I love my job: doing the marketing for First Second, Macmillan’s graphic novel imprint, can be summarized thusly: ‘making friends with great people who love comics, and working with them to make sure that everyone in the world loves comics more every day.’ You can’t say that’s not awesome (unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t love comics, and if so – have you read anything published by First Second? I guarantee I can find a comic for you, and if you’re a teacher or librarian or reviewer or bookseller or otherwise connected to the publishing industry, I get to be on the clock while doing it.)
Working in marketing has a single drawback: it gives me a seriously uncool desk. Every time I wander down into our editor’s office, she has some original art from an artist to show me, or color-accurate printer’s proofs, or art samples for a new project. She has so much of this stuff in her office that she got an extra desk to keep the overflow on! And every time I go into our designer’s office, she’s got new type treatments pasted up on her walls, or mock-ups of new print effects, like deckled edges and stamped fronts and foil.
My desk? Well, it’s got a lot of pieces of paper – marketing plans, budgets, reviews, meeting notes, invoices, mailing labels, and catalog copy. Don’t get me wrong, they’re pieces of paper filled with things that are going to be totally awesome. But aesthetically, they’re kind of lacking. There’s only so much you can do with black type (Times New Roman, 12 point) on white paper (8.5 x 11).
So I have to compensate for this aesthetic sparseness by tacking a lot of stuff up on my walls. And luckily, working in the comics industry means that a lot of pictures come my way.
Here’s the outside wall of my cube-desk. Note the poster for The Photographer (now an ALA Adult Notable Book – one of the first graphic novels ever to make this list!), the poster for the MoCCA Art Festival (one of the best indy comics conventions in the US), and the comics by Kate Beaton (all the sarcastic history you can fit in six panels) and Randall Munroe (best modern-day take on Narnia ever!).
Of the two interior sides of my cube-desk that are not composed of a desk, one is a bookshelf. It’s basically the review copy bank for First Second. If the song ‘My Favorite Things’ is ever personalized for me, bookshelves will definitely play a major role in it. They’re shelves full of books! How is that not one of the most awesomest things ever?
The other wall is basically a window and a radiator. But to compensate for the non-interestingness of that (though, when are views of New York City rooftops ever not interesting? Sometimes there are even sunbathers!), I’ve got this great piece of amnesiac-kid-barbarian + zombies piece of art by Zack Giallongo hanging from the ceiling.
And here’s the part of my cube that’s the actual desk.
(Yes, my chair is a large pink ball.)
Some of my favorite wall efforts include screenprints from Top Shelf, sketches by :01 editorial director Mark Siegel (definitely one of the perks of the job), postcards from Sara Varon, mini-comics by Ben Towle (about comics in education!) and Maris Wicks (about the digestive system!), and things that mysteriously arrive in the mail for me from the excellent folks at Idiots’ Books.
There is also an extensive business card wall-filing system (by subject category, if you’re interested).
I also have a small wall of sketches by some of the artists whose books I do marketing for. This wall’s currently got sketches by Richard Sala, Joe Infurnari, Emmanuel Guibert, Nick Abadzis, Pascal Dizin, and David Mack (who I don’t work with, but is awesome enough to send me sketches anyway!).
Not shown, because it’s under my desk: the Tupperware container filled with peanut butter cookies that I made this weekend.
Don’t you want to come and visit?
From the desk of Gina Gagliano, Marketing Coordinator, First Second Books