Where’s Issue #2?

As we’ve had a number of people asking us about what’s going on with Issue #2, I figured I’d put together a little Q&A to hopefully clear things up.

Q: According to the “sneak peak” in Issue #1, the second issue was due out in January.  We’re now in late February.  What’s going on?

A: When we printed the direct-market edition of Issue #1 (the version that hit stores last November), we had every reason to think that we’d be able to have Issue #2 out to stores by January.  And if you’ve been following the blog here, you know that we actually finished all the work on Issue #2 back in November, which should have given us more than enough time to meet that deadline.  What we didn’t count on was Diamond throwing a wrench into the gears by dropping us from their distribution line-up.

Q: Who’s “Diamond” and why did they drop First Law?

A: Diamond Comics is the big comic book distributor.  It holds a near-monopoly over distribution of comics to comic shops in the U.S.  Most of the comics you’ve grabbed off the rack at your local comic shop over the last few decades were likely shipped there by Diamond.  They’re the gateway into the comics market.

Unfortunately, they don’t make it easy for lesser-known books to get up and running.  For Diamond to carry a title, they require it to maintain pre-orders above a certain minimum.  And for a book with no track record, creator pedigree, or major publisher backing, that minimum can be quite difficult to reach.

Diamond was happy to give us a shot with Issue #1, but when retailer pre-sales of the book failed to meet their minimum, they decided not to continue carrying First Law Of Mad Science.

Q: Does that mean we’ll never see First Law #2 in comic shops?

A: Thankfully, no.  We’re happy to announce that First Law Of Mad Science will be receiving distribution through Liber, a new up-and-coming distributor focusing on high-quality independent comics.

If you’d like to see First Law back on the stands at your local comic shop, ask the manager there if they have an account with Liber.  If they don’t have one, talk to them about opening one.  Liber’s catalog includes a lot of really stellar indie titles, many of which fall through the cracks at Diamond.  And unlike Diamond, Liber actually keeps books in stock, so back issues will always be available.

We’ll also get another shot at wider distribution (through Diamond as well as traditional book-trade distributors) once we have a trade paperback collection.  The current plan is for the first trade volume to include issues #1 through #5.  So that’s still a ways away, but it’ll be something to keep an eye out for in the future.

Q: Where else can we get our hands on First Law #2?

A: You’ll be able to get it directly from us at conventions, and soon you’ll be able to order it online through ComiXpress.

We’re still figuring out our convention schedule for this year, and don’t have anything confirmed yet, but it’s currently looking like our next show will be NYC’s MoCCA Festival in April.  As our convention plans solidify, we’ll be updating the Events page here on our site, and posting about it on the blog, so stay tuned.

Q: What about Kickstarter backers?  Where are our rewards!?

A: Copies of Issue #2 are being mailed out now and should be arriving next week.  Autographed copies, special-edition copies, and lab-coats are going to take a bit longer to arrive, but rest assured that they are in the works, and that we haven’t forgotten about you!

Q: What’s going on with the rest of the series?  When are we likely to see Issue #3?

A: Issue 3 is well into production.  At this point in time, all of the pages have been penciled, and half of them have been inked.  All that’s left is the rest of the inking, Jeff’s grayscales, and the lettering.  I’m hesitant to even estimate a release date, since most of our past estimates have been wrong and I don’t want to jinx anything, but it shouldn’t be terribly far off.

In the meantime, we’ve already got Daniel working on Issue #4, and Oliver is hard at work on the first draft of Issue #5′s script.

It’s unfortunate that the gears have slowed down a bit, but rest assured, they definitely haven’t stopped.  First Law Of Mad Science is a story that we’re very enthusiastic about telling; we might run into some obstacles along the way, but we will not be stopped!

FUBAR2: Empire Of The Rising Dead

Hey everyone.  Just wanted you to know that this is the last week to pre-order FUBAR2: Empire Of The Rising Dead through your local comic shop.

FUBAR is an anthology of World War II zombie stories.  The new volume focuses on the Pacific front of the war, and includes two stories written by Oliver and myself!  We’ve also gotten a peak at some of the other stories in the book, and they are really astounding.

The whole thing is edited by Jeff McComsey, who also does the grayscales for First Law Of Mad Science.  Jeff has rounded up some of the best indie-comics talent out there to fill the pages of FUBAR with some really incredible stuff.  If you like war stories and/or zombies, you should definitely check it out.

