family’s faith…The colorful, comic illustrations are respectful and will appeal to all ages; this book would be especially good for parents to use in introducing younger readers to the controversies and contrasts in different religions.”

San Francisco Book Review

 

“Offers a fresh look from different perspectives on the phenomenon of religion; the backgrounds and history of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism; and makes the point that religion is something that should unite us, not drive us apart.”

Graphic Novel Reporter

 

“Religion: A Discovery in Comics written and illustrated by Margreet de Heer, is a perfect opportunity to find an overview, all while seeking a way to understand a subject without getting so in depth you feel lost before you even begin.”

San Diego Book Review

“de Heer cartoons in an accessible friendly style that is imminently readable and takes no sides. “To me,” she concludes, “religion means mostly asking questions.” A point of view that the more hard-core followers of any belief system may find squishy – but should make a lot of sense to the more intellectually adventurous.”

Blogcritics

“Though the results of her investigation may not be especially profound, the physical product still is wonderful; she has produced a beautiful little book, with clever design, witty cartooning, and splendid use of color.”

Publisher’s Weekly

Finally, Margreet de Heer sat down with School Library Journal to discuss her work:

School Library Journal: Is there anything more you’d like to tell us about yourself and your work?

Margreet de Heer: I’m very proud that my work is presented as educational graphic novels—they actually grew out of making autobiographical comics. I love this genre, especially by women. There’s something very powerful about the personal narrative, no matter what the subject matter is.

My comics were born from a wish to draw about myself discovering things. So technically they’re autobiographical educational comics. I always start from a point where I think: How would I explain this thing to myself? How would I like to see it in pictures?

So I’m really drawing my comics to please myself. The fact that they are internationally successful is hugely satisfying for me: it seems a lot of people want to learn in the same way that I do. When I first started doing them, I did not expect this at all. I mean, who wants to “learn” something from reading a comic? Lucky for me, many people do. I hope to be drawing comics like this for quite a while to come.

Christmas is coming

It’s that time of year again! The twinkling lights, the frantic buying of gifts (why not purchase a few comics for under the Xmas tree? You’ll be the hit of the party!).

My alter ego Reverend De Heer is having a hard time with all the festive preparations…

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(This comic was published in magazine Predikant & Samenleving in 2012)

And for those who are wondering “What is Christmas really all about?” here’s a page from my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics, with a very brief summary of the life of Jesus:

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Drawing on Glass at The American Book Center

This weekend I got to draw on the huge glass window of The American Book Center in the center of Amsterdam, the one that displays all my Discovery in Comics-books and especially Religion: a Discovery in Comics, which I will be in conversation about this Thursday with Stijn Schenk of soon-to-be-launched graphic journalism site Drawing The Times.

I was quite nervous as I showed up at the store. I have never before drawn on glass and did not know what to expect. I am used to drawing while people are watching, but somehow doing it on a store window with all my books in it felt like a huge, scary exposure.

To be somewhat prepared, control freak as I am, I had drawn out my plans on paper and came armed with this:

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I was especially worried about the execution of the row of people at the bottom – could I reach it? How comfortably could I draw, hunched on a small strip of window sill…? At the store, it turned out I didn’t have to. There was a huge bin of empty cardboard boxes I could help myself to, and plenty of space in their store room, so I decided to paint this bit on cardboard.

All in all, it took me 3 exciting hours to fill the window as I had planned. The actual glass painting I did on the outside, with acrylic paint, on a positively balmy autumn afternoon with cheerful tourists passing by and even a few fans turning up. Stijn Schenk, who will ask me all kinds of questions about my work on Thursday at the ABC Treehouse, helped out and shot this delightful impression:

 

If you’re in Amsterdam and pass through the center, please check it out, it will be up for almost two weeks. And if you’re in Amsterdam and free on Thursday night, why not drop by at the ABC Treehouse (in the Voetboogstraat, almost across from the store) to hear me and Stijn talk…? I promise I’ll try to make it interesting.

