May 18, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We’re delighted to present our latest book by Gene Luen Yang, with art by Mike Holmes: Secret Coders!  This is the first of a new series that will teach kids about how computer programming works.

How awesome is that?


We’re doing a hardcover and a paperback version of this book — here are the two together!  With robots!


And here are the spines!  (You’ll note that the spines also have robots, as they are essential for books about coding.)


Title page and dedication!


(This bird is totally winking at you in binary!)


Mike Holmes’ artwork is charming and awesome!  And the two-color art looks just great.


More binary!


And here’s the back cover of both the hardcover and paperback editions.


Secret Coders will be in stores at the end of September.  We’re super-excited!

May 14, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

New book!  We’re delighted to have in the office the companion to Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics, our multi-author anthologies for kids edited by Chris Duffy!

It’s: Fable Comics!

We love this anthology series!  It’s so great — and a wonderful introduction to comics for a really young audience.

Here’s the cover — with a wonderful portrayal of the tortoise and the hare.


And the spine!


Here are a number of spines together — and you can see the tiny tortoise on them!


Endpapers!  With fable outtakes in the circles.


Here’s the title page (so great)!


‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,’ by Tom Gauld.  Each fable is short — just a few pages — but they pack a lot of awesomeness into that!


Here’s ‘The Lion and the Mouse’ by R. Sikoryak!


The inside back flap!  I love these dark blue endpapers.


And the back cover, with the full author list.


All three books together!  These are such marvelous anthologies — if you haven’t checked them out, you should!


Fable Comics will be in stores at the end of October.  You should add this one to your reading list!

May 12, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books


We’re delighted to be publishing Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado’s Dragons Beware!, the companion to their debut graphic novel Giants Beware!

These two adventures are super-awesome because they’re full of great female protagonists who look and think differently from each other.  (And there’s also a boy who cookies, clearly an awesome thing.)

Put those in a medieval magical setting (with sword-fighting) and how can you resist?

We hope you enjoy these fantastic graphic novels.

Together at last!


May 11, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

New book new book!

It’s always a good day when we get new books in the office.  And it’s an especially good day when we get new volumes of the adorable Adventures in Cartooning books in!

Here are some pictures of our upcoming picture book comic, Gryphons Aren’t So Great!  It’s the companion to Sleepless Knight, which just came out this April.

Gryphons Aren’t So Great is equally as cute as Sleepless Knight!  And it features (as you might expect) a gryphon!

Here’s the cover.


And here’s the two covers together!


Here’s the spine — with a tiny gryphon on the bottom!


And a whole bunch of spines all lined up!


The endpapers have super-cute cartooning instructions on them!


The title page (which again features a gryphon).


An interior spread!


And the back cover (with all the other books all together)!


Gryphons Aren’t So Great will be in stores in September.

May 7, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Events

First Second won’t be exhibiting at TCAF this year, but we have some great authors who’ll be there!  I hope you can all check out them (and their fantastic graphic novels) at the show.


Penelope Bagieu, Exquisite Corpse

Box Brown, Andre the Giant


Lucy Knisley, Relish


Scott McCloud, The Sculptor


George O’Connor, Olympians


Dave Roman, Astronaut Academy

We hope you all have a great show filled with amazing :01 authors!

May 5, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books


Happy Book Birthday to Penelope Bagieu’s wonderful new graphic novel Exquisite Corpse!

We’re so excited to be publishing this delightful new book about a young woman named Zoe and the hilarious and wonderful Parisian literary scandal she ends up stumbling into.

Penelope Bagieu’s art is charming and accessible and adorable — you won’t be able to put down this great story.

May 4, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We’re delighted to have early copies of Ben Hatke’s marvelous latest graphic novel, Little Robot, in the office!  They look fantastic; this book is going to be so good, you guys.

This book is the story of a small girl and a robot who become friends.  There is also a cat (as pictured on this cover).


The spine has a tiny robot on it!  So awesome.  (So much about this book is awesome.)


Here are a lot of spines together.  Look at those robots all lined up!


Here’s the front flap — along with the endpapers.  I love the subtle circuitry pattern on the endpaper background!


And the half-title page!  With a little bolt!


This book has so many lovely and delightful little touches.


Most charming dedication!


Here’s a page from the interior.  It features the girl, our protagonist!


And here’s a page that includes both the girl and the robot!  They are becoming friends (with reluctant cat in tow).


Here’s the inside back cover, with the back flap (which includes the most robotic author image we have seen yet)!


And the back cover — populated by yet more robots!


Little Robot will be in stores in September.  We’re so excited to share this amazing book with you then!

May 3, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Events


This week is Children’s Book Week — the week where the publishing industry encourages you to think about how important books are for kids.

(And then there are some events and other fun things happening, too!)

The theme for this year’s Children’s Book Week is comics, which we are absolutely delighted about!  In fact, Free Comic Book Day is going to be the kick-off event.  Comics are a really important part of contemporary children’s literature, being read by kids around the United States in newspapers, online, and at their schools and libraries!  Graphic novels are winning awards and being recognized as a valuable part of children’s literature like never before.

Yay that!  Yay for all of that!

But besides that, there’s a larger message here with Children’s Book Week: it’s that reading is important, and it’s something that should be part of every child’s life.  There are too many kids who don’t have books in their homes, who don’t have access to libraries, and who aren’t reading — and whose futures are all the poorer for that.

Reading expands the mind, and it’s great to start expanding your mind when you’re young, so as you’re older you can fit more and more and more things into it.

