January 29, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes

(maybe our most trivial blog post topic yet!)

We print most of our four-color (and most of our two-color) books in China.

The vast majority of them get shipped here on container ships, but some extremely limited quantity of them we do air-freight so we (and our authors, and some key media and booksellers and librarians, and the internet, etc.) can see copies as soon as they come off the press.

Here’s a look at how intensely the printers package the books they’re sending internationally by air freight to make sure that they’re safe.  (Please note: we don’t package the books we send within the US like this because that would be crazy.)

So here is a box!  It looks like an ordinary box . . . but inside: lots and lots of packaging!

IMG_2868

When the box is opened, we find several thicknesses of cardboard between the book packaging and the sides of the box.  On all sides, even the top and bottom!!

IMG_2869

When the cardboard is taken off, the book package is revealed — and it’s wrapped — and cornered — in plastic and taped shut!

IMG_2870

When the plastic is opened, something is revealed . . . it’s the brown paper packaging for the books themselves!

IMG_2871

These are wrapped and taped together — so well that it’s frequently difficult to get them out of the packaging intact, as you can see from this picture.  (Mostly we just open them up inside the box.)

IMG_2873

Then finally: the books themselves, once the brown paper is opened!  They’re all packaged with a sheet between them, so that the covers don’t smudge or scuff each other.

IMG_2874

You guys: so much packaging!  There are honestly days when I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, box from China that needs to be unpacked and put away on the bookshelves, I just can’t deal with you right now.  You’ll have to wait until tomorrow because unpacking you is just too complicated.’

And then we recycle it all!  (Except the books, obviously.)

January 27, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Ares-Cov-300rgb

Today is the day of George O’Connor’s latest volume in the Olympians series, Ares: Bringer of War!

Are you a fan of the Trojan War?  I am a fan of the Trojan War!  After all, it has involvement of the gods, treachery, prophecy, violent and needless death, (probably unnecessarily) complicated hijinks, a giant (fake) horse, and several books of Greek epic poetry based on it!  Where can you go wrong with all that?

I was pretty excited to learn that in George O’Connor’s latest volume of the Olympians series, Ares, he takes on the story of the Trojan War . . . but tells is from the perspective of the gods, rather than the humans involved.  It’s an all-new way to learn about this classic war!  It’s the behind-the-scenes politics of an already pretty fraught and complicated war . . . which gives the whole thing a new dimension entirely.

If complicated political deific drama doesn’t do for you: this book includes lots of dudes getting stabbed and dying violently!  How can you resist?

Ares: Bringer of War is in stores today!  We recommend it to you.

January 26, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Uncategorized

We’ve just finished up First Second’s full season of cover reveals!

In case you missed any, here’s the complete line-up of what’s in store from First Second this fall.

The most recent in the Last Man series, by Bastien Vivès, Michaël Sanlaville, and Balak: The Chase!  The adventure continues (and gets more dramatic)!

Last Man 3 The Chase RGB

Fable Comics — with super-fun fables by twenty-six awesome cartoonists!

FableComicsRGB

The Fall of the House of West, by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin — the latest in the Battling Boy saga, featuring the girl science hero Aurora West!

FalloftheHouseofWestRGB

The next Adventures in Cartooning picture book, Gryphons Aren’t So Great, by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost!  With gryphons!  And friendship.

GryphonsAren'tSoGreatRGB

Maris Wicks’ Human Body Theater takes you on a dramatic and awesome and fun tour of the human body!

Human Body Theater Cover RGB

It is difficult to resist the adorableness of Ben Hatke’s new graphic novel Little Robot.  This book is super-good.

LittleRobot300RGB

Off to the trenches of World War II with Omaha Beach on D-Day, told in comics and photos.

Omaha Beach on D-Day 300 CMYK

Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes introduce you to coding with Secret Coders!

SecretCoders300 RGB

And we go back to the zoo for another Shakespeare performance — this time of Romeo & Juliet, by Ian Lendler, Zack Giallongo, and the animal inhabitants of the Stratford Zoo!

