Don MacDonald, 40, is looking for a publisher for a hardbound edition of his web comic, a fictionalized biography of Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli -- but despite the medium, this isn’t Niccolò Machiavelli: Vampire Hunter.
“As much as I can, I’m sticking to the historical record,” MacDonald said.
The Watertown resident, who works a day job in production at Harvard Business Review, published the last of the 170 pages of “Machiavelli” in April.
MacDonald’s interest in Machiavelli was stoked by spent time in Italy, a (regular text) biography, and an interest in politics and history. He says the philosopher, whose name has become an adjective with a negative connotation, gets a bad rap.
“In ‘The Prince,’ he’s never saying it’s good to be cruel,” MacDonald said. “In fact, he said the opposite -- in order for a prince to be respected, be had to be both loved and feared.”
At top speed, MacDonald says he can produce two comic pages a week, and plots out 20 pages in advance.
“I’m pretty old school,” he said. “I like working with pen and paper. I like working with my hands on the material. I’ve tried digital and it doesn’t seem to work for me.”
MacDonald is considering using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise a few thousand to produce a hardbound edition of “Machiavelli.” He uses Twitter and Facebook, which he said brings in the most traffic, to promote the comic, which has brought in “hundreds” of readers.
“You get a BoingBoing hit and you can get five or six thousand people coming in,” he said.
MacDonald is working on the script and thumbnail sketches for a biography of the poet and William Shakespeare contemporary Christopher Marlowe. But he’s not quitting his day job.
“Not many can [make a living cartooning], but it’s certainly possible,” he said. “Most cartoonists usually work a quote/unquote day job as a graphic designer.”