Readers of Book 4, The Tarpeian Rock will certainly remember Hama and Pici’s sidelong adventure in that book. I had a lot of fun drawing the pair and was sad they parted ways at the end of the story.
For awhile I began to contrive of ways to get them back together. After doing Hama the Pig’s Big Adventure I thought I could bring them together in storybook form, but I couldn’t find the time to write the next story. I also wanted to try something a little more immediate and closer to my roots as a cartoonist, so I began to develop a comic strip instead. This was around Halloween of last year which gave me a good jumping off point, so I did this strip…
After this I participated in the Schulz Centennial Celebration in which cartoonists did tribute strips to Charles Schulz to commemorate the 100th year of his birth (you can still see some of these when you search #Schulz100). Hama and Pici figured into that one too…
Then winter rolled around and I did this for our holiday card…
Since then, off and on, I’ve been drawing up simple, four-panel comics featuring Hama and Pici. These guys are fun to draw and I like the challenge of coming up with visual gags.
I’m doing these with a younger readership in mind, specifically an early reader who is just starting to read comics on their own but may not be ready for big graphic novels. This is partly inspired by reading Sunday Haha, a pandemic-born weekly newsletter created by cartoonists Jen de Oliveria and Mika Song. Sunday Haha features their own work alongside many other cartoonists creating comics expressly for this age group of kids and their parents. The newsletter is free, all you have to do is subscribe and it arrives every Sunday in your inbox with loads of fun comics.
I’ve enjoyed seeing how other cartoonists create comics for this age group. As I’ve developed Hama & Pici I’m trying to keep some of their approaches in mind: simple layouts, minimal words, bright colors, straightforward gags. Keeping it simple is key for an over-thinker like me and probably the most challenging part. The fact that Hama and Pici don’t speak is helpful because it forces the strip to have pantomime/visual gags. But pantomime is not as easy as it looks – I keep worrying I’m going to run out of gags at any time. I’m doing my best to keep it loose and playful, sketching up an idea and seeing where it takes me.
Patrons at the $5 level have been reading Hama & Pici while I’ve been creating them, so for those who want to see the strips early I encourage you to join. Otherwise subscribe to SundayHaha where the strip has been added to their weekly roster. I’ll be running those strips concurrently here on the website every Sunday.
I hope you enjoy the further adventures of Hama & Pici!
I have some exciting news friends – a brand new Kid Beowulf book is on its way! Kid Beowulf – Songs & Sagas sets sail this summer. This one collects five short stories from the world of Kid Beowulf. These are the stories between the stories, they range from light and comedic, to dark and fanciful; they feature characters you’ve glimpsed in the main books but now get a chance to learn even more about. Over the years I’ve released these individually as the Kid Beowulf Eddas, but now that I have enough of them I’m going to compile them into a single volume.
In between the main books I always set aside some time and space to explore the side characters or events I couldn’t fit into the main story line. This all began way back in Book One, when the Dragon revealed to Hrothgar that he met his father, Shild long ago. At the end of that encounter Shild lost a hand and the Dragon lost his eye! I knew that was a story I needed to tell, but it wouldn’t fit in the big book, so a side story, Shild and the Dragon, was born.
It was a fun to do that short story (and it didn’t take as long as a graphic novel either!). Since then I’ve used the format as an opportunity to expand my storytelling skills. Could I do a short comedic adventure? See: Lookin’ for Lingonberries. What about a jail-break story with multiple narrators? Go read Paladins Tale. Or a wordless comic that featured a life and death chase in the dead of winter? Check out Lay of the Last Survivor.
Each one was a fun experiment and a challenge and it helped me level-up for the next big story in the main adventure. Now that I have enough of them (five total!) to fit into one book, I’ll be running a crowdfunder campaign in July to fund the print production of Songs & Sagas.
Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to Aachen, Germany to be a guest at the Comiciade Comics Festival! I am very excited to be a part of this show; I will be splitting time between Peanuts and KidB, doing some workshops, panels, and party games (not sure about that last one, but who knows). Comiciade has a neat relationship with Peanuts, I’ve had Studio friends attend the show in the past and I was happy when the organizers extended an invitation my way. I’m especially looking forward to bringing Kid Beowulf there, since my own personal comic roots come from my love of Franco-Belgian comics.
Since this is my first European show I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce Kid Beowulf to new fans, so I put together a mini-comic with a few translated passages from Books 1 & 2. Aachen is a lovely, history-laden city – it was Charlemagne’s home back in the 8th century and was featured in Book 2, The Song of Roland.
Beowulf and Grendel have been to Aachen too – they passed through in Book 2, while looking for their uncle. Below is a look at the mini-comic I’ll be bringing to the show. Special thanks to Stephan Luesse, a long-time fan who helped translate these passages into German.
I was doing my business taxes a few days ago when it occurred to me that 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Kid Beowulf! I was surprised because it certainly hasn’t felt like twenty years, but when I sifted through archives of art – the sketchbooks, the pitch packets, the early comics, and all the rest – I saw that 2003 was the year that I began doing Kid Beowulf in earnest.
I self-published the first Kid Beowulf comic book in 2003. I made 250 copies of the book, sold it at shows, and printed more. Honestly, not a lot has changed since then…except the art and the writing, both of which have gotten much better with age. The DNA of that first comic is all there though: twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel, Hama the pig, and the talking sword Nagling, all of them falling into adventure.
Since that first 22 page comic debuted, I’ve drawn over one thousand more pages (yes, I counted!) across comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, storybooks, ebooks, apps, webcomics and more. I’ve gone from self-publishing, to indie publishing, to traditional publishers, and back again. Kid Beowulf has adapted to the ups-and-downs and the ins-and-outs of publishing in the 21st century.
More importantly, I’ve become a better cartoonist and my passion for it hasn’t diminished, it only grows as I get better. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and look forward to the stories yet to come.
So to commemorate twenty years of slinging ink, I’ll open the archives and share some of those first images and stories (follow #KIDB20 on your social channels). I’ll be hitting the road to celebrate at conventions, book fairs, shows, and events (book me for yours!).
And to top it all off, a brand new book is coming its way later this year which we’ll celebrate with a kickstarter. I’m looking forward to all the fun stuff that’s in store for 2023. We may be twenty years into Kid Beowulf but there’s plenty more to come. Stay tuned!
The newest Kid Beowulf short story, Boudi’s Bounty launches today, right here on the website!
After many adventures on the road, Beowulf and Grendel are finally going home. It’s a bittersweet goodbye when Beowulf says farewell to his traveling companion, friend, (and sweetheart?) Boudi. But Beowulf isn’t the only person whose sights are set on the charming girl – a band of bounty hunters are on her trail and the mysterious secret she carries!
If you’ve been a patron then you’ve seen this story take shape over the last year or so and now it’s finally ready to share. This story is exclusive to patreon backers, all you need to do is login to this website (in the top menu bar) and Episode 1 “Odes & Openings” (pages 1-5) will be available to read. New episodes will drop here on the website every Saturday.
If you are coming to Kid Beowulf for the first time, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Take a look around the site and enjoy some free stories from the Archive. Now is the perfect time to join the fun on patreon! Being a patron gets you access to exclusive comics like Boudi’s Bounty, brand new monthly comics, behind-the-scenes process material, and it gives you a place to share your love of comics, adventure, mythology, and history – the core ingredients to any Kid Beowulf story!
Hey gang, I wanted you to know that I’m hard at work wrapping up production on the newest short story Boudi’s Bounty! While my colorist wraps up the coloring on the last half of the story, I’ve been lettering the first half. It’s coming along nicely and if all goes according to plan I’ll be ready to begin posting the story to patrons at the end of September. In the meantime, I’ll be taking a break from regular posts to focus on finishing the story. Thanks for your patience!
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