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Sunday, May 31st, 2020
12:36 pm - Dino FAQ

More info here: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/the-red-hook-vol-2-war-cry-tp

STARCROSS: https://www.webtoons.com/en/super-hero/star-cross/list?title_no=1599

(photo of Dean Haspiel 2019 by Whitney Matheson)

 photo Dino2015 by Stefano Giovannini_zpsksifitd4.jpg


Emmy & Ringo award winner, Dean Haspiel created Billy Dogma, The Red Hook, illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death," was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is a Yaddo fellow, a playwright, and helped pioneer personal webcomics via ACT-I-VATE. Dino has written and drawn many comix for Marvel, DC, Image, Archie, IDW, Dark Horse, Heavy Metal, and LINE Webtoon; including The Fox, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-men, Deadpool, Batman, Wonder Woman, Godzilla, Mars Attacks, Creepy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Popeye, and semi-autobio collaborations with Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, Jonathan Lethem, Stoya, and Stan Lee.

Listen to SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, the podcast that breaks down American Splendor the movie, Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel's relationship with the late/great Harvey Pekar, and growing up in NYC learning to make comix: http://scenebyscenepodcast.com/

Read THE RED HOOK saga for free at LINE Webtoon:
1) THE RED HOOK: http://www.webtoons.com/en/super-hero/the-red-hook/list?title_no=643
2) WAR CRY: https://www.webtoons.com/en/super-hero/war-cry/list?title_no=1247
3) STARCROSS: https://www.webtoons.com/en/super-hero/star-cross/list?title_no=1599

THE RED HOOK vol.1 New Brooklyn is also available at ComiXology: https://www.comixology.com/The-Red-Hook/comics-series/128047

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deanhaspiel_art/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deanhaspiel
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/deanhaspiel

Artist's Statement:
No permissions. No apologies.

-Emmy Award winner for title design work on HBO's "Bored To Death."
-Eisner Award nominee for "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" and "Outstanding Webcomic."
-Ringo Award winner for "Best Webcomic 2017" for THE RED HOOK
-Yaddo fellow
-Master Artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts

Click here for comix, interviews, news, videos, and other essential linksCollapse )
Friday, October 4th, 2019
10:37 am - Dean Haspiel's WAR CRY signing at New York Comicon 2019


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Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
9:44 am - The Red Hook crosses over with The Night Watchman in The Untold Legend of Luna

Tales of the Night Watchman / The Red Hook: The Untold Legend of Luna #1
48 pages / color / $7.99

Writers: Dean Haspiel & Dave Kelly
Artist: Brett Hobson
Colorist: Sonia Liao
Letterer: DC Hopkins
Cover A: Dean Haspiel
Cover B: Emily Pearson
Cover C: Simon Fraser (Limited to 500 units, 100% of the proceeds assigned to CBLDF)

A crossover event three centuries in the making! Super-thief meets superhero as Image Comics’ Red Hook teams up with the Night Watchman to travel back in time to save Brooklyn’s first superhero, a woman of mystery named Luna, who has been erased from history by a male supervillain harboring an unhealthy obsession for her. Come smash the patriarchy with us in this loving and epic tribute to comics’ Golden Age.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW at THE COMICS BEAT: The Night Watchman joins forces with Red Hook to help CBLDF!


Diamond Previews listing: https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/OCT192069

(cover by Simon Fraser for the CBLDF)

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Friday, September 20th, 2019
3:24 pm - Whitney Matheson on Dean Haspiel's STARCROSS
"Dean is one of my favorite writers and artists--he writes, as they say, "with the blood," often pouring straight from the aorta. STARCROSS takes place in a trippy alternate Brooklyn where art is currency and only love will save the world." --Whitney Matheson

Thank you, Whitney, for such a sweet response. You're too kind.


