Lincoln Peirce is a cartoonist/writer and the creator of the comic strip Big Nate. It appears in more than two hundred U.S. newspapers and online daily at comics.com.

Lincoln Peirce lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Maine.

Sign up for the Big Nate newsletter!

Brainstorming Big Nate

At the moment, my first priority is to finish all the drawings for Big Nate Lives It Up on time.  (Progress report:  I'm currently working on page 180.)  But there's another task looming:  coming up with a good story idea for Book #8, Big Nate Blasts Off.  At the moment, I must confess, I don't have the foggiest idea of what I'll write about.  But I'm sure I'll come up with something.  Ideas can materialize in all sorts of ways.  Here's how I arrived at a storyline for one of my favorite books in the series, Big Nate Goes For Broke.

Years earlier, in the comic strip, I'd created a storyline in which toxic mold was discovered at P.S. 38 just before school began in September.  Nate and his pals were elated, of course, because they assumed their summer vacation would be extended until the building could be cleaned up.  But it didn't work out that way.  Instead, the entire population of P.S. 38 was temporarily relocated to their rival school, Jefferson.  The unexpected upside of this scenario was that Nate, during his stay at Jefferson, didn't have Mrs. Godfrey as a homeroom teacher.  The downside was that the Jefferson kids were snobby and obnoxious.  The climax came when P.S. 38's ragtag soccer team somehow found a way to defeat mighty Jefferson's undefeated squad, with Nate playing a key role as the Bobcats' goalie.  This storyline played out over the course of almost three months, and I really enjoyed it.

Fast forward a few years, and I was trying to brainstorm an idea for Big Nate Goes For Broke, the fourth book in the series.  I wanted to write about the rivalry between P.S. 38 and Jefferson, and the thought occurred to me that I could expand upon the storyline from the comic strip.  The premise remained the same -- Nate & Co. must join the student body at Jefferson -- but just about everything else was changed.  For example:

•    In the comic strip, it was toxic mold that caused P.S. 38 to close down.  In the book, the sprinkler system malfunctions during the Beach Party Dance, making the building uninhabitable for awhile.
•    The comic strip events unfolded in the fall; but in the book, the story takes place during winter.  I'd told the publisher that I wanted to do a winter story, and they agreed.
•    In the comic strip, Nate and his classmates were assigned to pre-existing Jefferson classes.  In the book, the P.S. 38 kids are isolated in temporary "modular" classrooms (Nate thinks they look like a trailer park) in the Jefferson parking lot.
•    In the book, Nate and his fellow Doodlers show the Jefferson Cartooning & Illustration Club how to play a drawing game called "Add-On."  There was no such episode in the comic strip.
•    In the comic strip, the climactic showdown between the two schools is a soccer game.  In the book, it's the "Ultimate Snowdown," a snow sculpture contest in which the creativity of Nate & Co. overwhelms the nefarious scheming of the Jefferson kids.
•    And of course the biggest difference between the comic strip storyline and the book version:  the book marks the debut of the fabulous Dee Dee!  Her evolving friendship with Nate and his pals is a hugely important part of Big Nate Goes For Broke.  In the comic strip, of course, there isn't any Dee Dee.  


I'm hoping that, whatever I write about in Book #8, I'll like it as much as I did the plot for Book #4.  Wish me luck!

Fri, 10/17/2014

Camp Sunshine

Just a short entry today, I'm afraid.  It's my wife's birthday, and our family is celebrating!

But I wanted to briefly mention that this weekend, I paid my annual visit to Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine.  I've written about Camp Sunshine before.  It's a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, and it's a wonderful place.  Different sessions throughout the year are dedicated to children with different illnesses; this particular week, I visited and drew cartoons with kids with brain tumors.  The first session was with kids aged 9-12, and the second with those aged 6-8.  (And a few older kids, counselors, and volunteers sat in as well!)  I had a great time with the kids and can't wait to go back next year.

If you'd like to learn more about Camp Sunshine, check out their website at www.campsunshine.org.

I'll be back later in the week with a longer entry!

Tue, 10/14/2014

Comics vs. Real Life

Comics are great.  One of the things I love about them is that things regularly happen in comics that could never happen in real life...and we, as readers, accept them as reality.  Here are a couple examples.