The book’s Diamond order code is OCT110764.  Oh, and when you’re telling your local retailer to get you a copy, you might also want to mention that for every three copies they order from Previews, they’ll get a fourth for free.  Let’s get this book out there!

First Law #1 in September Previews!

Has it really been over two months since we last posted here?  Yikes!  Sorry for the lack of updates, folks; things have been pretty busy.  Issue #2 is in the final stages of production (just lettering and grayscales left to complete), and we just got back from Baltimore Comic Con, which was a blast.

The big news, though, is that First Law Of Mad Science #1 is going to be solicited in September’s Previews catalog, under the publisher name “Noreon Labs.”  Previews is the catalog that retailers around the country use to place advance orders on new comics.  As long as we make the distributor’s minimum order numbers, First Law will be shipping to stores around the country in November.

From now until the end of September, it’s super important that we get the attention of comic book retailers and secure as many orders as we can.  So, the next time you’re at your local comic book shop, let the manager know that you want to see First Law on the shelves!

If they need more details, you can tell them that the order number for issue #1 is SEP111191, and that we’re happy to send a free galley copy to any retailer who’s curious about the book; all they have to do is get in touch with us, and we’ll email them a PDF or ship them a printed copy (their preference) ASAP.

The Trials & Tribulations Of Self-Publishing

Figured I should give everyone an update on First Law‘s publishing/distribution status, since we just hit something of a bump in the road.

Though we sent Diamond our submission package for First Law #1 over a month ago, we’ve just been informed that it’ll probably be another five weeks before they’ve finished reviewing it, and that if they decide to accept our submission, the earliest they’ll be able to solicit the comic is in their July edition of Previews.  Which means that Issue #1 won’t actually hit stores until October! (EDIT: Whoops; miscalculated.  Books in July Previews ship in September.)

This for a book that’s essentially print-ready right now.  I guess the silver lining is that by the time Issue #1 ships we’ll likely have at least two additionally issues in the can, which should allow us to hit a pretty steady release schedule following Issue #1.

Considering that we were aiming for a July or August release when we sent in our submission, though, this is pretty disheartening for us.  (EDIT: Okay, September isn’t as bad as October.  Not as dire as I thought!)

Not much else to say.  I guess we just wait, and maybe look into alternate distribution methods.  Being a small first-time publisher certainly is frustrating!

Wanted: Advertisers, Feedback, & Illustrations!

Now that we’ve got the ball rolling on getting retail distribution for Issue #1, we’re looking to make the switch from on-demand to offset printing.  A side-effect of this that we’ve just discovered is that the issue’s page count needs to be a multiple of 8.  Our ComiXpress edition had 28 pages, so now we have to fill an extra four pages to bring the page count up to 32.

With that in mind, we’re now prepared to offer advertising space at the back of the book for a very reasonable rate.  If you have a business or a product or a project you’d like to advertise in issue #1 of First Law, please get in touch with us!

We also now have the option of starting a letters page.  To do that, though, we need some letters!  Email us with your questions, comments, and feedback about First Law; if we get enough emails to fill a page, you may be able to see yourself in print!

A third option for filling the extra pages would be to print “pin-up” illustrations from guest artists.  Any illustrators out there want to take a crack at our characters?  Let us know!

New Review; Status Page Updated; Convention Appearances

Hey folks!  I’ve got three quick First Law news items that you might be interested in:

  • Issue #1 has been reviewed by Jason Sacks at ComicsBulletin.  He likes it :)
  • MoCCA Fest is coming up in just a few weeks, and beyond that we’ve also got a few more convention appearances planned for 2011.  Check out the new “Events” page to see where we’ll be next.
  • Apparently the “Status” page hadn’t been updated since December?  Yikes!  That’s no good!  I’ve given it a much-needed overhaul.  Check it out to see where things stand for us in the world of self-publishing.

Update For Kickstarter Backers

In case any of our Kickstarter backers are following the blog, but aren’t (for whatever reason) getting the updates from Kickstarter, here’s what’s going on with the rewards for Issue 1, and some plans for the upcoming Issue 2 campaign:

Hey folks. Just wanted to let you all know that all of the non-autographed copies of Issue #1 got sent out last week. If you are in the “WERNER HEISENBERG” tier of backers, and haven’t gotten your copy in the mail by the end of the week, it’s probably either because:
A) You live in Belgium, and it’ll take a little longer for your copy to get there
B) You never gave us your address!
If you haven’t filled out the info-request with your address, GO DO IT, so we can send you your reward! And if you don’t fit into either A or B, but your copy still hasn’t shown up by the end of the week, let us know and we’ll try to figure out what went wrong.