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Thursday, September 19th, 2019
1:43 pm - HiLoBrow reviews Dean Haspiel's STARCROSS

"STARCROSS is an epic for a post-solitary century; the kind of quest defined not by what prize you bring back, but by what precious values you leave the world."
--Adam McGovern, HiLoBrow

Gracious thanks to Adam McGovern for writing such a beautiful review of my webcomic, STARCROSS (The Red Hook season 3, which you can binge read starting with chapter 1: https://www.webtoons.com/en/super-hero/star-cross/episode-1/viewer?title_no=1599&episode_no=1 )

Here is the review:

"We try to climb the sky, but it falls past us faster. It’s as if the friezes and tapestries of ancient epic have been turned on their side, the vertical roll of the electronic screen pouring living memory and human effort to the bottom. The stories in our hands progress as our fingers climb down them; to go forward we must dive deeper. Dean Haspiel’s online comic STARCROSS plummets Icarus-like from the firmament for its morality and meaning to rise to Earth.

The third series in Haspiel’s The Red Hook cycle (itself one branch of the “New Brooklyn” stories which also include Vito Delsante & Ricardo Venancio’s The Purple Heart also on Webtoons and, full disclosure, my own Aquaria with Paolo Leandri and Dom Regan in print at Image), STARCROSS crowns the narrative from a teetering beanstalk. It began with the titular hero, a palooka turned costumed burglar, hewing close to the cracking pavement of his native Brooklyn — at least until the anomaly of the borough’s tectonic “secession” from its adjacent New York landscape unleashes celestial forces that push him into a life of good deed-ing. The Red Hook wrestles with his base (and humble) instincts of self-interest and a higher calling bequeathed by a cosmic hero who happens to die in his path and affect a kind of angelic possession. Long story, but the tension between Red Hook’s street scale and the grandeur of his mission has always been a tug of war between the mortal and divine, the pedestrian and quantum.

In his first series the ground held him (and his lover and crime-partner The Possum ended up under it); in the second War Cry, the sky collapsed on them both as she was resurrected in the form of a planetary protector by secret doomsday-failsafe protocols (longer story); in STARCROSS the horizon and the material world reunite after an ordeal that takes our heroes to heaven and back.

Common causes are the staples that bind Haspiel’s universe, and those who go it alone stay that way and end up nowhere. Epic pairs are the nucleus of his work, from the sex god and goddess Billy Dogma and Jane Legit to The Red Hook (Sam) and War Cry (Ava) here; the more circles of humanity that radiate out from these unions, the more gets done. When Jane and Billy’s balance is stormy, the world shakes and whole communities take to the streets and take matters (or each other) into their own hands to restore harmony; in STARCROSS the sun is going out from human coldness and Sam & Ava must figuratively and literally reignite it. Along the way they must cross dimensions, argue with uncaring gods, and share profound sacrifices; Haspiel understands that the most superlative stakes are those that affect each person, and the scale of his monumental menace is measured by the intimacy of his focus.

STARCROSS is an epic for a post-solitary century; the kind of quest defined not by what prize you bring back, but by what precious values you leave the world."


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Thursday, September 12th, 2019
11:58 am - Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor Film Screening and Live Podcast Discussion with the Directors

The Society of Illustrators
October 02, 2019 | 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm

The American Splendor film, about legendary comics writer Harvey Pekar, was directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, and stars Paul Giamatti. A unique hybrid of live action, documentary, and animation, the film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, a critics award at Cannes, the Writers Guild Best Adapted Screenplay award, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Come for a screening of the film and a discussion afterward with Springer Berman & Pulcini, animator Gary Leib, as well as other creators associated with the Pekar legacy. In a live edition of their weekly podcast Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean, Haspiel & Neufeld (both former American Splendor illustrators), will spark a discussion about the film’s unique construction, reveal previously unexplored connections between the original American Splendor comics and the film, and remind everyone why Pekar is such an important figure in the history of comics.

Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean, which debuted in April 2019, has been covered by Publishers Weekly, Word Balloon, The Beat, Bleeding Cool, Forces of Geek, and many more. Guests on the podcast have included actors from the film, as well as other Pekar artists and collaborators.

