October 8, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Events

We’re going to New York Comic-Con!

First Second will be exhibiting at booth 2237.

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Many of our excellent authors will be there!  Here’s a list of who you’ll find at the show:

Andrew Arnold — Adventures in Cartooning
Box Brown — Andre the Giant
Cory Doctorow — In Real Life — SHOW DEBUT!
Zack Giallongo — The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth
Ben Hatke — Julia’s House for Lost Creatures
Danica Novgorodoff – The Undertaking of Lily Chen
George O’Connor — Olympians
Paul Pope and JT Petty – The Rise of Aurora West
MK Reed — The Cute Girl Network
Jillian Tamaki — This One Summer

FULL SCHEDULE:

Thursday – October 9th

Panel – with Danica Novgorodoff
The Mary Sue Presents – Fight What You Know
Time: 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: Room 1A14
Description: The geek world needs better representation in media, but aren’t you supposed to write what you know? Truth is, the whole “write what you know” thing is a load of bull honkey. A writer who can’t appreciate the perspectives of others is no kind of writer at all. Writers from all backgrounds and experiences join to talk about research, listening, soliciting criticism, and how to make sure you’re writing well when you’re outside the comfort zone of your own perspective.

Signing – with Danica Novgorodoff
Time: 3:00 – 4:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Panel – with Paul Pope
Coffee Talk with Monsters
Time: 3:00pm – 3:45pm
Location: 1A18
Description: What makes a monster something to be feared? A force to be reckoned with? Or just misunderstood? Join R.L Stine (Party Games), Caitlin Kittredge ( Black Dog), Lou Anders (Frostborn), Barry Lyga  (Blood of My Blood), Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West), Ethan Reid (The Undying), Ransom Riggs (Hollow City; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and moderator Ali T. Kokmen (Barnes & Noble / Nook) as they discuss the “monsters” in their books and what makes them truly something monstrous…

Post-Panel Signing– with Paul Pope
Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Autographing Area, Table 19

Signing – with Paul Pope
Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Friday – October 10th

Panel
Create Your Own Monster – with Andrew Arnold, Ben Hatke, and George O’Connor
Time: 10:30am – 11:30am
Location: Family HQ – 1C03
Details: Three authors enter…and with your help, they’ll each create a monster who embodies everything that you think monsters should be! Which will be best? It’s up to you!
Moderator: Jack Baur

Signing – with Andrew Arnold, George O’Connor
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Signing – with Ben Hatke
Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Panel – with Cory Doctorow
Bryan Lee O’Malley Spotlight; in conversation with Cory Doctorow
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Room 1A21

Post-Panel Signing– with Cory Doctorow
Time: 5:00pm
Location: Tor Booth #2223

Saturday – October 11th

Panel – with Cory Doctorow
Spotlight on Cory Doctorow
Time: 1:00pm – 1:45pm
Location: 1A10
Description: Cory Doctorow is awesome!  Moderated by Eric Smith from Book Riot.

Signing – with Jillian Tamaki
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Signing – with Cory Doctorow
Time: 2:30 – 5:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Signing – with Box Brown
Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Panel – with Cory Doctorow
Breaking Good
Time: 7:15 – 8:00pm
Location: 1A05
Description: This panel explores how comic books, video games, and novels are addressing world challenges.  Perhaps the most inspiring content for our panel audience will be to hear about how you are using popular entertainment to address the issues that you care about.  We’ll have about 10 minutes each to talk.  It’s an exciting lineup of panelists which includes an FBI Victim Specialist, the dynamic Alexis Krieger, who was involved in creating the comic book Abolitionista! that is being used to empower young people to protect themselves from predators.

Sunday – October 12th

Panel – with Zack Giallongo and Ben Hatke
Create Your Own Magical Creature
Time: 10:00am – 11:00am
Location: Family HQ – 1C03
Description: Two authors enter…and with your help, they’ll each create a magical creature who embodies everything that you think is awesome! Which will be best? It’s up to you!

Signing – with Zack Giallongo, Ben Hatke
Time: 11:30 – 12:30pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Signing – with Cory Doctorow
Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Panel – with Cory Doctorow and Paul Pope
Comics and Graphic Novels for All Readers
Time: 2:00pm – 2:45pm
Location: 1B03
Description: Join graphic novelists JP Ahonen (Sing No Evil), Emily Carroll (Through the Woods), Cory Doctorow (In Real Life), Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet), and Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West) for a discussion of the graphic novel form, its place in the literary canon today, and their exciting new books, moderated by Scott Rosenberg, AM NY.

