As you know if you’ve been following me on Twitter or even on this rarely-updated blog, I had a very successful Kickstarter last summer. Thanks to the support of my backers, I was able to raise the money to publish a two-volume hardcover compilation of All the Cartoons. We met our initial goal within 24 hours, and achieved every stretch goal as well (and I’ve got the tattoo to prove it). Clocking in at over a thousand pages and weighing about fifteen pounds, this was definitely the most unlikely book I’ve ever put out.
The books were printed and distributed to the KS backers, with a relatively small stock available on my online store at TopatoCo. We still have some available there, but probably not for much longer — I’m not sure of exact numbers at the moment, due to some accounting and distribution mishaps that they’re still sorting out at the warehouse, but it’s safe to say there are fewer than 100 copies left.
So that would have pretty much been the end of the story for 25 Years of Tomorrow. And it would have been a great story — my dream project made real in the world thanks to my readers! — but that would have been it. If you didn’t get the books while they were available, there weren’t going to be any more.
Except that’s when I was approached by the highly regarded comics publisher IDW, who were interested in putting out a second printing of TMW25, and distributing it in bookstores and comic book shops. So not only did I manage to make these these books real in the world — now their lifespan will be extended, and they’ll reach a wider audience than I had any hope of ever reaching through the KS alone.
(The second edition will be the essentially the same as the first, though without the various bonus inserts — those are going to remain exclusive to my initial backers. The remaining stock at TopatoCo does still include the diecut cardstock DIY Sparkymobile, so if you want one of those, act quickly.)
On top of this, IDW asked if they could simultaneously publish a new trade paperback collection of the last three years worth of strips. I thought it was a great idea to make this material available to readers who might not have the desire or the budget to shell out more than $70 for the hardcover set. That compilation, Crazy is the New Normal, should be out around October.
I was wandering in the publishing wilderness for several years. I had a couple unfortunate experiences with publishers who did some damage to my sales record, which is something new publishers consider when they’re thinking about taking you on. There also seemed to be a widespread consensus that no one was interested in cartoon compilations in the internet age. There was certainly no one who would have published the massive TMW25 set prior to the Kickstarter. The success of that campaign really turned everything around. IDW is a fantastic publisher, widely known for the quality of their books. They’ve been amazing to work with so far — when I was in San Francisco in February, my new editor took a day off to fly up from San Diego, just to hang out for the day so that we’d have a chance to know each other beyond email and phone. That’s a good way to do business. I’m really excited to have them publishing my books, and honestly, I owe it all to those of you who backed the Kickstarter with such enthusiasm.