$15 Non-Members | $10 Members | $7 Seniors + Students (Undergrad with valid ID)

About the Speakers

Between them, Josh Neufeld and Dean Haspiel have an Emmy award, a Xeric, a Ringo, a Knight-Wallace Fellowship, multiple residencies at the Yaddo, and have been nominated for numerous Harvey, Eisner, and Ignatz Awards. Both men have been Master Artists at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Both were long-time illustrators for Harvey Pekar on American Splendor. Native New Yorkers, Josh & Dean met in high school and have been friends ever since. In addition to Scene by Scene, they have collaborated on numerous prior projects.

Neufeld is known for his nonfiction narratives of political and social upheaval, told through the voices of witnesses. His works include A.D: New Orleans After the Deluge and The Influencing Machine. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts and the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College, Josh has traveled all over the world speaking about comics.

Haspiel created Billy Dogma, The Red Hook, illustrated for HBO’s Bored to Death, is a playwright, and helped pioneer personal webcomics. He has produced many superhero and memoir comics, and illustrated Harvey Pekar’s “origin story” The Quitter. Dean inspired producer Ted Hope to make an American Splendor movie and introduced him to Pekar.


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Wednesday, September 11th, 2019
11:32 am - 18-years later...

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11:30 am - Newsarama: DEAN HASPIEL Wrestles With 'Complexities of Love' in RED HOOK: WAR CRY

Lan Pitts talked to me about WAR CRY, The Red Hook vol.2 published by Image Comics, October 9th 2019, at Newsarama.



"If by "comics industry" you mean "print comics industry," and to qualify that even further, you mean "Wednesday Comics Industry," I think we're most definitely talking about two very different industries. And, honestly, that's pretty damned exciting. Some webcomics make it into print but the majority just live online to, ultimately, be binge read.

There is a misguided mindset that suggests free webcomics aren't as valid as print comics. You know, comics that you currently pay $4 for 1/6th of a story (which makes me miss the good old days when 35-cents got you an entire story). And, even though more people read my free webcomics than anything else I've ever written and drawn, it's hard to get the hype that a new number one on the comic shop shelf will get. The New York Times or the Washington Post will be sure to ring the alarm for the next superhero gender swap or death-resurrect-repeat, but you'll hardly read about new and regular webcomics.

Maybe because webcomics, in general, don't have the promotional muscle print needs but I hope someone figures out how to turn on more readers about what's happening on your phone.

Or, maybe that's part of the problem? Everyone is on their phone, taken hostage by the horrors of the world while seeking to carve their own digital footprint (guilty as charged), that they don't have the time nor the desire to escape like we used to when we had less technology and more newsstands. It's not nostalgia I crave, but I've foolishly dared to compete with Marvel and DC by creating a new universe of superheroes. Alas, I'd like to think I'm not competing but, in fact, complimenting the characters and stories I grew up loving by adding a small cabal of my own misunderstood misfits."

"I've had to abandon landscape panels and my beloved inset panels for taller, thinner, portrait-sized panels. I've had to forfeit action shots that intrude other panels for static panels that can stack upon each other like funhouse mirrors. So, whatever I loved about the way Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Will Eisner, Frank Miller, Frank Quitely, and Javier Pulido did and do designing their comics, I've had to shift gears and study the likes of C.C. Beck, Ramona Fradon, and Steve Ditko, who employ a more standard template, and more recently, Mike Mignola, who did really nifty stuff adding the occasional ambient panel to his Hellboy comics. You know the ones I'm talking about? Where there's a statue or a skull or a creepy detail lurking inside a small panel, hovering between two or three other panels like an omniscient specter."

"Ava Blume, a.k.a. the Possum, is the love of Red Hook's life! They broke into banks together. They robbed rich people. They made love by the Statue of Liberty. And, when New Brooklyn happened, it was the Possum who knew they had to stash stolen art and let it appreciate if they ever wanted to buy land in the mountains and build a home. The Possum, a.k.a. the feminine-half of War Cry, is a juggernaut of conviction. A human of mass destruction with a heart of gold. Who wouldn't want to woo that?"

