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!

Help Big Nate Break a World Record!

I think a lot of people are fascinated by world records. I definitely was, back when I was a kid. Leafing through The Guinness Book of World Records was always a favorite way to pass the time. And, of course, I was particularly fascinated by the photographs -- some of them, anyway. (The pictures of the world's tallest ant hill or the world's fastest train weren't too interesting.) But the pictures of people who had somehow found a way to establish a world record are still burned into my brain. I can still see the pictures of the world's heaviest human being, the world's longest mustache, and the world's strongest man in my mind's eye.
 
Obviously, I must not have outgrown this fascination. I made it a central theme of the first Big Nate book, BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF, in which a fortune cookie convinces Nate that he's destined to set a world record. And now I'm trying to set a new world record myself -- for the world's longest comic strip. But I can't do it without your help. Here's how your school can get involved:
 
Tell your teacher that you want to help Big Nate break the current record. He/she will then go to the homepage of this very website, http://www.bignatebooks.com, and click on the button that says BREAK A WORLD RECORD. Once your teacher has submitted your school's information, you'll be sent a Big Nate classroom pack that includes all the instructions you and your classmates will need to create some comic strip panels. Once you're done, you use the mailing label that came with the classroom pack to submit your panels. It's as easy as that! If enough of you get your schools to participate, YOU will officially become a world record holder! Stay tuned to this blog. This record-breaking effort will be continuing through 2013, and I'll be providing occasional updates when I write my blog entries twice a week.
 
BIG NATE IN THE ZONE update: I took a brief break from working on the book while I was on the book tour; but this afternoon, I finished chapter 8. Only three more chapters to write before I start the finished artwork!
Fri, 03/08/2013

Champions!

There's some sort of flu bug floating around, and I'm feeling more than a bit under the weather today, so I'm going to keep today's entry short and sweet.
 
I mentioned at the end of my last entry that our daughter's high school basketball team would be playing for the state championship the following day. Her team, the Waynflete Flyers, faced off against the top-ranked Lady Devils of Calais. And, in a very exciting and hard-fought game, Waynflete won, 59-55! In this picture, our daughter Dana (on the right) is holding the coveted Gold Ball alongside her friend and team captain, Martha. Martha scored 34 points and was the tournament MVP.
 
I never played basketcall in high school. And in the sports I DID play, my team never came clsoe to winning a state title. So I'm very please and proud that Dana had such an experience, with such a great group of teammates. It was fun to watch!
Tue, 03/05/2013

Smuck!

On page 200 of BIG NATE FLIPS OUT, Nate and Francis are discussing the upcoming Trivia Slam at P.S. 38. Francis is worried about their most imposing opponent, "Gina's Geniuses," and tells Nate: "They could BEAT us, y'know!" Here's Nate's response: "They COULD." But I still think we'll smuck 'em."
 
When I submitted the chapter containing this exchange to the publisher, my editor had a question for me: What is "smuck"? Did you mean to say "smack"? My answer was: I definitely meant to say "smuck." "Smuck" is a word I've used my entire life. But it can have two slightly different meanings, depending on the usage.
 
The first definition is the way Nate uses it here:as a verb. When you smuck someone, you beat them soundly. You cream them. You destroy them. So in this case, Nate is predicting that the good guys, Francis's Factoids, will smuck the bad guys, Gina's Geniuses.
 
In the other case, smuck is used as an adjective in combination with another word: teams. When you use the phrase "smuck teams," you are saying that two opposing sides are not even close to being evenly matched. (You can also separate the words and say it differently: "These teams are smuck.") Anyway, it's usually the people on the weaker side who are saying "smuck teams." Here's what I mean:
 
Let's say some middle school kids on a playground decide to pick teams for a game of basketball. Somehow, all the tall, athletic 7th graders end up on one team, and the shorter, slower 6th graders are on the other. It's obvious to everyone that the 7th graders will win easily. So the 6th graders protest by saying: SMUCK TEAMS! What they mean is: these teams are totally lopsided and unfair.  
 
According to wiktionary, the word "smuck" originated in or around Boston's North Shore. Another online slang site claims it comes from Downeast Maine. I don't know if either of these is true, but I certainly was familiar with the word growing up in New Hampshire. It seems to be a bit of slang specific to New England. If you live in Arizona or Germany or the Phillipines, though, you might not have been aware of it. Until now.  Who says Big Nate books don't have educational value?
 
