Willie Nelson: A Graphic History Scribe T.J. Kirsch Talks School, Comics, Willie & More On New Podcast

Hello out there in blog land! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in Willie Nelson: A Graphic History from NBM. Chances are also good that you’re maybe interested in the people that worked on the project. Well, today… is your lucky day! T.J. Kirsch ( that’s ME ) was recorded having a wonderful conversation about that project for the Vodka O’Clock Podcast this past week. Amber, the host of VOC, went in depth with T.J ( ME ) about his beginnings in comics, in secondary schooling, his experience as a literary agent, his previous book Pride Of The Decent Man ( NBM ), and more!

Click here and crank up your podcast listening device – whatever that may be – and take the journey. You’ll be enlightened, possibly distracted from doing those dishes, or that commute to that grocery store you love so much.

Live Q&A With WILLIE NELSON author T.J. Kirsch

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.

Follow this link to add the event to your Facebook Calendar – https://www.facebook.com/events/682967962314207

For more info about WILLIE NELSON: A GRAPHIC HISTORY, go here.

Early Development of Willie Nelson: A Graphic History

willieoldcover

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.

 

radiowillie

Whiskey River, Take My Mind

pittman panel cropThis 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.

 

 

 

 

Walmsley Does Willie

WillieAdamW

My good friend Adam Walmsley, from Cabot, Pennsylvania, did a bang-up job on artwork for Willie Nelson: A Graphic History. A fellow Kubert School classmate and graduate, Adam also took over my staff artist job at Archie Comics after I left – So we have lots of shared experiences and training. Before this year’s obvious world events, he ran a successful business caricaturing at various events. Also, he’s recently been doing lots of private commissions for art lovers of all kind. So, knowing that he’s been making beautiful watercolor realist art, I thought his work would be a great addition to the Willie project. You’ll see his illustrations in the book at every chapter break, as well as the title page ( where you’ll see a peek of the art above ), and the introductory sequential pages. I was lucky that Adam was available and willing to contribute to the project – as it certainly classed it up.

See more of his work here and here, where he shares lots of process posts and behind the scenes info on his work.

Be sure to preorder Willie Nelson: A Graphic History – available this September!

WILLIECOVERSM

NBM September 2020 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comics stores through Diamond Previews for a September 2020 release.

NEW

WILLIE NELSON: A GRAPHIC HISTORY

Created by T.J. Kirsch, Adam WalmsleyJeremy Massie, Jason Pittman, Håvard S. Johansen, J.T. Yost, Coşkun KuzgunJesse Lonergan

WILLIECOVERSM

Country music icon Willie Nelson is recognized all over the world for his music, philanthropy, and unmistakable look. Since he was a child in Hill County, Texas, he has been writing and performing for adoring crowds.

Though his mainstream success did not come until later in his life, he has been determined to take his unique sound and voice to the people even before he was a household name. There have been tragedies, missteps, IRS troubles, good times and bad along the way, but Willie continues to shine his positive outlook and project his humble voice out into the world.

In this graphic novel biography, all the chapters represent a different era of his life and struggles – each illustrated by a unique indie comics talent.

7 ½ x10, 88pp., B&W, Hardcover, US $19.99; HC ISBN: 978168112262551999; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201289; Pub Date: September 16th, 2020

PREVIEWS

 

AVAILABLE AGAIN

NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE: THE GARDEN OF SECRETS

Created by Dominique Osuch and Sandrine Martin

NIKI

Niki de Saint Phalle knew art could save the world because art saved her… from madness, from violence. Even from herself. A comics biography of the famous and controversial contemporary pop-style artist.

8×10, 186pp., full color Hardcover , US $29.99, HC ISBN: 978168112158152999; DIAMOND CODE JUL201291

PREVIEWS

 

ELVIS

Created by Philippe Chanoinat and Fabrice Le Henanff

ELVIS

Stepping into Sun Studios in 1954 Elvis Aaron Presley recorded his first single “That’s All Right”. Little did he know he would soon revolutionize music and culture worldwide. This graphic novel biography starts with the story of “The King’s” humble beginnings in Mississippi, detailing, every step of the way, his meteoric rise to the stratosphere of stardom.  It includes his service in the military, his extensive record as a Hollywood film star, his complicated family life, finally ending on the last days of the Hound Dog. Le Henanff’s striking photo-quality painting reconstructs Elvis’s life in a presentation that practically dances off the page!

8.5x 11, 88pp., full color hardcover, $19.99; HC ISBN 978168112076851999 DIAMOND CODE: JUL201290

PREVIEWS

 

DUNGEON: MONSTRES, VOL. 2 THE DARK LORD

By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Blanquet, Andreas

monstres2

Terra Amata has exploded into so many little floating islands and Herbert has become a very dark and very powerful lord, far from his goofy, shoot-from-the-belt self we all know. In both stories in this volume, the key is to find the map to the new world and great forces are in the way. Whether it’s the Dark Lord or even a very uncompromising and very determined Marvin the Red, the new map must be found!

This sub-series presents guest stars including here Andreas, known for Rork and Capricorn.