"I'm not gonna lie. I've got two strikes against me: 1) the print versions of my webcomics are available to read online for free. So, why would you buy it? And, 2) I'm stubborn enough to believe I can launch a small new universe of superheroes during a time when Marvel reigns supreme on a global level. But, I have to believe that there is room for outliers like me.

Publishers like Image, Dark Horse, Humanoids, and Lion Forge still make valiant efforts at universe building while seasoned fans bin dive and discover old comics that never made prime time. The stuff that fuels our imagination, encourages the next batch of dreamers and cartoonists, will never truly disappear if there are still long boxes to rummage. If ACT-I-VATE, the webcomics collective I founded in early 2006 with seven other cartoonists on Livejournal still existed, folks would stumble upon some of the best webcomics made 13 years ago."

"My comix are heartfelt abstracts. Pop-theater on paper. A fine mix between melodramatic and sentimental. I learned long ago the best way to impart experience and wisdom is through levity. Do I want people reading my comix to cry? Occasionally. But, it's more important that I have fun making the stuff you have fun indulging and, perhaps, walk away feeling something special."

"Kirby and Ditko are clearly great influences when it comes to costume design. But, I take it a little further. I prefer a more reductive style. For example, The Green Point is a naked guy with weird antlers for antennas, a cape and a sheath for his sword -- and that’s it. The Red Hook looks like a cross-between Daredevil and the Fox. The Coney looks like a black cricket with XX's for eyes and staples for teeth. Simple designs. I also like to assign a bold color for each of my characters so you can "see" and separate them in a group from afar. When it comes to figure drawing (and perspective, for that matter), I try to draw what my gut desires. Nothing about my art is accurate. It's emotional."

"If I ever get to publish an omnibus edition of my Red Hook saga, thus far, I may have to call it "Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn."

Read the entire interview here: https://www.newsarama.com/46770-dean-haspiel-shouts-a-war-cry-for-red-hook-s-second-arc.html

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Monday, September 9th, 2019
6:18 pm - Pop Culture Squad Spotlight Interview with Dean Haspiel

Bob Harrison talked to me at Pop Culture Squad about WAR CRY, The Red Hook vol.2 published by Image Comics, coming out October 9th, 2019:



"It is something I learned doing a weekly webcomic when I did Billy Dogma at ACT-I-VATE years ago. The trick that I used there is that I didn’t know what was going to happen next week. It kept it loose yet exciting, but I had to figure out what the hell was going to happen. I found out years later that it’s a trick that Mark Waid uses. He kind of writes himself into a corner, and then tries to figure it out in the next issue. This way the reader and the writer feel this same kind of menace from the cliffhanger."

"When I think about my future in comics, I realize that I am not a “Wednesday Warrior” kind of guy. I’ve done it. I did two five-issue mini-series of The Fox for Archie Comics. Those are examples of monthly comic series that I have done, but usually what I do are graphic novels or webcomics.

I have hopscotched all over the place, but I don’t have four years of a monthly title under my belt, and at this age, frankly, it’s not going to happen. There is no way I could produce something like that even if I was just the penciler. Coming up with twenty-two to twenty-four pages of comics in, what, five weeks? There is no way. Even though I have done a ton of comics and I have a reduced silver-age indie style, there’s no way I could do that.

What I have been thinking about in terms of the future of comics that I produce is the forty-eight- or sixty-four-page graphic novella."

"Thanks God, right now, I am in this really cool autonomous space. For the last three years, I have been creating comics that I own and that I get paid for, which is insane. I am like, “How did that happen?” I thank Tom Akel, my former editor at Line Webtoon, for believing in me, and pushing for me to do the kind of stuff that I do. Not a lot of people would take a risk on me like that. I am not the hotshot writer or artist. I have a peculiar sensibility."

"What I was playing with is my love for Shazam. Billy Batson shouts the word “Shazam” and becomes this adult superhero god. It is also kind of like Firestorm where it is two personas becoming one as a superhero. It also plays with the idea of Hawk and Dove where there is a peaceful person that shares a body with an entity that is ready to throw down and fight at any moment. There is also some element of OMAC who is blasted from the robot Eye in the Sky that turns him into a modern-day Ares. So, it is kind of a mashup of all the things that I love put together into War Cry, which is this duality between a young boy and a resurrected super-thief.