Signing – with Box Brown
Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Signing – with MK Reed
Time: 2:30 – 3:30pm
Location: 01 Booth 2237

Post-Panel Signing– with Cory Doctorow and Paul Pope
Time: 3:15pm – 4:00pm
Location: Autographing Area, Table 19

Panel – with Zack Giallongo, Ben Hatke, and George O’Connor
Build Your Own Adventure
Time: 3:15 – 4:00pm
Location: 1A01
Description: In this interactive panel perfect for kids and families, top-tier graphic novel and comic authors and illustrators will work with the audience to write and illustrate an original adventure story! It will be an exciting ride, great for aspiring writers and artists. Featuring George O’Connor (Olympians), Matt London (The 8th Continent), Zack Giallongo (The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth), Frank Cammuso (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde), Scott Campbell (Hug Machine), Ben Hatke (Julia’s House for Lost Creatures).

Post-Panel Signing– with Zack Giallongo, Ben Hatke, and George O’Connor
Time: 4:15 – 5:00pm
Location: Autographing Area, Table 19

See you at the show!

October 7, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

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We’re delighted to share with you this exciting new boxed set edition of George O’Connor’s Olympians books!

George O’Connor is a guy who’s excited about Greek mythology.  Myths were some of the first books he ever read . . . along with superhero stories, and he combines both those two storytelling forms in his Olympians graphic novels.  George somehow manages to take these ancient historical (or, um, pseudo-historical) tales and bring new life to them, while at the same time doing extensive research and honoring that within the story.

Every time George comes out with a new volume, we’re super-impressed — and we learn new things, which is impressive in and of itself, because we’re huge mythology geeks as well over here at First Second.

If you have yet to pick up the Olympians books, now’s your chance — the first six volumes fit nicely into this attractive (and heavy!) box, and it comes with a giant poster!

(We note: it also makes an excellent holiday gift for any young mythology fans you know.)

Happy reading to you all!

October 6, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Spring 2015!  It’s coming up, and we’re publishing some books — to your great surprise, I’m sure.

Here’s the list — and the covers!  (You’ll find details and excerpts at the links.)

Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion, by Dominique Roques and Alexis Dormal.  This book is super-adorable, you guys!  And there’s baking!

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The Divine, by Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, and Boaz Lavie.  This book is just gorgeous, you guys!  You will be astounded.

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Dragons Beware!, by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado.  The companion to Giants Beware!, this book is just as fun.  Plus, it’s got dragons!

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Exquisite Corpse, by Penelope Bagieu. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, this is your book!  It’s fun, charming, and it’s got adorable art.

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Mike’s Place, by Jack Baxter, Joshua Faudem, and Koren Shadmi.  This is a gripping non-fiction story — with amazing art by Koren Shadmi!

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The Royal Cup, by Bastien Vives, Michael Sanlaville, and Balak.  The second volume of the Last Man series, this just gets better, you guys!

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We can’t wait for Spring — so we can share these amazing new graphic novels with you!

October 2, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

(from the desk of Ian Lendler, author of The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth)

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(illustration by Zack Giallongo, illustrator of The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth)

When I tell people that I’ve written a graphic novel of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for kids, most people say, “Macbeth?! You mean the horribly bloody play by Shakespeare? How on earth can you do that for kids?”

Quite frankly, a lot of Shakespeare’s work is a bit tricky to translate for the younger set.

  • Hamlet: “Hey kids, who wants to see a protagonist struggle with his INNER DOUBT?! Huh? Anyone? Hello?” <tumble weed rolls past>
  • Romeo and Juliet: My 7-year-old son currently thinks girls are gross. He will not be dissuaded from this opinion.
  • King Lear: “Umm…okay, it’s about an old man struggling with dementia and his sense of mortality and…oh, forget it.”

But Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most powerful characters because of his simplicity.

“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box

Macbeth is all about “want.” Macbeth wants power. He wants to be king. And “want” is something that kids understand far more than adults. Kids are utterly in tune with their wants.

The second that babies are born, they’re crying because they “want”– food, a blanket, to poop. Then as they grow older they want candy. They want to TV. They want a bike. Did I mention TV? They really want to watch TV. Preferably while eating a garbage bag full candy.

