My friend Kristina Krengel interviewed me for an assignment in her graphic novel class. (Pause. How awesome is it that "graphic novel class" exists?) Since you're here and I'm here, I thought I'd share what I shared. Some of these anecdotes have been posted before. Am I turning into that guy who shares the same stories over and over?

When did you begin reading comics/graphic novels and why?  I know I've talked to you about it helping with dyslexia (I've used that as a pro with my reading teachers before.  Thanks.), but was that why you began to read them or just a positive byproduct?

I began reading comics when I was about nine years old. I have dyslexia, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. All I knew as a kid was that I had a hard time reading, and I got held back in elementary school because of my grades. Then I discovered comic books, mostly Marvel Comics -- X-MEN, POWER PACK, CLOAK AND DAGGER, X-FACTOR, and NEW MUTANTS. And something clicked. Of course, now I know word balloons group the text in a way that makes it easier for someone with dyslexia. And the illustrations reinforce the words, working in harmony, so that the reading experience is at a more “natural pace” and can be enjoyed. It helped that the stories were wonderfully dramatic, heartbreaking, funny, surprising, and a little crazy. I never missed an issue. It was the fun, expansive universe that I was able to engage in.

What are your favorite types of comics & GN?  Why?  Do you have a favorite artist or author?

It may sound like I'm cheating to say I love all comics, but I really do. I love mainstream, small press, and independent comics. I love a wide variety of genres. I love Japanese comics (manga) and European comics. Wherever there's a good story, I want to read it. I have a few favorite creators. Right now, I'd say my favorite is Naoki Urasawa. He's one of the most talented storytellers we've ever seen. MONSTER, PLUTO, 20THE CENTURY BOYS -- he crafts these amazingly dense, epic heartfelt stories. His comics are as engaging as anything you'd see on HBO, A&E, or Showtime. I also like Rutu Modan. She's an Israeli illustrator and comic book artist. Urasawa tells big, often loud, stories. Modan's work is much softer and more tender, but her stories will just destroy you. From the U.S., Will Eisner, who passed away in 2005, is my Twain, my Hemingway, my Fitzgerald. His work and his name should be right up there with those authors. He created some of the greatest literature I've ever read, and yet you won't see his name spoken with the same veneration.

I know you helped build a larger GN section in Martin's library while you were there.  Why did you want to do this?  Was it easy to get support or not?  How was the circulation of the section?

Librarians are amazing people. I've never met a librarian who wouldn't move heaven and hell to get you a book. And when I gave Martin's librarian a list of comics/graphic novels that the students would enjoy (and it was a long list), she ordered every single one. It's the most popular section of the school library. I know people bemoan that these comic book kids are no longer reading "real novels," but these kids are actually the ones who are more likely to read novels. They're not the problem; they are our future. It's the kids who never set foot in the library that we should worry about. They don't think there's anything in there for them. And I guarantee we could find a comic book they would love.

Why did you decide to start writing GN? 

I always wanted to be a writer. I've dabbled with fiction and non-fiction, essays and short stories. I've written for magazines and websites. And I knew I'd eventually stumble into comics when the opportunity was there. Twelve years ago, I wrote a one-act play for my friend who had a theater troupe. I had about a week to write it. The experience was a trial-by-fire for scriptwriting. The day after opening night, I started writing my first comic. Writing is about momentum, and one experience led me to another.

How did you go about writing (the short version) your graphic novels? How many have you written?

I've written five major works -- KARMA INCORPORATED, EMILY EDISON, ASTRONAUT DAD, WE'VE NEVER MET, and an adaptation of ANTIGONE. I've written twice as many graphic novels (mostly treatments and some full scripts) that have never seen publication. I've had 18 smaller comic book projects published in various formats.

The writing process is different for each comic book/graphic novel. It largely depends on the type of story I write. (Once again, I dabble in different genres. Each story takes a different shape and a different approach.) It also depends on the artist I work with. I try to tailor our collaboration to his or her own preferences and abilities. For instance, Paul Milligan and I largely co-wrote our graphic novel project. With Brock Rizy, our graphic novel was a lot of creative back and forth. On WE'VE NEVER MET, Chad Thomas had ideas that I injected into the work, but it was mostly me passing the finished scripts to him. I wrote ASTRONAUT DAD several years before I found an artist. It all starts with me and a notepad. I brainstorm ideas, jot down a loose outline. I then type a four page synopsis, which I reference when I type the script.