It, also, becomes kind of like a love story. A lot of my stories are surrounded by romance, because the key to any good story is romance. Actually, in StarCross, it is about how love will save the world, which is corny and sentimental, but hell, I’d rather put my energy into something that is a positive message than something negative."

"It’s my “Hail Mary” to being a born and bred native New Yorker who can no longer afford live in the home and place that he grew up, where art is increasingly more difficult to sell. We have Patreon and we have Kickstarters, all these social network tools to parade, celebrate, hype, and brand ourselves. It becomes more synonymous with free content as opposed to something that you’re willing to pay for. It is getting harder and harder to make a living.

Thankfully, right now, my work is underwritten by a South Korean publisher online. I have gone out of country to make a living. But luckily, I have a relationship with Image Comics who is taking a risk on publishing the print version. That starts another conversation in that it is already online for free.

Why would people need to buy it? As you are witnessing by looking at the book, it is a different experience. Also, I prefer to read books in my hand versus reading online. After a while, your eyes get tired, and your attention is just stolen all day long by anything and everything that is happening on your phone or the internet. How do you sit and truly indulge anything substantial? New Brooklyn to me is a wish, in a lot of ways. Ironically, we hear people talking about going green and being socialist. It is in a way a socialist fantasy.

I don’t know if that would actually work, but it creates a discussion. Not only for the reader, but for me as well. I am only dipping my toe in New Brooklyn. I am not trying to explain it, because again, I am not that smart. I do have complicated feelings, though, and a lot of my writing comes from an emotional response to what is happening."

"I think I once said that the questions are more important than the answers. So, Sam, the lead of the story, is going to be asking a lot of questions when weird stuff is happening. What do you do with that? How does it impact your life? He is trying to navigate through all of this, because he is a blue-collar kind of guy. Not that I am blue collar, but I respect blue collar thought."

"One shouldn’t say that their mom is the best friend, but my mother is one of my best friends. But she is also my mom. She is my hero. She comes from Michigan. She came to New York and started off as a secretary at the New York State Council of the Arts and became Deputy Director. She went on to own and Antique Store in the Catskills, and became a volunteer firefighter in Florida. She has gotten into politics to try to get Florida to be a little bluer. Earlier, you were saying that you recognized Sam Brosia as being my voice, but in a lot of ways it’s my mother’s voice."

Read the entire interview here: https://popculturesquad.com/2019/09/04/spotlight-interview-with-dean-haspiel/

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Saturday, August 31st, 2019
11:32 am - Publisher's Weekly: Webtoon Builds An Audience for Webcomics
Calvin Reid interviewed me for an article about Webtoon at Publisher's Weekly.


Webtoon has also partnered with veteran comics professionals, among them Dean Haspiel, who has worked for Marvel, DC, and indie houses. Haspiel launched Red Hook, a satirical superhero series that is now in its third online iteration, on Webtoon in 2016. While Webtoon does not offer print editions, Haspiel has a deal with Image Comics, which released a trade paperback collection of Red Hook: New Brooklyn in 2018; the second volume, Red Hook: War Cry, will be published in October 2019.

Haspiel (The Quitter, The Alcoholic, Billy Dogma, and other graphic novels) described working with Webtoon as “creatively great.” He noted that he’s paid an “acceptable” rate via the site and maintains ownership of his content. “Everyone’s deal is different, but Webtoon has allowed me to be autonomous and work on comics that I own.”

You can read the entire article here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/comics/article/81073-webtoon-builds-an-audience-for-webcomics.html

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Friday, August 30th, 2019
2:53 pm - BCC2019 Welcomes Comix Auteurs Cassano, Haspiel, Proch, Rostovsky, and The Trustman's
Baltimore Comicon 2019 Welcomes Comix Auteurs Cassano, Haspiel, Proch, Rostovsky, and The Trustman's

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - August 30, 2019 - The 20th annual Baltimore Comic-Con occurs the weekend of October 18-20, 2019 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Baltimore Comic-Con is pleased to feature a posse of niche-bending comix auteurs, which include Christa Cassano, Dean Haspiel, Dave Proch, Peter Rostovsky, David Trustman, and Sarah Trustman. Purchase your tickets online at the Baltimore Comic-Con website.


