Craig Thompson's epic graphic novel, HABIBI, came out today. It is an incredible work of art, at almost 700 pages of intricately hand-drawn, inked pages like the one above. He labored on it for six years and probably threw out thousands of draft pages before calling it done, and even then he spent several more months hand-lettering the page numbers and handling every aspect of the book design, down to the exact shade of the black ink and the depth of the letterpress and goldfoil. Jeez, just scanning that many pages would kill me. His storytelling is so engaging that you forget to gawk at the art and become lost in the world he has created, turning the pages faster than you want to because you need to know what happens next. The themes are brave, heartfelt, important. It is a book that makes me want to read more, draw more, write more.
Tomorrow is Craig's birthday and I thought I would post a drawing of him I found while cleaning out my studio. Last October I had the great honor of being part of a comics residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts while Craig was there. He came into the library while Jake Wyatt and I were drawing, and humored us by sitting for a portrait. My drawing of Craig is not very good. Jake, however, does this incredible thing with pastel, as evidenced in this 15-minute drawing of me that he dashed off and then wanted to throw away. On the left is a page of the detective comic he's working on. So. much. freaking. talent.
Both of these gentlemen will be exhibiting at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco next month, October 1st and 2nd. And I am very pleased to announce that I will also be there with the next chapter of my graphic novel, THE BEST WE COULD DO. More on that soon!