Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Please Repost! An Open Letter to Comic Retailers - Awakening Update!


So, the book is out - now what? Now, oh loyal readers, we need to keep the momentum going. Reviews and interviews are abound but now we need to show comic shops that there's good reason for them to carry the book in their stores! Below is an open letter to comic retailers which I emailed out to all the shop contacts I could gather online. What we need YOU to do is repost this on blogs and message boards, Twitter a link, send up a smoke signal - get this info to your local shop to help them sell the book. That doesn't mean you should go in and ask for ten copies of the book to be ordered, that's not what this is about. This is about spreading the word about the book and giving retailers the ammunition they need to confidently recommend and sell the book to their customers.

Let's do this thing! Zombie Noir for everybody! Tweet and repost pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaase!

Hello, purveyor of four-color greatness!

My name is Nick Tapalansky and I'm the writer of the recent Archaia release, Awakening (Volume One). Selling comics is a tough business, and nobody knows that as well as you guys. That said, you do it day in and day out and, one better, you do it well. If I can appeal to your generous side for just a minute, I’m hoping you’ll read on and find your free PDF of the 144-page volume, a trailer for the book, and more. I’m putting in some legwork, trying to spread the word about the book’s release (the hardcover was released in July of this year), and let you know how the team behind the book, as well as Archaia, is working to promote the book and push readers into your stores. First though, a little background.

When the first three chapters of Awakening were serialized back in 2007 the series was nominated for four British Eagle Awards including Favourite Newcomer Writer and Favourite New Comic Book. We’ve also received tons of critical praise, including:

- “The coolest and most original zombie piece since The Walking Dead got under way... This is simply gorgeous art that needs to be lived in. It, like any great art, speaks to you immediately and with authority.” - Lee Ferguson, Broken Frontier

- “Derek Peters is where Phillip Marlowe meets George Romero. Awakening will have readers feeling so lonely that they need someone nearby, but so paranoid that they’ll double-check who’s in bed next to them.” - Nick Kelly, Horrorview

- “Awakening may be the indie runaway hit of the year.” – The Geeks of Doom

- "Awakening is the type of storytelling achievement you often find yourself reading in trade format a year after-the-fact, wondering why the hell you didn't hear more about it at the time of its publishing. The type of book that goes on to achieve eventual cult status and terrible film adaptations that wholly miss the point." — Tom Mattson, Newseed Comics

After Archaia underwent a publishing hiatus for most of 2008, we quietly waited with the book until the business end of things was sorted out. By mid 2009 the machine was moving again and Awakening, now a two-volume hardcover series (more on the format shift in a minute), was ready to make its comeback! The book has since been featured on CBR, in Rue Morgue Magazine, and on various comic news and review sites.

Below is the solicitation for the volume, followed by a link to the trailer for the book:

"The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, well known as the town crazy, comes forward to speak with retired police detective Derrick Peters one January afternoon. She claims to have information about the murders, but does she hold the key to unlocking the mystery or has she truly gone insane?
To Derrick’s disbelief she utters one word:


Unable to ignore Cynthia’s information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the city explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Could Cynthia have been right? Follow the first half of Park Falls’s year-long struggle for answers here."

You can view the trailer for the volume here:

So, where do you come in? Like I said in the beginning of this letter, I know how hard it is to sell comics these days (or even books in general). It’s even harder to opt to stock a new title from an unknown creative team when you’ve got some guaranteed sellers you can put in its place. That’s actually why we shifted formats from floppy issues and hardcovers to just hardcovers – how could we ask you to order a fourth issue from a relatively little known book and put it on a shelf in place of, say a Marvel or DC book after we had an 18-month publication hiatus? It wouldn’t make sense. That’s not to say you guys don’t support the indies, far from it, but something like that just seemed like a bit of a stretch, even from our end of the table as creators.

Back to the point though – it’s hard to make that decision without knowing more about the book. That’s why, below, you’ll find a link to download a PDF of the entire volume for you to read.

(Email with your shop's name and location to receive the PDF!)

The book contains the first five chapters of the series, two more than were serialized, 10-pages of supplemental story material (journal entries and illustrations between each chapter), and pinups from a multitude of artists as chapter breaks. It’s also got a sweet dust jacket and an even sweeter price point: $19.95. If the books had all been serialized, they would’ve cost $17.50 combined cover price – for $2.45 more you get it hardbound, with dust jacket, and 15-pages of supplemental material (the journal entries plus the aforementioned pinups)!

I firmly believe there’s at least one (if not two or three) customer in your shop that would love the hell out of this book and that’s my challenge to you: put this book in that customer’s hand. It’s a sale for you, and another reader for us – we both win.

Got a zombie nut? Tell them it’s a “zombie noir,” a murder mystery with a zombie twist.

Got somebody who’s zombied out? Tell them it’s more about the mystery with an entirely different take on the classic zombie (read the book – it’s true).

Got an indie fan who doesn’t dabble in horror so much? Tell them its existential horror, more about the plight of the characters in the wake of this growing mystery (the noir card helps here too).

Got a genre (horror) fan? Tell them its zombies with a Fell feel.

Got all of the above? Go to town! The best part about it is that everything above about the book is true - you're introducing them to something new and exciting they otherwise might not have known about!

Right now Alex and I, along with Mel Caylo, Archaia’s Marketing Director, are working hard to plan an October event for Awakening.
[Details of event edited for now - details will be emailed along with PDF download link, including info on how we'd like to promote YOUR store! - Nick]

We’ll be supporting the event via online news (Comic Book Resources, Broken Frontier, Comic Monsters,, etc.), social networking (Twitter, MySpace, Facebook), and the like. Our hope is to move more people into stores rather than ordering online, so if you plan to have a copy or two of the book in stock please let me know after I send you official dates for the event so that I can list your stores name and address in any releases, blogs, etc. relating to the event. We want to make push as successful as possible for you and us, so any support or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We're in this for more than just the one day, so anything we can do to help you sell the book beyond the one-day event, please don't hesitate to mention!