One final note: my daughter's basketball team is playing for the Maine Class C state championship on Saturday against Calais High School. I hope we smuck 'em!
 
Fri, 03/01/2013

WMPG

Hi again, everyone. Since returning to Maine last Wednesday (on a series of very bumpy plane rides!), I've been scrambling to get back into my regular routine. The first order of business was to get myself up-to-date with the comic strip. I'd been dutifully cranking out daily strips late at night in my various hotel rooms while on tour, but I couldn't keep up with my Sundays.  Sunday pages are too big to bring along in a piece of carry-on luggage. So on Friday and Saturday I did three Sunday pages, and then on Sunday I scanned three weeks worth of strips (3 Sundays & 18 dailies) and colorized the Sunday ones. So I'm all caught up. For the moment.
 
On Monday morning, it was time to resume another part of my regular life: doing my radio show on WMPG. Today was my annual Johnny Paycheck tribute show, which was a great way to return to the airwaves. Incidentally, here's a drawing I don't think I've ever shown you. A few years back, I was asked to create a WMPG logo with a celtic theme, and this is the result. I've done a number of bumper sticker and t-shirt designs for the station over the years, but this one remains one of my favorites.
 
Two other things have kept me busy since returning:  sports and taxes. Our daughter's high school basketball team has been marching through the playoffs, and this Saturday will play for the state championship. These playoff games are a lengthy drive from our home, but well worth the travel time to see the girls play so hard and so well. And taxes:  well, the less said about them, the better. I'm not complaining about paying them, just about how long it takes to organize them. After getting home from the radio station on Monday, I spent the rest of the day punching the buttons on my calculator.
 
But the end is in sight, and soon I'll be able to get back to work on BIG NATE IN THE ZONE. Seven chapters down, four to go...and I'm still not sure how to finish the story! I'll keep you posted. Another blog entry to come on Friday.
Tue, 02/26/2013

Big Nate Bus Tour - Henry Heights Elementary School!

Hello from Louisiana, everyone! Today (Tuesday) was the final day of the BIG NATE FLIPS OUT bus tour. Tomorrow, maybe even by the time you read this blog entry, I'll be home! I'll be very happy to see my family (including my pal Scout, shown here) for the first time in two weeks. I've had enough of this warm southern weather; it's time to get back to the snowy northeast.
 
Bright and early this morning, we rolled out of Houston, Texas and crossed into Louisiana. Our destination was Henry Heights Elementary School in Lake Charles. According to Nicole, the school's principal, the kids of Henry Heights haven't had an author visit in a very long time, so I was especially delighted to be there. They enjoyed the powerpoint and cartooning demonstration, and then we played a rollicking game of Big Nate trivia. This visit was arranged by the local Books-A-Million; I dropped by there later this afternoon and gave an easel talk to the folks assembled. Thanks to everyone who attended! Immediately after that I rushed back to the bus to watch the last few minutes of my daughter's playoff basketball game; it was being streamed live from the Augusta Civic Center in Maine's state capital. (I'm happy to report that her team won, 69-39; I'll be able to watch the next game in person.)
 
Having spent much of the last 8 days on the bus with three other guys, I want to take a moment to thank them for helping to make the tour run so smoothly. Bruce and Rodney were employees of the bus company, based out of Mississippi.  (Bruce is a rabid Ole Miss fan, while Rodney roots for Mississippi State.) They drove the bus. I don't know how many miles this adds up to, but they took the bus from Tupelo, Mississippi to Los Angeles, California, and then to Louisiana by way of San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston. They dropped me at my hotel here in Lafayette, Louisiana an hour ago, and they're driving back to Mississippi tonight. Thanks so much, Bruce and Rodney. It was a pleasure.
 
The other member of our happy band was Michael the tour manager, a guy who makes friends wherever he goes. Michael took pictures and video at all the events, did high-tech troubleshooting when necessary, and (this was actually a big part of the job) negotiated with school and bookstore officials about where we could park the bus. I'm sure I'll be running into Michael again soon. He is the type of well-traveled person who turns up in a lot of different places.
 
