Concentric Circles by Jonathan Hickman #2 – Dating Advice

February 27, 2008

Okay, round two…

A couple of quick hits this week, and then I’ll answer a few questions from last time and finally, a few announcements. We’ll get back to the digital comics thing next time.

First off, I’ve had a pretty good week.

  • I sent the first issue of Transhuman off to press. It’s the third series I’ve published, and in the same temperament of my two previous books, completely different from everything I’ve done before.
  • Got offered a super cool little job by my editor at Marvel, John Barber. I said yes.
  • Found out my sister was having a baby (which was a good thing).
  • I took my wife and kid to the circus where we saw some crazy acrobats, elephants and tigers, we ate too much popcorn and cotton candy, and there were even some stunt dogs (the clowns, however, sucked).
  • And Eric Stephenson, the EIC at Image Comics, interviewed me this week for the Image blog and we had a nice little conversation (If you want to read it, go here – you might have to scroll down a little bit, it’s called ‘The Jonathan Hickman Experience’… I’ll go ahead and fill you in; it’s a bit overrated).

Which got me thinking…

And I mean this in a completely non-‘Look-at-me-I’m-so-incredibly-great-you-should-be-so-lucky’ kind of way… but I absolutely love my life right now. As I said to Eric, we’re only a year and 3 months into this, Jonathan – Comic Book Guy Thing, and even on my worst days I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I also get asked the following questions a lot, and while I cover a lot of this in the back of the Nightly News trade, I think it’s important to be an ambassador for the answer, so here’s goes (and honestly, you can lump all of this together):

How do you break into comics, how do you succeed, how do you just hang it all out there, where do you get your ideas, how do you get an agent, what are the best kind of stories to write, etc. etc. etc.?

The answer is simple. You find something you love and commit completely to it. Yes, it’s that easy and the key is absolutely no compromise.

Unless you suck… and then you’re screwed. So don’t suck.

Related posts: How to make your girl love butt plugs with animal tails?

If you must have reference for this, I offer to you Steven Pressfield’s The WAR of ART. Buy. Read.

Okay, moving on. I won’t do this often, but I’ve got time this week and there were some fun ones in here, so I’ll answer some emails (And these have been abbreviated to the necessary bits):

Mr. Hickman,
What advice would you give on breaking into comics?


Dear Mr. Hickman,
I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, that you’re limiting the content of your column to ‘comic only’ considering the socio-political nature of your work, any chance of you revising this considering the coming election?

Okay, I actually got three emails in this vein. I ban political talk on my message board for a very good reason and it might actually be a good idea to write a column on why I refuse to write about or discuss this stuff normally. So, I’ll think about doing ONE column. We’ll gauge the interest for this from emails and the comments section.

Any dating advice?

Sure. On your first date make sure you go out of your way to open the first door you come across. If she says nothing, you’re in immediate danger of either dating way out of your comfort zone or she’s already bored – act accordingly. If she says, Thank you, you’re in good shape – proceed normally. If she says, I don’t need you, or any man, to open a door for me – Shut that door, punch her in the face and leave. Aaaannnd, in the spirit of full disclosure, I made that up, but if it feels right for you – go crazy.

Serious advice, never kiss the girl on the first date.

Mr. Hickman,
What kind of pens and inks do you use?

I use those Pentel brushes and Micron Pens (available lots of places – google). I actually just did one of those studio tours for Comic Book Resources. Check it out if you want to see my entire setup.

Mr. Hickman,
Is there any chance of you doing a list of your favorite writers and artists?

Hey, love lists – here you go (And this is all time, so no holds barred):
1. Grant Morrison
2. Brian Michael Bendis
3. Warren Ellis
4. Mike Carey
5. Neil Gaiman
(Barely missing the cut: Azzarello, Ennis, Vaughn, Moore and David)

1. Bill Sienkiewicz
2. Barry Windsor-Smith
3. Sergio Toppi
4. David Mack
5. Claire Wendling
(Barely missing the cut: Charest, Pope, Jae Lee and Wood)

And as a bonus…
Writer / Artists
1. Mike Mignola
2. Frank Miller
3. Masumune Shirow
4. Dave McKean
5. Chris Ware
(Barely missing the cut: Sim and Otomo)

Who’s your favorite all-time soccer player?

Depends, US or The World…
The World: Marco Van Basten followed so very closely by Fernando Redondo.
The US: Eric Wynalda.

Oh, and to the guy that said Milan was going down to Aresenal – suck it. pal. : )

Okay, finally some announcements:

Since the end of the year there have been some changes in the release dates for some of my books. Here’s my revised publishing schedule for the first half of the year:
MARCH: Pax #2, Transhuman #1
APRIL: Pax #3, Transhuman #2
MAY: Pax #4, Transuman #3
JUNE: Transhuman #4, Red Mass #1
JULY: Red Mass #2, The Core #1
AUGUST: Red Mass #3
SEPT: Red Mass #4, PLUS! #1

Next week sees the release of PAX ROMANA #2. If you missed the first issue, you can read it here for free. Two weeks after that we release TRANSHUMAN #1. For that, you can read a preview here. (Preview PDF, right click to download 1.2MB)

If you’ve got comments or questions, post ‘em here or send me an email at (but no attachments, people!)