Stratford Zoo Romeo and Juliet RGB

We’re excited!  September doesn’t seem far away at all. . . .

January 22, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

New book!

We just got advance copies of Jay Hosler’s wonderful upcoming graphic novel Last of the Sandwalkers in the mail, and it looks splendid!  We can’t wait to share this book with you.  It’s full of beetles!  And also science.

Our main beetle-character is named Lucy, and adorable!  And she’s right here on the cover.

IMG_2853

She’s also on the spine!  Spine beetles.  In this spine picture, she is being a scientist and recording data.

IMG_2854

Here are the spines all lined up!  What an attractive book this is.

IMG_2852

The flaps are blue!  I think they are very handsome.  (They’re also full of beetles.)

IMG_2856

Our protagonist-beetle-scientist Lucy heads out to the desert to explore.

IMG_2858

What she finds there is not what she expected.

IMG_2857

Jay Hosler, the author of Last of the Sandwalkers, is a biologist, so he has included lots of actual science in this book!  There are even annotations.

IMG_2859

And references!

IMG_2860

Here is the back flap!  More beetle-science is occurring.

IMG_2861

And the back cover . . with an excellent quote from Stan Sakai!

IMG_2855

Last of the Sandwalkers will be in stores in April.

January 19, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We’re excited to have early copies of Penelope Bagieu’s graphic novel Exquisite Corpse in the office — it’s looking fantastic!  This book is about a young woman named Zoe who becomes friends with a famous author . . . and accidentally falls into a hilarious literary conspiracy.

Here’s the cover.

IMG_2826

And the spine!

IMG_2827

Here are the spines all lined up together.

IMG_2825

The flap!  (The famous author is a bit of a recluse, as you can probably see from these images.)

IMG_2829

Interiors!  I think that Penelope Bagieu’s art style here is really charming.

IMG_2832

The mysterious author approaches!

IMG_2833

Here’s the back flap.

IMG_2830

And the back cover!

IMG_2828

This book is a jacketed hardcover, so it also has a hardcover case!  Here’s what that looks like.

IMG_2831

Exquisite Corpse will be in stores in May.  So exciting!

January 15, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

We got a number of new books in the office right after the holiday break, and we’re pretty excited!

Here’s the first volume of the Last Man series, The Stranger!  It’s looking really wonderful.

Here’s the cover.

IMG_2834

And the spine — with a ready-to-fight Adrian on it!

IMG_2835

Spines together!  The numbers on the next volume are going to be blue.

IMG_2822

Here’s the title page of the book.  It’s got black and white interiors.

IMG_2837

And, comics!  Prepare for crazy magical fighting.

IMG_2838

And lots of training for magical fighting!  It seems to be a big preoccupation in this world.

IMG_2839

I love the back cover design on these books!

IMG_2836

The Stranger will be in stores in April.  We’re excited!  We’ll be publishing three volumes of this series this year, with three more to come in 2016.

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

New book!

We’re so excited to have the sequel to Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado’s Giants Beware! in the office — and this one features dragons!  Lots and lots of dragons!  (Also princes, baking, gargoyles, swords, adventure, and many more cool things.)

IMG_2840

Here’s the spine — with tiny cooking Gaston!  He’s so adorable.

IMG_2841

Spines all together!

IMG_2823

And here’s the backstory — Claudette’s father’s history with his famous sword!

IMG_2844

And we meet the princes who are in love with Marie because of her previous awesome adventures.

IMG_2845

And the back cover!

IMG_2842

I also love this father-daughter back cover blurb!

IMG_2843

Dragons Beware! will be in stores in May!  We can’t wait.

January 8, 2015
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes

FullSizeRender

(this post was suggested by the excellent Ali Wilgus; this is a photo of part of one of the walls of my office)

Business cards are a thing that a lot of people have!

Should you make some?

