Friday, July 31, 2009

Comic Con recap

Man oh man...Comic Con! Have you been? It's really hard to sum up the experience of my first Con. Overwhelming is the word that initially comes to mind. 125,000 something people in attendance, many in costumes. There were giant robots, huge displays. It was awesome!!!

It was a perfect place to introduce Lunch Lady to the world.

Here is a fully linkable off-the-top-of-my-head list of the old friends, new friends, fellow panelists and people I geeked out over in San Diego—Holly Black (author of The Good Neighbors), Dan Santat (illustrator of Chicken Dance), Tony & Angela DiTerlizzi (author & illustrator of Meno), Jenni Holm (author of Babymouse), Bob Boyle (creator of Wow! Wow! Wubzy!), Eric Wright (author and illustrator of Frankie Pickle), Mike Moon (illustrator of How to Potty Train Your Monster and Art Director for Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends), David Horvath (creator of Ugly Dolls), Ted Biaseli (voice actor on Marvel Super Hero Squad), Bryan Lee O'Malley (author/illustator of Scott Pilgrim), Hope Larson (author/illustrator of Chiggers), Cecil Castellucci (author of Geektastic), Gene Yang (author/illustrator of American Born Chinese), Mac McCool (author/illustrator of Arizona), Chris Schweizer (author/illustrator of Crogan's Vevenge), and Derek Kirk Kim (illustrator of Eternal Smile).

If you haven't already, do check out all of their projects!

The biggest geek-out moment for me—attending a live read of a Sponge Bob Square Pants episode with the cast and then later bumping into Tom Kenny, the voice of Sponge Bob himself, on the conference floor. He was the nicest, coolest person. That is a true Comic Con moment.
Publishers Weekly just published a piece covering all things for kids at the Con. Check out their coverage here.

Finally, here are a few pics that I snapped:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

¿Como se llama Lunch Lady en Español?

¿Como se llama Lunch Lady en Español?

Find out in 2010 when the Spanish language editions are published by Roca Editorial.

Chatting with Monte from 93.9 The River

I sat down with Monte from 93.9 The River to chat about all things Lunch Lady. You can listen to the interview here.

Also, if you are one who can hear The River on your radio dial, come on by The Odyssey Bookshop in S. Hadley, MA this Saturday at 2 PM.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LL shout-outs!

Here is the first round of Lunch Lady shout-outs! These pictures were sent in from readers at...

Island Books in Duck, NC

Barnes & Noble - Charlottesville, VA

Barnes & Noble - Manchester, CT

(Pics for shout-outs can be emailed to props at studio jjk dot com, or posted on facebook.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

LL Book Tour Dates

I have some exciting events lined up in the coming weeks. Hope to see you there!

• August 1 @ 2PM - Hadley, MA - The Odyssey Bookshop -

• August 5 @ 6:30 PM - Worcester, MA - The Worcester Public LIbrary -

• September 5 & 6 - Decatur, GA - Decatur Book Festival -

• September 12 @ 12:30 PM - Minneapolis, MN - Target Children's Book Festival presented by the Star Tribune - Three Rivers Park District

• September 29 @ 6 PM - Frisco, TX - Frisco Reads

• October 4 - New York, NY - New York Times Great Children's Read presented by Target - Columbia University at Broadway & 116th Street

To keep up-to-date on my going ons, check in on my calendar that is on the sidebar of this blog.

Lunch Lady #1 and #2 in stores today!

Today is the day! Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute and Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians both officially hit bookshelves!

If you happen to see the books today—be it at a store, library or in the mail—please snap a picture and email it to me at props at studiojjk dot com, post it to Facebook/Twitter, whatever you can do—I'd love to give you, your bookstore and/or your library a shout-out!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Old Comics - the return of Lightning Man

In 2004, I was asked to contribute to Jon Scieszka's Guys Write for Guys Read. I wanted to redraw a childhood drawing and poured over old artwork in my mother's attic. Nearly everything was a comic. I rediscovered Lightning Man and realized that I never finished his story.

I fell back in love with the format of comics. And I had this story that I had been working on, but couldn't find just the right format for it. It needed to be a comic! The story was about a lunch lady who fought crime . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm off to Comic Con

Hi all, I'm off to Comic Con for Lunch Lady's big debut! Lunch Lady herself will be reporting live from the scene. Sounds like she's figured out how to send Twitter updates from her Spork-phone.

