Vol2 Updates 16 Jul 2013 04:21 am by David !

THIS IS HOW YOU DIE is officially released!

Great news! The A.V. Club has given This Is How You Die a solid A grade — the best grade of any book currently being reviewed by them (a pack that includes new works by Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett, Dan Savage, and Brandon Sanderson). This is astounding. From the review:

…But what is consistently surprising about This Is How You Die: Stories Of The Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine Of Death is the range and quality of the stories. Machine Of Death was smart and sophisticated. The stories often had twist endings, but they tended to be O. Henry-style twists, based in well-realized characters and the inevitability of fate, rather than cheap reversals or shock-driven rug-pulls. The sequel keeps the insight and the commitment to solid storytelling, but broadens the scope considerably. The editors challenged contributors to take the central concept in bold new directions, and the result is a much wilder collection that stretches around the globe, spans a range of genres, and experiments with the short-story form.


We’ve also been named on New York magazine’s Summer Reading Guide of “(nearly) all the July and August books that are fit to read.” Well, I certainly agree.

Folks. THE BOOK IS OUT NOW. This is just too exciting for words.

And in addition to our 90-page preview PDF, we’re also pleased to share Ryan’s story “Cancer”, now online (in both print and audio) at Lightspeed Magazine:

• “CANCER”, by Ryan North
• Interview with Ryan about the story:

…I don’t actually think making a joke around bad news is an “if we don’t laugh we’ll cry” thing: I think it’s more of a “this is insane, can we all acknowledge how this is insane?” sort of thing! Helen’s not cracking wise to prevent herself from crying, she’s cracking wise because things are absurd and she’s thought of the perfect way to express it. Some funny people will tell jokes at times when others won’t, but I’m pretty sure most of them are thinking them. Helen’s just more willing than most to say what she’s thinking.

And it’s a powerful thing too: not letting something terrible change who you are, but staying strong in the face of that. I think that’s great, and I think it’s part of what not completely losing your mind to grief around bad news is.

If you’ve gotten the book already: Sweet! Tweet me a picture of you with it!

If you haven’t gotten it yet: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, TODAY IS THE DAY

If you’ll be at Comic-Con: Ryan and I will be signing at booth #1229 all the time except for Friday morning from 11-12, when we’ll be at the Hachette booth (#1116) with a bunch of the other contributors.

If you won’t be at Comic-Con: Keep doing your thing. Just keep on doin’ it. You got this.

Vol2 Updates 09 Jul 2013 07:13 pm by David !

THIS IS HOW YOU DIE – Now available for preorder!

It’s getting close!! THIS IS HOW YOU DIE is officially released in JUST ONE WEEK. We set up this super-cool page at thisishowyoudie.com to give everyone the scoop:

The goal of the page is to introduce people to the MOD concept, provide all the pre-order links for the new book, and of course, share the rad video that we made! It’s posted over there right now — go watch!

You can also pre-order the book RIGHT NOW from your favorite retailer (and you know what? YOU TOTALLY SHOULD):

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie BoundPowell’siBooks

Our partners at Grand Central Publishing have given us free rein to give you exactly the book that we wanted. And we’ve done our best to make it AMAZING. It’s bursting at the seams with fantastic illustrations and comics. It has the stories that we LOVED the most, even though the names of the writers likely won’t be familiar to most people. But they’re writers who took a chance and sent us their stories, trusting us to share them with the world as best as we know how.

We — the three of us, Ryan, Matt, and David — want to reward the writers who gave us such an amazing book. With your help…

We want to make every contributor to this book into
a New York Times bestselling author.

Can we do it? I honestly don’t know!

The task before us is to get this book into as many hands as possible between now and July 20. Print sales matter the most, but ultimately, we want people to read it however they prefer. We want EVERYBODY to see these folks’ great work.

So, again: HERE is the link to share with all your friends:


Also at that page is a downloadable 90-page preview of the book. That is longer than some ACTUAL FULL BOOKS you have to pay for.

We’re profoundly grateful to our many supporters over the years, and we’re BEYOND excited to share this book with you. We’re exceptionally proud of all the work we’ve put into it, and of the work of all 63 of our amazing contributors. (Who are listed in full below.) We hope you’ll help us do right by them all by making this book a bestseller in its first week.