C Cassano is an award winning artist currently residing in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has been an Artist-in-Residence at IAIA, Yaddo, and The Atlantic Center for the Arts, a regular contributor to comix anthologies, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force, RESIST!, and A.P.B.- Artist Against Police Brutality. She is also the publisher of The Giant Effect and Le Cadavre Exquis. In 2016, she was nominated for an Eisner Award for co-adapting John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown into a graphic novel. Her work can be seen at BillMyers.com, Crypt TV, The Les Paul Museum, on The O'Jays new album, and in the upcoming New Stranger Things Art book.

Emmy and Ringo Award-winning cartoonist Dean Haspiel is best known for creating Billy Dogma and The Red Hook and illustrating for HBO's "Bored to Death." His published work includes The Fox, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Deadpool, Batman '66, Wonder Woman, Godzilla, Mars Attacks!, Heavy Metal, SpongeBob SquarePants, Popeye, and American Splendor. He has collaborated with Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, Jay Lynch, Jonathan Lethem, Stoya, and Stan Lee. In addition, Haspiel is an accomplished playwright and Yaddo fellow. Check out his latest graphic novel, The Red Hook vol.2 War Cry (Image Comics), and read his recent webcomic, STARCROSS ( The Red Hook, season 3 at Line WEBTOON).

Dave Proch is a native of west Philadelphia and was published in the Locust Moon Press anthology books, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, Once Upon a Time Machine, and various issues of their Quarter Moon anthology series. He self-publishes Mango Lizard, as well as The Homecoming King. He'll be drawing 5 dollar business card size paintings of your favorite characters throughout the weekend.

Peter Rostovsky is a Russian-born artist and writer whose art has been shown widely in the US and abroad at museum venues such as PS1/MoMA, The Walker Art Center, MCA Santa Barbara, Artpace, The Blanton Museum of Art, S.M.A.K., and a host of private galleries. His art criticism, under the pen name David Geers, has appeared in the magazines October, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, and Frieze. Meanwhile, his comics-based work has appeared in the Third Rail Quarterly, Unbag, Topic, and Devil's Due's Talk Bernie To Me!, and the acclaimed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force, where his contribution was highlighted by the New York Times, Vice, and other media outlets. At Baltimore Comic-Con, Rostovsky will be giving a sneak peak into his first major graphic novel: Damnation Diaries.

David Trustman is an Indy comix writer/artist, mnemonist, and TEDx speaker. He is the co-creator and artist of the groundbreaking graphic series The Memory Arts which teaches ancient mnemonic (memory) techniques through vibrant watercolor imagery, and has been called "...one of the most important books in magic...ever!" (Vanish Magazine, May 2018). David got his start in indy comix as writer/artist of The Rise, Welcome to Karma Springs, and GOD Slap. David's new comic Theuth: Totem Quest is debuting at Baltimore Comic-Con!

Writer/ Artist Sarah Trustman broke into the publishing scene with her co-creation, The Memory Arts. The renowned series teaches mnemonics (the ancient art of memory) through fun, modern, graphic storytelling. A mnemonist and TEDx speaker, Sarah regularly speaks and teaches about memory to audiences both large and small. Her newest comic Theuth: Totem Quest is debuting at Baltimore Comic-Con!

"The Haspiel booth is always filled with comics' (or comix'?) best kept secrets," said Marc Nathan, show promoter for the Baltimore Comic-Con. "Christa, Dino, Dave, Peter, and the Trustmans are amazingly creative people, and we're thrilled to have them aboard in 2019!"


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Sunday, August 18th, 2019
1:58 pm - Creative Accountability
Accountability helps me write. Deadlines help me write. Goals help me write. Otherwise, I would nitpick and never get anything done. In fact, I don't know what my REAL writing and REAL art looks like because I've never allowed myself the latitude to indulge the work long enough to become bored with it.