In the interim, you can find out more about the book, including interviews and reviews, and follow us online at the following addresses:

Nick’s Site:
Alex’s Site:

Thanks for taking the time to read this – I know it was a bit lengthy but I’m hoping with all of this material and information you’ll be able to better sell the book in your store. I’ll be sending out more info about the October event as we’re able to finalize details. Alex and I are always up for store signings, talking at graphic novel reading/creating groups, or any other store events, so please feel free to email if you’d like us to pop in! The east coast, northeast in particular, is where we’re located but we’d be happy to come by around conventions to stores that are out of our relative area so don’t hesitate to ask!

Thanks again!

Nick Tapalansky

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Awakening Volume One - Out NOW!!!!


Ho. Lee. SHIT! It's out! It's out! It's FUCKING OUT!!!

Sorry, had to freak out for a minute there because it FINALLY happened! Awakening Volume One hit comic shops on Wednesday, 7/22 and hit 'em hard. Shops I've talked to have been selling out and placing re-orders which is the awesome.

I've also heard that folks who ordered from Amazon started receiving books this week. In other words, those of you who were waiting to see if it was the real deal this time before ordering are in for a treat - get thee to your LCS stat! Failing a local comic shop, hit up Amazon and help us speed our way up the bestseller lists there:

As always, your friendly neighborhood Barnes & Noble is able to pre-order for you too.

To everybody who stopped by the booth at San Diego Comic-con, thanks for the love and support! More about the con coming in next week's blog, including pics and anecdotes galore.


Alright kids, listen up: The book is out. The trick now is to make sure EVERYBODY knows. Post the trailer hither and yon, cry forth to the heavens (and to everyone you see on the subway), and recommend it to your friends and loved ones. Especially grandmothers - they dig existential horror and zombie noir. Well, MINE does anyway but she may be partial.

A big part of self-promotion that I think gets overlooked in comics is the library circuit and, with it, reading groups. I'm talking to as many reading group heads and librarians as I can to suggest the book as a monthly selection (for horror, graphic novel, and mystery reading groups) and to make sure a copy is available in any and every library I can get in touch with, but I need your help! If you're following this blog it stands to reason that you dig the book, so do me a favor: check out your local Barnes & Noble, Borders, comic shops, and/or small indy bookshop (my faves) and see what reading groups they have - if they fit with a group which would enjoy Awakening recommend it to them! Likewise, if you frequent a library, whether at a university or just a city or town branch, recommend the book be stocked in their graphic novel section. Heck, show them your copy so they can see how loverly it is!

The short version is that we couldn't have gotten this far without you and any help you can give would be hugely appreciated. To anybody in the Southern New York or Philadelphia, PA areas: feel free to e-mail me if you get any bites at the libraries/reading groups - either Alex or myself (or both) would be happy to stop by and talk about the book, comics, writing, art, or just the weather. You can reach me at


First of all, if you're not following us on Twitter you're not as cool as your friends! Don't be uncool, follow @AwakeningComic for the latest updates on your favorite comic dudes.

Second of all, if you haven't already checked out what are you waiting for?!

Now then, on with the show...

More reviews for Volume One are starting to roll in! Below is one from The Quarter Bin which has one of my favorite quotes ever:

"Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn are the perfect team for Awakening."

Read the whole review here:

We also had the great pleasure of meeting Stephanie from after our panel at the con - in her recap of the day she had this to say:

"One of the surprise moments of the day was the Archaia panel. Now that Zachary Quinto, of “Heroes” fame, is involved with the company, HUNDREDS of people were in attendance for the Archaia panel and gathered in the hall to hear about the recently released “Awakening” by Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn. Here is Nick (left) and Alex (right) looking stoic and thoughtful immediately after handing out issues of “Awakening” to fans and attendees.

As a fan of the story for over a year, it was great to see them get the exposure they deserve. And congratulations to them both for reaching the best-seller list on on their first day of pre-order: #2 for Mystery (Graphic Novel) and #6 Hardcover (Graphic Novel) and even selling out of copies at Wizard World Philadelphia! Way to go, guys!"

You can read her whole recap for Saturday here:

Oh! For you art enthusiasts in the world, Alex was interviewed by our pal Patrick McEvoy for his Ninja Mountain podcast while we were all at the show. You can check out the podcast here (Alex starts around 22:50 if you're just in it for his purdy voice).

"I'm gonna get edited out of that entire episode, aren't I?"


First, an amazing scientific discovery:

"Now we've actually found it, a specimen with an undoubted clasper with a knobbly end."

Now, exciting Archaia releases!

Both The God Machine and Starkweather: Immortal are in this month's Previews for an October release! You can wander in to any LCS and tell them you want it but I'll have more exciting means, like pre-order coupons and links to various sites, posted here in the coming days. In the meantime... Just go tell your shop you want 'em, damnit!


New York Anime Festival (September 25th - 27th in Artist Alley with Jackie Santiago)
Baltimore Comic-Con (October 10th and 11th with Archaia)
Albany Comic-Con (November 1st with Jackie Santiago, Mark Holmes, and Luke Mierisch)


Meh, fughedit for now! I appreciate the sign-ups guys, but at present the idea of writing a separate e-mail newsletter containing largely the info your finding here anyway seems a bit silly. I'm gonna take it back to the lab for a bit of reworking and come back strong though so be on the lookout...