It will probably be a few days until I blog again; once I'm home, I'll have a lot of catching up to do.  Until next time...thanks for reading!
Wed, 02/20/2013

Big Nate Bus Tour - Barbara Bush Elementary and Woodview Elementary!

Did you have President's Day off? The kids in and around the Houston area didn't; they had school as usual. But at two schools -- Barbara Bush Elementary and Woodview Elementary -- it wasn't a run-of-the-mill Monday. They were paid a visit by the Big Nate bus!
 
I'd been to the Barbara Bush Elementary School before; I think it was on my tour for BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN in the fall of 2010. The kids who were second graders back then are now fifth graders. On that first visit, as was my routine back then, I met with groups of only 40 or 50 kids at a time -- and many of them had never heard of Big Nate. But on this tour, as you know, I'm speaking to larger groups, usually 200 to 300 kids. Melinda Zeagler, the librarian (I believe I referred to her on my last tour as a 'force of nature') introduced me, and it was great to see the show of hands when I asked the students how many of them had read a Big Nate book. Congratulations to Edgar and Mimi for their correct answers in the Big Nate trivia slam!
 
Then it was on to Woodview Elementary in Cedardale, where I spoke in an absolutely beautiful library to the most attentive group of kids I've met all tour. They were great. One young man in particular, Anthony, is apparently the most rabid Big Nate fan in the Houston area. I had some extra time to spend with these kids, so I did a little more drawing with the help of the document camera. Thanks to all the great kids at Woodview -- and to their librarian, Melanie Scales -- for a fun visit.
 
Both these school visits were organized by the Blue Willow Bookshop, which I've visited before. After a torrential afternoon rain storm, the skies cleared and a bunch of people came to the shop for an easel talk, Q&A session, and book signing. Three young men came all the way from San Antonio, a 3-hour drive!  As usual, the staff at Blue Willow was great, and I'd like to thank Cathy and Martha in particular for helping to make it such a great day in Houston.
 
I was also joined on Monday by Olivia deLeon of HarperCollins, who spent countless hours planning this tour. That involves everything from reserving plane flights and hotel rooms to consulting with the bus company about wrapping the Big Nate bus. Thanks for all your hard work, Olivia!
 
Now it's on to Louisiana for the final day of the tour. More tomorrow!
Tue, 02/19/2013

More Big Nate Bus Tour!

Hi again, everyone. I'm writing this from my hotel room in Houston, Texas on Sunday night. Here's a recap of the past couple of days:
 
 
I already told you about my appearance on "Good Morning Texas" on Friday. From there, the bus rolled on to Fort Worth Christian School in North Richland Hills, Texas. There, I spoke to a chapel full of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who'd been nice enough to welcome me with a beautiful banner (see photo) posted up on the stage. I apologize if I'm spelling her name wrong, but Jayce, the librarian, was a great help and had everything ready to go. A half hour before the presentation, an old friend arrived at the school. I met Carol, the Barnes & Noble rep who worked with the school to arrange this visit, back in 2010 on my very first book tour. But she wasn't in Fort Worth back then; she was in Kingston, New York. She was just as helpful on this visit as she was back then.  Thanks, Carol!
 
That evening, I had a great time giving an easel talk and signing some books at Carol's store in Hurst, Texas. It's difficult to get a head count at these events because so many people are coming and going; but the store handed out numbered bracelets to keep the signing line somewhat organized, and by the end of the night they'd given out over 140 of them. It was nice of so many kids and parents to come out on a Friday night. (If it had been football season, it might have been a smaller crowd. Friday Night Lights, you know.)
 
Saturday was a travel day. The big purple bus drove from Fort Worth to Houston, about a 4-hour trip. During the hours on either side of the trip, I got caught up on the comic strip. I'm trying to produce one a day while on tour if I can.
 
Today I was at another Barnes & Noble -- this one in The Woodlands, Texas -- and it was a gratifying indication of how interest in Big Nate has grown since the first book was published. This was a store I visited on my first tour, and on that occasion I had a crowd of exactly two people. (And I think they actually found me by accident.) This time the turnout was better -- it was somewhere between 120 and 140 -- and the kids had some great questions to ask. One particularly observant young man named Truman noticed that a very early version of Nate that I drew at the easel had the exact same haircut that I gave Artur years later. Nicely done, Truman. And nicely done, Barnes & Noble! Thanks for all you do to promote Big Nate, and thanks to Bryan, Celeste, Natalie, and all the rest for the help.
 