The Coen Bros were asked "How do you know when a script is done?" They answered "When we get bored with it." I understood immediately what they meant. If you can't fix it and you can't exploit the themes any further, it's done. Your eyes glaze and you want to simmer in a happy nap. I've yet to take a nap like that but I find a way to feel comfortable with a script long enough to produce it (see: my comix & plays), even if it has wiggle room to improve. And, that's what keeps it fresh and exciting for me. That wiggle room.

Earlier this year I had a great idea for a play. My gut knew what I wanted but when I started to explore and exploit the concept, it derailed. Became something else in the second act. I lost my idea and skidded into a direction that was not funny, morbidly verbose, and problematic. I realized I was appealing to some outside sensibilities (a perceived audience?) and wasn't honoring my own. I was faking the funk and it stank. What I wrote was more an essay, an apology to a toxic subject that has been occupying my mind for a few years. After one reading of it with a group of actors, a director & producer, I pushed the project aside. Buried it. Lost my confidence. I knew there was a good idea in my initial idea but I haven't cracked it yet.

Then something weird happened. I reacted to my new play with a NEWER play. It spilled out of me in a few weeks. I had become allergic to my previous play and reacted to it in a proactive way by writing what I should have written all along. Completely different in tone and story and characters but a better version of what I disliked in the abandoned play.

I'm all for pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself creatively but, knowing how to apply your skill set, knowing what you can and cannot do well is important. I spent the first 50-years of my life studying, learning, practicing and making mistakes. I'd like to believe I'm entering a phase where it's okay to lean into what I know, what I like, and what I'm good at. Rely on my earned instincts.

Make the stuff only you can make and let it roar like a thousand lions!

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12:50 pm - Cancer Life
I was stuck. Not sure where I wanted to go when I saw this bald woman walking down the street. She had the biggest smile on her face. It was delightful. But, something seemed off. She had no eyebrows and the color of her skin was yellow. Sickly. I realized she was battling cancer. It made me sad. But then I looked at her smile. Her giant smile. And her walk. The way she bounced. She seemed happy despite her fight. She was taking advantage of the day. I walked away thinking, "Live life like you have cancer."

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11:36 am - Love is stronger than spinach

My 90th anniversary tribute to Popeye debuted today.


THANKS for this great opportunity, Tea Berry-Blue!!! Popeye was a life-changing influence on my work.

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Thursday, August 8th, 2019
12:47 pm - Comicon.com previews Dean Haspiel's WAR CRY (The Red Hook vol.2) from Image Comics

Hannah Means-Shannon exclusively previews my upcoming graphic novel, WAR CRY (The Red Hook vol.2) published by Image Comics at Comicon.com:



I’ve been a fan of superhero comics since I first started buying them off the newsstand in the 1970s. Shazam, aka the original Captain Marvel, was one of the first comic books I ever read. Years later, I would pick up Firestorm, and discover O.M.A.C. (One Man Army Corps). I was fascinated by the duality of these types of superheroes. Characters that were populated and/or affected by more than one sentient being.

After getting the chance and honor to write and draw some superhero comics for Marvel and DC Comics, including a critically-acclaimed run on The Fox for Archie Comics, I decided it was time to build my own shared universe via New Brooklyn with my ongoing saga, The Red Hook. Inspired by Golden and Silver Age comics, I created WAR CRY, a human of mass destruction, who happens to share a body with a teenage boy named Rajak, graced with the powers of all the dead superheroes in America.

Imagine the powers of The Avengers mashed up with The Justice League of America and plugged into one person? Only, when Rajak shouts “WAR CRY,” he becomes a she, a war goddess, and things become complicated. But, how long can two very different people, with personalities akin to Hawk and Dove, last in one shared body? And, how is The Red Hook supposed to rekindle romance with his resurrected girlfriend? You’ll have to read The Red Hook vol.2 WAR CRY when it comes out October 9th, 2019 from Image Comics.