If you are a person who goes out into the world a lot and frequently meets people you want to keep in professional contact with, you should definitely make business cards!  Even if you only go out into the world and make professional contacts a moderate amount or occasionally, it’s good to have business cards if you’re meeting people that you want to keep in touch with.  If you EVER find yourself in a situation where you’re like, ‘off I go to this event to meet people who may be able to help out with my career!’ you should consider making some business cards and bringing them along.

(If you’re a cartoonist, making and giving away mini-comics may serve the same purpose, as long as you put your name and contact information on them.)

Because seriously, what is the point of going to ALA and saying, ‘off I go to ALA to tell librarians how awesome I am and that they should all have me at their libraries to speak about the wonder of comics and graphic novels!’ and then leave all those librarians you meet with no way of contacting you?

What information should you put on your business cards?

Your name!  It’s always good to put your name on your business cards.  That’s the easiest way for people to look you up, or to remember who you are.

Some form of classification!  Are you an illustrator?  A publisher?  A mini-comics distributor?  An academic?  It’s good to make that clear on the cards you give people, so when they’re at home a week later, having been attacked by Con Brain and misplaced their memory, they can say, ‘yes, I should e-mail this illustrator about coloring work — and this mini-comics distributor about mini-comics work’ instead of, ‘who is Jane Doe again, and what did she want?’

Some form of contact information.  This can be an e-mail or phone number — whatever the best way for people to contact you is.  Remember that you’re giving these business cards only to people who you want to be calling or e-mailing you, so this shouldn’t be, ‘that e-mail account I never check,’ or ‘Wait, I have how many messages on my phone?  From how long ago?’

Optional things: your social media handles, your address, your website, your fax number.  These can all be useful to include, depending on what purpose you’re handing business cards out for.  For example, are you a mini-comics distributor who wants people to fax you orders?  Definitely include your fax number!  Are you an artist who’d like people to visit your website and look at your portfolio, or follow you on social media?  Definitely include your website URL and your social media information.  If you’re just using your card as, ‘this is proof I really do work for who I said I did!’ these things may not be as useful.

I also think it’s great when illustrators put their own art on their business cards.  Art styles are so unique that this makes it super-easy for people to remember instantly what person the card belongs to!

Extra utility bonus: I prefer when cards have copy and/or illustration on the front and a plain back.  Why?  So I can write down any notes I take from my conversation with the person who gave me the card — ‘has a project she will submit to us about the origin of pizza!’ or ‘send a copy of Andre the Giant to this person for possible classroom adoption.’

One of the interesting things about business cards is that they’re potentially around for a long time!  So years after you give one to someone, they may come calling.

January 7, 2015
Posted by: Mark Siegel
Categories: Uncategorized

We are in shock.

How to respond to the murder of our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris?

The obscene, monstrous attack of extremists only confirms that Charlie Hebdo’s unapologetically offensive humor served a vital purpose, if as a society we all intend to protect freedom of speech.

Our deepest condolences to the families of Cabu, Wolinsky, and the entire staff of Charlie Hebdo.

January 7, 2015

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30710883

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

You guys!

We’re pretty excited to be publishing Scott McCloud.  He’s Scott McCloud!

And I’m proud to say that we just got advance copies of his upcoming graphic novel in the office, and they look fantastic.

Here are pictures!

The book’s cover — with a girl coming out of the wall!  And a quote from Neil Gaiman!

IMG_2665

And here’s the spine.  This book is giant, you guys.  It is very large.

IMG_2666

You can especially tell this from looking at all the spines lined up!

IMG_2664

The Sculptor is a jacketed hardcover.  So we printed on the case of the book (the part attached to the cardboard covers) in blue!

IMG_2670

(There’s also an image on the back,, but we’ll leave that as a surprise.)

Here’s the front flap.

IMG_2668

This book is black and white and a blue pantone.  Here’s an interior page where you can see that.

IMG_2671

And another interior page with actual sculpture!

IMG_2673

Here’s the back flap — with New York City on the bottom.  The city’s a big part of the story.

IMG_2669

And the back cover!  (I love the street/calendar.)

IMG_2667

The Sculptor will be in stores in February.  You have to read it!