Who knows? If this book does well, it might make more books like this possible in the future. Anthologies with an indie aesthetic, but commercial distribution! Artists given free rein to overrule the marketing department! Dogs and cats sleeping together! Madness? We don’t think so.

Because of the way the NYT tallies their records, we won’t know how we did for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, our Amazon sales ranking is one way to gauge how we’re doing in general. As you know, last time we made it all the way to #1, but Amazon was the only place it was available at all — this time, you have your choice of retailer.

No matter where you get it, and no matter what format you read it in, we hope you really, really enjoy THIS IS HOW YOU DIE.

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie BoundPowell’siBooks

Here’s the full table of contents (click for bigger):

Thank you, sincerely, for all your support. We had a lot of fun putting this book together, and we’re so thrilled to see other people enjoy it too. Happy reading!

Events & Vol2 Updates 03 Jul 2013 12:35 am by David !

TWO WEEKS AWAY! + 826LA Comedy Night Video!

We are TWO WEEKS away from the release of THIS IS HOW YOU DIE!

Real quick — did you know — if you pre-order the book via Amazon, it will arrive ON the day of its release? Obviously we want everyone to support their local mom and pop bookstores (and other fine retailers), but if Amazon is your preferred method of bookbuying, just know there will be no lag time getting the book into your hands. Technology and the postal service will WORK TOGETHER to make you happy.


Now onto some fun stuff!


A few weeks ago we had a sort of “pre-release party” for the new book here in Los Angeles at 826LA. It was a festive night with comedy, friends, a giant check, and a lot of Mexican beer — we edited together the highlights for you to check out below:


Are you going to Comic-Con?! Come see us! THIS IS HOW YOU DIE will have its official premiere at the show, and Ryan and David will be doing an official signing at the Hachette booth (#1116) on Friday July 19th from 11-12.

We’ll both be stationed at the TopatoCo booth (#1229) any other time during the convention as well. But here’s what’s extra rad — so many of the artists who contributed to this book will also be there, we’ll be handing out cool postcards with everyone’s whereabouts so you can have your own signature scavenger hunt!


Heads up — on THIS MONDAY, July 8th, we are premiering a hilarious and macabre short film on the aptly-titled website Funny Or Die.

It was directed by our friend Michael Mohan, who you might have heard of from a film called SAVE THE DATE, which was co-written & featured artwork by MOD Vol.1 illustrator Jeffrey Brown. We really put a lot of energy into making it great, and are excited to share it with you next week! In the meanwhile, here’s a few stills to WHET YOUR APPETITE:


Events & Vol2 Updates 22 May 2013 01:41 am by David !

THIS IS HOW YOU DIE x 826LA Comedy Night – June 2

Oh man — This is How You Die (our upcoming Machine of Death sequel) was just named one of Publishers Weekly‘s Best Summer Books 2013! Hooray!!

It is now less than TWO MONTHS until the book is released. It’ll be hitting bookstores across the U.S. and Canada on July 16, and to get it the very day it’s released, you can now pre-order it on Amazon or the retailer of your choice.

But before that, we’re throwing another party! On Sunday, June 2, you’re invited to the This is How You Die x 826LA Comedy Night, featuring:

• MOD-themed improv comedy from iO West’s The Lusty Horde!

From moment one of their opening chant, The Lusty Horde evoke the soul of sci-fi fantasy films once confined to late night television and the straight-to-VHS bin. Through the mysterious powers of the Horde, these long-lost worlds are released to wreak havoc in a fully improvised rampage of droids, ice beasts, and all manner of witches, warlocks, and witchlocks. Sound the Horn of Balfor, release the Drakon, and make calm the Robeasts. So sayeth the Elders. So sayeth the Lusty Horde.

• Machine of Death Draw & Guess with celebrity cartoonists Kevin McShane & Keith Knight!

• Music from Zach Sherwin, AKA MC Mr Napkins!

Zach Sherwin is a comedian and rapper based in Los Angeles. His music videos have been viewed millions of time online, his album is available on Comedy Central Records, and he has appeared on MTV, E!, and VH1, as well as at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He is also a staff writer for the blockbuster web series “Epic Rap Battles of History,” which has racked up well over a billion views, and he frequently performs in the videos, having portrayed such characters as Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, and Doc Brown.

• A demo of the upcoming MOD card game!

• All hosted by our pal Jordan Morris!

Why are we doing a pre-launch party when our book won’t even be out yet?