So follow along on LL's Twitter page to keep tabs on her adventures with costumed fan boys and girls.

If you are there, come by Room 3 on Sunday, July 26th at 10 AM. Here's what I was able to pull from the Internets on the session:

10:00-11:00 Kids’ Graphic Novels- What’s new and wonderful in the world of comics and graphic novels for kids in 2009? Moderator Robin Brenner, creator and editor-in-chief of highlights the works of panelists Lewis Trondheim (Tiny Tyrant), Gene Yang (American Born Chinese), Derek Kirk Kim (The Eternal Smile), Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle and The Closet of Doom), Chris Schweizer (Crogan’s Vengeance), Jennifer Holm (Babymouse), and Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady), who all recommend other great titles. Room 3

Old Comics - Factor 8: a boy and his alien

When I arrived at RISD for my sophomore year, I wrote and illustrated a comic for the Brown/RISD Independent, a student a paper that had both schools' names on it, but was mostly put together by Brown students. Factor 8: a boy and his alien was about a boy who helps an alien escape evil aliens who are hunting him down. The boy also had hemophilia. I was coming off of my first summer working at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and was greatly impacted by the experience. The strip run for a year in the paper, until I brought everything online and the comic existed as a web comic for an additional year.

I adapted the comic to be a picture book in an independent study with one of my professors. It would be my first picture book and last comic, until . . .

Tomie show at the Carle Museum

Last Saturday, G and I had the honor of attending the private Members' Opening of the Tomie dePaola retrospective at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The show is fantastic, such an inspiration. If you can get to Amherst, do check out "Drawings From the Heart: Tomie dePaola Turns 75". And if you don't live near Amherst (like librarian Cathy, who flew in from Arizona) . . . get there just the same. And there will be more opportunities to catch Tomie himself at future museum events, so check out the Carle's schedule.

G and I didn't have our camera, but I knew Bob Blog Hechtel would have his. This pic is taken from Tomie's blog (by Bob).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old Comics - Pudding

My freshman year of college was spent at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. I wrote and illustrated a comedy/action comic for the school paper called Pudding, about a freshman who gains super powers by eating the radioactive cafeteria pudding. (In this story, the cafeteria folk were evil.) I was only at the school for a year, so the comic ended when the school year ended.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RHCB GN Chapter Sampler

If you are heading to Comic Con this weekend, stop by the Random House booth for a free copy of Random House Children's Books Graphic Novels Chapter Sampler. In it, there are nifty sneak peaks at upcoming books, as well as a finish-the-story activity!

PS - One week to week to week to week to go....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Old Comics - Peter's Summer

In the summer after my senior year of high school, I pitched a comic strip to The Hampton Union, the local newspaper of Hampton, NH, where I spent my summers with my grandparents. The newspaper picked up the strip! I wrote and illustrated Peter's Summer for two summers. The biggest lesson that came out of this was that there was no way that I could ever keep up with the greuling pace of creating a daily strip.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Old Comics - the high school newspaper

At the end of my freshman year at Holy Name Central Catholic High School in Worcester, MA, I won a contest with The Worcester Telegram & Gazette and saw one of my editorial cartoons in the paper. It was thrilling! Later, as a sophomore, I was appointed the cartoonist for the school newspaper, The Napoleon (Don't ask, it was our mascot.) I held on to that post for the rest of my high school career. I loved sharing my ideas with my peers and seeing my work in print. The first two years were spent drawing editorial cartoons and making social commentary. My last year was spent telling the story of a senior named Wesley's quest for love.

I have an old high school friend who still asks if Wesley ever got the girl . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a surprise package

Ralph Macchio was just barking at the front porch. That could mean a few things. A cat was on the porch, someone drove by on a bicycle or . . . OR there was a package delivery.

Lucky for me it was a package. Receiving your first author copies ROCKS! I was taken completely by surprise.

Two weeks to go . . .

Old Comics - classes at the Worcester Art Museum

When I was in the 6th grade and the school arts budgets got slashed, my grandfather enrolled me in classes at the Worcester Art Museum. There, I took a ton of comic book classes, throughout my high school years. In two classes, we had our work bound and printed. It was so, so cool to see your work in print. Here are my two comics from those classes.

They are from my teenage years, so they're a bit more violent than anything I do now. (Blame it on the teen-angst.)

10th grade:

11th grade:

On a side note, my instructor for these classes, was none other than Mark Lynch, host of WICN's Inquiry.