I hope you all can spend this week sharing a great book with a kid!


April 20, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes


(from this year’s MoCCA Festival!)

We’re at the beginning of this year’s indie/small press convention season, so: it is time for some convention-ing advice!

It can be very difficult to go from ‘aspiring young cartoonist’ to ‘person who is fully engaged in the industry who knows everyone and has lots of friends and connections.’  But it is not impossible!  And in fact, conventions are one of the easiest ways to meet other people in the industry, so if you’re just starting out your career and heading off to a convention, it’s ideal to take as much advantage of it as you can!

Here are some things you can do!

Be presentable

This is the most basic thing to do at a convention: remember to shower, wear clean clothes, and look vaguely professional.  That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie — but clothes with holes or stains probably aren’t your best option.  Wear something that makes you look good — you’re going to be meeting potential colleagues and friends.


A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of volunteering because they want to spend time at the convention.  But volunteering doesn’t always mean that you’re giving away 100% of your time!  You can volunteer to help set up (before the show opens) or break down (after the show ends) or for a shift that’s part of a day.  And volunteering is great because it means you meet the people organizing the convention.  And you know anyone who’s putting the time and energy into running a convention has to be cool, too!

There are other ways you can volunteer that don’t necessarily involve spending any time at the convention itself — designing the program book, the t-shirts, helping run the website or the social media, helping coordinate run-up events, etc.  If you have skills in one of those areas and you really want to build a connection with the convention-running team, consider volunteering there.

Do your research

Who do you want to meet at this convention?  Cartoonists?  Media?  Convention staff?  Publishers?  Teachers or librarians?  Make a list of all the people who you’d like to talk to; go through the exhibitor list and the programming schedule and see where and when they’re going to be around.  Then look them up!  What are they working on now?  Do they have new comics for the show?  Did they just win an award or write an article or announce a project?  When you see the people you want to meet, have something to talk to them about.  And don’t be shy about telling people you admire their work!

Go to parties

The convention will typically organize an official afterparty, as well as some run-up programming around the city.  Local bookstores and comics stores and other event venues will also organize evening events featuring authors who are at the show.  Give yourself the most possible opportunities to meet cool people and head over to one of the evening parties after the convention has closed for the day.

Bring give-aways

I got an excellent give-away at the MoCCA Festival that was a pro-Free Speech cupcake!  That was pretty awesome.  And it was chocolate.  Home-baked goods are mostly a welcome give-away.

Even more recommended than that, though: you can also print up a few extra mini-comics of your work and bring them to give to the industry professionals you hope to connect with.  Everyone coming to these shows loves comics, and your comics are probably the thing that shows best how awesome you are!  So come prepared with some ear-marked specifically for give-aways so that when you run into Scott McCloud, you can be like, ‘Here is my comic Scott McCloud!’

If there’s someone that you’re super, super excited to meet, you can consider making them some fan art!  Let me tell you: it is always a memorable thing when we get First Second fan art.

Follow-up afterwards

After the convention is over, you’re exhausted and everything is crazy!  You may have to be packing up and going off to a new city!  Things are super-busy!  Take a week for yourself, read some of the comics you got, and don’t try to do everything at once.  But after that, you should definitely follow-up with the people you met who you want to keep in touch with.  Just dropping them a note to say that it was nice to meet them is great; if you bought a comic from them, read it and e-mail to tell them what was awesome about it.  If you don’t have their e-mail, tweet at them or send them a Facebook message.  And if you haven’t already, follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, and follow them on Tumblr and Instagram.

Doing all this stuff takes a non-zero amount of work.  The effort you have to put in to make all this happen is pretty significant.  That’s because building yourself friends and industry connections takes actual work.  You don’t just wake up one day and find that everyone in the industry has become a close friend of yours without ever having talked to you before.

But the good news here is, these personal connections you can make are also professional connections — and when you get published, having lots of industry friends who can blurb and talk up your book is always a boon!  The other good news is, the comics industry is very close knit — so once you know some people, they can introduce you to more people at every show you attend!

April 16, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes, Uncategorized


(here is an unrelated picture of some books)

Everyone thinks they know best — especially when it comes to their job, the thing that they do professionally, the job they have because (presumably) they do it better than anyone else.

And in a lot of cases, people do have jobs because they can do them better than anyone else!  So they may sometimes actually know best.

This means that when you’re approaching someone in a professional capacity in the hopes of getting them to do things differently (ie., in the way that would be best for you), telling them, “I know best; you should do things my way!” may not be the best negotiating strategy.  Because instead of responding (presumably as ideally desired) with something like:

‘I see!  You do indeed know best!  How could we have overlooked this?  You are bringing a vibrant and new perspective to this issue that we have never seen before!  We shall change our actions immediately!’

People are in fact more likely to respond with something like:

‘Who is this person who is accosting me to tell me that they know how to do my job better than I do?  No one can possibly know how to do my job better than I do!’

The problem here is not (always) a problem of who knows best; it’s a problem of approach.  If you’re trying to get someone to change the way they do things, opening by telling them that they’re making terrible choices does not tend to make them inclined to listen to you.  In fact, it may instead make them think that you don’t understand their job well enough to know what you’re talking about!

So!  If you’re actually endeavoring to get people to change their behavior, starting out by asking to learn more about why they do things this way — questioning instead of telling or demanding — is often a good strategy.  And maybe in the process of your conversation, you’ll learn that there’s a good reason why they’re doing things the way they are.

Or maybe they’ll learn from you about an exciting different way to do their job and make a change!