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First Second’s Tenth Year: Editor Calista Brill On What Makes First Second Special [Interview]

First Second
First Second

In 2006, First Second Books emerged as a fledging publisher with a distribution deal with Macmillan. Over the subsequent ten years the publisher has introduced American readers to international talents; promoted the work of new cartoonists to a wide audience; and produced some of the most talked-about books of recent years, including Laika,Boxers and Saints, The Sculptor and This One Summer.

All this week we've been speaking to some of the cartoonists associated with First Second about their last ten years in the industry, including Sara Varon, George O'Connor, and James Sturm. Today, however, we're talking to one of the architects of First Second's continued success, senior editor Calista Brill, about how she came to the company, what her job involves, and what it is that defines First Second.

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First Second’s Tenth Year: James Sturm’s Decade of Adventures in Cartooning [Interview]

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As original graphic novel publisher First Second celebrates its tenth anniversary, we’re talking to some of the cartoonists and creators associated with the publisher to reflect on their work over the last ten years.

Today we speak to James Sturm, one of the most established and respected cartoonists in the business. Sturm's comics include early '90s work for Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly and acclaimed graphic novels such as The Golem's Mighty Swing, Market Day and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. In the last decade, he has become known as much for being an educator of cartoonists as for being a cartoonist himself, having co-founded the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont in 2005. His work for First Second includes the Adventures In Cartooning series, created with two of his CCS student.

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First Second’s Tenth Year: George O’Connor’s Journey from ‘Mohawk Country’ to Mount Olympus [Interview]

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As original graphic novel publisher First Second celebrates its tenth anniversary, we're talking to some of the cartoonists and creators associated with the publisher to reflect on their work over the last ten years.

Today we talk to George O'Connor, who has been working with First Second since shortly before there even was a First Second. O'Connor is best known for his sweeping Olympians series, which devotes a volume to each of the major gods of Greek mythology. The series is in many ways quintessentially First Second; it's at educational non-fiction, but compulsively readable, beautifully illustrated and, of course, all-ages. The irony is that it started life at a different publisher, as O'Connor explains.

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First Second’s Tenth Year: Sara Varon Looks Back On Her Comics Decade [Interview]

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To mark First Second's ten year anniversary, ComicsAlliance is spending this week talking to cartoonists, creators and talents associated with the publisher, to look back at their own past ten years in the industry.

Today we speak to Sara Varon, a cartoonist, children's picture book author, and illustrator who has been with First Second since the publisher's inception. She created two original graphic novels for First Second, Robot Dreams and Bake Sale; she collaborated with writer Cecil Castellucci on another, Odd Duck; and First Second just republished a new version of her short story collection Sweaterweather, and will publishing Varon's next work as well. In addition to her comics work, Varon has published two picture books for Scholastic Press: Chicken and Cat and Chicken and Cat Clean Up.

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She Doesn’t Need Superman: Author Tim Hanley On ‘investigating Lois Lane’ [Interview]

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Lois Lane wasn't designed to be a headliner, but simply a player in Superman's adventures. Over the years, she's evolved to become his rival, foil and competitor, his friend, partner and colleague, and his girlfriend, lover and wife. She's been a damsel in distress, a sidekick, and yes, a hero in her own right.

In Investigating Lois Lane, author Tim Hanley traces the character from her inspirations to her appearances in receny comics and adaptations. We talked to Hanley about his new book, what works best for the character, and where he thinks she should go next.

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Julia Wertz’s ‘Drinking At The Movies’ Gets A Return Engagement

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In 2010, fancy-schmancy "real book" publisher Random House released Julia Wertz's first book-length work, the graphic memoir Drinking At The Movies, which chronicled her move from San Francisco to New York City in 2007-2008. For a lot of readers, the book and its very warm reception constituted the first exposure to Wertz and her unique, self-deprecating, self-deflating, self-destructing sense of humor.

As the Fart Party cartoonist's star rose, Drinking At The Movies lapsed out-of-print. But Koyoma Press, publishers of Wertz's next book, 2012's The Infinite Wait and Other Stories, has rectified that with a brand-new, 2015 edition of Drinking At The Movies.

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Jason Fischer Shares The Life Of A Drawing Assistant In ‘Seconds Helping’

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If you read Bryan Lee O'Malley's 2014 graphic novel Seconds --- and given that it was one of the most anticipated comics of that year, chances are you did --- then one of the first things you may have noticed that differentiated it from Scott Pilgrim was that O'Malley wasn't the one-man band he was on his name-making graphic novel series.

While O'Malley still wrote and penciled all of Seconds, the title page credits three other contributors: colorist Nathan Fairbairn, letterer Dustin Harbin, and drawing assistant Jason Fischer. Those first two job titles will be familiar to anyone who has followed mainstream American comics, as they're among the handful of credits that appear in most of the books created in the chopped-up, parceled-out system established in the Golden Age. But "drawing assistant"...? What exactly is a drawing assistant? Jason Fischer himself answers that with Seconds Helping: A Drawing Assistant's Memoir Comic.

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Before Batman: The 10 Best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossovers

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This week DC launches Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the unlikely crossover series that brings IDW Publishing's current iteration of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's TMNT characters together with DC's Dark Knight; one of the biggest success stories in creator-owned comics meeting one of the most famous corporate comics brands.

Batman and the Turtles have relatively little in common, but the Turtles have been teaming up with comic book characters far beyond their home milieu pretty much since their first appearance. In fact, the characters are so weird at their core that there's really no setting, genre, or comic book character that they can't fit in with. When discordance is in your DNA, you can't clash with anything. So on the week of their team up with the Caped Crusader, what better time to revisit some of the Turtles' greatest comic book crossovers?

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Know Your Robins: A Guide To The Many Boy Wonders (And Other Players) in ‘Robin War’

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This week DC kicks off the crossover event story "Robin War" in a comic book entitled, appropriately enough, Robin War #1. The storyline will wind through this month's issues of Grayson, Detective Comics, We Are Robin and Robin: Son of Batman, while this month's issues of Gotham Academy, Red Hood/Arsenal and Teen Titans will all tie-in to the events of the storyline. It all wraps up in next month's Robin War #2.

To help you tell your Red Robin from your Red Hood, and your Robin, singular, from your The Robins, plural, we've assembled a handy guide to the major players in "Robin War"...

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Meet The Many Jane Mais of Jane Mai’s ‘See You Next Tuesday’

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One of the first pages of cartoonist Jane Mai's See You Next Tuesday is simply a large drawing of the girl on the cover winking, with the words "This is my diary, xoxo Jane Mai" next to it. That certainly seems to suggest that the many short comics, drawings and bursts of hand-written text should be read as autobiographical; as real or true. But that page is followed almost immediately by qualifiers.

The first is a hand-written page stating that "The following series of events is not presented chronologically and frankly time does not exist anyway. I'm not even sure I exist TBH." And that is followed by a two-page "people guide" introducing the dramatis personae that star in the book, and... four of the seven are different versions of Jane Mai.

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