sex & drugs


Here’s page 250-something of HABIBI, along with photos of poppies from my backyard (lush Portland).


And here’s some of the sprawl of pages from chapter four. As alluded to in the last blog entry, working on a graphic novel can be tedious, isolating, and ridiculous. In terms of PROCESS, it’s probably not the brightest way to produce comics, because several years pass before a creator has new work on the shelves. It seems like all the “with-it youngsters” serialize their books online, sometimes in daily installments; but as a reader, I crave a self-contained reading experience, and intermissions of my own choosing. Half the pleasure of a book is reading it at your own pace. I’m resistant to serialization — and of disposable formats like the “pamphlet comic” and magazines and newspapers. There’s enough trees being sacrificed. Maybe the true issue is the length of a comic book. If only page 250 was the final page of HABIBI, instead of a little more than a third the way through. What do you think?

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m ever grateful to all of you for your patience!

63 thoughts on “sex & drugs

  1. I’d wait another 10 years to get to see those pages up close and at my own pace. I have no doubt it will be well worth the wait! Keep fighting the good fight Craig.

  2. I agree that comics should be self-contained, although serialisation is definitely an easier method. However, the beauty of your stories, I feel, may only be done justice when presented in a whole, hefty tome of words and flowing illustrations.

  3. Simply amazing Craig! If 250+ pages are just over a third of the book – Habibi’s going to be like a 700+ page book! That alone plus how detailed these pages are looking is quite an accomplishment. We shall all wait for brilliance…

  4. completely agree with your way of thinking as a reader. Great to have the whole book and to read through at our own pace, so take your time to finish it! bon courage

  5. I appreciate your way of building a book as opposed to publishing in sections. Even if it takes so long, it’s worth it. I always wait until a comics series is collected into one graphic novel anyway (or until the pamphlets are collected into a volume), because I also like having one solid reading experience, not a few pages a month. HABIBI looks incredible so far. Thanks for all your hard work.

  6. Seeing that pile of pages makes me squeal with excitement. This may have been mentioned already–but are you doing bits of color for Habibi or did you just add some color for this little website preview? I imagine some color could be feasible working with Pantheon, whereas not so much for your earlier work. The color poppy looks so beautiful here!

  7. Craig,

    One of the things I have always admired about you is your insane work ethic and dedication to doing things your way. The pages you have drawn are gorgeous and when you do finish, I will be waiting with all your other fans to sit in a quiet place and enjoy all of your latest work. I totally agree with you that 24 page comics are a waste. Besides I see your name crop up from time to time on other projects so we know you are still getting some work out there. 🙂

    Congrats to all your success – you truly deserve it!

    (oh, let’s do lunch sometime.)

  8. Hey 🙂

    Wouldn’t it awesome if the cover of Menomena’s Friend and Foe were an “all over print” hoodie? Or at least a famous scene from Blankets on the back of a solid hoodie? I just think it would be splendiferous! You should do it 😀


  9. I think that myself, and so many others agree that any sort of reading, or even proper appreciation of art should be a physical thing. Something tangible, or, if in a museum, almost tangible 🙂

    You don’t get the same response to reading a novel if you read it online. No connection can be made. The same applies for any art, whether it be modern illustration or Impressionist paintings!

    It’s looking so great!!

  10. For a book with contents as terrific as Habibi, I’m willing to wait until it’s ready, as long as the creator is comfortable with his own pace!

  11. Craig, you’re one of the few comix artists whose work I would gladly wait years for. Your patience and dedication is one of the reasons your work has lasting impact. Keep it up and God bless.

  12. Like everyone else i’d prefer to read your novel as a whole. and while i am excited to see it i would rather wait till the author is finished and happy with it.

  13. look, i mean i think it matter which context the comics are in. In something like a graphic novel, by definition, the comic should be well-rounded and have a vibrant fluency. but something like pamphlet comics are a little more informal so i think its ok to print quick little 20-30 pagers like that.

  14. Brother, J.R.R. broke \”Lord of the Rings\” into three books. Feel free to put out separate 250 page volumes. It\’d probably help your morale as much as your finances!

    Besides, I\’d get to see some of it sooner! 😉 I\’ll wait if you make me, though, so do what you think is best.

  15. The pace is one of the things that makes Blankets so wonderfully readable. A book like the Carnet might not have to be read in one go. I often pick it up and just read small sections or observations. With Blankets, however, the breathing of the images is impossible not to be swept up in, and if I start reading a part of it I end up reading it to the end. Its a very luxurious feeling, to be able to completely get into the book and stay there for such a long time.

  16. I too agree that publishing it in a complete volume is much better than serializing it, for all the reasons you mentioned – plus, it gives a sense of completeness to the work and allows you to change things if a new idea comes along, before you publish it.

    In the meantime, those pages of Habibi lying in your desk drive me crazy 😀 Very excited about it, can’t wait.

