Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Rewind: The Year of Secret Identities, Part One

Over the next few days, we're going to be looking back on the events and milestones that made 2009 the year of the SI Universe. Today, we'll focus on the first part of the year that led up to the launch of Secret Identities in April.

Although Secret Identities had been gestating in one form or another since mid-2006, it's hard to believe the enormity of the fact that what started out simply as an idea finally became an actual book sitting on shelves in stores across the country in 2009. And what a year it's been! We kicked off the year with many sleepless nights. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Art Director Jerry Ma and EIC Jeff Yang rang in 2009 in sleep-deprived state since they were editing and designing pages up to the very last second so that the book go to press on time. But January is when the reality that Secret Identities was finally coming to light set in since we were a Featured Item in that month's Previews and retailers could start ordering the book for their stores. But that was only the beginning...

Two big events bookended the month of February: New York Comic-Con and the East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference. The S.I. crew made our official debut on a specially dedicated, standing-room-only panel at NYCC. Moderated by Publishers Weekly's Anne Ishii, the panel featured S.I. contribs Greg Pak, Bernard Chang and Jef Castro, in addition to myself and Jeff Yang. We also debuted the first official "trailer" for the book, edited by the one and only Parry Shen. In fact, Parry had so much fun cutting that video together, he went on to direct a dozen more, all available on our official YouTube channel.

As great a success as Comic-Con was, it paled in comparison to the reception we got a few weeks later at the ECAASU conference held at Rutgers! With Parry flying in from L.A., ECAASU marked the first time the whole editorial crew was together in public. But more than that, the love we got from the students in attendance was overwhelming. From our morning workshop to the keynote address we delivered in front of a crowd of hundreds in a packed theater, we had a blast meeting fans and making friends at ECAASU. It felt like coming home. To paraphrase the Mountain Brothers, "our community, it's what we live for."

I think the biggest shock we had at ECAASU was the fact that we sold a ton of books there... even though the book wouldn't be available for two more months! Ostensibly, the students in attendance bought a huge sticker in lieu of having the actual book (though slickly designed by Jerry, it was a sticker nonetheless.) Still, the kids at ECAASU are definitely considered the "early adopters" of Secret Identities! In fact, the show of support we received at ECAASU directly led to a massive influx of "fans" to our Facebook page. So thank you, Rutgers!

I think it was at ECAASU, at like 3AM when we were still selling bookplates, that we all decided we were all a part of something special. And as the pub date of April 15 drew even closer, we were just getting started...

Next time... The SI Crew reps the Chi and the Midwest... Gets in an Empire state of mind for it's New York launch... and feels the California love in Los Angeles...

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