It came to me much later than I thought it would. The dedication to make my passion an everyday part of my life. When I get up in the morning I start thinking about writing. Down times at school, more writing. Lunch break, recess, jogging, while playing video games, I am always thinking about writing. Unlike earlier in my life all that thinking has turned into results. I write all the time. My life would be incomplete without it.
I don’t know if this is how Travis Hanson feels about writing and drawing The Bean but I am betting it is. Mr. Hanson tried several times to bring his vision of The Bean to life. First as a web comic than an illustrated novel (written with Aimee Duncan). Both of the early attempts fell apart. Someday I hope to be able to talk in depth with Mr. Hanson about his failed attempts because they remind me so much of my own struggles to get my writing off the ground.
After many years Mr. Hanson came back to The Bean for one more try. Drawn in landscape form The Bean is a lovely comic telling the story of a young boy named Bean who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a hunt for a very mythical item. The book has battles, humor, goblins, ogres, mysterious strangers. It is a lovely journey told through pictures and words.
The thing I am most impressed by it is how well the story unfolds. How beautiful the words and pictures work together to cement the heroic tale in your brain. After I finished book one I simply could not wait to read the next one. I ripped through all seven books in no time flat and then went back and immediately reread them. My time is precious between writing, my day job, and spending time with my wife (apparently a successful marriage requires this. Who knew!) I have very little extra time. For me to reread these stories upon completion shows you how wonderful I thought they were. The story has such a light and wonderful touch. It is subtle and full of joy and magic. Something everyone in your family can enjoy.
You can feel Mr. Hanson’s passion leaking out all over these magical pages. There is a four page scene of a town getting attacked in book seven that is just breathtaking. So many details, so much story. There are seven books out right now and Mr. Hanson is fast at work on book 8. He also publishes it as a web comic and you can actually go all the way back to the beginning and work your way through the story. This is a great way to get the flavor of The Bean but to truly experience it you simply must read it in book form. The landscape drawings jump off the page and really allow Mr. Hanson’s art to shine.
I have long been a supporter of independent artists in all forms. For most creative artists it is a struggle to make a living. The world often looks at the huge success stories in every field and assume that if they are doing great everyone must be. This is, of course, very far from the truth. As someone who is about to embark on my own journey as an independent writer I cannot begin to explain how much respect I have for those who have gone before me. Those people out there in the trenches right now doing what they love. Pounding on the wall and trying to break through and share with the world their art, words, and passion.
If you like comics or comic strips do yourself a favor and head over to The Bean website. Read the on-line comic. If you have a few dollars buy the books so Mr. Hanson can keep eating and produce more heart warming adventures (You see how I try to make my readers feed my own selfish desire for more). Make sure you take a look at the whole store. There are some delightful prints for sale. The Bean is one of the most delightful tales I have had the privilege to read in years. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Go get some magic: BeanLeaf Press