  17. hi! i started reading ur book Blankets, since my spring brk started. and i got so into it, im already over 1/3! I even looked u up on google, and ended up here:)
    i like ur blog. i have some questions that i want to email you.
    would you reply to my email when you see this? thank you Craig!
    (ur faith was encouraging)

  18. Hey Craig.

    Habibi looks fantastic and I couldn’t agree more about having your books actually being produced…. as books.

    I love having Blankets on my shelf and when ever a day isn’t going so great just being able to pop right into chapter 7.

    I was recently attending Megacon in Florida and i was so happy to see that Top Shelf was there with all your books, (picked up a copy of the Tracker CD and Carnet De Voyage.) Hopefully next year we can see you there??

    But in any case, Huge fan of your work. Blankets is actually the book i show to my friends when I want them to get into comics. My copy holds so many memories and i thank you so much making them possible.

    Can Not Wait for Habibi!


  19. This ist pure passion mixed with great talent! And therefore there’s no need to hury. I will wait for this no matter how long it will take till the finish line.



  20. wow! This looks great! I didnt know you were making a new comic, this looks beautiful 🙂 I really like how you’ve composed the page as well…all together it looks like one lovely peice of art, with little individual pieces of information wrapped up inside the boxed off art, waiting to be read. 🙂
    I am in two minds about he whole graphic novel/serialization thing. On one hand, I live in the UK, where apart from Posy Simmonds comics, it is very hard to easily obtain comics that have a on going story/focus alot of story development, from any kind of shop (oh how I wish it was like France!). As such, I crave the idea of being able to easily pick up a cheap magazine from a local shop and read a on-going comic in segments each week, or something like that. On the other hand, I also prefer it very much when I can get one entire story in one book. I love how all my Osamu Tezuka comics are just in one big fat 600 page graphic novel, and I can take my time with it, delve into it and just buy it all in one go…
    Good luck with this new comic, its looking lovely!

  21. Woowowoowwoowwww!

    I’m with you about the whole one-shot graphic novel thing, though I also realize that there’s something charming about single pamphlet issues. And the difference in storytelling dynamics between the two is one of note for the academic.

    All the best! 🙂

  22. Hello Craig,
    your work is absolutely great, excellent, wonderful! Your books keep in reach of me and time and again a great pleasure for me to look at. Take as much time as You need to comlete Your current Graphic Novel at once, than it comes out great again!!! (Sorry for my English ;))
    Take care, Your fans will be patient,

  23. Christ, that pile looks like the inside of my head. I’d have to agree with the work method, I hate putting out a song or a clip at a time. Of course it means that albums I’ve been working on for years are no where near completion but I think they’ll be better if I take my time. Serialized stories always make me get lost at some point, I’ll forget some crucial point of development and it makes it harder on the writer too. I think your work is worth waiting for, the same reason I’m willing to wait three to five years for a new Tool album.

  24. Craig, hi I was wondering do you sell your art?
    If so could you please e-mail me. The new book looks GREAT by the way, really looking forward to it.

  25. you are an amazing author and artist. i didn’t even know you were creating another book – just got lucky when i suggested that a student of mine peruse your site to help her generate questions to ask after reading Blankets, and i sneaked a peek over her shoulder and saw, to my amazement, your beautiful work. (i can’t wait – but i will). Yeah!

  26. It will be well worth the wait, just as all of your work has been. I read online comics along with most everyone else, but I hold your work in a higher regard, so it does not bother me at all to wait.

  27. If you come up with something half as beautiful and touching as blankets I can wait years and years..
    Thx to you I’m working on my first patchwork, a present, my mom (one of the too few French quilters) had been waiting for that for years. At each stitch I pray to myself that whatever happens the person won’t burn it up. You know this gift is really a part of the quilter’s gift, it’s really strange to explain and understand unless one tiers it once. Anyway, i’m eager to read Habibi and wish you good luck with it.
    ps: How do you say pavot in English?

  28. Like everyone else, I’m willing to wait for as long as needed to see Habibi all finished! What you’ve shown us so far is amazing, so I’m sure the finished product will be mind-blowing. No pressure, or anything . . .
    I spent over three years doing the web-comic thing while working 40-hour work weeks. Every week, cranking out pages, working on scripts, and doing extra art lost me a lot of sleep and many brain cells. Taking breaks are good, and taking one’s time to work on stuff so it’s the best it can be is even better.

  29. “…but as a reader, I crave a self-contained reading experience, and intermissions of my own choosing. Half the pleasure of a book is reading it at your own pace.”

    I agree 100%. Echoing what everyone else has said so far, while I am eagerly anticipating your next book and am so excited by all the beautiful previews you’ve given, I am happy to wait for as long as it takes. I’d far rather have a real book in my hands. Please, take as much time as you need to complete your work. Make it as long as you want. The longer, the better, actually! 🙂

  30. Craig, I miss you, and I miss Portland, and I am currently surfing in South Carolina. Well, not AT THE MOMENT, but I was yesterday, and the day before, and I will be later today. Without a wetsuit. And with thoughts of you.