The first is a Peanuts strip from the early 1950's, and it's one of my all-time favorites.  Schroeder is playing classical music on his toy piano when Charlie Brown approaches.

Charlie Brown:  I was just noticing something, Schroeder...Aren't the black keys on your piano just painted on?
Schroeder:  Yes, I guess so...
Charlie Brown:  Well, maybe this is a foolish question, but if those keys are just painted on, how do you play all those difficult pieces?
Schroeder:  I practice a lot.


When the creator of Peanuts, Charles Schulz, began to feature Schroeder and his piano in the strip, readers were undoubtedly amused by the sight of a tiny boy playing Beethoven sonatas on a toy piano.  That was a funny idea all by itself, since a toy piano has only enough keys to play the simplest tunes.  But before long, as Schroeder began to appear more frequently, readers grew accustomed to his unusual talent.  There was no longer anything unusual about a child not much older than a toddler playing a toy piano like an accomplished professional.  It became part of the strip, and so readers simply accepted it as reality -- just as they grew to accept a dog (Snoopy) with a very active fantasy life, or a young girl (Lucy) dispensing psychiatric advice from a roadside stand for a nickel.  These events don't occur in real life, but they became part of the fabric of Peanuts, and were a huge part of its enduring appeal.

In Big Nate, one of my favorite recurring themes is the messiness of Nate's locker.  Kids have messy lockers in real life, of course, but Nate's is unusual in ways that could only work in a fictional world.  First of all, there's the fact that Nate's locker is much too small to accommodate the amount of junk that routinely cascades out of its interior.  And in real life, once Nate's locker has exploded all over the hallway, he'd never be able to cram everything back inside.  But somehow, each time he opens it, it's primed to explode again.  The truly unusual thing about Nate's locker, though, is the way he can find virtually anything by sifting through its contents.  (This hasn't been part of the chapter books, but in the comic strip Nate's locker has yielded everything from a Fabergé egg to an autographed picture of Greta van Susteren.)  No real-life sixth grade boy would ever have such a locker, of course, but the unreality of a given situation is what makes comics so much fun.  Think about all the UNrealistic characters and situations we've come to accept as real:

•    a sailor who achieves superhuman strength by eating canned spinach
•    the wealthiest duck in the world, who goes swimming each day in his giant money vault
•    an overweight cat who walks on his hind legs and eats lasagna
•    an alien being from a destroyed planet who arrives as an infant on Earth, where he becomes the world's greatest superhero


The list could go on and on!
 

Fri, 10/10/2014

Wanted: Big Nate

You never know when something you practiced drawing years ago might show up today.

When I was a kid dreaming of becoming a cartoonist, there was no shortage of things that were difficult to draw.  Bicycles, cars, hands, eyes, hair -- these and many others were tough to master.  The only way to improve, of course, was by practicing.  But drawing hands or bicycles or eyes over and over again could be pretty boring.  Fortunately, I found a solution for one particular drawing problem that wasn't boring at all.  And I'm still using the solution in my work today, more than forty years later.

The problem was this:  I had trouble drawing a character from two different angles.  If I drew him facing forward, the drawing of him looking to the side inevitably looked like a different character altogether.  My drawings just weren't consistent enough yet.  And this, I discovered, caused major problems when I tried to draw comic strips or comic books:  the characters I drew looked different from panel to panel, so when my friends and family read my comics, they couldn't tell what was going on.  

My solution was:  WANTED posters!  One day, while buying stamps for my mom at our small-town post office, I saw a WANTED poster on the bulletin board.  I'd seen these posters before, of course, but suddenly I noticed that the illustrated the exact problem I was having:  they showed the same person from two different angles.  And -- surprise! -- he looked like the same person in both pictures.  Suddenly I realized that drawing my own WANTED posters would be a fun way to practice.  I ran home, drew two boxes side by side, and drew the same character twice -- first from the front, then from the side.  By making sure that the major facial features in panel #1 matched up with those in panel #2, I found I could draw characters much more consistently.  I started this kind of practice when I was 8 or 9 years old, and continued to do it for many years.  I drew the sinister-looking hippie in the drawing above when I was in my early twenties.