Backers in tiers above “WERNER HEISENBERG” still have a little longer to wait, unfortunately. Your comics have been signed by Mike in NYC, and are now en route to Daniel in Montana. After he signs them they’ll make the journey back east to DC to get signed by Oliver, who’ll be mailing out the rest of the rewards. Your comic will not only be signed by all three creators, it will also be extremely well traveled!

In all seriousness, we’re very sorry that this is all taking as long as it has, and we really appreciate everyone’s patience.

In other news, we’ve sent both script and contract for Issue #2 to Daniel, so production on the second issue should be starting up very soon! On top of that, Oliver’s already knocked out a rough draft of the issue #3 script, so there should be a lot less downtime between #2 and #3.

Comic production can get pretty expensive, so stay tuned to Kickstarter, where we’ll likely be starting a campaign to fund Issue #2 very soon. (We probably would have done so already, but it feels like bad form to start a second campaign before all the rewards go out for the first.) The Kickstarter community has been just awesome; we really hope you’ve enjoyed First Law so far, and will be back to support more of the story. We also hope you haven’t been too put off by our delays in getting the rewards out. This has been a learning experience for us, and we can definitely do better next time!

We’ve also got some cool new ideas for rewards for Issue #2, such as swanky “Noreon Labs” branded mad-science lab coats like the ones we were sporting at New York Comic Con (which you can see here).

As always, we’d love your feedback. If you have any neat ideas for Issue #2 rewards, want to tell us your thoughts on the comic, or just want to trade chili recipes, you can reach us via Kickstarter message, email, comment on our blog, or Facebook.

Lots Of Updates For The New Year!

Hey folks.  Sorry for the long silence.  Got so busy over the holidays and then with the new semester of grad school that I forgot I had a blog to update!  Anyways, we may have been quiet but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been hard at work.  Here’s what’s new at the First Law of Mad Science laboratories:

  • The script for issue #2 has been finalized!  Woo-hoo!  Production should start pretty soon.
  • Oliver has already knocked out a rough draft of the issue #3 script from our outlines.  That boy is fast!  This should mean a lot less downtime between issues two and three.
  • Publisher pitches and synopses have been finished and mailed out.  There’s still one or two more “long-shot” submissions we’ll probably make, but at this point we’re just playing the waiting game.
  • I’ve just today received the Kickstarter special edition prints.  Non-autographed copies should get mailed out to Kickstarter backers in the next day or two; autographed and special-edition copies will be doing a little cross-country postal tour to get creator autographs in NY, MO, and VA before they get mailed out to backers.
  • We got interviewed by Lisa Fary at Pink Raygun after our New York Comic Con appearance.  Go check it out!
  • We’ve gone international!  Mathieu Doublet picked up a copy of the NYCC edition before heading home to France and writing this review.  Neither Oliver nor I can read French, but from the bits that still made sense after passing through GoogleTranslate, it looks like a positive review?  We think?  (If anyone out there wants to give this a proper translation, we’ll happily send you a free copy of the comic as thanks!)

A Few Quick Updates

A few quick updates:

  • Our rush order of Issue #1 advance copies arrived earlier this week.  They look awesome.
  • We’re starting to send out publisher submissions now.  A few of the publishers we’re looking at want a detailed, multi-page synopsis of the whole story, so Oliver and I will be cranking that out this weekend.
  • Also this weekend, Oliver and I will be trying to make some real headway on revising our currently-pretty-rough script for issue #2.  Hopefully we can get Daniel working on it sooner rather than later.
  • I finished laying out the bonus content for Kickstarter special editions last night.  All of the Kickstarter editions are at the printer now; Kickstarter backers should expect to start seeing their copies in the mail by mid-to-late January.

Issue #1 – Just 99 cents on Wowio!

More big news. The digital version of issue #1 just went live over at Wowio.com.  Now you can buy a digital copy of First Law #1, viewable on your computer or any PDF-capable device, for just $0.99!  For reals!  Go buy it!

And, of course, the print version is still up at ComiXpress, for $3.99.  It makes an awesome stocking stuffer!  If, y’know, you roll it up, I guess.  Or if you have really big stockings.