The trade for 27 will be out in June.  It will be called 27: First Set, in a sort of George Lucas-esque revisionist naming to continue the convention we’re setting up with the sequel, which will be called 27: Second Set.  The trade, or “TPB,” as it’s known in the trade (stands for “trade paperback”) will be Golden Age sized, just as the single issues have been, and I think it will be a very nice piece of work.  It’s supposed to be 136 pages.

“But wait, Charles,” you’re saying, “the four issues of 27 only add up to about 92 pages!  Where will the rest of the pagecount for the trade come from?”

Excellent question, my young friend.  TPBs these days often include a bunch of additional material beyond the pages from the actual issues themselves.  We’re going for broke with 27: First Set.  It’s my first opportunity to do a big, packed trade, and I want it to be something special.  Here’s a list of the extras we’re planning to include:

–Introduction by one of my favorite writers, a guy who has given me a lot of support over the years.  He’s answered dumb questions of mine and been a generally awesome fellow since the very beginning, before Strongman was even a glimmer in my mind.

–Extra pages!  The 4th issue of 27 was originally supposed to be twenty-seven pages long, but we had to make some cuts to the pagecount for publication reasons.  However, the TPB doesn’t have those restrictions, so you’ll get the full, unabridged version of the fourth issue – it’s about five pages longer.

–Solution to the 27 Puzzle.  Basically, folks have until June to solve it, and if no one has it by then, I’ll put the answer in the book.  It’s going in in any case, but personally, I think it would be more fun to also be able to introduce everyone to the winner.  We’ll see – Issue 4 is out soon, and it’s possible someone could have the solution the very day of release.

–Covers.  The gorgeous covers by Scott Forbes are a big part of the success of the book, and each will have a beautiful feature in the trade, with a little discussion of the source material that inspired each one.

–Easter eggs. 27 is FULL of little nods to music trivia, and I’m going to take a few pages to go over some of the stuff I think is particularly fun.  This will include a breakdown of which song is referred to in each of the “lyric bubbles” in Issue 3.  Some of those are easy, some of those are harder – but you’ll get the rundown.

–ALL-NEW 12-page backup story.  I really wanted to do something special to expand the 27 mythology, and so I wrote a story that will give a little additional exposure to one of my favorite characters… the devil.  He only gets two pages in Issue 3, but man, he’s fun to write.  And since one of the members of the 27 Club is notorious for having made a deal with the devil at a certain crossroads in Mississippi, it works pretty well.  I just got the unlettered, colored pages for the backup story (which is called “Crossroads Blues,” after the famous Robert Johnson song covered by just about everyone who’s ever picked up a guitar, including me), and I thought I would share one with you:

Unlettered page from "Crossroads Blues," art by Renzo Podesta.

Don’t you love that swirl in the last panel?  This is more fantastic art from Renzo Podesta, the artist for all of First Set (and Second Set).

Trade’s out at some point in June, and I think you’re going to love it.

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