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Ben Hatke
Ben hatke 5172568.JPG
Ben Hatke reading at the 2014 Gaithersburg Book Festival
Born June 4, 1977 (1977-06-04) (age 43)
Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.
Notable works
Zita the Spacegirl
Mighty Jack
Awards Cybils Award, 2011
Eisner Award, 2016
Spouse(s) Anna
Children 4 daughters

Ben Hatke (born June 4, 1977, in Lafayette, Indiana) is an American cartoonist and children's book illustrator. He is most well known for his series of middle grade graphic novels Zita the Spacegirl. His work is notable for its focus on strong female characters.

Biography

Hatke was born in Lafayette, Indiana, and grew up with sisters. His family were members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Hatke spent a lot of time outdoors as a child.

One of his early comics influences was Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest. Other influences included Bill Watterson, Maurice Sendak, Leonardo Da Vinci, Brian Froud, Trina Schart Hyman, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Todd McFarlane.

Hatke attended Christendom College, in the Shenandoah Valley, earning his B.A. in 2000. While he was in college, he spent a semester in Italy studying Italian Renaissance painting.

Career

Hatke contributed the story "The Plank" to the anthology Flight vol. 2, published by Image Comics in 2005. His story "The Edge" appeared in Flight #3, published (at that point by Random House) in 2006.

His character Mighty Jack is a contemporary spin on the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Zita the Spacegirl

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Zita the Spacegirl, "centers on a girl named Zita who embarks on a journey to becoming an intergalactic hero after her friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult. Along the way, she rides a giant mouse, deals with humanoid chickens as well as robots, and makes friends with a blob-like creature."

According to Hatke, the character was actually created by his wife Anna while she was still in high school. When Hatke and Anna met in college, he began adapting the character into its present incarnation.

He continued developing the character in webcomics and then a short story titled "Zita the Spacegirl: If Wishes Were Socks," in the 2008 Random House anthology Flight Explorer.

Zita the Spacegirl debuted in 2011 with First Second Books. The second and third volumes appeared in 2012 and 2014.

In 2016, it was announced that Fox Animation had picked up movie right for the Zita trilogy; the films will be produced by Chernin Entertainment.

Personal life

Hatke lives in Front Royal, Virginia, with his wife Anna and their four daughters. Their youngest daughter Ida died in a horse-related accident in September, 2019. He is an avid player of role-playing games, as well as a practitioner of archery. He is also a fire-eater and amateur tumbler.

Awards

Graphic novels

  • 2011 Zita the Spacegirl (First Second)
  • 2012 Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (First Second)
  • 2014 The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (First Second)
  • 2015 Little Robot (First Second)
  • 2016 Mighty Jack (First Second)
  • 2017 Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (First Second)
  • 2018 The Zita Trilogy Boxed Set (First Second)
  • 2019 Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl (First Second)

Children's books

  • 2014 Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (First Second)
  • 2016 Nobody Likes a Goblin (First Second)
  • 2016 (by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell) Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure
  • 2017 (by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell) Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won't-Walk-the-Dog Cure
  • 2018 (by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell) Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Sticky-Fingers Cure
  • 2020 Julia’s House Moves On (First Second)
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