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10 posts from April 2007

April 27, 2007

First Second website -- what do you think

Hey you, visitor!

What do you think of our new website upgrade? Does it work? Anything missing? It would be great to hear. Jes' click on wid dem comments.

JOANN SFAR at the Cannes Film Festival

Logo_festival_cold_2007_2 Joann Sfar covers the Cannes Film Festival ! From the official website:

The artist Joann Sfar, author of The Rabbi's Cat, will be - along with his famous feline - the mischievous witness of the 60th Festival, drawing its most unexpected and hidden sides. You will be able to follow his progress every day from May 16th onwards, on the Festival website.


April 24, 2007


FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is on May 5th! mark your calendars to go raid your favorite comics shop!

And for the first time this year, First Second is offering goodies -- this tantalizing teaser from the good Mr. Eddie Campbell --


Grady Klein art exhibit

Extra extra! Princeton, NJ Come to an opening reception for Grady Klein's Lost Colony art on Thursday, April 26th, and a book signing on Friday, June 8th.



April 17, 2007

Who reads First Second Books?


Chris is a school librarian. She told us: “I think Kampung Boy is the book that more than any other really made me understand what a graphic novel is; how intertwined, how connected text and illustrations are. I constantly found myself going back and forth – always noticing something new.”

photo by Jack Demuth

April 11, 2007

:01 website upgrade...

As you can see, we're revamping. Some of you Mac users may want to empty your browser's cache. This isn't quite finished, but in coming days this front page will have last touches.

Educators, media, and everyone else: there's lots of good stuff to discover by exploring around these pages. Hope you enjoy them!

A NOTE FOR SLOWER MODEMS: at www.firstsecondbooks.com you have the option of our 'light' website, for faster navigating.

Blue Bandana Kampung Boy Reader -- WANTED


This letter just came in... If anyone knows who the KAMPUNG BOY reader was on the F-train, please let us know at mail@firstsecondbooks.com and we'll put you in touch with Kashminder who wants to say thank you:

Hello: My name is Kash and I met a woman on April 9th on the F-Train around 7pm who was reading the Kampung Boy book. As I recognized the drawings and told her I am a Malaysian and read my first Kampung Boy at the age of 8 (around 24 years ago, ~1983) she told me that it was printed by First Second books. I asked her if I can buy it at Barnes and Noble (my original copy ...gosh knows where it is anymore) since a lot of it is part of my childhood. She actually GAVE me the copy she was reading. I could not believe it, and my stop arrived at East Broadway and I had to get off. I wish I got her name or number to thank her personally. She was wearing a blue-bandana, and I believe an olive jacket. I may be wrong about the jacket color. My dad knew the comic "Lat" or Datuk Mohamed Nor Khalid. They worked in neighbouring companies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While Datuk Khalid worked in NST, my dad worked in Unilever. They would get together in the field to watch soccer games between companies. Datuk Khalid even told my dad he would put him in one of his comics. One day there it was. My dad was in his comics driving our car. I don't remember which series was it, but the comic was my dad's car was stuck in a flood, and the car is our old German Opel Kadet. I hope the lady in the train will contact me, or someone from First Second knows who she is. Thank you again. Regards,

Kashminder Singh

April 04, 2007


There are some precious lessons to be gleaned from Eddie Campbell's blog, including an entry called THE LAST WORD IN SPEECH BALLOONS. Several First Second creators have found this valuable in the midst of their thumbnails, so let's add this link to it here, in our TIPS FOR CREATIVE TYPES category (which is filling up with a nice variety of stuff.) Bac1ww

April 03, 2007


Train_from_wrj (a doodle from the train ride) Been thinking about inspiration. I jotted a few things down on the train ride back from the Center for Cartoon Studies, where I had a most impressive visit. They're doing something amazing up there, Sturm and the gang. The following musing wasn't directly related to the CCS though, rather to the ongoing journey of discovery of what it means to edit for First Second's creators. INSPIRATION Sometimes it seems like we only have a helpless view of what inspiration might be; and little or nothing known about how to invite it, summon it, woo it. As though it was something fickle and unpredictable, that strikes like lightning, with seemingly no reason. But even lightning strikes where it must. Why are some artists lightning rods all their life, and others “one shot thunders”? Some artists seem to have the notion it’s a game of roulette, and the terrifying thought is that luck may run out somehow. “Maybe the lightning will never strike again!!” Enter the fearsome monster called writer’s block. The drying up of the well. The vanished muse. It’s all a bit like a game of wait and hope, relying on random chance. Then there are those who package and sell the work of creators; in the worst cynical cases, some think inspiration can simply be cranked out on demand. Like something one can control, that can run 9 to 5, and conform to the timings of a quarterly report. Some creators even act that way, delivering up like a short order cook in a busy diner. To the former, it seems like inspiration is arbitrary and wholly out of one’s control. To the latter, inspiration may or may not be present in what they do; regardless, they do it. There is a third way, which goes beyond both of these views, in which inspiration isn’t random and wholly irrational, nor is it something we can boss around or endlessly milk for profit. Everything works by natural laws and inspiration is no exception. For instance: like everything, inspiration needs to—eat. Can one learn to invite or attract, to care for, and to feed one’s inspiration? Maybe that’s the work of it, on the human side of the equation. So what does it eat? Perhaps a little time, open time, unpressured, blank time, without demands or immediate result. Perhaps a little regularity, daily attention even for a small moment; some nourishing IMPRESSIONS, from nature, or other artwork, a conversation, a book, a movie, a favorite tune, a beloved face. Perhaps inspiration needs an arena to play in, a project, a problem to solve, a challenge to rise to; perhaps sometimes it likes us to be busy, with our conscious mind out of the way. OUT OF THE WAY. Getting out of the way. Some people rely on drugs or alcohol to get out of the way. But that eventually robs everything in sight, gutting out the very home one is, and driving inspiration away forever. Some people use distraction, like music, conversation, other things – to distract their front brain and its chattering. This is like the Greek sculptors of old, who used to produce an astonishing number of superb statues of the Gods in very short order: they were at all times surrounded with beautiful young dancers and musicians, food, distractions, to keep them from interfering with their own genius. Where else have I seen this getting out of the way? Ever seen that absent look little children have when they’re eating ice cream? Or the old woodworker who makes a perfect dovetail as though it were easy, with a kind of faraway look? What about the champion figure skater Michelle Kwan, or the violon prodigy Itzhak Perlman – why is it that we see them, and it’s like sometimes something else takes hold of them and they surrender to it — getting out of the way. So skill, technical ease, confidence, increasing mastery — these might be some of inspiration’s foods too. Even working on our skills, at whatever level they currently are, must be sweet music to inspiration’s ears. Does it mind schedules, contracts, all that? I think not. I doubt it even knows about those things. But if inspiration is my friend, it can perhaps read my stress and panic about those things, which must make quite an uninviting noise. (Maybe there’s a case to be made for having a good professional manner; trying to hold deadlines and honor contracts, and be a bit organized in planning one’s work, right from the start. Not out of fear, and not because the Man says so, but simply because it’s a good way to keep cool, lower stress, and stay available for that unseen friend. And then—this may sound like a contradiction—having that sort of professionalism in place in one’s life … to forget it and not care too much about all that.) And then knowingly trust, you know it will come, given half a chance.


Wow! Tom Spurgeon just posted his pick of the TOP 50 GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2006 at THE COMICS REPORTER -- and right there, at number 1, is KAMPUNG BOY! Just wait till you see TOWN BOY, Tom! Yay! Townboycvr2

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