Former “PROFESSIONAL LITERARY AGENT and high-powered media insider” Hodgman has been tirelessly promoting his first book, The Areas of My Expertise, for some time now; just last night, we hear, he was working the room at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble with singer Jonathan Coulton. One assumes—hopes, really—that the two of them went through some of the 700 hobo names Hodgman compiled for the book, from “Stewbuilder Dennis” to “Mississippi Barry Phlegm” (follow the link to a page where you can download a full, 54-minute recitation with acoustic guitar accompaniment on MP3). Now, answering a call from Boing Boing editor Mark Frauenfelder, artists on the Internet are visualizing the hoboes. At left, for example, is Ryan Freeburn’s rendition of “Horace, the Bird-Headed Fool.”
“I am obviously pleased and bewildered in the way only the internet can please and bewilder,” said Hodgman when contacted by email about the wave of illustrations. “I am also a little shamed. It’s a great idea, first of all. One I wished I had had… Here is the internet the way it should be: un-schemed, honestly undertaken, and fueled by pure enthusiasm by strangers. I am flattered and amazed and a little scared. They are lovely drawings, even if the one of ‘Holden The Expert Dreamtwister‘ sort of resembles something that might have been tempera-painted on the roof of an old school bus that had been used for years by a wandering hippie cult before they all committed ritual suicide with poison. But that is beautiful too.”
See also Claire Zulkey’s interview with Hodgman on MBToolbox, where he describes coming up with all those names as the hardest part of the book.