The entire process of childhood is about teaching kids to push their wants below the surface. We call this process “maturity.” Macbeth is about watching that façade of maturity shatter as that “want” comes raging back to the surface (with disastrous consequences).

The first two acts of Macbeth are essentially the famous Stanford Marshmallow Test. A scientist offers a child a marshmallow and a deal. He’ll leave the kid alone in the room with the marshmallow for ten minutes. If the kid can resist eating it, the scientist will come back into the room with TWO marshmallows for the kid to eat. (Watching them wrestle with this is hysterical.)

Similarly, the witches offer Macbeth his own personal marshmallow test. He can be king; he just has to get rid of the real king first. Can Macbeth resist? Maybe. But it doesn’t help that his wife is whispering in his ear that she wants some of that sweet sweet marshmallow too.

So Macbeth kills the king. He grabs the power. He gives in to his inner child and become a monstrous sociopath, unfit to mingle with the rest of society. He becomes Justin Bieber.

And the rest of the play? Well…the rest is Macbeth with a guilty look on his face desperately searching for someone else to blame. It’s too bad Macbeth didn’t have a younger brother or sister. Then, he could simply point at them, and with a mouth full of marshmallow mumble, “Uhhh…he did it!”

That’s certainly something that every parent could understand.

October 1, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

When the Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue puts on Shakespeare, they really pull out all the stops!

Here are the cast photos from their fall performance: Macbeth!

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Macbeth

Nickname: “Old Pushover”

Hobbies: Mongering (war, power, sandwiches, etc.),

Turn-ons: Pushy Women

Turn-offs: Pushy Women

Mental State: A bit iffy

Voted: Most Likely to Succeed (Note from the author: This joke works on so many levels it’s scary.)

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Lady Macbeth

Voted: Most Likely To Run A Presidential Campaign

Hobbies: Cleanliness; nagging; calling on the gods to make her a man; knitting doilies

School Play Credits: Blanche Dubois in Street Car Named Desire; The Little Engine in The Little Engine That Could Kill You All

Typical Small Talk: “…The babe that milks me — I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums And dash’d the brains out had I so sworn as you Have done to this.”

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Banksy

Nickname: “Sidekick McGee”

Position: Thane, whatever that is

Voted: Most Likely To Be Overlooked

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Detective MacDuff

Nickname: “Mr. Righteous;” “Dude Ex Machina”

Favorite dish: Revenge (served cold, but of course)

Yearbook quotes: “Hey, where’d my family go?”

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Shakespeare

Nickname: Mr. Mysterious

Turn-ons: Unknown

Turn-offs: Unknown

Hobbies: Writing. A lot. 40 plays and 154 sonnets in a period of about 30 years

(The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth came out this week!  Now you can acquire a copy of your very own.  How can you resist?)

September 30, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

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There’s a tendency in American media . . . and in our culture . . . that girls only get to be the sidekick, the accomplice, the mentor, the wife or girlfriend, the one behind the scenes doing research, instead of getting to be the hero.

We think that’s pretty terrible.  Because girls are awesome, and being a hero is awesome, so clearly the two of them should go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

When we published Paul Pope’s Battling Boy back in 2013, we were so pleased to find that many reviewers called out the character Aurora West as one of the best parts of the book.  An amazing girl hero, Aurora fights crime and monsters and is a wonderful, independent character.

We’re proud to be giving Aurora a place to tell her own story in The Rise of Aurora West, which comes out today.  This is the first of two volumes — and you’ll find that Aurora has her own problems, her own story, and her own mysteries to solve separate from anything that Battling Boy is dealing with.

The Rise of Aurora West starts out Aurora’s journey, and by the end of the book, you can see Aurora already becoming her own hero . . . and the hero who could save the town of Arcopolis.

September 29, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

StratfordZoo

Today marks the date of birth for Ian Lendler and Zack Giallongo’s The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth, which is a book you should all read!

Macbeth is hungry . . . hungry for life (and also tacos).  The king is an owl — tiny but delicious.  This is clearly a recipe for catastrophe.

We’re so glad to be publishing this book, which has a unique take on one of Shakespeare’s most well known works, for younger readers who are just starting out with the works of the Bard.  In The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth, you get the play . . . and the perspective of the audience, both at the same time!  And these actors, all inhabitants of the Stratford Zoo, are some of the craziest folks you’ll ever meet!

