This is what the big chalkboard at Hazardous Tales studio looks like right now:
The manuscript for book #6 has just arrived back from editorial. My editor said, "This could be the perfect Hazardous Tale!" The chalkboard is for final art. The little corner loop is for lettering. 128 pages, endpapers, cover, mini-medal, back cover arrow, and spine art due in June!
The color of this book will be YELLOW.
I can't tell you exactly what it's about. But it takes place in TEXAS. It's a historical event you may REMEMBER. I really hope readers will COME AND TAKE IT when it comes out.
Here is page 91 of Hazardous Tales #5 in progress. I don't love drawing cars--and I have trouble with horses, but boy, do I love drawing carriages! Figure that one out.
The subject matter of book #5 is still somewhat under wraps. This book comes out next spring, so we'll have a subject and cover reveal later this fall. I don't think there are any giveaway clues in this image, other than the fact there will be a carriage in it.
I am deep, deep into this book right now. I have 37 pages to draw and color in the next sixteen days. This is the real grind. I've been working on the book all summer long, but here, in the final weeks, is when the crunch really hits. I'm now in full reverse sleep mode (work through the night, sleep from 8am to 3pm--while the kids are at school). It's a silly schedule. But it works for comics crunch time.
The next Hazardous Tales book will be out next Spring, but the next Hazardous Tales story will be out in two months! Where? In Jon Scieszka's GUYS READ: TRUE STORIES!
Check out this amazing cover by Caldecott winner Brian Floca!
This isn't a full, book-length Hazardous Tale, but it's not little--it's 30 pages long! And it features, easily, the goriest story in the series. Seriously, it's gruesome. There's more than one panel about maggots. That's right, maggots.
Excited? You should be, because my story is only one of a bunch of great nonfiction stories in this book. Steve Sheinkin is in here (and if you haven't read his BOMB book--go get it!) Sy Montgomery, Jim Murphy, Candace Fleming, and many more--it's packed!
Would you like a sample page? Have two!
GUYS READ: TRUE STORIES is out in September. The collection is a lot of fun. I'm extremely proud of this story. Pre-order it, put it on hold, check it out. It's great!
I'm currently in the deepest, darkest, deadliest deadline crunch I've ever been in. Hazardous Tales book five is on track for next March, which means I need to draw at least two pages per day for the rest of the summer. I haven't been as diligent at updating my blog as I once was. I'm still drawing plenty of comics--it's just that all of these comics are going into books.
For the second time, a Hazardous Tales book has cracked the New York Times Best Seller list. TREATIES, TRENCHES, MUD, AND BLOOD debuted at #4 on the Hardcover Graphic Novel list! Thank you so much for pre-ordering and buying the book at launch. You readers are the ones who put it there. Hooray!
Now, on to more news. The studio chalkboard has been erased, and a new chart has been added. See below:
PREHISTORIC PREDATORS, a Scholastic book I did some illustrations for is finished, and drawings for Hazardous Tales book #5 start TODAY. The deadline: mid-August. We want book #5 to land on shelves in March 2015. It's going to be a drawing-drawing-drawing summer.
If you missed it, Comics Alternative did a great interview podcast with me about Hazardous Tales. We talked about some series secrets: the mysterious narrator idea before Hale, Provost, and Hangman came along, as well as the crazy original plan for book #4--it wasn't WWI! and many other unknown tidbits. Tune in here: Comics Alternative Podcast.
One last bit of news: The nominees for the Kids Comics Awards have been announced. DONNER DINNER PARTY has been nominated TWO times! For Favorite Non-Fiction Graphic Novel, and for Grossest Thing in Comics! All children can vote HERE. And please do! I'm up against Fregley's Gum-Chewing Belly-Button in the Grossest category. I'm going to need all the votes I can get!