Monday is the second-to-last day of the tour. More to come!
Mon, 02/18/2013

Big Nate Tour - Zaharis Elementary and Basha Elementary

Hi, everyone. Today's tour stops were both in Arizona, a state I'd never visited before. At Zaharis Elementary in Mesa, I spoke to a library full of third and fourth graders, almost ALL of whom have read at least one Big Nate book! And because it was Valentine's Day, one of the classes had created a giant valentine on a bulletin board, welcoming me and Nate to the school. A couple of the kids had done their own drawings of Nate, and I was mightily impressed with their drawing skills. Thanks to Tami and all the folks at Zaharis for a fun visit!

Then it was a 40-minute drive to my next stop, Basha Elementary School in Chandler. The kids were on the playground when the Big Nate bus rolled up, which made for quite a scene. Holly Gutierrez, the media specialist, had pre-sold over 70 copies of BIG NATE FLIPS OUT, so I signed those while Michael the tour manager made sure the PowerPoint projector and document camera were ready to go. The kids I spoke to were a little younger than my usual crowd -- mostly second graders, with some third and fourth graders mixed in -- but they definitely knew their Big Nate trivia! A young man named William won himself a t-shirt by correctly identifying the P.S. 38 mascot: the BOBCAT!

I brought along a board game, BIG NATE'S DETENTION DASH, to give to the school. When I suggested that the kids could play it whenever they had indoor recess on rainy days, they all laughed. Apparently it doesn't rain much in Arizona. In fact, just about the only times they have indoor recess is when the temperatures are too blazing hot for the kids to play outside. I'd never heard of such a thing. I Maine we have plenty of snow days, but never any HEAT days!

I'm in Fort Worth, Texas, now. I'll blog again this weekend about my adventures on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

Fri, 02/15/2013

Good Morning Texas!

Last night, I flew from Phoenix to Dallas, and apparently I brought some cold weather with me! It's only about 50 degrees in Texas right now, and it was even colder this morning when the Big Nate bus rolled up to the American Airlines Center at Victory Plaza, home of ABC TV's "Good Morning Texas." I was filmed outside the bus doing a drawing of Big Nate and then, a few moments later, I was interviewed by Carrie, one of the show's hosts. The show had asked me to make a drawing of her during the interview, and so -- even though I'm definitely not a caricaturist! -- I sketched a quick profile of her. "Quick" is the operative word; it was too cold and windy to spend a lot of time on it! More to come on Monday!
Fri, 02/15/2013

Big Nate Tour - Sunset View Elementary School and Bird Rock Elementary School

How would you like a view like THIS one from your school playground? This is the scene the students at Sunset View Elementary School in San Diego get to look at every day. I was there this morning, visiting with 3rd and 4th graders. There was a lot of excitement when the Big Nate bus rolled into the parking lot! Local bookstore Yellow Book Road arranged this visit, and it was great. There were actually two other schools who participated along with Sunset View; students from those schools just walked from their buildings over to the Sunset View campus!

Then it was on to Bird Rock Elementary School, which was great fun. After my PowerPoint presentation, drawing session, and prize giveaway, I signed books. That's not unusual. What WAS unusual was that my signing table was set up outdoors on the edge of Bird Rock's upper field as part of a school-wide pizza party. So I got to sign books for 45 minutes in the beautiful sunshine. Warwick's, the book shop that sponsored this visit, sold every single Big Nate book in sight. Thanks, Warwick's, and thanks to all the kids and parents who purchased books.

School visits by children's book authors must be a relatively recent phenomenon. When I was the age of the kids at Sunset View and Bird Rock, my school was NEVER visited by any authors. (I do, however, remember an exciting visit to my 4th grade classroom by some members of the 1972-73 UNH Wildcats mens' hockey team.) Anyway, I'm very glad to have the chance to go on these books stores and visit face-to-face with the kids who are reading and enjoying the books. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do!

Before I sign off, I'll share the happy news that Big Nate has checked in at #4 on the New York Times children's series bestseller list! Thanks for all the Big Nate fans who made it happen. And now it's on to Phoenix. More next time!

 

Thu, 02/14/2013