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.


I received the proof copy of my KARMA INCORPORATED SCRIPT BOOK. It looks great. I made a few minor changes to the interior -- not anything you would notice. I pushed in a few margins here and there. Nit picky stuff, which I'm somewhat known for. I was mostly concerned about the cover. The image on the Lulu store was a little grainy, but it printed very well. Also, the color looks perfect. See for yourself...

Thanks Paul for the cover design!

I ordered 25 copies for Dallas Comic Con. However, you can also order it online for $9.99 or you can get the digital download for $3. I actually make a larger profit on the digital download, but the book looks prettier in print. At this time, it's the only way you'll be able to read the volume 2 of Karma Incorporated. I love reading scripts -- plays, comics, screenplays. We need some more people to release their scripts through print-on-demand. Jamie Rich? Nunzio and Christina?


I will have copies at Dallas Comic Con. But if you're just too darn excited to wait, the KARMA INCORPORATED SCRIPT BOOK is available on Lulu for $9.99 (click here). I ordered a proof copy, so it's possible you may get the book before I do. I'm almost 100% confident there won't be any print errors. I followed all the specs very carefully. Got some helpful feedback from A.C. Hall who uses Lulu a lot. Cover design by Paul Milligan.

This script book features the first series POOR MR. WILSON and the unreleased second series VICE AND VIRTUE. The book also includes sketches, original pages, and promotional art by KARMA INCORPORATED collaborator, Tom Kurzanski.

There are two other "surprise" short stories at the end, but the main course is the unreleased VICE & VIRTUE script. It may be the only place where you'll be able to read what happens in the second series. This is why I decided to print a script book for KARMA INCORPORATED as opposed to one of the other comics I've written. Exclusive content, oh yeah.


I'm working on a KARMA INCORPORATED script book, which will print through Lulu. It should be ready in time for Dallas Comic Con. This book will have the complete scripts for volume one POOR MR. WILSON and the unreleased volume two VICE AND VIRTUE. It'll be the only place where you can read what happens in VICE AND VIRTUE. I completed chapter four just for this book. As an extra, I included the script for "50 Miles to Marfa" and "The Heist and The Heart Attack," short stories from PopGun. Paul Milligan is working on the cover. He's done some great cover work for our friend.

I finished the book's introduction yesterday, and decided to share it. If you notice any glaring errors, by all means, let me know before I print.


I was bored one Saturday afternoon. I had an idea for a comic book and decided to create a “teaser” using some film editing software. White text on a dark screen with rain pouring down, Mr. Blue Skies by ELO as the music.

“Stuck in traffic. Girlfriend left. Milk went sour. Toilet backs up. Lost your job. Flat tire. IRS audit. Flight delay. Lost your wallet. Dog ran away. Computer crashes. What if it’s not all coincidence? KARMA INCORPORATED. Let us ruin someone’s day. A new comic book by David Hopkins. Currently in production (if nothing goes wrong).” +

I didn’t have a story, characters, or an artist. It was just an idea. I watched the trailer about 50 times. Then I asked Melissa to take a look. “Cool. That’s your best idea so far. You should go with it.” Like all great advice, I didn’t take it. Not at first.

Instead, I worked on a proposal for Viper Comics called Rocket Science. Think 1950’s alien invasion with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as our only hope. I took the proposal to the San Diego Comic Con. While there, I talked with my friend Paul Kilpatrick at Antarctic Press. He asked me what I was working on. I casually mentioned Karma Incorporated. He said, “That’s a cool idea. Could you email me more about it?” Uh, sure. Then only a few minutes later, Viper rejected Rocket Science. However, I was so excited about things with Antarctic Press, I said, “That’s cool. I think Antarctic Press is interested in another story I have.” This got the attention of Jessie Garza at Viper. “Really? What is it?” I explained Karma Incorporated to him too. His response was almost immediate. They wanted to publish it. Do you have the first issue written? “Yes.” I lied.

Once home from San Diego, I emailed Paul to say Viper wanted Karma Incorporated. I thought it’d be a good fit there. All was copacetic. Then I wrote the synopsis and first issue within a week. It wasn’t perfect, but I could always edit later. The challenge was to find an artist. On August 5, 2004, I emailed Tom Kurzanski. I sent him my “teaser” video, told him Viper Comics was interested, and asked if he would like to illustrate Karma Incorporated. Tom and I were already working on an adaptation of Antigone, which we’d later publish with Silent Devil. Tom emailed me that same day and said yes.