You can now order the complete ASTRONAUT DAD (160 pages, b&w) on Amazon and Createspace.com. We get a little more money per sale through Createspace, so if you don't mind which online retailer you use -- it'd be preferable to use the smaller guys. Since we're publishing this book through a print-on-demand company, this book will not be available through the Previews catalog. Hence, you probably won't find this book in comic book stores. If you want it, you'll need to buy it online. (For local retailers, I might be able to direct order some copies for you. However, I can't sell it on consignment. Contact me to let me know how many copies you want.) I'll post an announcement if I do a signing anywhere in town or have a booth at a convention. Speaking of conventions, this weekend is Fan Days at the Irving Convention Center. I won't have a booth, but Kennedy and I are going for fun on Sunday. As always, they have some great guests -- and with the larger convention floor space, these shows (Dallas Comic Con, Fan Days, and Sci-Fi Expo) should be considered among the top tier "geek events" in the country.


As a mentioned last week on this blog, after a five month unplanned hiatus, I need to reevaluate how I can "sustain momentum" as a comic book writer (i.e. no more nervous breakdowns and still keep writing). Find balance in my life, family, teaching, and comics. Thus, I need to prioritize, focus, and cut down my work load. No more working on seven projects at a time. I'm going for a leaner, smarter David Hopkins as writer. The plan. I've divided my writing work into five categories:

1. Completed projects: stuff I've already written (and maybe it's completely art'd), and it just needs to be published 2. Ongoing projects: stuff I'm currently writing and/or it's in the process of being published 3. New projects: stuff I haven't written yet, but I'm planning to work on 4. Abandoned projects: the graveyard of rejected proposals and unfinished projects 5. Loose ends: small bits of writing I've promised to people

As far as completed projects, I need to renew my efforts to find a home for ASTRONAUT DAD and HOW TO LOSE BIG. In regards to ASTRONAUT DAD, it's frustrating for a beautiful 160 page graphic novel to be completely finished and yet unread. Also, HOW TO LOSE BIG is such a great story. The proposal looks great. We just need to find it a home.

With ongoing projects, I'm focusing all my energy on WE'VE NEVER MET, which resides on the back inside page of the free weekly entertainment newspaper Quick. On a professional and creative level, it's everything I could ever hope for. It's consistent, paying work where I get to develop a continuity and collaborate with a talented artist. We have a massive local readership (Quick reaches more than 90,000 per week), and the potential for a huge fanbase. Story wise, I love the slice-of-life feel of WE'VE NEVER MET. It's a story about a person's life, an adventure in searching for meaningful relationships and pursuing artistic goals. It doesn't have to be a "gag comic" nor does it need super heroes, monsters, robots, zombies, pirates, or ninjas. Although, it does have one hobo.

ANNOUNCEMENT #1: As of this month, WE'VE NEVER MET is now weekly. It's no longer on an every other week cycle. This will give us a much better opportunity to build our audience. That's 52 pages every year. Unfortunately, it does end the regular appearance of LISTOONS (click here), created by my friends Geoff and Cal, with whom we alternated on that back page. LISTOONS isn't gone. There should be periodic appearances elsewhere in the pages of Quick.

In the next few weeks, Liz (our protagonist) will be in the studio recording an EP. We will introduce a new character, Lindsay Graham from Junius Recording Co. Liz's last name will finally be revealed, as well as the band's name. Exclusive preview: The band name is Inklings.

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: Speaking of Inklings, music producer Lindsay Graham and I are entering the bold terrain of fictitious bands -- Gorillaz, Josie & the Pussycats, Partridge Family, Monkees, The Oneders, etc. We're still in the early stages of everything, but you can expect to actually hear Liz's band. You'll be able to buy the album, proudly wear an Inklings t-shirt, request them on KXT, or vote for them in the Observer Music Awards. Who knows where it will all lead? I'm proud to be working with Lindsay, and I can already tell this is going to be an exciting experiment.

Inklings are my new favorite band.

But first, Liz has to write some more songs (below: a preview of the October 14th comic).

My other goal in the "ongoing projects" category, unrelated to WE'VE NEVER MET, is to try to write at least two features for D Magazine every year. And guess what?

ANNOUNCEMENT #3: I just signed a contract for my first magazine feature (2,000 words). I don't want to go into any further details. Let's wait until the story is sent to my editor, and then off to the printers.

With new projects (and this is a difficult issue), I'm going to work on only one new graphic novel proposal at a time. Jamar Nicholas and I have our BULLETPROOF WEST project. That's the one. Nothing else until that's complete. I know I've mentioned this idea before, but it's new because all we have is a plot outline and some characters. I'll have more details soon.

With abandoned projects, unfortunately, there are too many to name: FRONTIER, BOLIVAR, OMISOKA BRIDGE, JACK RUBY, KARMA INC 2. Better not to think about it.

With loose ends, Paul and I are working on the finale for SOUVENIR OF DALLAS to appear on D Magazine's Frontburner blog. Also, Brock and I have a short Emily Edison side project that I need to script this week.

