Telemachus 0001

(image up top here is from the new chapter headers we’re developing)

-Rob; Some background on this lengthy project is probably needed here as we restart. The idea of adapting Joyce’s masterpiece into a web-based, educational comic was crazy. We all knew that. But four of us were willing to give a try from the start (way back in 2008).

Now the only professional Joycean and scholar among the group was Michael Barsanti, at that time Associate Director at the Rosenbach Museum and Library here in Philadelphia. Mike’s guidance to the project was invaluable from the start, and he really set the tone for developing the Readers’ Guide portion of this project into a friendly, comfortable environment for learning about Joyce. So here’s Mike… 

-Mike; If you know anything about Ulysses, you might know that it bears a strong family resemblance to Homer’s Odyssey. Joyce transposes elements of the ancient story to one day in the life of Dublin, a warm June day in 1904. Telemachus is the son of Odysseus (that’s Ulysses to you, if you’re Roman), and when you meet him, he is desperate to do something about the horde of suitors that is waiting to marry his mother and despoiling his home. He doesn’t remember his father, who’s been gone for a very long time.

But if you just pick up Joyce’s novel, you have no idea that the first episode is called “Telemachus.” [Nor, for that matter, do you know that it’s June 16, 1904, 8:00 a.m., or a Thursday. It takes hundreds of pages to figure this out. But we bring it to you on a platter!]

The word “Telemachus” appears nowhere in the book. Joyce had Homeric titles for all of the 18 episodes, however, and he used them regularly when talking about the book with his friends. In 1920, he created a “schema” for his friend (and writer and critic) Carlo Linati, which would quickly become the first of many tools for reading the book.

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View this Page of the Comic

Reader’s Guide for I: Telemachus

Dramatis Personae for I: Telemachus


You can buy copies of the works mentioned by clicking on the links below.

12 thoughts on “Telemachus 0001

  1. Ummm, well, actually this first drawing is the only one not for sale anywhere, Mike. It doesn’t really exist in the same physical way the other panels do.

    Josh made this title page through blacking out the Martello tower detail we’ll see in the next panel. So there’s nothing really to sell here, but we will be talking about the physical objects of this projects a bit later. Each page is cut into separate moments and panels and I was very careful in constructing them to allow each little visual suggestion of the novel become it’s own drawing.

  2. I also want to mention that we chose the gold/orange color for this image based upon the color listed in the Linati Schema that Mike mentions in the third paragraph. The choice of Gold for the Telemachus chapter could be a good discussion topic, as well…

  3. Can I tell you that this maybe the coolest thing I have ever seen!!!!!!! I am a huge fan of Ulysses as well as comic books. I want to purchase a piece of your art work. To be more specific the piece that contains the qoute “Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde and paradoxes. It’s quite simple. He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father.” I will be following along with your progress (godspeed to you my friend), but if there is any way you can send some notice as to when it might be available please let me know!!!

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Thanks, Tim!
    The artwork for this section isn’t up for sale just yet as we’re making some changes to the site involving PayPal. But we can speed up the process for specific request like yours. Send me an email at

    You (and everybody else out there interested in the original artwork from this project) should know tat we make two versions of all the pages here; one in color and one in B&W. The ink drawing is done first, mostly to give us an opportunity to pursue other options in printing the story, and then that’s printed onto Arches paper to let me do a watercolor version right on top. Both versions are available currently, so you’ll have your choice of either one.


    Si vous connaissez un tant soit peu “Ulysse”, vous n’êtes pas sans savoir qu’il présente une forte ressemblance avec “L’Odyssée” d’Homère. Joyce transpose les éléments de l’antique récit dans le Dublin de 1904, par une chaude journée de juin. Télémaque est le fils d’Odysséus (Ulysse, en version latine) et, à sa rencontre, vous le verrez tenter désespérément quelque chose contre la horde de prétendants au mariage avec sa mère, tous également désireux de le déposséder de sa demeure. Il n’a aucun souvenir de son père, parti depuis longtemps.

    Mais au premier abord du roman de Joyce, rien ne vous indiquera que le premier épisode s’intitule “Télémaque” (ni que l’action se déroule le 16 juin 1904, dès 8h00 du matin, et que c’est un jeudi. Il faut parcourir des centaines de pages pour s’en rendre compte. Mais on vous le sert sur un plateau !).

    Le nom de Télémaque n’apparaît nulle part dans le livre. Cependant, Joyce avait choisi des titres homériques pour chacun des dix-huit épisodes, et les utilisait régulièrement en parlant de son livre avec ses amis. En 1920, il bâtit une “grille” pour son ami écrivain et critique Carlo Linati, grille rapidement devenue le premier de nombreux outils de lecture du livre.

    • The French translations here that also appear on the site have been done by a Joyce fan who loves the project. I look very forward to being able to release the app internationally in January 2012 so all of Pascal’s dedicated hard work will pay off.

    • This is true. The app is available only in the US iTunes Store at the moment, but will be made available worldwide on January 1st, 2012.

      Nothing wrong with being an early adopter.

  6. New here, having just discovered the site on Bloomsday 2014. I’m a big Joycean and especially Ulysses, having read the novel at least a dozen times. I’ve also got about 40 books on Joyce and Ulysses, plus several editions of the novel.

  7. My copies of Ulysses include, as most do, the Random House and British Bodley Head editions, both first editions, the 3-volume massive “scholar” edition of the Gabler, plus several copies of the Gabler itself. I’m in process of reading this great novel again and I’m currently on the Cyclops chapter.

  8. Most prized is my FIRST EDITION of Ulysses, Shakespeare & Co, Paris, 1924. I bought this at an estate sale some years ago — my girlfriend dragged me there so she could browse antiques, and I was drawn to a bookcase of old volumes. I saw this book, could NOT be! But it was, asked the guy how much, “Oh, it’s in very good condition, so I got to charge you twenty bucks.” True story, acquiring a first edition for pocket change.

  9. I agree that Mulligan gets an undeserved discredit, and ironic enough, he becomes more likeable and Stephen less so as the novel progresses. Mulligan would be fun to party with. Stephen not so much.

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