Also, you guys: Lady Macbeth is a leopard.  A spotted leopard.

How can you resist?

September 25, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes

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(cartoon by David Sipress; presumably from The New Yorker)

There’s a pervasive myth about big New York City publishers, and it’s that they’re evil — or at the very least malicious.  They’re out to break the hopes and dreams of authors everywhere, to be difficult to impossible for the regular person to get into contact with, to actively be preventing books from being published — and once they do manage to get published, preventing books from succeeding.

I’ve worked at a big publisher for almost a decade now.  Macmillan, First Second’s parent company, is somewhere around the fifth largest trade publisher in the United States; we have multiple buildings and offices just in New York City.  They’re a big company — big enough that even though I’ve been working here for almost a decade, I still don’t know everyone.

And guess what?

Everyone here loves books.

The secondary myth that goes along with this ‘publishing = evil’ deal is the second degree of separation.  Once you get a book deal, once you know people in publishing, you’re like, ‘my editor/publicist/etc. isn’t evil — but those nameless, faceless executives who run the company are!’

We don’t really get a lot of evil people here in publishing.  (It’s probably because the profit margins aren’t high enough to be tempting to them.)

Instead, we get a lot of people who love books, who love reading, who believe in literature and literacy, but who sometimes have to make hard decisions about what they feel can work successfully in today’s difficult to navigate book market.  Sometimes the decisions they make turn out not to be the best for a particular book or author, but they’re always made in good faith — never with malicious intent.

It’s really easy to vilify ‘executives’ or ‘publishers’ — people working behind the scenes at big publishers who often have little to no contact with authors, and whose every day choices can have a large-scale impact on the way that all books at that company are produced.  But all the ones I know are honest, earnest, hard-working people who spend their time doing things that are mostly invisible to authors, and to the general public, but that make the wheels in the book industry keep on turning for all of us readers.

September 22, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

New book new book!

We just got in finished copies of our upcoming graphic novel, The Rise of Aurora West, by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin!

It looks fantastic!

Here’s the cover, with Aurora West.  She is off to fight monsters!

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Lots of spines all lined up together!  All with a little Aurora West on the bottom!

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And the title page!  I just think that this title type is really great.

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Also awesome: the insides of this book.

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David Rubin’s art is really gorgeous.  This book is filled with lots of lovely monsters!  And adventure!

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Oh, Arcopolis.  You’re such a troubled city.  Maybe Aurora West can help out with this.

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We’re so pleased to be publishing a companion to Paul Pope’s #1 New York Times Best-Selling, Eisner and Harvey Award-winning graphic novel Battling Boy.

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The two spines together!

We made the decision to publish this very girl-centric story in a slightly different format than Battling Boy — black and white, and a smaller size.  It echoes a little the traditional US manga publishing format!  Also, it’s just adorable.

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The Rise of Aurora West will be on sale next Tuesday.  We can’t wait!

September 18, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Events

We were able to head down to the Small Press Expo in DC this weekend!

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The show was especially exciting for us because we were up for two Ignatz Awards, for Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer and Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints.  This is the first time in quite a few years that we’ve been up for an Ignatz!

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We also had lots of great authors at the show, signing wonderful graphic novels!

MK Reed and Greg Means terrific their wonderful graphic novel The Cute Girl Network.

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Farel Dalrymple’s post-apocalyptic drama The Wrenchies was a show debut for SPX!  We were really glad to have Farel at the show.

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Farel brought his original art, and it looks amazing (as usual)!

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Farel did awesome little sketches in all the books he signed!

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We also had Nick Bertozzi signing his New York Times Best-Selling graphic novel Shackleton!

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We also had Dave Roman (with all-new blue hair) signing his hilarious graphic novel Astronaut Academy!

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Jillian Tamaki drew lovely little sketches in copies of This One Summer.

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And James Kochalka signed copies of his new book The Glorkian Warrior Delivered a Pizza!

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We were delighted on Saturday night to learn that Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s wonderful graphic novel This One Summer had won an Ignatz Award!

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Congratulations to Mariko and Jillian!

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More authors!  Including the wonderful Zack Giallongo, who is signing his upcoming graphic novel The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.

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And Ben Hatke signs Zita the Spacegirl!

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He drew adorable little Zitas in the books!

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We had a lot of fun at the show this year, and so did our authors!

Yay SPX!