Fast-forward to 2012, when I was writing BIG NATE FLIPS OUT.  At a certain point in the story, Dee Dee mentions her suspicions that Nick Blonsky is guilty of stealing a camera from Nate's locker.  I suddenly realized that this was the perfect opportunity to draw a WANTED poster -- which I did, as you see here.

Coincidentally, I was just at Portland's main post office today...but I didn't see any WANTED posters.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw a WANTED poster in a public place.  Maybe young cartoonists nowadays will have to find their own solutions to this problem!

Tue, 10/07/2014

Big Nate: The Early Days

Well, here it is:  the very first Big Nate daily strip, published on January 1st, 1991.  The Sunday page from the day before was actually Nate's official debut, but I actually drew that one AFTER I drew this one...so I've always considered this strip the beginning of Big Nate's life as a comic strip character.

As I've mentioned more than once in other blog entries, I'm sort of horrified when I look at the early strips.  I couldn't draw as well back then, so I'm not all that happy with the strip's appearance in the early days.  And it actually gets worse before it gets better.  I think the strips from 1992 and 1993 might be even harder for me to look at than those from '91.  But eventually, things started to improve.  Thank goodness.

People sometimes ask me why Nate was taller back when I started the strip.  I don't really have a good answer.  I drew him the way I thought a 6th-grader should look -- skinny and kind of lanky.  But over the years, without really intending to, I started drawing him smaller.  I preferred the way he looked when he was a bit stubbier, so as the years rolled by, his torso and legs became shorter.  That's resulted in Nate and his classmates looking younger than they really are.  They're 6th-graders, but when they stand next to adults in the strip, they look much smaller than 6th-graders would in real life.  Oh, well.  These things happen.  All comic strip characters change over time.  Don't believe me?  Check out Garfield in 1978 vs. Garfield today above.

The early days of the strip have been on my mind because gocomics.com, the website where you can read a brand-new Big Nate each day, will soon be launching a new page featuring the strip from its very first day.  I won't be the first cartoonist  to have two different pages on gocomics; Greg Evans, the creator of the strip Luann, shows his current comics on a page called Luann, and "classic" comics on a page called Luann Againn.  Like Greg, I wanted to call my second page something a little different than Big Nate Classics.  I got a number of suggestions from my friends at gocomics.  Here's a partial list:

  • Vintage Big Nate
  • Big Nate — Reruns!
  • Big Nate from the Start!
  • Big Nate Replay // Big Nate Replays
  • Big Nate Backtrack
  • The Big Nate Reshow
  • The Big Nate Read Back
  • Big Nate Saga
  • Big Nate Rewind
  • Re-Wright (Big Nate Reruns!)
  • Big Nate Re-Write
  • Big Nate's Beginnings
  • Big Nate Looks Back
  • Big Nate Back Ups // Big Nate Backs Up
  • Big Nate Back to School
  • Big Nate Blast Off
  • Big Nate School Days or Daze
  • Big Nate Yearbook
  • Big Nate Kickoff
  • Legends of Big Nate
  • Big Nate: His Story
  • Big Nate Boomerang

I liked several of these, especially Big Nate: Back to School, Big Nate Boomerang, and Big Nate Rewind, but in the end, I decided to use a name I came up with myself.  So starting later this month, you'll be able to follow Nate's adventures from the beginning on Big Nate:  First Class.  Check it out at gocomics.com!

Fri, 10/03/2014

Recap: The Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

Both of the pictures you see here were taken in Wisconsin, where I spent the past several days at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning.  Kenosha is about 50 miles south of Milwaukee, right on the shore of Lake Michigan, and it's a really nice little city.  

It was well over a year ago that Anne Morse Hambrock, the organizer of the Festival (and the wife of cartoonist John Hambrock, creator of The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee) invited me to attend as a guest cartoonist.  I was joined by:

Jeff Keane (The Family Circus)

Todd Clark (Lola)

Scott Stantis (editorial cartoonist, The Chicago Tribune)

Terri Libenson (The Pajama Diaries)

Rick Stromoski (Soup To Nutz)

...and Denis Kitchen (legendary underground cartoonist and publisher).

