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.

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Who’s a Timber Scout?

Dear Big Nate Readers,
 
While I was learning about Tintin, I discovered an interesting coincidence between the Tintin cartoonist Georges Remi (He wrote Tintin under the pseudonym, Herge) and Nate. When Georges was a teen, he joined the boy scouts. And he also began drawing a comic strip, Totor, about a boy scout (the basis for Tintin). Does this remind you of...NATE?! Only Nate started his cartooning as a sixth grader -- way earlier than Georges. Be sure to check out HIKE TO NOWHERE, from Nate's REAL LIFE COMIX, about a Timber Scouts camping trip that ended...stinkily for Mr. Wright. So embarrassing! (Which book, you ask? Try BIG NATE ON A ROLL or as we say at Harper: #3).
 
I must confess that my scouting days as a Brownie were VERY short-lived. But I loved wearing my uniform. Just like Nate.
 
Phoebe, the Big Nate Editor
Thu, 09/20/2012

Magic or Not?

Dear Big Nate Fans,
 
When I wrote about Lincoln's beloved Red Sox in the last Big Nate blog entry, I had planned to commiserate with Lincoln because the Red Sox seemed to be suffering from a slump. But that night, the Red Sox BEAT the Yankees! I thought, maybe I'm having a Big Nate moment. If you have read BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF, you will recall that Nate is kind of superstitious. He is way into horoscopes and Magic 8 balls and stuff like that. What if writing about the slump actually had the reverse effect??? I admit the Red Sox then lost their next two games to the Yankees but then they BEAT the Blue Jays twice! There's not much left to the baseball season but perhaps next year the Red Sox can surpass all others. Just like Nate. He's always known he's destined for greatness. Then he gets a fortune cookie that tells him that he will surpass all others. If you read IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF, you will find out how Nate pulls this off.
 
Phoebe, the Big Nate editor
Mon, 09/17/2012

Gina: A Fleeceball Athlete?

Dear Big Nate Readers,
 
OH NO, the Boston Red Sox, Lincoln's beloved baseball team seems to be...in a slump (minus their recent win against the Yankees). The team's baseball woes reminded me of fleeceball, the indoor version of baseball, which figures prominently in BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN. For those of you who may not know this title, it features one of my absolute favorite characters in the series, Gina Hemphill-Toms. Fond of Gina though I am, even I admit that Gina is not exactly a star athlete. So Nate is not thrilled when Gina ends up on his fleeceball team. But I assure you, in BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN, Gina will find a way to surpass all others...briefly.
 
Have I piqued your interest? If so, race to your school or public library or the nearest bookstore and get your copy of BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN. AND, if you ever need to do a report on Benjamin Franklin, this Big Nate book will come in handy.
 
Phoebe, the Big Nate Editor
Wed, 09/12/2012

Big Nate and Tintin

Good Morning, Big Nate Fans!
 
I must start with a profuse apology to Mr. Jean-Francois Menard. He is the brilliant translator of BIG NATE: LE CHAMPION DE L’ECOLE.  And French readers can thank Mr. David Alazraki for his art direction. Very sorry for the mix-up!
 
Now, let us turn our attention to Tintin. Christine, who I mentioned in the last blog, asked whether Lincoln was a fan of the Tintin comic book series. But before we turn to Lincoln's reply, let me tell you some more about Tintin. I remember reading Tintin comics years ago but while researching Tintin for today's blog, I found some interesting parallels between Tintin and the characters in BIG NATE. Tintin starts out as a reporter but turns detective in many of his adventures. He is never at a loss for what to do (reminds me of Nate!) and he's a master of disguise (Dee Dee!). Unlike Nate, Tintin has a dog, his faithful companion Snowy, a talking dog. Tintin and Snowy go on many, many adventures in the 24 Tintin books. They have been published in more than 100 languages!
 
And here' s Lincoln's answer:
 
"Yes, I was a fan of TinTin for a relatively brief but intense period when I was 10 or 11. But I didn't read and re-read them obsessively because I didn't own any of them myself. They were too expensive to afford on my meager allowance, so I borrowed them from a friend who had the entire collection. I can't remember if they were available at our local library or not."
 
I bet you can find copies of Tintin adventures in your library! Check it out and find out why Lincoln and I are Tintin fans.
 
Phoebe, the Big Nate Editor
Mon, 09/10/2012

Bonjour, Big Nate!

Bon matin, Big Nate Fans!
 
That’s “Good Morning” in French.  Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Christine Baker, the editor-in-chief of Gallimard jeunesse, the French publisher of Big Nate.  Christine loved Big Nate so much, she read the first book, IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF overnight.  And she specially asked David Alazraki, the translator of the French Harry Potter books, to provide the translation for BIG NATE. 
 
IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF became “Le Champion de L’ecole,” loosely translated, “The School Champion.”  (Remember, where Nate surpasses all others.)
 
STRIKES AGAIN became “Capitaine de L’Equipe,” – Sports Captain (the big showdown between Nate and arch-nemesis, Gina Hemphill Toms.)
 
I can’t wait to find out how ON A ROLL will be translated.
 
Christine and I also had a great conversation about her favorite character.  I bet you thought I was going to say “Nate.”  Well of course she loves Nate.  But Christine also thinks Dee Dee is a hoot.  Not sure why?  Check out BN GOES FOR BROKE.  After reading it, you will not need to be convinced that Dee Dee is a laugh riot.  (And a drama queen!)
 
Tune in next Monday and find out why Lincoln is a fan of Tin Tin.
 
Phoebe, the Big Nate editor
Tue, 09/04/2012

Here Goes Nothing!

Lucky Big Nate Fans!Guess what?! There's a new Big Nate book in the stores - BIG NATE: HERE GOES NOTHING. It's full of hilarious Big Nate comic strips, such as my personal favorites:

- SUPER BLOGGER, about Nate's blog, Classroom Chatter

- HERE GOES NOTHING, about Nate's soccer exploits (Wonder why it's also the title of the book?!)

- THE SHOW MUST GO ON, about Nate's rockin' band, Enslave The Mollusk

- MOLD (Read the strip and see if you think it inspired Lincoln Peirce when he was writing BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE!)

- FAMILY (DYS)FUNCTION - Is Nate's Uncle Ted weirder than your weirdest relatives?

And, and, and, for those of you anxiously awaiting the next Big Nate novel, there's also a sneak peek to FLIPS OUT, coming your way in February 2013. In fact, that why I'm serving as guest blogger. So Lincoln has enough time to finish drawing the 500+ pictures in FLIPS OUT!

Phoebe, the Big Nate Editor

Wed, 08/29/2012

Who's Playing BIG NATE’S DETENTION DASH???

Some of you have already started the new school year. Some of you are enjoying the last weeks of summer vacation. Either way, there's still time to play Big Nate's board game, DETENTION DASH. Last week, the Big Nate team at Harper had a chance to check it out. The object of the game is for Nate and his classmates to go to all the classes on their schedule with the least number of detentions -- not so easy when infractions like INSOLENCE and GREEN BEAN INCIDENT keep coming up. 

Here’s what we learned.  During the course of the game:

-You can make paper airplanes.

-You learn how Coach John would put a puzzle together.

-You can send classmates to detention (That means Gina!)

-Second place means you're the student with the most detentions, just like Nate in the BIG NATE books such as BIG NATE IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF.But when you're playing DETENTION DASH, maybe not. Even Gina can't always ace DETENTION DASH! 

DETENTION DASH is big fun, big laughs.  Just like the BIG NATE BOOKS!
Phoebe, the Big Nate Editor
Mon, 08/27/2012

Best Laid Plans

Hi, everyone. This will be my last blog entry for awhile.

There is a poem by Robert Burns called "To A Mouse," and part of it goes like this: The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. Nowadays you usually hear it paraphrased as "the best laid PLANS," not "schemes," but the point is this: it's become an adage which people use to express the fact that things very seldom go exactly as you would like them to. Life does not follow a script and unfold just as we might want.

Yesterday is a good example. As of a week ago, there was absolutely nothing on my calendar for yesterday. That meant I would have the entire day to work on final art for BIG NATE FLIPS OUT. But then, as you know from reading my last entry, our daughter hurt herself falling off a horse. So we scheduled a physical therapy appointment for yesterday. Her injury also meant that she couldn't ride her bike to her summer job (which is doing some gardening and yard work for a teacher at her school). So she needed me to drive her there. And then there was Scout, our beloved family dog, who decided that yesterday would be an ideal time to get sick. So I had to make an unexpected trip to the veterinary hospital.

So all my best laid plans went down the tubes. That's all right; these things happen sometimes. But it meant less time to work on FLIPS OUT. In addition, there are other obstacles or opportunities that present themselves at times - like drawings that aren't directly related to either the books or the comic strip, but still need to be completed. The drawing shown here is a good example. It's for the next edition of "The Cartoonist," the official journal of the National Cartoonist Society. You can't say no to an organization made up of your friends and colleagues! So in the time I COULD devote to work yesterday, I decided to focus on a couple of these "side projects." I did this drawing, along with two others - one for a future Big Nate activity book, and one for a future Big Nate compilation.

