Here’s something I found in a stack of old mail!

I printed (“published” would be too strong a word) my first collection of Wondermark comics in the fall of 2004. I made an initial run of about 100 copies and solicited them office-to-office at the ad agency where I worked at the time. Almost everyone good-naturedly bought a copy (with the exception of the unpleasant producer who asked if this was “more of that Trader Joe’s stuff”).

Around the same time, I decided it would be a good idea to send copies of the book to anyone slightly famous that I could dredge up any remote personal connection to. As I can recall, I gave copies to:

  • The actor and director Garry Marshall, whose movie Chicken Little (and whose son’s movie The Princess Diaries 2) I was working on trailers for at the time;
  • The radio host Garrison Keillor; I was a listener to Prairie Home Companion and my art teacher had played taped episodes of The Writer’s Almanac for us weekly for many years;
  • The director Alexander Payne, because I happened to attend a Q&A screening of his movie Sideways;
  • The voice actor Rino Romano, with whom I’d worked many times, engineering his voiceover sessions;
  • Comics professionals I was a fan of, such as Frank Cho, Robert Kirkman, Larry Young, and Gary Groth;
  • Dave Sim, whom I didn’t know much about besides the fact that he drew Cerebus (which I didn’t read) and that he had a strange bet at the time with Neil Gaiman about whether or not people would send him mail;

As well as Brad Bird (as seen above), and I’m sure other people I don’t remember.

I heard back from Garrison Keillor’s people, who sent a card saying “your submission for The Writer’s Almanac will be duly considered”;

I heard back from Dave Sim, who was actually quite complimentary, and provided a blurb for a later edition of the same book, which I felt very strange about once I learned more about his politics; 

And I heard back from Pixar, above, on behalf of Brad Bird. I felt sheepish that they thought I was trying to send in unsolicited material for a movie pitch, rather than a gift of a book I hoped would be entertaining, but of course I understand now why they’d have to take that stance. (In fact, when I gave Alexander Payne a copy of the book, someone with him said “You can’t read that, you can’t accept it!” to which he said “It’s just comic strips, it’s okay!” Mr. Payne, if you read this, I don’t care if you went on to throw the book in the trash, it was very heartening to hear you say, while within earshot of me, that you wanted to keep it.)

I look back on those mailings, ten years ago now, and they feel very naïve of me. But why? I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t get into trouble. That same year, I sent a completely unsolicited press kit to the office of the AV Club, and it landed on Tasha Robinson’s desk, and a year later she wrote me out of the blue and asked if they could print Wondermark in the newspaper edition of the Onion, where it ran for several years, and then had an afterlife in the online AV Club for several years after that. That worked out okay.

Sending out those books without any real purpose or plan didn’t benefit me, really, so these days it seems like a silly thing to do. But I am reminded by finding this letter to do more things that are likely to fail but have very low stakes — maybe not ill-considered things like send unsolicited manuscripts to movie studios, but write letters, be bold, be unafraid. Chalk up more and more failures, so that failure is not a scary thing.

Mr. Bird, if you read this, your people also enclosed a signed 8x10 of Mr. Incredible, which I gave to a good friend and lifelong Disney fanatic, and he enjoyed it very much. 

Excerpts from Life magazine, 1927, and The Onion, 2013

I’m very excited to announce some EXCELLENT STRETCH GOALS for the Wondermark Fictional Victorian Jigsaw Puzzles project!!

The backing window closes on October 9

kickstarter:

Project of the Day—Wondermark’s Jigsaw Puzzles of Fictional Victorian Charts is exactly what it sounds like. Creator David Malki made these with a sort of alternate history in mind: “What if the Victorian era had more jokes AND was more diagram-based AND was made of jigsaw puzzles?? WONDER…NO MORE” he writes. We have officially stopped wondering.

Our puzzles have OFFICIALLY FUNDED as of today!  Thanks very much to Kickstarter (who named the puzzles today’s Project of the Day, hooray!!) and to the backers who’ve pledged so far!
If you’d like to pledge to get a puzzle, or any Wondermark books or posters, or even a custom wooden puzzle hand-made by Chris Yates — there’s plenty of time left.
Does that mean you should dally?
IT DOES NOT

kickstarter:

Project of the Day—Wondermark’s Jigsaw Puzzles of Fictional Victorian Charts is exactly what it sounds like. Creator David Malki made these with a sort of alternate history in mind: “What if the Victorian era had more jokes AND was more diagram-based AND was made of jigsaw puzzles?? WONDER…NO MORE” he writes. We have officially stopped wondering.

Our puzzles have OFFICIALLY FUNDED as of today!  Thanks very much to Kickstarter (who named the puzzles today’s Project of the Day, hooray!!) and to the backers who’ve pledged so far!

If you’d like to pledge to get a puzzle, or any Wondermark books or posters, or even a custom wooden puzzle hand-made by Chris Yates — there’s plenty of time left.

Does that mean you should dally?

IT DOES NOT

ryannorth:

I was going through my email archives to try to figure out how I ended up here when I came across this old ebook file I’d forgotten about!  I’d never noticed it before, but it turns out David Malki emailed it to me years ago with the following message:

"From one ‘follower’ to another…. this one’s on the house, Ryan!!!  PS: you owe me now.  DM me sometime!!!!"
- “DM” (like “direct message” but instead it’s “David Malki”!!!!!) 