And that's the update. Sound good? Let me know your thoughts.


As Brent mentioned on his blog, he finished the art for ASTRONAUT DAD a few days ago. The entire story is done, all 160 pages -- making it my largest comic book project thus far.

It's also the one I've been working on the longest. ASTRONAUT DAD was the second comic book script I ever wrote. Initially, I wrote a five issue series called THE INSIGHT, which will forever remain hidden away. It was part of my learning curve and never meant for human consumption. (Best advice to a new writers: throw away your first attempt! Let it go and move on.) However, then in 2003, I wrote ASTRONAUT DAD.

The original idea was to do something reminiscent of the Silver Age Fantastic Four. The kids would be super adventurers, and the parents would be involved in NASA. It was a weak premise. Eventually, I made an important decision to strip away the adventure/fantasy aspects and make it more personal. I re-focused on the families, specifically how children perceive their fathers as the kids come of age. (Tangent: These two people had an interesting discussion on this aspect of ASTRONAUT DAD. Click here.)

I did about six months of research on NASA and the Cold War, took extensive notes, bought old copies of LIFE magazine, watched quite a few documentaries, and read Tom Wolfe's THE RIGHT STUFF. I put together character outlines and a detailed treatment of the plot. The first draft of this script only took a month. Actually, I think (my memory is fuzzy) I wrote the last chapter in one day, one very long day.

Brent would find this amusing. I looked through some old emails. Before I met Brent, I first approached another artist. Here's what I said in the email: "It's a coming-of-age story about three astronaut families during 1963. The draw back? It's 144 pages, and would be a real bitch to draw." (Obviously, we've added some pages. Mostly chapter breaks, title page, etc., the page count stayed pretty rigid throughout the editing process.)

The instant I met Brent I knew he'd be perfect for ASTRONAUT DAD. His art style is nostalgic of Jack Kirby without feeling derivative. And like all the artists I work with, it's "cartoony" and highly expressive. (Before starting the art, I mentioned to Brent the importance of subtly and emotional depth, numerous times -- and kept referencing the work of Will Eisner.) Brent had to decline at first, because he was working on an early version of DUMMY'S GUIDE TO DANGER with Jason Burns and then later HORRORWOOD with Brandon Terrell. Around 2005, patience paid off, and he agreed to illustrate ASTRONAUT DAD.

From an early email to Brent: "For me, this story is about doing something meaningful. I think it's the only story I've written that doesn't have somebody punching or pulling a gun on somebody else."

Justin Stewart joined our team as the letterer. He's a good friend and an absolute professional. It's never easy to be the last person in an assembly line, but he was fast and skillful. In a digest-sized comic, Justin produced something highly readable with a good sense of balance and placement. All the while, he never ever crowded out the art. And thank god, no typos. To me, that is the very definition of a great letterer.

I started my first rewrite when Brent came on board. For this rewrite, I printed the script, kept it in a 2" binder, and made a ton of notes. Then due to a corrupted file, I lost the document on my computer and I had to retype the entire thing from the edited version in my binder. It was a pain, but it was probably the best thing that could happen to the story. I caught so much while retyping.

After an adaptation ANTIGONE with Silent Devil, publisher Christian Beranek called to ask what I would like to work on next. (I've mentioned this story a few times on this blog and with friends.) I never had an editor approach me for a story before. It was a great moment. It was like being handed a blank check. You will let me do whatever I want? I told him about ASTRONAUT DAD. "Let's do it." It was that easy, and it might never be that easy again. We decided to divide the story into two graphic novels. Each volume would be three chapters, and priced at an affordable $5.95. We wanted to have the two books released within six months of each other.

Now that ASTRONAUT DAD was going to be published, I went for a second rewrite. I called in a favor with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (website). I offered to help them with their website if they would read ASTRONAUT DAD, give some notes and a little friendly mentorship, which they were happy to do.

Volume one came out mid-November 2007. We debuted the book at Wizard World Texas (photo set).

After that, there were some delays. I'd like to blame the economy. Brent was in a position where he needed to take as much freelance work as was available, which left little time to work on ASTRONAUT DAD. I wasn't worried. I knew we'd finish this book. For anyone who gave me a hard time, I'd remind them that some Marvel Comics have had longer delays -- and Brent is creating something three times longer, penciling and inking, with no page rate. So, shut up.

During this time, there were some major changes at Silent Devil. Christian obtained a sweet job working with Ahmet Zappa and Harris Katleman. They signed a multi-year deal with Walt Disney Studios to create Kingdom Comics. Silent Devil still exists, but (as far as I understand) is not actively publishing titles like they used to.