Quite a line-up!  I'd met some of these cartoonists before; others I was meeting for the first time.  But I knew their work, and it was really fun to watch and listen to their presentations at the Kenosha Public Museum and find out more about how they work.  I must confess that I was a little envious to hear that both Rick Stromoski and Terri Libenson are so far ahead of their deadlines, they're already doing strips for 2015.  I also learned that all the other cartoonists listed above use some kind of technology when producing their strips -- either they draw on a digital tablet, or have a personal font instead of lettering by hand, or they use photoshop or some other program to create visual effects.  I, on the other hand, am still a dinosaur.  I do all my drawings using pencil and pens, and do all my lettering by hand.  I know this is more time-consuming, but I like how my comics look when I do them the old-fashioned way.  I have no plans to change my working methods.

Anyway, I spent parts of two days visiting local elementary schools in Kenosha, and then I rejoined the other cartoonists for a Cartooning Jam at a nearby high school.  We also:
•    were interviewed on Kenosha's NPR affiliate morning show;
•    taught a cartooning workshop to kids at the Public Museum;
•    attended an exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside featuring the art of Denis Kitchen;
•    took part in a silent auction to raise money for local children's charities;
•    contributed our own artwork to an exhibition at the Public Museum entitled "More Than Funny, Too," featuring dozens of pieces of vintage comic art from the likes of Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, Roy Crane, Jules Pfeiffer, and many more.
•    attended a panel discussion on the history of cartooning in Wisconsin.

Now that I'm back in Maine, I need to get back into my routine.  I'm hoping to get a couple of weeks' worth of comic strips done by this weekend, and then I'll get back to work on chapter 9 of Big Nate Lives It Up.  More next time!

Tue, 09/30/2014

Big Nate Fanfiction

Something unexpected happened today.  I discovered the world of Big Nate Fanfiction.  It's a very small world, admittedly, but until this afternoon, I wasn't even aware that it existed.  Here's what happened:

I've been working on the drawings for Big Nate Lives It Up (I just finished page 163).  As I've told you before in this blog, while I draw, I find different ways to keep myself company with either my radio or computer.  Sometimes I listen to some of my favorite local radio stations, like WMPG or WYAR.  Sometimes I listen to podcasts of NPR shows.  And sometimes I'll choose a show or a movie on Netflix to help pass the time.  That's what I was doing today, and the show I chose was a British crime drama set in Great Britain during World War 2.  It's called Foyle's War, and I find it quite entertaining.

At a certain point, a couple aspects of the show's timeline weren't making sense to me, so I typed "Foyle's War Timeline", or some similar phrase, into my search engine.  One of the links I clicked on turned out to be a Foyle's War Fanfiction site.  I'd heard about fan fiction, of course, but had never read any.  But I was intrigued, and spent a few moments reading one or two pages of a couple different stories.  They weren't great, but that wasn't really the point.  The point was, I was impressed that people cared enough about the show Foyle's War to create entirely new narratives for the characters.  Naturally, the first question that occurred to me was:  I wonder if anyone has ever written Big Nate Fanfiction?

Well, yes, they have.  But not many of them.  It looks as if about a half-dozen hardy souls have tried their hands at writing Big Nate stories, and I found them on the internet.  Here are a couple of the titles, along with the "teaser" that tells you what each story is about:

Big Nate:  Moving On
When Nate gets a sudden surprise just as summer begins, life passes quicker than usual, and at the end of summer, it's time to move on with life.  And as he does, seventh grade begins.  Without his annoying or friendly colleagues, Nate is forced to have a whole lot of trouble at his new school.  With only one person to depend on, how will he cope?


Big Nate:  I Don't Know What Love Is
Nate has become every girl's crush except Gina's.  Nate will try to win Jenny over, but will he ever learn what love is?  Meanwhile, Nate, Teddy, and Francis's band actually got really good.  But every positive reaction comes with a negative reaction.  Will the pressure of girls and music get to him, or will he still be himself?

Big Nate:  Camp of Cool
Gina Hemphill-Toms did not expect a summer of annoyances.  She expected a fresh summer with new friends and new opportunities.  Was that too much to ask?  Apparently, yes.


Full disclosure:  I haven't read any of these stories in their entirety.  A couple of them are quite long.  But I appreciate the authors devoting the time and effort to imagining new adventures for Nate and his friends.  Maybe one or two of them will give me some good ideas!

