Let's get the important part out of the way first -- the brand new, incredibly classy Surfin' the Highway anniversary edition is now available for preorder in both paperback and hardcover format.
The paperback costs $19.99 and should start shipping by February 25 (very likely sooner). The $49.99 hardcover is a limited edition, and each one will be signed and numbered by Steve Purcell himself. (The hardcover is still in production, but we're working on it! Expected shipping timeframe is Spring, 2008.)
As if that's not enough, if you buy the book between now and February 29 you'll get a FREE copy of Ice Station Santa, to either play yourself or send to a friend, if you've played it already. As the best reviewed of any of our Sam & Max episodes so far, Ice Station Santa is a great place to start.
The curious among you may wonder what exactly it took to reach this glorious day (or, put more bluntly, why it took so damn long). Sit back, and I'll tell you a story...
Months of work, reduced to a messy pile on Jake's desk.
Do you remember when you found out that Surfin' the Highway would be reprinted? Was there a spark of disbelief, a mental double-take, an almost-afraid-to-say-it-out-loud moment where you thought, "Wait, is this for real?"
It was an idea Telltale had been talking about with Steve for months before we uttered a word of it to the world, so I don't remember exactly when I first heard about it, but I do remember when we let it slip. At last year's WonderCon, we did a panel about the Sam & Max games, and during the Q&A, a question was asked (as questions often are) about whether the long-unavailable Sam & Max collection would ever be rereleased. Steve mentioned that he'd been thinking about it, and Lois Buhalis, who lettered the original Surfin' the Highway and happened to be sitting in the audience, later dropped a note about it on her blog
. This was picked up on by the ever diligent Hero1 on our forums
, and *poof* all at once, speculation was running wild. What had for months (years, even) been kicked around as one of those great ideas we should do someday was suddenly starting to feel like something real.
Soon after this, Steve brought over a huge package of the film pages from the original book. The films had been tucked away for years and he wasn't even sure if everything was in there. We carefully unpacked the films and combed through them. Since our printer would be using a digital printing process, they'd need to scan each of these pieces of film, and then assemble these with the new content Steve wanted to add to the book. It was definitely not a straightforward job. We mailed them the film so they could get started.
This is how they printed books in the old days.
With the film safely off to the printer, we felt comfortable that the book would be coming out in the not too distant future, and we announced it
as one of the activities commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sam & Max. Then we (mostly Jake) got to work on the nuts and bolts.
For this anniversary edition of Surfin' the Highway, Steve didn't want to just reprint the same book as before, but to update it with additional content and a new cover. He put together a master copy of how he wanted the new book to be laid out, a huge sheaf of 11x17 paper cobbled together from photocopies and printouts and the occasional sketch. Some of the new content, like "Kids Take Over" and "Sam & Max: Skeptical Investigators," was released after the original book's publication. Other new pages were pieces Steve pulled from his archives, like ads he did to promote the original Freelance Police comic book back in 1987, and recent paintings promoting our Sam & Max games and the animated series DVD
Our Surfin' the Highway production bible, featuring original art by Steve Purcell.
The last piece of the puzzle was the cover. Steve wanted to retain the look of the original enough that it still felt like Surfin' the Highway, but also to change it enough for people to know that this version was a little different, and that time had passed. The result was a sepia-toned version of the original, set into a leather-like, old-timey cover... the kind of book you might find in a trunk in your crazy grandpa's attic.
The cover, in various incarnations.
In October we hit a bump in the road. Our printer ran into problems scanning the film and formatting some of the files for the new content. Steve had long since sold many of the original pages from Surfin' the Highway, but he kept very high-quality photocopies. He brought these in and we rescanned the pages that hadn't come out well from the film. Then we did weeks of touch-up work and assembled the book into a PDF so massive, the only way to get it to the printer was to buy an external hard drive and FedEx it. Due to the Season Two launch and other projects the team was already neck deep in, we couldn't complete all this as quickly as we would have liked, which is why the intended 2007 release slipped to 2008. If you were banking on finding Surfin' the Highway under the Christmas tree, we're sorry, but the book will be much better because of it!
For all these months we'd been working on Surfin' the Highway, we knew (sort of) that someday there would be a finished book in our hands, but somehow it still didn't feel real. Then we started getting proofs back -- proof (so to speak) that the book was being printed, but still one step removed from the real thing. With a little anxiety over whether they were perfect enough, we approved the black and white pages and the color pages and the cover. Then all we could do was wait. The future of Surfin' the Highway was out of our hands.
Proof. It exists.
The day the cover came off the press, the printer sent us a few copies so we could see how the colors turned out, and big sighs of relief were heaved all around. It looks great. Then yesterday, he called to tell us the books were being bound (ahead of schedule!) and he would overnight samples to us. There are no words for how exciting that news was. If he had been in the same room instead of thousands of miles away, I would have kissed the guy. (No, I'm not kidding.)
As I write this blog, we are anxiously watching the windows for the FedEx truck. We were already planning to put the book in the store for preorder today, but the fact that today it will also be a real thing, in our hands, is an amazing and awesome coincidence. I can't wait to sit down and read the whole thing, cover to cover. Even better, I can't wait for all of you to do the same.
Yes, guys, Surfin' the Highway is back in print. It's real. And we think you're going to love it.Bonus Update!
FedEx came by and dropped off a tiny handful of the paperback edition, and it looks awesome! Check out some photos of the book by clicking here