Powered by TypePad

Today, in Iran. A blogger’s quest for his brother.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
1887, New York.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Planet: Earth. Year: 2010. Dimension: who knows?
Every weekday.
Librarians: the Crusaders for Literature.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

October 08, 2013



I'm very, very, very happy for this book to be released today.


It's October 8th, 2013, the day Paul Pope's BATTLING BOY is cut loose into the world. 


Years ago, before launching First Second Books, before I knew Paul's work, I was at Jim Hanley's Universe, one of America's greatest comics shops, at the foot of the Empire State Building, with Jessica Abel. She was introducing me to some of the luminaries of the indie comics world, some of whom would become star authors under First Second. Among the books she piled in my arms was a self published set of "THB" and "100%" and "Heavy Liquid"—and for me, the revelation of Paul Pope.


What his fans already knew was my thrill to discover. This strangely incandescent, charismatic brushstroke, the high-octane, crazy kinetic energy of it, and the oddly familiar sense in his characters and his storytelling, even when they involved First Contact with an alien life form through an addictive ink drug... I was hooked.


What mesmerized me with Paul's work, everything I could find, was the magical confluence of the three great schools of comics: the American, the European, and the Asian, in some new blend I had never found before. Here was the heir of Jack Kirby, but infused with a Manga sensibility owing to Tezuka, and an artistry steeped in Hugo Pratt and Moebius. And then of course something unique and fresh, reverent and rebellious and exciting of my senses.


I'm writing this some years later, late on October 7th, 2013, in a hotel room in Chicago. Down the hall, Paul Pope is in another room, typing up answers to an interview for The Hollywood Reporter. Tomorrow morning, I'm taking him to three rapid-fire school visits before we head to Atlanta and then to DC the next day, and then head back to New York in time for Comic Con. Paul is at the start of his author tour, for his magnificent BATTLING BOY.


Yes, there's plenty of hype surrounding this one. But tonight at dinner, that's not what Paul was interested in. He was wrestling with a story problem in the later part of BATTLING BOY 2, involving a magical T-shirt, and a relationship development between two characters. 


What a treat to work with someone like Paul. Comics are being transformed, superb pictures are taking form, heroes are being born. And I'm so very, very, very happy you get to start reading them.



July 09, 2012

First Second's Blog Has Moved!

Are you looking for the First Second Blog? We've moved!

Update your RSS Feeds and your bookmarks, kids, because we have a new home, and it is splendid.

Read our new blog right here!

All old blog content will stay here, on the good old typepad blog. All new blog content will be delivered to you at the awesome new blog site going forward.

June 28, 2012

ALA 2012, Artists Alley: graphic novel folks

Lovely recap from ALA 2012 in Anaheim, filmed by author Derek Kirk Kim! Graphic Novel authors discuss the differences between ALA and comics conventions, and more—here's a great way to get a few flavors from a memorable and exceptional ALA:



June 27, 2012

MARATHON sprints out the door!


MARATHON is now out in stores! This extraordinary epic takes you back to Ancient Greece in the footsteps of Eucles, the man who ran hundreds of miles, and eventually from the city of Marathon to Athens, warning of the impending attack of the Persian fleet. The run saved democracy and was at the origin of the Olympic games. History comes alive in a huge, sweeping tale from two great talents: Joe Infurnari on the art, and author Boaz Yakin. A feat at every level and a graphic novel event to celebrate.

And the Spartans aren't really the good guys this time.

(See more here.)

May 22, 2012

An 'Imprint'? What's That?


(tree ganked from The Field Museum Library)

Sometimes when I tell people that First Second is an imprint of Macmillan USA, I get blank looks -- and that's about the time that I remember that not everyone spends all of their time decoding publishing family trees (that's right!  That tree at the top of the page?  It's a metaphor). 

So there are some publishers that are publishers, right?  Like Oni Press -- pretty much everything they do (edit, market, and design books, but also permissions, subsidiary rights, some sales, etc.) is done by people they have in house.  And all their books are published as Oni Press books.

But then you've got larger publishers, like Harper Collins.  They publish a whole lot of books -- and many of them are markedly different from each other in audience age, subject, tone, format, presentation, etc.  (Here's a list of Harper imprints, fyi.)  So instead of just being like, 'well, all the books we're publishing are by Harper anyways, we'll just give everyone editing things for us one single person to be editorial director in charge of them all,' they said, 'hey, probably the people who want to spend all their time editing bibles will have something different going on than the people who are editing romance novels.  Maybe we should make those two different sub-companies!'  And they did -- Harper Bibles and Avon (I'll leave to you guess which is which.) 

Another reason to make a distinction like this is the history.  Big companies frequently acquire smaller companies.  But the reason that they've acquired the smaller company isn't just that they want to work with people on the staff, or the authors -- it's the ideology.  So keeping that infrastructure in place within the smaller company maintains the sensibility that was initially attractive to them.

So if you look at the structure of a large publishing company, it really does end up looking a whole lot like the tree up top -- companies and sub-companies all around. 

That's what an imprint is -- one of the smaller companies that's under the umbrella of a larger one. 