6 x9”, 96pp., full color trade paperback, $12.95, ISBN 978156163540551295; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201292; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201293

 

DUNGEON: MONSTRES, VOL. 3: HEARTBREAKER

By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Carlos Nine, Patrice Killoffer

monstre3

In the first title story, the supremely talented (especially with women) and outrageous Carlos Nine gives us the complete low-down on the sexy and dangerous killer Alexandra that the young Dungeon-keeper fell for so heavily.

In the second, Killoffer (“676 Apparitions of Killoffer”) also focuses on a spicy girl, daughter of a prominent character.

6 x 9, 96pp. full color trade pb.: $12.99, ISBN 978156163591751299; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201293

PREVIEWS

 

DUNGEON MONSTRES, VOL. 4: NIGHT OF THE LADYKILLER

By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, J-E. Vermot-Desroches, Yoann

dungmon4

Vulture sorcerer Horus, a ladykiller? Who knew? Yet, as the first story in this volume shows, he is accused of impregnating a slew of women.

The second story takes a much lighter tone starring Grogro the big always hungry goofball seen in many stories before, especially in the Parade series. Here, he’s the hero, or at least tries to be, on a mission to fix a mess with a bunch of beer brewers.

Question is: will he solve the problem… or just eat (and drink) it?

6 1/2 x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb.: $14.99, ISBN 978156163608251499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201294

PREVIEWS

 

DUNGEON MONSTRES, VOL. 5; MY SON THE KILLER

By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Blutch, Frederic Bezian

dung_mon5

In the title story, we meet Marvin the Dragon still a pup with his Mom but make no mistake, both are formidable. Their ferocity catches the eye of the Keeper who is still making his way up the ladder in Antipolis and has many dangerous enemies. He makes them his bodyguards. Soon enough, crafty little Marvin manages to witness a sinister plot and tries to save the Keeper and the city’s leaders from annihilation.

In “Soldiers of Honor,” Gork and Krag are brothers and soldiers of hell. They keep a secret door in the Dungeon. The door being little used, they get bored, until an old blind man forces Krag, alone on duty that day, to call reinforcements to prevent him from entering. Because he has not fulfilled his mission, Krag is sentenced to be killed by his own brother in the middle of the desert!

6 ½ x 9, 96 pp., trade pb., $14.99; ISBN 978156163937351499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201295

PREVIEWS

 

DUNGEON MONSTRES, VOL. 6: THE GREAT ANIMATOR

By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Stanisias, Nicolas Keramidas

dung6

In an automaton themed volume, ‘The Great Animator’ pits the predecessor to the Vaucanson great castle and realm against a huge army of ruthless invaders. The great castle’s army of battle automatons evens the fight but at great cost.

In the second story, ‘The Inventor’s Grimoire’, the Vaucanson grimoire with the secrets of building automatons has disappeared! If it fell in the wrong hands, much harm could come of it. And indeed, it turns out the greedy Lord Delacour has snatched it with the intention of auctioning it off to the highest bidder!

6 ½ x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb., $15.99, ISBN 978156163998451500; DIAMOND CODE: JUL201296

PREVIEWS

 

Willie Nelson: From Depression To Quarantine

Willie BW Sketch

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.

 

 

 

 

NBM To Attend ALA Virtual Event

Attention Librarians! From tomorrow, June 24th through Friday, June 26th, NBM will be a part of the (American Library Association) ALA Virtual Event – Community Through Connection.

ALA Virtual – Community Through Connection is an online event with educational programming, special author events, and social networking.

Participants will be able to find NBM alongside our sister company, Papercutz. In addition to a brochure of recent and upcoming titles, we’ll have digital ARCs of Giant and the upcoming Willie Nelson: A Graphic History.

Willie Nelson: Cover Process

Hello Readers!

I have been working hard behind the scenes, as I often do, to make sure the books I create are of the highest quality in the land. That means plenty of post production, page formatting, art correcting, re-lettering, and general file handling. Very exciting stuff – some might say glamorous even.

Some time last year, when things were very different, I illustrated the cover for Willie Nelson: A Graphic History – you know, the book I haven’t been able to shut up about for the past (at least) two years? The very same book in which I edited, and partly illustrated? Yes, that’s the one. Well, the process for this particular piece was recorded in a digital program called Procreate, on a portable computer called an ‘iPad’ and with a writing instrument called an ‘Apple Pencil.’

As it turns out, you can watch the whole drawing process, in a sped-up timelapse sort of way. Pretty interesting to look back on. This is, of course, just the black and white line art – which was then colored in Photoshop. The typography on the cover was done in Adobe Illustrator. Are you asleep yet? Anyway here’s the link, right below here.

Willie Nelson: A Graphic History – Line Art Process

From the book’s description;

Since he was a child in Hill County, Texas, he has been writing and performing for adoring crowds. Though his mainstream success did not come until later in his life, he has been determined to take his unique sound and voice to the people even before he was a household name. There have been tragedies, missteps, IRS troubles, good times and bad along the way, but Willie continues to shine his positive outlook and project his humble voice out into the world. In this graphic novel biography, all the chapters represent a different era of his life and struggles – each illustrated by a unique indie comics talent.

 

COVER