Window Shopping: a Discovery in Comics

In anticipation of next week’s event, The American Book Center in Amsterdam has dressed one of its windows with all the books in the “Discovery in Comics”-series! This is what it looks like:

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I never dreamed that one day great graphic novels like Maus, Fun Home and Logicomix would be displayed in the margin of my own humble edu-comics… it is definitely not in the right proportions, but I’m going to enjoy it anyway.

This Saturday, from 1pm, I am going to claim this window even more by making drawings on the glass. If you want to see me in action, maybe cheer me on – the store is at Spui 14 in Amsterdam. Be welcome!

 

In between books

I have been a bit silent on this blog lately, and it’s because I didn’t know what to write. There’s enough going on, but that’s exactly the problem.

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We flew back from New York end of October, after a successful launch of Religion: a Discovery in Comics. We had fun at SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival, and the first positive reviews are emerging, such as these by readers on Goodreads:

“I LOVE this book! A concise, thoughtful, entertaining overview of five major religions, with a feminist critique added for good measure. Adorable illustrations.” – Vicki

“Religion is not my cup of tea and never was, but I liked this book. (…) Now I’ve got a book to advise to those who are not sure about “what’s that religion thing anyway”, what to think about it and why it is important at all.” – Ekaterina

“A lively, intelligent, and witty survey of the world’s major religions from the Dutch comics artist. De Heer can be critical but is always respectful. Entertaining, informative, and provocative.” – Edward

And then, just after we started to get over our jetlag, our new Dutch book came out, Wereldheerschappij in Beeld, about World Domination. We had a lovely, well-attended presentation in bookstore Scheltema and I gave the first copy to Gean Ockels, who said some very touching things about it.

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This is her favorite picture from the book – her father in space:

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A few interviews with me about this book are on the way (in Dutch) and it had a few very good reviews already.

On 12 November there will be a special Amsterdam presentation of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, at the American Book Center, organized by graphic journalism site Drawing The Times. This event is free to attend and will be taped, so I hope to be able to post it here later. Also, I will draw on the windows of the American Book Center somewhere next week.

So I’m really between books: definitely in my mind but also quite literally in my house, with stacks of books to sign and post.

And then there’s a third book on my mind: the next one! After all the promotion has died down, it’s time to retreat and start thinking and drawing about Love. The Dutch publication of Liefde in Beeld is planned for Spring 2017.

See why I don’t know what to write about…?

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – the Launch

Today is the official debut of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, at the Small Press Expo in Washington!

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Proud author and book

The book looks beautiful, it’s hardcover just like the other two in the series, Philosophy and Science, and has unique endsheets that the original Dutch version didn’t have. It’s a must-have! If you’re into the subject matter, of course.

The book describes the five major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. It gives information on their histories, holy people, books, places and practices, as well as some personal observations and experiences the author had as a preacher’s daughter and theology student.

Here’s an animated preview from the chapter on Hinduism and Buddhism:

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Just click on the picture to see the video on Youtube.

Today, author Margreet de Heer will be signing her book at SPX and tomorrow she’ll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Check her and the new book out at the NBM stand!

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – Win a Signed Copy!

If you would like a chance to win a FREE, SIGNED COPY of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, please enter the Goodreads Giveaway:

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I already received my author copy from NBM – and it looks great! You can find out for yourself in a few days, when it will debut officially at the Small Press Expo and the Brooklyn Book Festival – I’ll be there to sign it.

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NBM Hits SPX and Brooklyn Book Festival!

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On the weekend of September 19th-20th, you can find NBM Publishing participating at two exciting events the 2015 Small Press Expo and The Brooklyn Book Festival.

And at both events we’ll be debuting three new titles, Fires Above Hyperion by Patrick Atangan , Religion, A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer and Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq by Mael & Olivier Morel.

 

Fires Above Hyperion by Patrick Atangan

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Imagine Sex and the City written by a gay Charlie Brown.

“One day I woke up and realized I had been dating for twenty years.  Twenty years.  It’s hard to imagine anyone with as little resolve as I have doing anything for so long.” 

