November 15, 2013
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Microsoft Word - hawking_pitch.docx

First Second will be publishing Hawking, a graphic novel biography of scientist Stephen Hawking, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, the authors of the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Feynman.

Boing Boing has the announcement, and an exclusive excerpt of preliminary pages from Hawking here.

Stephen Hawking is probably the most recognized and recognizable scientist alive; as he likes to say, a pair of sunglasses isn’t enough to disguise him when he’s out in public these days. He’s famous for his physics, his popular writing, his public pronouncements, and his illness…but not necessarily in that order. Hawking will tell the story of how he made his place in the many worlds he inhabits, from the scientific to the celebrity…and how his discoveries have helped us to understand our place in the universe.

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick are the authors of the #1 New York Times Best-Selling graphic novel Feynman, about which Freeman Dyson said in the New York Review of Books, “These images capture with remarkable sensitivity the essence of Feynman’s character. The comic-book picture somehow comes to life and speaks with the voice of the real Feynman.”

Hawking author Jim Ottaviani says, “July 4, 2012 was a good day in physics and for Gordy Kane, Leland and me. Not only was the Higgs boson revealed to the world, but Gordy — a prominent physicist and author of The Particle Garden — won a long-standing $100 bet with his friend Stephen Hawking on whether there even was a Higgs. And in an email letting us know about these things, Gordy and his wife Lois also added an ‘Oh, by the way….’ They told us that Stephen had read and enjoyed our Feynman book (!) and invited us to come to Cambridge and talk about doing a book about him. We didn’t get on a plane that same afternoon, but we did start planning our trip, and this book. Like I said, a good day.”

Hawking illustrator Leland Myrick says, “This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime books for me. I’ve been a fan of Jim’s science writing for a long time, and we worked really well together on Feynman, so the chance to do a book on a living legend of science like Stephen Hawking with Jim is a dream. When we were at Cambridge University doing research for the book (which for me meant taking lots and lots of pictures) there was a moment when we were both standing next to Stephen Hawking’s desk in his office at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. We looked at each other and both smiled. I don’t know what was in Jim’s head, but I was thinking, ‘wow, this is going to be a fun ride.’”

“I love comics about science. Rendering abstract concepts visually is a very powerful tool both in explaining science — and also in DOING science. That’s one of the wonderful things about science comics: they bring the reader into the process in an immediate and visceral way. Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick’s Feynman is one of my favorites, and I’m so delighted to be working with Jim and Leland again on this exciting and important project,” says First Second Senior Editor Calista Brill, who acquired the project.

First Second will publish Hawking in 2016.

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