The delay, the changes at Silent Devil, and me recently acquiring a literary agent (more info about that later) opened a new opportunity for ASTRONAUT DAD. Brent and I talked about re-publishing the graphic novel as one single volume with a larger publisher. Josh Fialkov did it with ELK'S RUN, moving from his own label "Hoarse and Buggy" to Speakeasy to Random House's Villard imprint. We were so close to completion we decided to finish everything first, then solicit the project. As Brent said on his blog, "Now the real journey begins for this story." Time to find another publisher for ASTRONAUT DAD. Anyone interested? Talk to this guy. [UPDATE 02/26/12: Don't talk to that guy. He's no longer a literary agent... and we published it ourselves. Read about it here and here.]


My friend and fellow teacher Lisa McWain retired a few years ago. (I took her room when she left. My previous room had no windows and a flimsy partition dividing my class from the one next door. It was a nice step up.) Last year, Lisa took some college courses, one of which was on comic books. She interviewed me for a project. I stumbled across the interview while organizing my desktop, and thought I'd post it here.

Your blog is really interesting; my favorite part is the Kennedy poop story.

Thanks. I probably spend too much time on my blog. I've been blogging for six years. It's a terrible distraction from actual writing. The Kennedy poop story was hilarious. She’s at an age where she says the funniest stuff without realizing it. A few days ago, she told me I should buy a Toyota Spyder. I told her I didn’t have enough money, so she said April, my girlfriend, could buy it for me.

The comic in D magazine – great!

That's been a good deal for me and the artist, Paul Milligan. I got involved with D Magazine through Trey Garrison who read my Superman essay with the Man from Krypton Smart Pop Book and thought I had some potential. The comic idea was proposed one afternoon, and I made a good impression on their editor Tim Rogers. Our fifth installment of Souvenir of Dallas should be in the August issue. (UPDATE: We're on our 10th installment as of June 2009.)

The Art Conspiracy idea is wonderful.

Sarah Jane Semrad and Jason Roberts are the two people behind Art Conspiracy (http://artconspiracy.org). I’m proud to have been involved with it over the years. Recently, I was asked to contribute a journal to auction for their summer fundraiser. That has taken most of my time recently, working on the journal.

Have you ever done any work in KC?

Not in Kansas City, but Lawrence, Kansas is one of my favorite cities. I’ve been there. I have some friends who live in Lawrence, and I did a store signing at Astrokitty Comics. Great store.

My dad worked as a mechanical engineer for the space program; we lived in Hunstville, AL during the late early sixties, and followed all of "his" launches.

That's really cool. The NASA space program had to be one of the proudest moments in U.S. history. We attempted something great that didn’t involve killing lots of people in another country. However, it was still part of a "war" I guess, the Cold War. I speak through Jimmy in chapter two about that. We’ve been better at bombs than rockets. I was born in 1977. Our last moon landing was in 1973. I hope I live to see us attempt another moon landing. If we wait too long, no one from the original Apollo program will be around to assist. That would be a mistake.

Background Questions: When and how did you start?

About six years ago, my friend Aja invited me to write a stage play for a production opportunity she had at UTA. I thought I’d need a few months. She gave me a few weeks. While writing it, there were many nights that went until four in the morning. In the end, I spit out a semi-decent play. Opening night was a proud and awkward moment. I wore my wedding suit, which felt oddly symbolic. The play itself was a difficult experience to watch. Afterward, I went to my apartment, determined to never write another stage play. However, I had been bitten by an urge to write and comics seemed like a natural fit. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the format and the medium itself. I want to say the more you write the easier it gets, but that's not true. You learn how to be challenged at a higher level than you were before. Hopefully.

Your biggest influences:

I don't know if these influences are all that obvious, but novelist Douglas Coupland and director Wes Anderson have made a huge impact on me. And hey, Wes Anderson and I share a birthday. The influence question is a tough one, because in the end, people are influenced by so much more than the sum of their favorite books, films, and songs. I would love to be called "Coupland-esque," but I never sit down in front of my computer trying to figure out how to write like him. I struggle enough as it is to find my own stories; let alone figure out a way to channel other writers. I like what Alan Moore once said in an interview about being influenced by hundreds of writers, instead of just one.

Advice to future writers:

The best advice isn't all that new. I've heard people say it over and over again: Writers write. They don’t sit around talking about what they want to accomplish some day in the hypothetical future. They do it. Because while you are sitting around thinking about it or attending conferences on how to do it, someone else is out there working harder than you, stealing your dream job. Lots of people want to be writers or say they have a "million dollar idea," but they don't do anything. Start today or don't do it all. People need to stop romanticizing the writing profession, and just put words on paper.

On your site, I see at least 6 different publishers as well as at least 2 works that are self-published. How do you work with the different companies?

