Ball State alumnus illustrates David Letterman comic book

The Daily News

A Ball State alumnus was working on a comic book about late-night television host David Letterman when he realized he had a personal connection with a location in the book.  

Fall 2011 graduate David Hopkins, who currently interns for Washington-based Bluewater Productions and their Fame comic line, did not expect to find a personal connection to Ball State when he was assigned to the Letterman comic. 

“I didn’t really think anything about it,” Hopkins said. “When I started looking at the art I was like ‘Holy crap, I was here, I was there.’ I was a TCOM major and all of my classes were in [Letterman’s] building. I remember when he was there, walking by in the crowd.”  

Bluewater Productions publisher Darren Davis said the Fame line continues a tradition of biographical comics that began in the 1940s. Their books are available as iBooks on the app store, as part of the digital publishing revolution. The company has also written about celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber.

Hopkins wonders if Letterman will see his work and said he thinks he would appreciate it. 

“I think he would like it only because it’s in favor of Letterman,” he said. “Even when they highlight things in his life the sex scandal, it portrayed in light of he made a mistake, he owned up to it and America forgave him.”

Davis said it is likely Letterman will see his comic. Bluewater has had contact with him in the past on other comics and has contacted him several times about his own. Sometimes celebrities partner with Bluewater and a portion of sales are donated to a charity of the celebrity’s choice. 

“I was a Sigma Chi and he was also a Sigma Chi in college, I wanted to help a brother out,” Davis said. “I grew up obsessed with celebrities in LA. [To hear Hopkins had a connection with Letterman], I was really happy.”

Hopkins lettered the comic—meaning once the writing and art was assembled, Hopkins worked on the layout and added in extras like dialog, text and sound effects. 

Although a letterer’s work is not what a comic reader notices first, the telecommunications video production major compares the importance of his work to a video editor. 

“If an editor is doing their job well, you don’t even know there is an editor but soon as they mess up, it is really jarring and it jolts you right out of the movie,” Hopkins said. “That’s how it is for comics. [As a letterer], you want to keep it seamless and make sure reader is engaged in that world.”

While at Ball State, Hopkins started a weekly online called comic Super Cute, with a college friend. That initial interest in comics led to a comic-focused podcast, which now has a following of around 7,000. The podcast led him to his internship at Bluewater Productions. 

Hopkins said while it sounds cliché, sticking with goals and interests after graduation is what will lead to success, especially in a field like telecommunications. 

“It will be a year and a half since I have graduated and I stayed with it and things are happening,” he said. “I’m getting paid for the lettering and design work I am doing, I am making a definite progression. If you stick with it and don’t immediately become discouraged with the post-college world, stuff will happen.”


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