Let me take a moment to say nice things about Tom. More than any other person, I owe Tom my break in comics and helping me become a better writer. It takes a brave person to undertake a project with an unproven writer. Without him, Karma Incorporated would still only be an idea. He didn’t fight the script, but allowed me to see it just as I wrote it, which helped me understand how a script works. He gave dramatic and visual depth to scenes I could only vaguely visualize. Tom read each script and gave me notes. He wasn’t only the artist; he was the editor. These notes were invaluable. I especially remember the countless rewrites on the epilogue. You don’t learn anything from a first draft. By your fifth and sixth draft? You’re tired, angry and grasping for words, and you’re a writer damn it. If Tom was going to illustrate my story, he expected it to be good. I was lucky in that Tom’s style mirrored the type of quirky stories I hoped to write, something with range and something distinctive.

Within a year, we had a comic book on the shelves. Sales were low. Reviews were generally positive. (My favorite was from Needcoffee.com: “We're enjoying the hell out of this book: it's funny, it's got a nice trace of bitterness, and we have no idea where the hell it's going.”) We had a few bona fide fans. People wanted more Karma Incorporated. I certainly wanted more Karma Incorporated.

I started work on the follow up immediately after writing the first series. Whereas Poor Mr. Wilson was about the aftermath of a job gone horribly wrong, a story about them getting a dose of their own medicine, Vice and Virtue would be about the job itself, the planning and the execution. It would be their biggest target, the mayor of Dallas. I added a subplot with Terry, hinted at in the first series. The third chapter was entirely devoted to this storyline. I gave Malcolm a larger role, which was important. Vice and Virtue upped the stakes.

We lost momentum during this process. It took a year for Viper to approve the second series. While waiting, Tom and I shifted our attention to Antigone. I also started work on Emily Edison with Brock Rizy and Astronaut Dad with Brent Schoonover. And for personal reasons, there were other delays. The delays became an albatross. So much so that I doubt Vice and Virtue will ever see print.

I realize “never say never.” Indie projects tend to have a timeline all there own. There will certainly be more Hopkins/Kurzanski collaborations in the future. The best hope for more Karma Incorporated could be on the Hollywood end of things. Viper Comics is pretty aggressive in getting their properties optioned. (Did anyone see the Middleman on ABC Family? Incredible.) Karma Incorporated has always had people interested in it for a TV series. I had an hour-long phone conversation with one writer/producer. His take would be very faithful to the original comic. Perhaps I’ve said too much? Anyways, such a development, if it were to happen, might bring Karma Incorporated back. Might.

Until then, I decided it would be nice to make the Vice and Virtue script available to people who are curious about where the story was going -- or for people who just like reading comic book scripts. Vice and Virtue was a series intended to wrap things up. However, it opened some doors to future stories. There’s a great long-term antagonist in Mayor Kathy Graham. She’s Professor Moriarty to Marsha’s Sherlock Holmes. There are still things left undone. You haven’t met Marsha’s son Carson who is only briefly mentioned. And other things, I wouldn’t want to spoil.

In a perfect world where I have thousands of faithful readers and limitless resources, where would the series go after Vice and Virtue? Volume 3 would be an origin story. I would start where a certain flashback in chapter 3 of the second series left off. Each chapter would focus on a single character and how they joined Karma Incorporated. The story would show Marsha and Terry putting everything in place. Volume 4 would deal with the personal lives of each member more -- their respective families. Volume 5 would bring back Mayor Kathy Graham and the FBI hunting after Susan. Also, I’d finally insert a storyline I planned from the first issue -- a budding, albeit awkward, relationship between two members of Karma Incorporated. Volume 6 would mark the return of a main character who disappears at the end of Vice and Virtue. Once again, I don’t want to spoil anything. After you read the script, you’ll know.

I also included two short stories in this script book. These stories are part of the PopGun anthology from Image Comics, “50 Miles to Marfa” and “The Heist and The Heart Attack.” Len and Stag, two grifters, attempt a bank robbery in west Texas. It felt like a good fit, certainly written with the same mindset for mischief.