Jonathan Hickman is the creator behind The Nightly News and Pax Romana as well as the forthcoming books Transhuman, A Red Mass for Mars and PLUS! You can find him online at either or


  1. Nearly every week my online pull list generator would list A Red Mass For Mars as shipping that week. Started to feel like I was missing something or someone hid the book from me at the shop.

    I got to start taking release dates as a polite suggestion rather than an actual schedule. Though I am pleased to have Pax #2 coming out soonish.

  2. another awesome article. these are quickly becoming one of my favorite reads to look forward to. dini’s articles too, for that matter. keep it coming!

    great top 5 lists. any plans to work with any of those guys? i’d kill for a morrison/hickman book. or bendis/hickman.

    question – have you been able to make comics your only job yet? if so, about how long after nightly news started coming out were you able to? if not, im curious what your "day job" is.

    anyways, thanks again for a great article.

  3. Also, hell yes- Sienkiewicz is effing brilliant. I was just reading Big Numbers last week and what sadness  it was never finished.

    Did you Sienkiewicz’s work on that series, Hickman? Incredible.

  4. I can see some Sienkiewicz in your work, so him at the top makes sense. Glad Pax is coming out next week – first issue was awesome. I second the Morrison/Hickman pairing.

    And I understand the ‘no politics’ rule completely. It’s amazing how often discussions can turn verbally violent because someone injects their political views into it.

    Now if only we could get out of Iraq and shore up Social Security via private investments.

  5. Randomness 

    The best dating advice I ever got was from my grandfather who was thinking along Mr. Hickman’s lines.  His thoughts were always open the door for your date and as she walks by put your hand on her lower back to escort her through the door.  He said depending on how she reacts to your semi-intimate touch you can determine if she is there for you or for the free dinner.  Best piece of dating advice I ever got. 

    I can’t even tell you how excited I am for Pax Romana 2.  This has got to be my favorite book so far this year.  

    @nickmaynard–I would love to see a BMB/Hickman though I fear that they would step on each others toes since they both have such strong writing styles.  Though a Hickman designed book written by BMB would be sweet.  

    I love politics, but would never get into a politically charged argument via a message board or online at all for that matter.  My hobbies are interesting enough without having to interject my political views into them.  With that said, I love reading politics in my comics and wish more "real world" politics would find their way into my favorite comics.  

    Great article Mr. Hickman and I’m very excited for next week.



  6. Jonathan, great column, interesting to see your favorite writer’s list – but my question is:

    Do you have a separate favorite list for prose writers? I ask because reading your work always reminds me of my favorite prose author, David Foster Wallace, and I’m curious if you have any of those kinds of influences.

    Anyway, love your work, keep it up (and please do more horror like your Mummy story).

  7. Good to know we’re getting the next Pax soon! 🙂 Also, I’m very excited to hear more about PLUS

  8. @Labor – Red Mass was actually on time. It was Image’s idea to hold up for a bigger summer release. And, of course, I’m all over Big Numbers…

    @Nick – I also would kill for a Morr or Bendis/Hickman book… And I quit my job the day I got a deal at Image… And you should pimp your website!!

    @Dan – funny

    @Mistersizzle – Thanks, man!

    @Prose list… that’s tough without breaking it down by genre… I’ll think about it. 

  9. Excellent column, I really enjoyed it. I can’t say that I’m excited about the prospect of political discussion but if it comes I will weather the storm. Keep up the good work.

  10. What a great piece of writing you’ve done here.  I really enjoyed reading this.  I was trying to think back to the best piece of dating advice I ever got and realized that I’ve never had any given to me.  I can remember going on one of my first dates as a teenager.  Of coures, I was freaking out about the whole thing and so to calm me down, my best friend turned to me and said, "Don’t worry dude, just don’t be you."  On the scale of good advice, that’s about a -10.  Still, it didn’t get me down, and I pimped my way into that end of the night kiss (breaking Hickman’s rule, which might explain the short time we dated…I gave it up too soon.)

    I actually just read The Nightly News last week and was floored at it’s amazingness.  Your books are definitely at the top of my "I need to buy this today" list.

    I think a Bendis/Hickman "Checkmate-esque" book would be killer.  

    And finally, on political talk: It’s a good move not to do it.  I can think of many a discussion on the politics of comics (bit torrent vs. stealing, for example) have gotten quite heated…and they mattered not on the state of the country. 

  11. I would like a Wood/Hickman arc on DMZ…or any wood/hickman for that matter.

  12. "@Nick – I also would kill for a Morr or Bendis/Hickman book… And I quit my job the day I got a deal at Image… And you should pimp your website!!"