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12:30 pm - The Comics Beat: Podcast Spotlight: Scene By Scene with Josh and Dean (podcast)

The Comics Beat's Chloe Maveal talked to Josh Neufeld and I about our podcast, SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH AND DEAN, where we break down "American Splendor" the movie, and discuss our relationship with the late/great Harvey Pekar.


Here are my full answers to the questions asked me pre-interview/article:

You both have obviously worked with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor as illustrators. What is it like to be analyzing a film based on a part of the process that you were a part of?

I'm a life long student of comic books and film. I tend to analyze and break down all the movies I watch in one way or another. It's a good way to understand what works and what doesn't work and how that informs my own story-making. But, there's probably nothing more boring to watch than watching someone create. There's hardly a visual "eureka" moment that occurs. Ye olde "lightning in a bottle" isn't how it happens. However, American Splendor the movie does a great job conveying the creative process by humanizing it. Making the the pursuit of creativity relatable. Harvey Pekar proved that you could write about anything. And, despite making comix appear innate and all too easy, it's actually harder than it looks.

Do you feel like you've learned anything about that point in your friends life from watching the film so closely?

The movie was full of surprises. It was innovative. Still ahead of its time. It gave me insight into what Harvey was like at home and at work and on the street. How he interacted and observed people. How he handled fame and politics and romance and cancer. Curiously, Harvey was provocateur. It was also refreshingly grass roots. No Hollywood phony-baloney. No other comic book writer was more authentic than Harvey. For a guy who purported to be an "every man," he was quite unique. Harvey Pekar changed comic books.

I know this is part of the podcast itself but are there parts of the movie that you feel are off base? Or parts that are exceptionally true to life?

The filmmakers had to conflate some facts and timelines in order to move the story but I wasn't bothered by that. It's not a proper documentary. It's a romantic comedy that does a great job making us fall in love with a peculiar man and his misfit friends and hyper intelligent wife while creating entertainment out of a testament of life.

Lastly, do you both feel like you get something out of doing this podcast on a personal level? It's something that clearly hits close to home for both of you.

We started doing the podcast to discuss American Splendor the movie and our relationship with Harvey Pekar. That's what's supposed to interest listeners. But, I think we discovered that the podcast is really about me and Josh and our 38+ year friendship growing up together learning how to make comix. We've created a historical, insightful document of a certain time and place in the comic book industry. It's packed with profound deep cuts but is also a user friendly experience that sheds light on an ageless art form.

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Friday, July 19th, 2019
4:22 pm - NBC News reports AOC comic + the politics of comix

"When AOC has a comic book, have they become too political? Stan Lee wouldn't think so."

Featuring the AOC comic I wrote and laid out, illustrated by Christa Cassano, plus studio mate cameos, story & art by Adam McGovern, Jason Goungor, James Smith, Marguerite Dabaie, and Peter Rostovsky.


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Thursday, July 18th, 2019
11:27 am - Vibrant Visionaries podcast #24 – Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel

The lovely Heidi Bennett talked to Josh Neufeld and I about our podcast (SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN) on her podcast VIBRANT VISIONARIES episode #24:


Listen to SxS w/J&D here: http://www.scenebyscenepodcast.com/

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Thursday, July 11th, 2019
10:38 am - Word Balloon: Harvey Pekar's Legacy with Dean Haspiel and Josh Neufeld
On the latest Word Balloon podcast, John Siuntres talks to me and Josh Neufeld about OUR podcast, Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean, and the legacy of Harvey Pekar, plus much more.


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Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
10:58 am - Dean Haspiel's The Red Hook vol.2 WAR CRY (Image Comics)



OCTOBER 9 / 136 PAGES / FC / M / $17.99

The Red Hook’s dead girlfriend is resurrected into War Cry, a human of mass destruction hosted by a teenage boy named Rajak Allah. When a demigod from their past comes to haunt them to death, they must resolve their lost love. This Ringo-nominated comic continues the New Brooklyn saga.

GENRE Superheroes, Crime & Mystery

Diamond ID: AUG190110

Published by Image Comics, Fall 2019.


Diamond Previews: https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/AUG190110

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