Scout update:  She is 100% healthy again and no longer has to wear her Spitsy cone.

Blog update:  I usually blog twice a week, but I'll be skipping my second entry on Friday because I'll be busy at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  I'll tell you all about it one week from today!

Tue, 09/23/2014

Do You Have a Rival?

Does your school have a rival?  In Big Nate's world, P.S. 38's hated rival is Jefferson Middle School.  But as Nate's notebook drawing indicates, the kids from Jefferson don't necessarily regard P.S. 38 as a worthy rival.  Jefferson is bigger, newer, and fancier than P.S. 38, and the Jefferson students clearly think they're better than Nate and his classmates.  And, sadly enough, they're right -- at least as far as school competitions go.  In book #4, Big Nate Goes For Broke, we learn that P.S. 38 hasn't managed to beat Jefferson at ANYTHING in years and years.  If you want to learn more about how this rivalry plays out, read the book!  Of all the books in the Big Nate series, it's the one I had the most fun writing.

"Rivalry" is sort of a funny word.  If you have a rival, you probably harbor some intensely negative feelings about that person (or that school, or that team), but the competition between you is not likely to be a matter of life and death.  It's simply a matter of you desperately wanting to get the better of someone else.  Some rivalries are lopsided, like Jefferson vs. P.S. 38, but I think rivalries are the most fun when the two sides are somewhat evenly matched.  Sports are the most obvious breeding ground for rivalries, and my own sports fandom provides a couple of very good examples:  the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees, and the Boston Bruins vs. the Montreal Canadiens.  In each case, my Boston team hasn't won nearly as many championships as our rival.  (The Red Sox didn't win ANY championships for the 86 years between 1918 and 2004.)  But in recent years, the worm has turned.  The Sox have won three of the last ten World Series, while New York has won only one.  And in hockey, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, whereas Montreal hasn't won it since 1993.  All rivalries have these kinds of ebbs and flows, times when one team's fortunes are up while the other's are down.   

Personal rivalries can be a bit more complicated; they certainly are in Nate's case.  I'd say Nate has two main rivals:  Gina and Artur.  The nature of these rivalries is very different.  Gina is someone Nate genuinely dislikes.  She obnoxious, conceited, and very, very smart.  Unfortunately, she's smarter than Nate is, academically.  But it's not a one-sided rivalry because, even though Nate can't match Gina's grades, he often gets the better of her in other ways.  He's savvy, he's creative, he's clever, and he finds ways to get under Gina's skin.  Artur, on the other hand, doesn't really even know that Nate considers him a rival.  Artur is friendly, generous, and good-natured.  He's also just a tiny bit better than Nate at a lot of things.  But he's not at all obnoxious about it.  So although Nate is envious of Artur and is annoyed by his success, he can't really bring himself to dislike Artur.  I guess that's the definition of a "friendly rivalry."

I don't recall having any personal rivals when I was a kid that could compare to Gina and Artur, but my high school, Oyster River High School, certainly had a heated rivalry with Newmarket High School.  We were the Bobcats, and they were the Mules.  (So we definitely had the upper hand in the mascot department, because a bobcat is fierce, and a mule is just stubborn.)  Anyway, that's why I chose a bobcat as the mascot for P.S. 38.  It's a little tribute to my alma mater.

Fri, 09/19/2014

Musicals & Big Nate

In less than two months, the touring company of Big Nate:  The Musical will visit my town of Portland, Maine.  If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that back in the spring of 2013, I attended the world premiere of the play at Adventure Theatre MTC in Glen Echo, Maryland, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to seeing the show again, with an almost entirely different cast, in November.

The fact that Big Nate is the star of a play is something of a surprise to me.  When I started the comic strip back in 1991, I certainly never imagined such a thing.  As a kid, I don't think I ever attended a real theater.  I remember seeing a couple of school plays, and there might have been one or two church pageants over the years.  But I didn't have the itch to perform, and the only time I performed in a play myself was in eighth grade.  Our English teacher had written a play called Polls Apart, which was the comedic story of a family divided by politics during the Great Depression, and I  played a character named Acey MacAdoo.  I don't remember much about it, except that my role demanded that I dance the tango with a girl named Tina, who was a good two or three inches taller than I.  As I said, it was a comedy.

