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.


It's a good week when my comics for D Magazine and Quick both hit at approximately the same time. The next four installments of WE'VE NEVER MET deal with Austin, SXSW, NX35, and the personalities of the various cities in Texas. It's my opportunity to pick on our neighbors a bit. All in good fun, of course. Best of all, we get some quality time with Liz and her band (still unnamed). Since the comic posts every other week, it's tricky to make each one "self contained" and still try to continue a larger story. I have to resist the urge to move too fast with what I want to develop. I could write WE'VE NEVER MET for as long as Quick and Chad Thomas are willing to tolerate me.

The March issue of D Magazine features a new SOUVENIR OF DALLAS (click here). This one was a real challenge. I knew what I wanted to do, but I had to interview everyone and get the quotes. Mike Snider at AllGood was such a nice guy. I could've talked with him for an hour. Pete Zotos of St. Pete's Dancing Marlin returned my call while he was at a Cowboys game! It was a short conversation, but I appreciate his effort. Tim Frazin, owner of Zini's Pizzeria, was a fortunate last minute interview. I was roaming the streets of Deep Ellum at night trying to find a third restaurant after my other interview never materialized. I saw Zini's was open. Tim was there. We had a good conversation. He's a cool guy. In fact, Zini's is also seen in WE'VE NEVER MET. They might become the official pizza of my comics -- like Duff Beer in the Simpson's, but real. Paul Milligan did a great job as always with a script that wasn't the easiest to work with.

Speaking of difficult scripts, David DeGrand finished the first page of our Happy Bullets mini-comic (the song: "F--k Yeah, I'm In Love With You"). It looks great. I went overboard with these scripts. Working with DeGrand and the Happy Bullets lyrics, it's hard not to get a little weird. In fact, "Lead Balloon" might be one of the best comics I've ever written. No words and pitch perfect. No pressure, DeGrand.

In case anyone missed the tweet, Brock Rizy and I finalized our proposal for EMILY EDISON AND THE END OF THE WORLD. http://twitpic.com/156bin

And one more thing I'm excited about, the talented Chris Medellin has launched his webcomic for Roam. Bookmark it. Seriously good work.


Last night, I sent Brock Rizy the complete synopsis for EMILY EDISON VOL. 2. Can't give any details at this point. I love the first volume, but this follow-up is going to be so much better. 200% more awesome and possibly eligible for a Guinness World Record. (Not kidding. I'm going to look into it.)

Beyond that, I hope to finish scripting chapter 2 of HOW TO LOSE BIG by tomorrow.

Also, I'm thinking about which conventions I want to attend for 2010. Financially, I've been in no shape to pay for any trips, but things are looking better. Right now, I'm planning on a booth for Stumptown in Portland and MoCCA Art Fest in New York. I want to attend Comic-Con next year, but no booth, and maybe just Wednesday night through Friday. Any thoughts on "must attend" conventions and why?


Brock Rizy re-launched his site BEEow dot com. He plans to add new content on a regular basis -- CATBEAR TRAFFIC CONTROL, MINOR INVESTIGATIONS, OH NO POGO (that should look familiar to some of you), PYROTECHNIC PORNO BABIES, more EMILY EDISON, and KOO.

To start off everything, we have a brand new EMILY EDISON short story:


This story introduces a character Oscar Monkhouse who will play an important role in our next book. Yes, we are making plans for a second EMILY EDISON comic. Brock has been very patient, allowing me to finish the scripts for FRONTIER and HOW TO LOSE BIG before we jump into it. Brock and I already have a rough outline and some cool ideas floating in our collective brain-meld. If you could stare into the dark pit of our brain-meld and see what we have planned, you'd say, "Wow. I didn't see that coming." Then dark pit would respond: "Ha. Neither did we."


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.


(via Brock)

EMILY EDISON debuted two years ago, which means it's been four years since we first created the character. Last night, I got an email from Brock. We've begun discussing the details of a volume two. I'm excited, because there are some ideas we tucked into the first volume that we'll finally be able to explore. Emily is such a fun character to write. And of course, I love working with Brock. Anyone who knows him knows he's such a creative savant, it takes a lot just to keep up. More updates soon, I'm sure.


Break out those crayons! La Reunion will be hosting a kid's coloring area at CAPE. If you can't wait until Saturday, feel free to print the pages from my site -- you can choose between EMILY (.pdf) and KOO (.pdf). As an added bonus, if you show me your colored masterpiece, I'll give you a 50% discount off any of my books.


My friend and Emily Edison collaborator, Brock Rizy finished shooting his film Bike_Gang Congratulations. Now he has to do the animation over the live action. I can't wait to see it. Check out the photos on the official website. If you are considerably wealthy, they still need money to get it produced and distributed. Pay up!

a scene from Bike_Gang

Saturday will be a busy day. Starting at 5 PM, Josh Howard has an Art Show at the Lone Star Comics in Dallas off Mockingbird. From there, drive to Artclub at 823 Exposition for The Natural State group exhibition. The reception is 7:30 to 9:30. Sarah Jane Semrad is one of the featured artists. AND THEN, go to Titan Comics for the Live Art Show and Auction to support Hero Foundry, 8 PM. And afterwards?


It's Kennedy's birthday today. She's three years old, and absolutely wonderful. Tomorrow, we're going to some crazy chicken place (it's a restaurant... can't remember the name) for her birthday party. Photo by Castle Photography.

A more recent Emily Edison review by the respectable Sean Kleefeldt:
The writing was good. Solid characterization throughout, smooth and natural dialogue. Most importantly, I think, writer David Hopkins let Brock Rizy's art stand on it's own when it came to telling the story. He didn't bother with an overly expository narrative when the art conveyed what was happening. He also didn't fall into the standard superhero trap where the hero spouts witicisms and one-liners while battling whatever foe he's up against. Emily largely kept quiet during the fight scenes, and only spoke up once she had a chance to breath. (click here to read the whole review)

Photos from CAPE


Brock Rizy has a slightly larger version of these three panels on his website, and some more early looks at Emily Edison Battles the Badbots.

From me, the Emily Edison comic book came into being for two reasons: (1) I wanted to write a fun super hero story for younger readers. Not by writing down to them, but instead, to create something that's appealing on a broad level. (2) I wanted to work with Brock.

I've been fortunate to collaborate with some very talented artists (Brian Kelly, Ben Hall, Sean Stephens, and Tom Kurzanski). Each of them, I like for different reasons-- Brian is a sociopath, Ben smells nice, Sean is part machine, and Tom... well... when asked what are 5 things he can't live without, he said: Sakura Micron pens: 03, 05, and 08, silver halide, and pink frosted animal crackers. Dude.

With Brock, this guy's imagination is only matched by his ability to draw whatever enters into his head. That's a dangerous mix. I'm still learning, when you write for Brock-- it's all about giving him room to do what he does best.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm probably biased, but I'm also right. Brock's got skills. Right now, he's in the process of getting some pages finished before Wizard World Texas. And I certainly appreciate the time he's committed. So thanks.

Next week, I'll brag on Tom. :)