Two reasons:

• MaxFunCon is that weekend, and if you’re going to that, we’d love to have you at our show too! (Ours is the evening after MaxFunCon ends.)

• This is a benefit show for our good friends at 826LA! We’ll be holding it at their Mar Vista Time Travel Mart, and all proceeds will go to support their nonprofit writing & tutoring center for kids. We’ll also be making a formal presentation of a comically oversized $11,000 check as part of our Kickstarter partnership, and we’ll have a door prize/raffle for some cool MOD and Time Travel Mart prizes too!


WHEN: Sunday, June 2, starting at 8pm.
WHERE: Mar Vista Time Travel Mart, 12515 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles 90066. Ample street parking.
HOW MUCH: $10 at the door; includes a raffle ticket and free bonus MOD game cards. Also a death prediction test, if you want it!
THERE WILL ALSO BE: Drinks, merch, and additional raffle tickets for sale.


View Larger Map

All proceeds from the show will benefit 826LA. Hope to see you there!

Games 26 Mar 2013 06:52 pm by David !

Announcing our partnership with 826LA!

This video, and this post, is PART 2 of today’s Kickstarter update! I’m pleased to announce that, thanks to the success of the card game campaign, we will be entering into a partnership with 826LA, the nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids (mentioned in our last post — save the date for our June 2nd event at 826LA Mar Vista!).

826LA is my local chapter of 826 National, which operates tutoring centers and jokey storefronts in many cities nationwide. Perhaps you’ve seen the Pirate Store in San Francisco, or the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.? That’s 826 Valencia and 826NYC, respectively. Similarly, 826LA operates two Time Travel Marts in Los Angeles, where you can come to buy dodo chow, robot emotions, and famous last words. You can also buy books and normal things too! Proceeds from the stores support the tutoring centers, which are absolutely free of charge to local schools and individual students.

From their official mission statement (or watch the video for more info on their programs):

826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications.

All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.

I’m a huge fan of the work that 826 does, and when it became clear that we had an opportunity to help support them, I leapt at the chance. I wanted to announce this partnership earlier, but after we shot the second half of the video above (the part in the Time Travel Mart), I double-checked Kickstarter’s guidelines on charitable donations, and an inquiry to their staff verified that even touching the subject is completely prohibited in every way. I understand this — you don’t want someone on Kickstarter claiming that some percent of their earnings will go to a nonprofit, and soliciting donations that way, when there is no way to hold them accountable that the donation will actually be made, or that the nonprofit even exists.

But in a practical sense, it meant that we couldn’t announce this partnership mid-campaign — even now, still, we can’t mention it on Kickstarter itself. Here was my hilarious attempt to figure out a way to still share the info:

As you can see, the effort wasn’t entirely wasted — it did inspire the GOAT STARE backer tier, which five brave individuals gladly took advantage of! AND THE WORLD IS BETTER FOR IT.

The bottom line, though, is that now that the pledge money has left Kickstarter and made its way to us, we can do what we want with it. And one thing we want to do is the following!


Mid-campaign, I announced two MYSTERY STRETCH GOALS, at $382,600 raised and at 8260 backers. THEY ARE THE FOLLOWING:

$382,600 RAISED : We will donate a dollar for every game sold during the Kickstarter to 826LA. That turned out to be 10,938 games (across physical and digital copies both). We’ll round that up — so thanks to your kind support of our project, 826LA will be receiving a cash donation of $11,000!

8260 BACKERS : We will donate Machine of Death product (books + games) to 826 stores nationally at no cost, for them to sell and raise money for their tutoring programs!

In addition, starting in June, we’ll be creating special 826LA-themed Black Market Gift Cards, and those will be included free with all orders made from the Time Travel Mart online store (perhaps for a limited time or while supplies last, we’re not sure on the details yet).

We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to support the great programs offered by this fantastic nonprofit. Machine of Death as an entity owes its entire existence to writers, so to be able to encourage kids in their creative writing and help them in school is in the best interest of not just them and the culture at large, but also us — we want more writers to write for Machine of Death Volumes 10-100! SO THIS IS FUNDAMENTALLY A SELFISH ACT.

For more information (the centers are always in need of volunteers, interns, and of course attendees at their cool events and workshops):

826LA : Donations | Events | Wish List | Online Store
826 National : Locations nationwide | Storefronts

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