All those companies are small operations. Often, you build a professional relationship with those people through mutual friends. I got involved with Viper and Silent Devil via some short stories I contributed to their anthologies. Over the years, I've become good friends with the editors. As their company grows, they stay loyal to the talented peopled they've worked with along the way. That's ideally what happens. Of course, comic book conventions tend to be the place where everyone meets everyone.

I have dipped into the SmartPop books before, the Harry Potter one, the Grey’s Anatomy one, etc. I read the beginning of your essay on Superman – good stuff. How did you get involved with them? Do you like writing essays?

Actually, I hate writing essays. Hate it. It does not come naturally at all. Whereas I've developed a certain pace with script writing, those essays feel like pushing a boulder uphill. I cringe when I re-read what I've written. It’s a skill I need to develop, so I force myself to get better. From a freelance perspective, the pay is much better than comics. I made more money with one 500 word essay for D Magazine than five years worth of comic book publishing. Sad and true. Essay writing can pay a few bills. I got involved with Smart Pop, because I was a friend in high school with one of the editors. We touched base when I lived in Dallas. She gave me a shot at the Superman essay, and her boss gave me the green light.

Do you share your work (and/or its process) with your students? I think they would be fascinated to hear from a real writer.

Rarely, if ever. I like to keep the two areas separate. I’ve never wanted to be "that teacher" who is continually trying to impress the students. I mean, just because you play guitar does not mean you should perform camp songs for your students. If the students discover my work on their own, that's cool. Otherwise, my writing wasn't intended to cross over into my teacher career. Although in my Creative Writing class, I will talk more openly about my process, because there is a logical application.

Why is your site named as it is?

www.davidhopkins.com was taken. I like the term "antihero." It does tend to fit the majority of my characters, especially in Karma Incorporated.

How did you become associated with the Zeus Comics Store? (and its prestigious Eisner Award)

When I lived in Dallas, Zeus was the comic book shop I frequented. It's a really well run, indie-friendly store. I wrote the nomination letter for Zeus. Lo and behold, they won the Eisner Award for best retailer. It was a proud moment -- and well earned.

When did Amazon begin selling your books?

Amazon sold my books whenever Emily Edison first came out. Viper Comics manages all that. The book has its ISBN number, which makes it easier to distribute to regular bookstores. Without much promotion, the bookstore orders were almost as high as with the comic book stores.

Which book is your favorite so far?

I like them each for different reasons. That's the diplomatic parent response, and it's true. I most enjoy writing Karma Incorporated. If the audience were there to support the series, I could keep writing about those characters indefinitely. When book two of Astronaut Dad comes out, collectively, I think that's my best written story.

How well do you draw? Do you ever send sketches with your story ideas? Do you “see” the story as you write your idea?

I used to be a good artist in junior high, but not anymore. No, I never send sketches. If I can’t use my words to describe a scene, then I've done something wrong. Plus, it’s the artist's task to create the visuals. I don't want to micromanage his or her process. I always see the story in my head as I'm writing, but it doesn't always look the way I thought it would, whenever it's all finished. And that's part of the fun.

Antigone -- You are right that I probably would not be able to use it for school. You said your illustrator took some liberties with your script. Could you tell me more about that?

The artist should take some liberties with the script. That's not a bad thing. It's part of the collaborative process. In the Antigone script, I never mentioned Eurydice being topless in her death scene. Tom Kurzanski added that, and it's chilling in its own way. However, that along with some other things made it not appropriate for a younger audience. Personally, the violence is more objectionable than partial nudity, but I'll admit I asked for Tom to make it brutal. And he did.

How do you resolve disputes like that? Do you ever have to completely change your ideas?

We were under such a tight deadline with Antigone I couldn't ask Tom to make those changes. And even if we had more time, I still probably wouldn't say anything. The artist has a right to his own vision too, and sometimes the best writers step out of the way. Very rarely is a dispute so extreme that it means completely changing or compromising your ultimate vision. There's always some wiggle room for disagreements, you just have to pick your battles. A good artist will honor your story as best they can. In the end, the goal is to have the best story possible.

I loved the opening page and the final quotes last. I thought you did a great job of using Sophocles' words. You skillfully employed all the important lines and really did justice to the work, one of my favorites.

Thanks. I tried. It was a tricky copyright issue. Antigone is public domain, but the translation itself is not. Even then, I wasn't using the entire Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald translation, only excerpts – sometimes out of order and sometimes tweaked slightly. We concluded that comic book constituted as an adapted "performance" of the text.

Where did you get your idea for opening 4 panels?

I wanted a contemporary parallel to big mythic events in a culture, just as the Oedipus story was part of the cultural consciousness of Greek society.

