Mark Siegel is going to be hard to avoid over the next few weeks, as he takes to the road and the Internet to promote his graphic novel Sailor Twain, a beautiful, moody story about the captain of a steamship on the Hudson River in the 1880s who has a close encounter with a mermaid. Siegel first published the book online, with the print edition set for release this week.
Siegel, the founder and editorial director of the much-acclaimed First Second Books, knows how to promote a book: He has set up a book tour that includes an actual sail on the Hudson (no word if there will be mermaids), an appearance at the Mark Twain House (no relation to his main character), and a talk at the Center for Cartoon Studies; he will also be at New York Comic Con, of course.
While Sailor Twain is a fairly dark book, drawn in shadowy charcoals, Siegel has produced a funny little comic, (NSFW) Steamboat Willy, that addresses a dilemma that was referred to obliquely in the book: How do a human and a mermaid consummate their love?
And Siegel is also posting a diary of sorts at The Comics Journal website; it's not exactly a comic, more a combination of photos, drawings, and text, but it's an interesting inside look at a pretty cool life (home studio, train ride down the Hudson every day, office in the Flatiron Building).