Thank you Paul Milligan for designing the cover. Thank you A.C. Hall for teaching me how to format my Word documents to be book ready. Thank you Scott Hinze for teaching me the word “Schadenfreude.” Thank you Tom Kurzanski and the incredibly talented Marlena Hall. Thank you Viper Comics, Scott Agostoni, Mike Werb, and Ice Cube. Thank you to anyone else who has taken an interest in Karma Incorporated.

David Hopkins,
June 14, 2009


While Tom and Marlena were finishing the art on KARMA INCORPORATED, I kept myself busy by hunting down pin-ups to include in the back of each issue. I accumulated more than I could possibly use.

It's been a few years, so I thought I'd repost the art on Flickr. Click here to see the entire set.

Thank you to Joshua W. Cotter, Derrick Fish, Jim Lujan, Melissa Erwin, Martin Abel, Nicc Balce, Ryan Cody, Jim Crosley, Phillip Ginn, Ted Lange, Paul Maybury, Brent Schoonover, Sean Stephens, Scott Zirkel, Cal Slayton, Brock Rizy, Stephen Buell, Jamar Nicholas, Mike Young, Nelz Yumul, Jim Mahfood, TJ Colligan, and Wes Molebash for your contributions. There are other artists I'm missing. I can't find the jpg files. Once I do, I'll upload those as well.

If any other artists want to add to my KARMA INCORPORATED Flick set, go for it. I wouldn't mind. At all.

And just because, the video that started it all.


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.


Sketch86 has Karma Incorporated t-shirts available (click here). Tom Kurzanski designed these shirts a few years ago, and I didn't know there were any left. Small, large, and 2x-large are the only sizes remaining.

Sketch86's other comic book shirts include Daisy Kutter, Dead@17, Random Encounter, The Lost Books of Eve, and You'll Have That.

Show some indie love, buy a t-shirt.


My respect for the Dallas Morning News has grown. Maybe it's a slow news month when we can't seem to talk about anything other than oil prices and a Presidential election, but I hope DMN continues their look at south Dallas.

Check out DMN's Bridging Dallas' North-South gap. The videos are especially good.

I love Dallas, and it's always been a concern of mine that while most fixate on the city as a place of big hair and big money, we neglect the other half, a half with style and heart all its own. I worry about gentrification. Politicians and land-developers allow these areas to fall into ruin, then they grab these square acres on the cheap, build expensive condos and force out their original owners. Many occupants have rented their place for years and years; if they owned it, they'd be sitting on something valuable. It's a ruthless system that drives out people. Mortgage discrimination, red-lining, school district gerrymandering, public opinion distorted by the local media, it all plays a part. If you want to see my take, I wrote a one-pager about this exact subject in "Mine All Mine," illustrated by Samax. (South Dallas also plays an important role in the upcoming "Vice and Virtue" storyline for Karma Incorporated.)

As a reminder, I'm an advisory member of La Reunion, which hopes to establish an artist residency in south Dallas. This is another way to support south Dallas growth without distorting and ruining its character.


At least, that's my thinking. My friend Samax at ghettoManga gave a great review of Karma Incorporated. If you haven't been to Samax's blog, you need to bookmark it. I visit the site regularly, and he keeps me updated on everything that's anything that's enjoyable. I know he's developing a magazine, and I can't wait to read more. Financial backing, my dear ones, that's all we need to make this world a little more hip. On his blog, you will notice he has copies of "Mine All Mine" for sale. If you can't wait for the minicomic to arrive at a comic book shop near you, here is the only place to get an early copy online.

Also, I started a twitter account. I've added the function to my website and MySpace page. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? Too much? Not enough? Care less?


Thank you to my friend Will Rodriguez of Mangled Stare for this sketch of Karma Incorporated's Marsha Elliot.

Of everything I've written, she's my favorite character. I can't think of hardly any comic book protagonists who are women in their mid-40s. She has a classic look, like a lead actress in an Alfred Hitchcock film or Anjelica Huston from The Grifters. Yet she definitely stands apart with her own history and motivations. Marsha is a lot of fun to write.

Good news: After some delays beyond anyone's control, Tom is back working on Karma Incorporated Vol. 2: Vice & Virtue. It should be available later next year. We thought it would be ready sooner, but this stuff happens in publishing, and it's not limited to small press. The second volume will happen, and it's a great continuation of the Karma Incorporated series. I'm happy with the script, and love working with Tom.

For anyone who hasn't purchased the first volume, Poor Mr. Wilson, it's available at your local comic book store (if not, they can order it) and also on Amazon.