David, even though it is years late, I have several comments about this book and your follow-up messages about it (and again, sorry for not reading them until now):
you don’t need to capitalize “.com”.  
putting # and @ in front of words does not make them ‘high-technology words’
no you do not need to repaint that plane every time you get a new follower
no I do not know a good place to get a deal on bulk plane paint
no I do not know whether or not the “plane police” have authority to chase you away from the airport parking lot since it’s not in the sky but I’m guessing yes, yes they do
and finally, your other ebook, “Are You There God?  Please RT” is actually a wonderful coming-of-age story about a young girl struggling with boys, bras, periods, AND religion while simultaneously trying to grow her social media reach with high-clickability viral content, and I would be more than happy to provide a quote for that one
[bookwar]

Wow Ryan it sounds like you really think this ebook is pretty dumb!
BUT HMMM WHAT DID SOME PROPS DEPARTMENT PRINT OUT AND GIVE YOU TO HOLD IN THIS STOCK PHOTO SHOOT FOR “WEALTHY SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESSMAN” IMAGES ?????

check and MATE

ryannorth:

I was going through my email archives to try to figure out how I ended up here when I came across this old ebook file I’d forgotten about!  I’d never noticed it before, but it turns out David Malki emailed it to me years ago with the following message:

"From one ‘follower’ to another…. this one’s on the house, Ryan!!!  PS: you owe me now.  DM me sometime!!!!"

- “DM” (like “direct message” but instead it’s “David Malki”!!!!!) 

David, even though it is years late, I have several comments about this book and your follow-up messages about it (and again, sorry for not reading them until now):

  • you don’t need to capitalize “.com”.  
  • putting # and @ in front of words does not make them ‘high-technology words’
  • no you do not need to repaint that plane every time you get a new follower
  • no I do not know a good place to get a deal on bulk plane paint
  • no I do not know whether or not the “plane police” have authority to chase you away from the airport parking lot since it’s not in the sky but I’m guessing yes, yes they do
  • and finally, your other ebook, “Are You There God?  Please RT” is actually a wonderful coming-of-age story about a young girl struggling with boys, bras, periods, AND religion while simultaneously trying to grow her social media reach with high-clickability viral content, and I would be more than happy to provide a quote for that one

[bookwar]

Wow Ryan it sounds like you really think this ebook is pretty dumb!

BUT HMMM WHAT DID SOME PROPS DEPARTMENT PRINT OUT AND GIVE YOU TO HOLD IN THIS STOCK PHOTO SHOOT FOR “WEALTHY SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESSMAN” IMAGES ?????

check and MATE

image

excuse me pardon me oh I’m sorry I didn’t see the thousand of you sitting there with your nubs all belinked

in fact i really do think you should think more about the people who might be blundering through here. i have several hundred suggestions for better places you might want to gather

please. stop shouting. it’s like you aren’t even willing to have the debate

the puzzle ~

I was at the library over the weekend, and they have all kinds of crazy books there! I was browsing the ‘eroticized autobiography’ section, hoping to find some inspiration, when I came across THIS book by RYAN NORTH.
Inside the front cover, the dedication starts right up with an indication of what’s to come:

This book is shouted from the rooftops at all the haters, all the squares, all the sugar-pushers, all the downtown cruisers, all the eagle-boys, all the late-night mamas, all the daddies with their packs on, all the servers, all the waiters, all the rack babies, all the dollar hustlers, all the soda jerkoffs, all the brownstains, all the bronyboys, all the nerdlovers, all the sandy wigglers, and all the 3am jonesin’ candyattic crashers who made this ride as real as it got.

I think that last bit is a reference to Joey Comeau but as for the rest ???
I wanted to check it out and read more but it was ‘REFERENCE ONLY’ and also it was really, like, sticky? That may have just been my library’s copy BUT in the colophon it also says:

Titles set in Ostrich Sans
Text set in Curlz MT
Coated in Rio Grande sticky wax
Each copy kissed by the author or his representative

I’ve already got ENOUGH copies of stuff kissed by Ryan or his representative so I said NO THANK YOU
[ BOOKWAR ]

I was at the library over the weekend, and they have all kinds of crazy books there! I was browsing the ‘eroticized autobiography’ section, hoping to find some inspiration, when I came across THIS book by RYAN NORTH.

Inside the front cover, the dedication starts right up with an indication of what’s to come:

This book is shouted from the rooftops at all the haters, all the squares, all the sugar-pushers, all the downtown cruisers, all the eagle-boys, all the late-night mamas, all the daddies with their packs on, all the servers, all the waiters, all the rack babies, all the dollar hustlers, all the soda jerkoffs, all the brownstains, all the bronyboys, all the nerdlovers, all the sandy wigglers, and all the 3am jonesin’ candyattic crashers who made this ride as real as it got.

I think that last bit is a reference to Joey Comeau but as for the rest ???

I wanted to check it out and read more but it was ‘REFERENCE ONLY’ and also it was really, like, sticky? That may have just been my library’s copy BUT in the colophon it also says:

Titles set in Ostrich Sans

Text set in Curlz MT

Coated in Rio Grande sticky wax

Each copy kissed by the author or his representative

I’ve already got ENOUGH copies of stuff kissed by Ryan or his representative so I said NO THANK YOU

[ BOOKWAR ]

Wondermark Puzzle SNEAK PEEK!!!
I’m so excited to be making Wondermark jigsaw puzzles! Thanks to the backers who’ve pledged so far. Here is an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek!

Wondermark Puzzle SNEAK PEEK!!!

I’m so excited to be making Wondermark jigsaw puzzles! Thanks to the backers who’ve pledged so far. Here is an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek!

Wondermark’s Jigsaw Puzzles of Fictional Victorian Charts

Set your pocketwatches and smartphones for Tuesday September 9

Set your pocketwatches and smartphones for Tuesday September 9