Practically, what does this mean for First Second? 

We're part of one of the large NY publishing companies called Macmillan.  There are a number of other companies that are part of them, too -- like Tor, St. Martin's, FSG, Henry Holt, Scientific American, Palgrave, Picador, Nature, etc. etc. etc.  Macmillan is responsible for:

The rent on our building.  We work in the flatiron building; it's entirely populated by Macmillan staff.  No one at First Second is responsible for paying the rent every month, making the lights go on, making sure there's toilet paper in the bathrooms, etc.  That's all handled centrally. 

Mail!  We've got a mailroom in the building, and our mail guy comes by three times a day to pick up any mail I've got to send out straight from my desk.  This is a godsend.  Think about doing a 200-copy book mailing and then having to drag it to the post office.  In New York City.  And I don't have a car. 

(Also our computers and our website and our tech support!  Which is extremely helpful.)

More than that, Macmillan is responsible for a number of things that help us to be able to spend our time focusing on publishing books.  There are people at Macmillan who handle (in consultation with us):

Permissions -- dealing with people who want to use pages of our books in articles or textbooks.

Subsidiary Rights -- like selling chapters of our books to magazines or anythologies, or the foreign-language rights, or the film rights.

The Budget -- we've got people to: pay royalties to our authors, handle taxes on our convention sales, project how much money we'll have to acquire new books and spend on marketing in the current year, pay website or ad or book designers, pay our actual taxes every April, etc.

Contracts -- once we've figured out the parameters of a book deal, our contracts people step in make sure that we've got all the appropriate legal language.

Managing Editorial -- our parent company is kind enough to lend us their Managing Editor to deal with our copy-editing and to make sure books get to the right place at the right time -- thanks, Jill!  We couldn't do it without you.

Production -- once we've figured out how we want our books to look, the production group prices out the paper and the cover we want to use, figures out the best printer for the book, and handles the whole process of liasing with them to get the book printed perfectly.

Sales -- we've got in-house and out-of-house sales teams that have personal relationships with the bookstores (and other stores that sell books, like museum stores) all around the country.  They're responsible for getting all of our books into those stores. 

And Macmillan is also a resource if we get a crazy-awesome opportunity and we can't necessarily figure out how to make it happen on our allocated budget.  If we can convince them it'll definitely pay off, they can back our crazy-awesome opportunities.

And that's what it means to be an imprint. 

May 16, 2012



Have you seen this? How fitting for the Beatles and the Stones to get together again—



May 08, 2012



Now available everywhere! In their sequel to the groundbreaking textbook Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden pave the way for comics authors to master the medium, as well as the business of publishing comics. 

An invaluable reference for seasoned and aspiring writers, artists, teachers and readers of graphic novel, MASTERING COMICS deepens and expands on Abel and Madden's seminal course, brimming with techniques, insights, expert tips and superb demonstrations.

Explore a whopping treasure trove of goodies and further resources at dw-wp.com.

First Second is very proud to offer MASTERING COMICS for the future of the graphic novel, and for present and future generations of comics creators. 

May 02, 2012

Feynman - now available as e-book!

Hey guys! As of yesterday, you can buy Feynman at the iTunes book store, to read on your iPad!

Technology! It marches along.

April 24, 2012

MoCCA Festival 2012

We're there, at table F1, with lots of amazing authors and copies of our new books from our winter season (also pretty amazing, I have to tell you).  How about you?

MoCCA Fest

Here's what we're doing:
(all signings are at our table)

(exhibits 11am - 6pm)

11:15: PANEL: Kids Comics -- with Jorge Aguirre, Giants Beware!
1:15: WORKSHOP: Checklist for a New Comic -- with Matt Madden and Jessica Abel, Mastering Comics
2pm: SIGNING: Jorge Aguirre, Giants Beware!
4pm: SIGNING: Joe Infurnari, Mush!
5pm: SIGNING: Derek Kirk Kim, Same Difference

(exhibits 11am - 6pm)

11am: SIGNING: Dave Roman, Astronaut Academy
11:15: PANEL: Young Adult Graphic Novels -- with Derek Kirk Kim, Same Difference, and sister-company guest-star Kevin Pyle, Take What You Can Carry
1pm: SIGNING: George O'Connor, Hades: Lord of the Dead
3pm: SIGNING: MK Reed, Americus

Looking forward to seeing you there!

April 20, 2012

Spacegirl Limericks


There once was a girl who had to save the world
After to a strange outerspace planet she was hurled
She tried her best
Her friends did the rest
At the end, the planet still peacefully whirled.

I love this book!  It's just super.  We're publishing a sequel in September, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.  If you liked the first book, we recommend you check out #2 -- it has a giant cat friend for the giant mouse!  (Also there is a plot, which I will not reveal.)

Projects we believe in:

Blogs We Like:

FIRST SECOND is an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, which owns some of America's most prestigious publishers, known for great integrity and literary quality. These include Henry Holt, FSG, St Martin's Press, Tor and Picador, all of which have garnered the most coveted prizes in publishing.
All images are © copyright by their respective owners.