In the past eight or ten years, I've seen quite a few plays.  A couple of them have been Broadway shows -- our family saw A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder last Christmas, and this spring my wife and I saw A Raisin In The Sun -- but most of them have been school plays.  That's not because our children are theater people; it's because many of their friends are.  For many years, we were part of a  carpool, and two of the girls we drove to school in the morning are very talented actresses and singers.  We've watched these girls in very impressive high school productions of shows like Footloose, The Crucible, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  And we've seen them in community theater productions of shows like Our Town and Meet Me In St. Louis.  

I've never made a school play a huge part of a Big Nate book; but in Big Nate On A Roll, a P.S. 38 production of Peter Pan is a small part of the story.  Nate's not in the play, and neither is Francis or Teddy, but Chad is.  In the picture shown here, he gets a little out of control during the "I'm Flying" scene.  (Note:  Dee Dee, president of the Drama Club, certainly would have been included in the Peter Pan cast -- but I hadn't created her yet.  Dee Dee didn't become a character until the fourth book, Big Nate Goes For Broke.)  Anyway, I chose Peter Pan as the play because I figured it would be familiar to a lot of readers.  Even if they haven't seen a stage production of Peter Pan, they might have read the book or seen the Disney animated movie.

I'm still working on the drawings for book #7, Big Nate Lives It Up, so I haven't spent much time thinking about the story for book #8.  Maybe seeing Big Nate: The Musical will inspire me to make theater a part of the plot.  Who knows?

Tue, 09/16/2014

Peanuts

Nowadays, the only place you might be able to buy a book for fifty cents would be a yard sale.  And the book would likely be moldy, waterlogged, or damaged in some other way.  But years ago, fifty cents was the going rate for certain kinds of books, and that's the story behind the images you see here.

When I was in second grade, I fell in love with the comic strip Peanuts.  You couldn't help but know about Peanuts back then, because it was everywhere.  Peanuts characters were on t-shirts, lunch boxes, buttons, bumper stickers, and a host of other products.  Peanuts TV specials like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" were appointment viewing.  And of course, the comic strip was in the newspaper every day.  But what sealed the deal for me and made me a lifelong Peanuts lover were the reprint books, like the one shown here on the left.  They were published by Fawcett, and each book contained 124 daily strips.  I loved being able to read that many strips in a row.  Reading a strip once a day in the newspaper is great in its own way, but when you're a kid, you often don't have the patience to wait until the next day to see what's going to happen.  You enjoy "binge reading," to use a current phrase.
 
Anyway, if you look in the upper left-hand corner of the cover, you can see the price:  yup, fifty cents.  (My allowance back then was one dollar per week, and I could usually be counted on to buy at least one Peanuts collection, if not two, with that dollar.)  As soon as I purchased a book, my mother would whisk it out of my hot little hands and write two things on the inside cover:  our family name (probably because she suspected I might lose the book, and that might increase the chances of it being returned to us), and the date of purchase (because that's just the sort of thing my mom would do).  The date she wrote inside the book shown here is 9/16/71—September 16th, 1971.  That's almost exactly 43 years ago, which means that I was seven years old when I bought this book.  It also tells me that I bought this book in Hawaii, because in September of 1971, that's where our family was living.  (My dad, a college professor, took a sabbatical at the University of Hawaii, and we went with him.  We arrived there in May of 1971, and returned to New Hampshire in November of that year.)
 
The final thing to point out is the fact that I added my own drawings to the inside cover, where pictures of several of the Peanuts characters are displayed.  As you can see, I made an attempt at drawing Lucy, Linus holding his security blanket, and—in the upper right hand corner—Peppermint Patty, who was not yet a character in Peanuts when the strips included in this book were originally created.  I apparently decided that Peppermint Patty deserved a place in the cavalcade of characters.
 
By the way, I've just conducted a quick search of online retailers, and have found a Peanuts collection that is roughly equivalent in content with my 43 year-old book.  The new one costs $8.99, or about eighteen times more expensive than my fifty-cent book.  
 
Fri, 09/12/2014