Women in Science

It’s been Women’s Day, so here’s a nice opportunity to post some comics about women scientists I recently did for magazine Wetenschap in Beeld – the first is about Alice Ball, who caused a breakthrough in the treatment of leprosy, 100 years ago…:

aliceball

And then there’s ballsy Maria Merian, who quite independently steered her own career as an entomologist in the 17th century:

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I drew Maria Merian before, in my book Science: a Discovery in Comics – in fact, I drew two pages about women in science through the ages (I think I posted them on this blog before, but it’s still worth repeating):

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Hurray, women!

Here’s to many more Women’s Days beyond the 8th of March…

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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.

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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!

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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:

philosophy

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

religion

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:

worlddomination

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:

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Words to live by!

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

Girl in Dior and Ghetto Brother star at popular MoCCA Fest

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Just back from the best MoCCA fest ever for us. Hell, we broke our previous full two day record at this show somewhere towards the end of Saturday and Sunday went gangbusters with never ending lines for special international guest Annie Goetzinger right after the panel on biographies she was on.

I have to admit I was a tad skeptical about the multi floor layout in the new space but because they equally distributed main attraction publishers throughout the floors, I thought traffic was good.

But hey, it doesn’t hurt having such beautiful and inspiring books as Ghetto Brother and Girl in Dior to premiere at any show and fans came steadily to us throughout, selling us out of those as well as many other books.

An energizing experience, thanks to all who came by our booth! You can see pics we posted on Twitter and Facebook.

NEXT: the Toronto Comics Arts Festival in a month where special guest Etienne Davodeau will premiere his highly reviewed Lulu Anew, already with two starred reviews (Library Journal and Publishers Weekly), a record for us, I believe, and where you’ll be able to meet Margreet de Heer (A discovery in Comics: Science and Philosophy) and where Julian Voloj of Ghetto Brother will be at as well.