As far as the dialogue goes, who makes the decisions as to how to punctuate and which words to bold in the speech bubbles?

I make the decisions on punctuation. Very rarely do I use bold or italics to emphasize a particular word in the dialogue. I try to leave the emphasis to the reader. Occasionally, the artist will take that liberty and that's okay.

The epilogue was interesting. Who is that writer?

The epilogue was written by my friend Aaron Thomas Nelson. I needed a Greek scholar to double check my adaptation, make sure it would stand up to any academic scrutiny. Aaron's notes were helpful. I asked him to write an epilogue to give an opportunity for a deeper look into the story.

Astronaut Dad What a great idea! The story is wonderful. I think your characterization is especially strong here. Having lived in the times (albeit barely!), you captured them well.

I'm happy with how the story came together. With both volumes one and two, I think it's the best comic I’ve written.

When in 2007 did it come out?

It came out in November 2007.

When did you start it?

I wrote the first draft in the summer of 2003. This is one of those scripts that gathered dust for a while, because I couldn't find the right artist until Brent Schoonover was available. He was exactly what I wanted. The script went through two complete re-writes. Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir came onboard as story editors. In exchange, I helped design their website. Nunzio and Christina are very talented career writers. Their feedback has made me a better writer.

How many volumes do you anticipate?

It's a two-part series.

Do you already know the ending? (a la J.K. Rowling and the Lost creators)

Yep, it's already written and everything. I love the ending.

Which character is your favorite?

I love writing the mom characters, especially Faye. She goes through a lot in this story and it's interesting to watch as a reader. The voices for the mothers came easily, so dry and cynical.

Did the illustrator do the lettering as well as the art work?

Justin Stewart lettered Astronaut Dad.

Do you plan to keep the same illustrator throughout the series?

Definitely. He's finishing it right now.

What does Miss Kennedy think of your work?

I don't know if she really cares one way or the other. Once she realizes I dedicated Emily Edison to her, someday, she'll read it a little more closely.


Thanks to everyone who stopped by "Art 'N Go" on Saturday for the Oak Cliff Art Walk. Apparently, ASTRONAUT DAD sold very well. I got the message loud and clear: You like my comics, but you'd prefer buying them when I'm not the one behind the table. That's cool. A big thank you to Photopol for organizing such a great event. (And thank you Rozie for the tomato plants.)

photo by Ange Fitzgerald

In other news, this week, April and I are driving to Houston for Comicpalooza. Still on the guest list, so I assume they want me. I've lived in Texas almost my entire life, and I've been to Houston... twice? It'll be good to take my comics to a new city. If anyone from NASA comes to the convention, you can have ASTRONAUT DAD for free.

Also, Brock Rizy re-designed his website, BEEow.com. Keep visiting, because he plans to load some original content on a regular basis -- including a brand new (!) EMILY EDISON short story and pages from OH NO POGO, the quirky comic within HOW TO LOSE BIG.

Lastly, John Gonzales re-designed his website, DiabloTexas.com. I especially love the concept art and painting sections. Beautiful stuff.


Tomorrow, PopGun Vol. 3 will be in stores. The anthology features my story "50 Miles to Marfa" (on page 311), illustrated by Dan Warner. These short stories are good opportunities to work with artists who might otherwise be too busy with their own projects, and it was a real thrill to collaborate with Dan. I hope I might be able to work with him again sometime in the future.

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I'm signing copies of PopGun at Zeus Comics (more info).

I tried to print some spiffy bookmarks for the event, but apparently "Overnight Prints" is a misleading business name. Sure, they'll print them overnight, but that doesn't mean they'll ship it to you the next day. Why should I even pay for 2 Day Air, when they are so slow to process the order?

With no spiffy bookmarks, I'm open to suggestions for anything to make the signing fun (because obviously nothing says F-U-N like bookmarks).

In other anthology news, Melissa and I wrote a short story for Oni's JAM! TALES FROM THE DERBY GIRLS, which was officially accepted. We're waiting to hear from Editor Jill about which artist we'll be partnered with. And the short story "The Heist and the Heart Attack" (my continuation of "50 Miles to Marfa") is finished, story and art. It will be in PopGun Vol. 4.

Some non-anthology updates...

ASTRONAUT DAD - Brent is finishing the last chapter. Everything will be completed by the end of May. Yes, it looks awesome. The story will make you cry. More news to follow.

KARMA INCORPORATED - Some cool Hollywood stuff going on, but nothing I can talk about. It's frustrating, because if I told you, you'd say: "Wow. David. That's really cool." Instead, you know nothing.

EMILY EDISON - Likewise, cool Hollywood-ish stuff I can't talk about. Brock and I are making plans for an EMILY EDISON 2, but it's a long way off. Sorry.

