Q&A With Ben Hatke on Legends of Zita the Spacegirl

Books People


Final illustration for wrap-around cover of Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke.

Legends of Zita coverLegends of Zita cover

Final cover with title

We discovered Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke early last year and my daughters and I both loved it. It’s an action-packed sci-fi story with lots of crazy aliens and a little girl named Zita who gets sucked into an adventure. The second book, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, just arrived recently and it’s a great follow-up. After Zita’s heroic actions in the first book, she’s a bit of a celebrity, but she’s not really enjoying the fame. But when a robot double shows up, Zita sneaks off for some downtime … only to find that the robot double might be enjoying her life a bit much.

Book Two is a good mix of familiar characters and new faces. We get a tiny bit more background about Pizzicato the mouse and Piper along the way. Zita also runs afoul of the Doom Squad, a sort of interstellar police force that’s something of a cross between Judge Dredd and the Three Stooges.

I got a chance to ask Hatke a few questions about Zita, his artistic process, and role-playing games. He shared some of his sketches which you’ll see throughout this post, including early work on the cover and doodles of creatures.

Legends of Zita cover sketchLegends of Zita cover sketch

Thumbnail sketches for the book cover, by Ben Hatke

Zita sketch by Ben HatkeZita sketch by Ben Hatke

Zita sketch by Ben Hatke

Liu: Hello, Ben! I just finished reading Legends of Zita the Spacegirl to my two daughters, who are huge fans of the first Zita book and were really excited about the new one. They had these three questions to start off the interview:

  1. Are you going to write another book?
  2. How many books are you going to write?
  3. Why does the book end with “To Be Continued”?

My older daughter can’t take the suspense, so she hates when books end with “to be continued.” But at the same time, she doesn’t like it when a series ends, either.

Hatke: I am working on another book right now, and I’m nearly finished! I’ve been writing and drawing Zita 3 all this year and now I’m in the middle of coloring the 220 pages. Zita’s story is a trilogy, so the third book is the last… for now. It ends a complete story for Zita, but I have a feeling I’ll jump back into her world at some point. I hope to write lots and lots of books. Some Zita stories and some brand new tales. I’m very excited about the third book and, of the three, it’s been the most fun to write. I think I ended the last book with a cliffhanger because I wanted to tease it a bit. I wanted to make sure everyone came back to read the third volume!

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