  31. I look for big books for deep immersion in an intense period. Serialisation can dissipate the experience and web comics just get you into the ‘noisy’ headspace that computers create.

  32. I believe works like yours are worth waiting for in whole format, though serialization does have the benefit of the artist getting feedback and a consistent drive to publish each chapter.

    Don’t worry Craig, we’ll keep on waiting. Good job, the book looks fantastic! Thanks for the blog entries that continue to inspire us to keep pen to paper as well!

  33. Your blog is really great. I was having a really tough day and was thinking of things that I like to look at to try to perk up and I remembered my favorite comic which is Goodbye Chunky Rice and googled it and ended up here. Thank you

  34. You say that working on a graphic novel is tedious but what you do is so powerful that it is worth it. I work in related field, in isolation on works that take months and I know it is difficult to keep faith. Don’t look back but trust that Eurydice is there following you.

    I almost never cry but ‘Blankets’ made me cry. I’ve got kids and have been married for ten years but reading it, the pain of youth came flooding back.

  35. I’m happy to see your process and progress! Super excited for your “next book”. Warmest hugs, luck and love!!

  36. Bonjour Craig,
    je crois que tu parles français n’est-ce pas?
    Alors je m’exprimerais dans ma première langue c’est plus simple pour moi.
    Je veux simplement te remercier pour ton authenticité. Ça me fait tellement de bien de te lire. Ton monde est magique et pourtant tellement réel…c’est un peu comme s’il me réapprennait à observer mon quotidien.
    Je veux te remecier aussi car, grâce à toi j’ai découvert Menomena!!! Au magasin de disque j’ai été attiré par la pochette de l’album “hey, mais ce sont les dessins de Craig Thompson”.
    Cette pochette est superbement ingénieuse, BRAVO.
    Aussi ingénieuse quela musique de Menomena!
    Je ne sais pas ce que j’aurais donné pour vous voir en spectacle ensemble!!!
    En espérant que cela se reproduise et que Montréal sera sur votre chemin!
    J’ai très hâte de voir ta prochaine BD, mais ne te presses pas, ne brise pas ta main!


  37. that detail work on the bottom left page is incredible

    id say you don’t need to worry about time, your stuff ive seen is timeless, and as i write this i realize that basically everybody is saying the same thing!

  38. I like waiting. It gives me a good feeling. Seeing your progress makes it even better, because I know the wait is more than worth it.

  39. I can’t wait, I’m excited as hell. You’re my favorite recent comic artist, I’m a huge fan so you’d better come to Chicago for a signing once this is out 😀

  40. Hi Craig

    ‘Habibi’ looks great. I’m a Belgian student-illustration, last year and I have a final project. I’m making a graphic novel of my journey to Egypt last year. It’s funny, my first work-title was also ‘Habibi’, before I knew your new book would be named so. My new (temporal) title is ‘mumkin shaj’ (can I have a tea please (I didn’t learn much Arabic)) A life like yours seems so cool, always drawing and travelling. I hope it isn’t to hard, I would fear a ‘writer’s (drawer’s) block’
    Good luck with ‘habibi’ and keep us updated

  41. Hi Craig,

    My friend Danny J. Gibson of DJG Design fame (or lack thereof) introduced me to “Blankets” recently and I related to it 200%. I am your age and I am writing a book that sort of explores life through the lenses of pop culture, theology, OCD (what a wonderful blessing/curse it is!), personal experience, etc. It’s sort of in the vein of Anne Lamott or Donald Miller, but with a much larger emphasis on film, music, art, etc.

    I am in the midst of writing a chapter on creativity and the theological implications of the creative act. The chapter discusses artists like Henry Darger, James Hampton, Ray Johnson, and my friend Danny J. Gibson, among others. You and Danny would probably get along famously by the way. He loves your work and relates to it as well.

    Would I be able to interview you for it? I would love to pick your brain. 🙂 Let me know.

    Most Sincerely,

    Chad Thomas Johnston

  42. BLANKETS- my friend let me borrow it. I too, grew up in a tight, guilt and self-hatred filled childhood scenario. I related to many aspects of your story, like needing to distance myself from church and Bible to find freedom from rules . I am in a season of being free to try all sorts of new things, and to interact with life. The way you draw, makes me want to see my life in pictures ,like yours.
    I’m glad to find your blog page so I can tell you! I live in Charlotte NC with my husband and 3 kids. We’re musicians, mostly, if you come this way, I’d love to meet you and give you a cd.

  43. I wasn’t a big comic reader before I met the unbelievable poetry in Blankets. I can also relate with some aspects of the characters. Craig’s inner struggles in the novel made me think about myself and my relationship with God and family. And it was the first entire novel that I read in English – I’m Italian! ^u^ Good work, Craig, thank you and keep on telling stories that can move our souls!

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