In this autobiographical work, Patrick Atangan documents the sad hilarity of his love life from awkward first encounters, to finding out that the great guy you’ve been dating already has a boyfriend, to the sad inevitability of a break up. With a dark sense of humor, Atangan navigates the perils of the gay world.

 

Religion, A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer

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The author of the bestselling Discovery in Comics series, including on Science and Philosophy, tackles a very sensitive subject. Dealing with religion often means walking on eggshells – that is what comic artist Margreet de Heer finds out in this book in which she presents the five major religions and modern spirituality in a colorful, personal yet serious manner. She explores religious history and practices with tact and an open mind, but can’t prevent a few eggs from breaking. Why is religion such a sensitive subject?

This book in comics is fun and informative for believers, non-believers and everyone in between. It offers a fresh look from different perspectives on the phenomenon of religion, the backgrounds and history of the five major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) and makes the point that religion is something that should unite us, not drive us apart.

 

Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq by Mael & Olivier Morel

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For hundreds of thousands of young Americans, after the shock of 9/11, there was Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, Abu Ghraib… The war in Irak. Then came the trauma. Olivier Morel gave them a voice in his compelling documentary On the Bridge. Walking Wounded isn’t the book of the documentary but the story of Morel getting close to the young vets, their troubled experience and lives. So close he could not avoid living their trauma himself, seeing all too clearly their vision of the world after their gut-wrenching experiences. From torment to reflection, Morel and artist Mael relate through these vets the impossible return of those who do aspire vividly to get back to a normal life. The effort is huge, some can’t make it, others score their own victory by finally turning the corner… a parable for our country’s war sickness.

 

SPX Details and Signing Schedule

September 19th-20th; Located at E 1-2

Appearing Saturday Only: Olivier Morel & Margreet de Heer

The Small Press Expo is North America’s premiere independent cartooning and comic arts festival. SPX brings together more than 4,000 cartoonists and comic arts enthusiasts every fall in Bethesda, Maryland.

Unlike many conventions that are geared toward pop culture or corporately owned comics, SPX was created in 1994 to promote artists and publishers who produce independent comics. SPX hosts an annual festival that provides a forum for artists, writers and publishers of comic art in its various forms to present to the public comic art not normally accessible through normal commercial channels.

Signing Schedule:

11:00 am – 12:00 pm:  Olivier Morel

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm:   Margreet de Heer

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm:     Olivier Morel

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm:    Margreet de Heer

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm:  Olivier Morel & Margreet de Heer

 

 

Brooklyn Book Festival Details and Signing Schedule

September 20th; Located at Booth# 309

Appearing Sunday: Olivier Morel, Margreet de Heer,

Julian Voloj & Benjy Melendez

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.

PANEL: Can’t You See Who I Am?

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Three comic creators talk about their new books, that explore identity, place, and finding your purpose in the city.

Join A.K. Summers, author and artist of the break-out hit Pregnant Butch, about her adventures in motherhood; Julian Voloj with his comic biography Ghetto Brother on Benjy Melendez, and the events of gangland New York in the 1970s, and Lisa Wilde, a NYC high school teacher whose collected memoir zine Yo, Miss, follows her and her diverse students as they struggle and celebrate over a single academic year.

Moderated by Jessica Abel, (Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio). Screen Projection.

At Brooklyn Historical Society; 2:00pm

 

Signing Schedule:

10:30 am -11:30 am:   Julian Voloj

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Olivier Morel

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm:   Margreet de Heer

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm:     Olivier Morel

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm:    Margreet de Heer

3:30 pm -4:30pm:      Olivier Morel

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm:    Julian Voloj

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm:    Margreet de Heer

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @nbmpub for any last minute changes.

Religion: a Discovery in Comics – What is God?

“God” is a word that gets thrown around a lot – but people mean a lot of different things by it.  My personal opinion on the nature of god (or whatever you want to call it), as expressed in my upcoming graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics, is this:

god

Whether you consider God to be an entity, energy or a concept, you would be limiting Him/It if you would consider him/it anything less than Everything. And that means it encompasses a lot of contradictory viewpoints, which I personally think is very freeing.

Just two more weeks before the book premieres at the Small Press Expo!