Cover Reveal & Interview: "The Mighty Bite" by Nathan Hale

SLJ shares an exclusive sneak peek and cover reveal for Nathan Hale's The Mighty Bite, which publishes on April 4, 2023. A Q&A with Hale includes the inspiration for this wacky new graphic novel series, his approach to making nonfiction fun for kids, and his experience as a painter for natural history museums.

Nathan Hale author photoNathan Hale is the #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator behind the "Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales" series, which brings U.S. history to life with irreverent humor, as well as the graphic novels One Trick Pony and Apocalypse Taco. We are pleased to share an exclusive sneak peek and cover reveal for the first book in Hale's newest series, The Mighty Bite, which publishes on April 4, 2023. But first, we spoke with Hale about the inspiration for this wacky new graphic novel series, his approach to making nonfiction fun for kids, and his experience as a painter for natural history museums.


Andrew Eliopulos: Your new graphic novel series, which kicks off with The Mighty Bite, stars a pair of prehistoric creatures who want to become internet stars. Can you tell SLJ readers what drew you to this zany premise?

Nathan Hale: I visit a lot of schools and talk to a lot of young readers. I often ask kids what job they want to do when they grow up. Over the last decade, more and more, the answer has become “YouTuber!”

Before publishing, I worked in natural history museum display. My job was illustrating scientifically accurate specimens from prehistory. I’ve been missing those weird, shelled sea creatures and forgotten proto mammals. Drawing dinosaurs and trilobites is a treat for me—even if the ones in my book aren’t exactly scientifically accurate.


AE: For readers who may not be familiar with the titular (trilo)bites, what makes these ancient marine arthropods special?

NH: Trilobites were everywhere. Trilobite fossils can be found on every continent. It’s a little flat creature; they look sort of like a cockroach in a space suit. I was given a trilobite fossil as a child, and I played with that thing like an action figure. Plus, the word itself is fun to say. It sounds both ancient and futuristic.


AE: In your “Hazardous Tales” series, you use a humorous approach to recount real events from American history. Here, you bring your distinctive style to natural history, with protagonists belonging to species that—at least in our world—are extinct. What do you hope young readers will take from this mix of fact and fun?

NH: The research and fact checking for the "Hazardous Tales" series is so rigorous and intense—it’s actually the hardest part of doing those books. In The Mighty Bite, it’s all about gags and character jokes. There are a few facts here and there, but the comedy comes first. It’s very freeing to replace informative, well-researched panels with slapstick. This one’s for fun.  


Spread from The Mighty Bite



AE: Did your experience as a mural painter for natural history displays influence your approach to the art for this new series?


NH: Here’s a fun anecdote about that job. We had scientists on staff at that job. On one of my first murals—an undersea scene, a scientist came in and watched me paint a fish. During a break, he stepped forward and pulled a comb out of his pocket. He used the comb to start counting the rays on my fish’s dorsal fin. Do you know what rays are? I didn’t until that day. Rays are the tiny lines in a fish’s fin. The scientist was like, “This specimen should have thirty-two rays to be accurate.” I had painted, I dunno, ten rays. It was an interesting job.



AE: Can you give us a hint of what’s in store for our heroes in future volumes?


NH: When your main characters are video makers, the sky is the limit! Will they make funny videos, documentaries, a horror movie? Anything’s possible! And, as a creative person who’s done all sorts of odd artist-for-hire work, I can draw on my own experiences for inspiration. And I’ll never run out of funny looking prehistoric creatures to make fun of.



And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: here is the cover for The Mighty Bite, which publishes on April 4, 2023.  





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