FRONTIER - Anyone who pays close attention to my blog knows this story has been around for awhile. I have a great artist attached, Michael Shelfer. He's finishing the pencils to our proposal, and keeps teasing me that he'll send them soon. (The anticipation is killing me. Michael, you are killing me.) Michael is one of those guys where I found an instant connection. Like Brock, Tom, Paul, or Brent, I see this as the beginning of a great ongoing writer/artist partnership. Already, he's sending me ideas for another story.

HOW TO LOSE BIG - We're getting closer to a completed proposal. It's looking good.

MARGARET MILBY MYSTERIES - Tom Kurzanski and I are still developing this one. It's a series of short "reader-solves-it" mysteries for a younger audience. Margaret Milby is a fun character. I'd love to tell you more about her, but I won't.


I've shared pages from HOW TO LOSE BIG and OH NO POGO. So I thought it's time to post something from ASTRONAUT DAD VOL. 2. Brent Schoonover finished penciling page 50, and he's almost done inking the remaining pages of that chapter. Which means? One more chapter left and ASTRONAUT DAD is completely finished, pending the lettering skills of Justin Stewart.

Brent and I reached a moment of collective peace with this project. The storytelling is solid. That might seem like egotism, but I was mostly thinking about Brent's ability to tell this story with his art. After three rewrites and some editorial assistance from Nunzio and Christina, after all the hours Brent put in, we can brag a bit. ASTRONAUT DAD, from beginning to end, will be a satisfying read.

It's amazing when you break from the tyranny of trying to make comics "action packed" that you can focus on creating a good narrative -- and not just a series of talking heads either, but a real story with meaningful subtext and dramatic consequences.

More than anything, I feel fortunate. For the past few years, I've been able to write comics and tell the stories I've wanted to tell with absolute freedom. Looking ahead, there's a lot of pressure to find more opportunities, to get more stuff on the shelf. I'll admit I'm completely intimidated by the process. That's why it felt so good to see these pages from Brent. (Thank you.) I took a deep breath: I can do this.

UPDATE: Brent posted the page along with his own thoughts. "It’s been an interesting journey with this book. So many people come up to me and tell me how surprised they are at how few actual segments there are involving space exploration and astronauts but still thought the book was better than they expected it to be, which to me, is a pretty nice compliment."


Where have I been lately? I missed some great reviews for Astronaut Dad. On January 14th, Marc N. Kleinhenz from Silver Bullet Comics gave our book "4.5 out of 5 bullets."

To put it simply – and it should be, given that David Hopkins’s story is simple yet sharp, its focus narrow but highly refined – the script is extremely well written, combining characterization, humor, and even touches of romance deftly and effortlessly. Its fast, even pace moves at a consistently and refreshingly crisp pace, yet not so fast that one thinks he’s reading a Fiona Avery-penned script. Indeed, if brevity is the soul of wit, then Astronaut Dad has more soul than most other comics combined; in fact, that it has a soul at all speaks volumes about its conception, construction, and execution.

Then on January 28th, Michael May at Newsarama said in his review:

The story spends some time with the three astronauts, but the most powerful moments are when it focuses on Jimmy and Ed Kelly’s daughter Vanessa. Jimmy resents his dad, but Vanessa is fiercely proud of hers. The two kids are different in other ways too, but they strike up a friendship and that – in the midst of so much uncertainty about their dads, their country, and the fate of the world – is the beautiful part of this story.

Both reviewers dug deep to analyze this story, and I appreciate all the thought they put into it.

Astronaut Dad is also the January selection for the Steve Austin Book Club (click here for the announcement and then here to read their discussion). I'm especially pleased Astronaut Dad encouraged EG and OG of the Book Club to share some touching stories about their fathers. How cool is that? I couldn't be happier.


A review from the Comic Book Gazette (click here to read)

Astronaut Dad is on sale -- $4.99 at Silent Devil's website for a limited time. (click here)

The Dallas Comic Con is this weekend. I will be participating in a panel with Terry Moore, Scott Kurtz, and Kris Straub at 2 PM. If you're able to attend, I hope to see you there.

Make sure to pre-order the next issue of Comic Foundry. It's a great magazine. Well worth your time and money.

I took a typing test on this website -- 68 words per minute with no errors. Feel free to post your scores here.


A good review from Pop Syndicate's Ken Lowery (click here):

It’s a truism that you can never truly understand your parents until you’ve been where they are, and by then it’s often too late. That Astronaut Dad walks the line of intersection between these two perspectives so flawlessly is a minor miracle, and shows a dimension to Hopkins’ writing that hasn’t previously manifested.

You need to read the whole article. More than just throwing his opinion around, Ken gives great analysis of everything he reviews. For instance, check out his new film review website.


