From Calista Brill, Senior Editor:

We got some sad news recently.

We lost a member of the First Second family…someone who had a crucial role in bringing more than half our books to print. None of our authors or artists ever met her, and few of them even knew her name. I’ve worked at this company for six years, and I only met her once, and fleetingly.

But Manuela Kruger, in her phenomenal work as a copyeditor, contributed as much to the making of our books as any of the rest of us. And beyond her sharp eyes and thorough care, she brought something even more invaluable to the process:

Her wonderful personality and excellent taste.

Despite never having had a conversation with her, I felt like Manuela and I were friends, communicating across the written page. Manuela would return her copyedited printouts of our books to us with a cover letter sharing her thoughts—always perceptive, and sometimes very funny—about the book she had just marked up. The notes and asides she added to her copyediting corrections often made me laugh—made me feel like I had a friend reading along with me.

There are a lot of people whose work goes into making a graphic novel see the light of day, and a lot of them are pretty invisible to the reader and even to the person who wrote or illustrated the book in the first place. But their contributions are invaluable, and it’s a very sad day when you lose one of them.

Manuela Kruger was born October 7, 1939. She copyedited somewhere around 100 of our books, and we all miss her scratchy cursive handwriting—always in the same erasable red ballpoint pen.

It won’t be the same without her.