With deadlines looming for FLIPS OUT and a very busy autumn ahead, I'm going to take my editor Phoebe up on her generous offer to guest-blog for a little while. It will buy me a couple more hours each week to make sure I meet those deadlines. So keep logging on to bignatebooks.com for Phoebe's entries...and who knows, some other friends might guest-blog, too. As for me, I'll keep plugging away on FLIPS OUT. (Progress report: I'm on page 125.) See you soon, everyone!Thu, 08/23/2012

Accidents

My wife and I have two children, and both of them have had their share of bumps, scrapes, breaks, and near-disasters over the years.  I’m convinced that most kids go through a stage in life during which they’re particularly accident-prone.  For our son Elias, it was when he was a very little boy.  During the course of one very eventful spring/summer, he cut his forehead open and broke his arm after falling off some big rocks at the beach; and then, within a few days of getting the splint taken off his first arm, he broke his OTHER arm when he fell off a slide.  Shortly after that, he took a bad fall while riding his bike.  But once he got those injuries out of the way, he strung together quite a few years of good health, interrupted only when he almost cut his arm off with a meat cleaver while constructing a Rube Goldberg machine in our basement with his friend Lukas Tubby.  He’s now a sophomore in college, and I’m hoping the accidents are over.  He went skydiving the other day and lived to tell the tale, so I’m optimistic.

Our daughter Dana, on the other hand, is right in the middle of her own personal accident-prone phase.  In the past year and a half, she has broken two fingers while playing basketball, had tendinitis in her knees and ankles, dislocated her shoulder (another basketball injury), been concussed by a lacrosse ball...and then, the other day, she fell off a horse.  Actually, Dana is too good a rider to just fall.  She was thrown off when the horse was startled by something during a trail ride, and she landed on her back. She was in a lot of pain, so the EMT’s came, strapped her to a board, and drove her to the hospital.  Fortunately, nothing was broken, punctured, or lacerated.  But she’s a very sore young lady, and it was only today, 3 days after the accident, that she walked without crutches.  She’s loved horses since she was 5 years old and so, predictably, she’s already looking forward to riding again.

Here’s a painting Dana did many years ago of herself and a horse.  That’s one big horse.  My favorite part of the painting is the way the horse is smiling.

That’s all I have time for tonight.  If you’re going horseback riding anytime soon, remember to wear your helmet!

Sun, 08/19/2012

Sports and Stories

The just-concluded Summer Olympics (which I found incredibly entertaining, as always) got me thinking about the subject of sports, and what a huge impact they've had on me as a cartoonist and writer. I was always reading sports books as a kid. I particularly remember the baseball biographies I read over and over, learning about the lives of players who, in some cases, had long since died. I read about Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and so on. The title of one book I found particularly puzzling: Babe Ruth, Sultan of Sweat.  Later I realized it was "swat," not "sweat." That made more sense - even if, when you think about it, Babe Ruth probably DID perspire a lot. So maybe he was the Sultan of Swat AND Sweat.

I also read countless works of sports fiction. Libraries don't do this anymore, thank goodness, but when I was a kid my local library had a shelf in the kids' room labeled "BOOKS FOR BOYS." They were all sports books - apparently the librarian didn't think girls were interested in stories like Catcher With A Glass Arm, Crackerjack Halfback...or this one, High School Backstop, by C.P and O.B. Jackson.

Frankly, I remember almost nothing about this book. And the five minutes I just spent leafing through it has convinced me that it's not particularly well-written. But I do remember why I bought it at the library's "withdrawn books" sale back in 1972 or so: because I loved the drawings. Actually, I'm not even sure they're drawings; they look like they could be woodcuts. But anyway, all the drawings in the book (there's an illustration about every 20 pages) have a lot of energy and dynamism, while at the same time having a certain awkward, clunky quality I find very appealing. And in all candor, you NEED good art when the writing is this boring:

The words caused Alden to raise his head. They came from a man in street clothing who had hurried from the dugout and they were directed at the pitcher. "I make no claim to being a baseball strategist," the man said. "I'm a science teacher filling in because your coach is ill. However, I do claim to know that teaching as part of the learning process is not a one way street. Teacher and students learn. What else is coaching but specialized teaching?

Okay, so it's not exactly a page-turner. But I ate this stuff up. And reading about sports was a great way to learn about constructing a story, because (despite the awful passage I just quoted) so many sports have such great story elements - drama, suspense, colorful characters, rivalries, and so on. So the next time you read about Nate playing fleeceball in Big Nate Strikes Again, remember that I couldn't have told that story without a little help from books like High School Backstop!Thu, 08/16/2012