As posted in The Oklahoman newspaper, Matt Price lists his top 10 graphic novels for 2007. Astronaut Dad is #9. (click here)

If you haven't purchased a copy yet, you can now order it through Silent Devil's website. (click here) So far, we've received incredible reviews for Astronaut Dad. And here I thought no one would dig on a family drama.

Also, next weekend, I'll be a guest at the Dallas Comic Con. There's going to be some great guests -- including my indie hero Terry Moore, and my favorite artists Nick Derington, Kristian Donaldson, Brian Denham, Cat Staggs, and Cal Slayton.


Astronaut Dad received a good review from Bart Croonenborghs at the Broken Frontier website. (click here)

Schoonover has a good grasp on the characters and combined with the distinct voices David Hopkins gives the protagonists, they really make the reader care. At the end of the book, you want to know how the story ends and that is the highest compliment an art team can get.

Also, I finally upgraded to a pro account on Flickr, so all my older photos held hostage have reappeared.


Brent and I were interviewed on Comixology's podcast. The link also includes some brand new preview pages of ASTRONAUT DAD. Comixology is a great website, lots of useful content and a clean design. I may be biased. They also made our book the featured item of the week.

Art Conspiracy was this past weekend. April and I went to Deep Ellum on Saturday afternoon to work on my art piece (shown below, photo by Sarah Jane Semrad). I'm happy with how it came together as a straightforward presentation of my work as a writer.

I was unable to make the actual event on Sunday night, but I received a voice message from Wim during my auction. I don't know what artist etiquette is... do I tell you how much it went for? I will say it sold for much more than I thought it would. All for charity, which is cool. Check out photos from the event on Sarah Jane's Flickr account, the event | the installation.

Other stuff: Jim Mahfood has a new blog. Also, Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet is now available in bookstores. I purchased my copy, and it exceeded all expectations. (And my expectations were ridiculously high!) This graphic novel might be the best thing I've read all year. Amulet has the scope of Jeff Smith's Bone with the imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. But in the end, it is uniquely Kazu.


Our first advance review for Astronaut Dad, from Chris Murman of Silver Bullet Comics. (click here to read)

"For being relatively young in the comics world, these two unassuming creators have definitely set the bar pretty high for what is possible in their careers."

According to our publisher, Astronaut Dad should be in stores next week.


Brent Schoonover and I drove to Norman, Oklahoma for our signing at Speeding Bullet Comics. We raised $70.69 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Wish we could've stayed longer.

Astronaut Dad hasn't shipped yet. It should arrive on my doorstep via FedEx, Friday morning, so we'll have them available for Wizard World Texas.

Speaking of, B.Clay Moore, writer of Hawaiian Dick and The Leading Man, said some nice things about our book: "Astronaut Dad is a loving reminder of America's investment in the space race, and how real people were at the heart of our quest for the stars. Well worth taking a look, and bound to hook you once you do."

Also, for people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Kevin O'Neill (the artist for League of Extraordinary Gentleman) will be at Titan Comics tomorrow from 5 PM to 7 PM.


If you haven't heard, the Writer's Guild of America is on strike. And good for them. I register my scripts through the WGA, but I am not a member.

Thus, I'm available for hire. Yes?

To the producers of Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman, CSI, Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (please if there's a God...), King of the Hill, Lost, My Name Is Earl, The Office, The Riches, The Sarah Silverman Program, The Simpsons, The Wire, and anyone else on this list -- let's do lunch. I'm not cheap, but I'm your's if you want me. Sorry WGA. I have bills to pay.

The irony is, once I get my screen credit, I'd be eligible for the WGA. Obviously, I would want to sign up. And thereby be obligated to join the strike.

Or better yet, if someone wants to option KARMA INCORPORATED as a television series, we can get to work on that after the strike is over. (Do you like how I assume the whole world is reading my blog?)

**UPDATE** If you read the comments section, I've decided to join the strike in solidarity even though I'm not a credited screenwriter. So to all those producers I mentioned above, screw you guys.

**UPDATE TO THE UPDATE** Just kidding with the whole "screw you guys" comment. I'm sure you're all nice people. To the producers of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, call me...

**UPDATE TO THE UPDATE OF THE UPDATE** I should clarify. Since the WGA doesn't include comic book writers, I will not stop from writing comics. I will only cease from writing any screenplays for film and TV, which I don't do anyways. But now, I'm "not doing it" as a statement.

**UPDATE TO THAT LAST UPDATE** Don't take any of this seriously.

In other news, we've been racing to get ASTRONAUT DAD printed and shipped before Wizard World Texas. That's next week. I counted, and today I've received no less than 37 e-mails on all the little details concerning the printing. It's been hectic.