The postal gods were kind (and my publisher made some phone calls). Just confirmed that the Karma Incorporated TPBs arrived at Zeus for today's signing. Much relieved.

Quick DFW featured an article about my book tour. (click here)

Also, my friend Catherine Cuellar spoke to my Creative Writing class. She is the managing editor for Pegasus News, which should be required reading for anyone living in DFW.

UPDATE: Photos from the signing posted on Flickr.


On page 357 of the July 2007 Previews catalog:
from Viper Comics, Karma Incorporated Vol. 1 "Poor Mr. Wilson" GN
by David Hopkins and Tom Kurzanski, color by Marlena Hall
soft cover, 6x9, 112 pages, full color

Diamond Order Code #JUL073898 (SRP $11.95)

"The Making of Karma Incorporated"

"Entertaining premise with an equally engaging cast of characters" -- Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Buzzscope.com

"Terrific story. Terrific dialogue. Terrific idea." -- Marc Mason, Movie Poop Shoot

"One of the funniest comics I have ever read. Readers should read with care as this is a certifiable gut buster!" -- Raven Gregory, writer for The Gift

"We're enjoying the hell out of this book: it's funny, it's got a nice trace of bitterness, and we have no idea where the hell it's going." -- NeedCoffee.com


Karma Incorporated pin-up (below) by Cal Slayton. Make sure to visit Cal's blog, and check out the super cool Spookytown art.

New headshot of me, taken by Carissa Byers, for the La Reunion website:
photo 1 | photo 2

This Friday, I'm going to The Door in Dallas. My friend Heather Daniel released a new CD. Congrats Heather. We were friends in high school, and I think she may have been one of the few, rare, precious fans of my ill-fated band Cosmo Monkhaus -- and a spiffy person in general.

Then on Saturday, I'm going to Lee Harvey's to see The Happy Bullets (1807 Gould Street, Dallas TX 75215, music from 8:30 PM to 12 AM). It's going to be their last show for awhile, as they are about to start work on recording a new album.


Happy April Fools. The trickster gods rejoice. Karma Incorporated's favorite holiday. I was trying to think of some clever false blog I could post, as seems to be internet tradition. The best I could think of is confessing that I finally got a call from my biological parents, and it turns out I'm the secret love child of Norman Rockwell and Siouxsie Sioux. Yeah, that's dumb. Someday, I'll find out who my real parents are. In the meantime, Norman Rockwell died in 1978, and I doubt he could've fathered me at the age of 83. Sorry ya'll. I'm April Fool-less. Next year. Something good next year.

Here's something I did want to share. What is with this library poster?! Doesn't it imply that libraries will lure small children to a watery death?


I've been working on chapter three of Karma Incorporated (Vice & Virtue), and I hit a wall. I wouldn't say it's writer's block. Just wrote myself into a corner. And short of any deus ex machina or completely cheesy action hero feat, I don't see a way out. Normally, I'd say, "Okay then, I guess this character doesn't make it out alive." However, I need him later. That aside, Vice & Virtue is going to be great.

April will be a busy month. I've got La Reunion Workshop (sign up!), and I should probably figure out my presentation. Need to send an e-mail to the other presenters. April is also my month to finish the re-write on book two of Astronaut Dad, and hopefully finish Vice & Virtue and the first issue of Bulletproof West. Which, by the way, Dan Warner sent me and Jamar some character design that look really cool. The first chapter of Bolivar is done, and Diana Nock's working on the thumbnails. Damn. I also need to work on another article for D Magazine.

The goal is to have my writing schedule wide open starting in May. I'm making room for one new creator-owned project (and only one) this year. I'll be busy enough with the TPBs in the Fall, plus everything else still in progress.

Random thought, no one cares, but I'll share anyways...

In my minicomic Some Other Day, the character Mr. Donny also shows up in Karma Incorporated #2. On the back cover of Karma Incorporated #2, Emily Edison appears on the coffee mug. In Emily Edison, the teacher talks about Antigone. Antigone, page one, panel 2, has Jack Ruby on it. My Jack Ruby story (obviously) references the Kennedy assassination, which is also featured in Astronaut Dad. In Astronaut Dad, Ed Kelly makes a comment about Stan's daughter being a little "Annie Oakley" who's a character in Bulletproof West. Plus, Some Other Day, Karma Incorporated, and Emily Edison all mention the fictious wholesale company Dal-Mart.