A Cartoonist’s Diary

Mark Siegel: Part Five

The end of an already full afternoon. The Acquisitions Meeting.

I’m presenting an exciting project. The Acquisitions Meeting is standard practice in big publishing houses. When that were first put in place by the president Jon Yaged I was a bit nervous. During the first years of First Second’s existence, acquiring new projects was much more informal, but I was also flying blind sometimes. I’ve come to appreciate these meetings—they force me to do my homework on how to publish and support each project, and before spending money on something new, I know what kind of back-up the project has from the house.

The tenth floor conference room is packed today. Other editors, publishers, heads of sales and marketing are all there. They’ve seen samples or many times read the various projects on the table. I make my case and listen for the feedback from various channels. The one I’m presenting catches fire around the room, and the consensus is this is potentially a big book—I get my green light to make a strong offer to the (mysterious) author’s agent.

Back at my desk, I make the offer. I know in my heart we can do a good job publishing this one. Now, fingers crossed, we will.

I just learned Ashbel Green died.

photo Martha Kaplan/Knopf

He was a grand gentleman of the publishing world. Lovely eulogy by Timothy Egan in the New York Times.

Speaking of the New York Times, Gina pops her head in my door at the end of the day, with some news: the sequel to Zita Spacegirl, Legends of Zita, just made it on the New York Times bestseller list. Nice way to end a full day. Congratulations, Ben Hatke!

I head out the door, get to Grand Central and just make my train.

Up the Hudson again, still editing that script on the suicide bombing.

Across the river there’s a big wall of granite called the Palisades—one of the landmarks of the Hudson River. This summer, the Palisades got a scar. You can see in the picture above, a big chunk of rock split off and collapsed down to the shoreline, crushing all the trees in the avalanche. Apparently that registered on the Richter scale. Locals say that minutes before it happened a bunch of Harley Davidsons roared by on the Palisade Highway up top. Maybe that spot should be called Hell’s Angels Fall.

I drew those Palisades every chance I got in Sailor Twain.

Anyway, I get back home, meet my little family and have dinner. Later in the evening I see a note about my three-page comic for Tor.com. As I surmised, the NSFW scene was pushing it a bit. No problem, I just throw on a pair of boxer shorts on the Chibi Captain—et voilà! Here are the offending panels, before and after:



I guess the “Steamboat Willy” joke isn’t as funny, though.

Thanks for having me on the blog, TCJ.com!

Mark Siegel is a picture-book creator, and the Editorial Director of First Second books. His latest graphic novel is Sailor Twain.