acquired world rights to two graphic novels based on the Oscar-nominated short, The Dam
Keeper from Tonko House founders Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, as well as a
third graphic novel to be announced.
to be announced under Kondo and Tsutsumi’s Tonko House banner, which is simultaneously
developing a feature film based on The Dam Keeper.
Kondo and Tsutsumi wrote and directed
the critically acclaimed animated short film, which to date has played in over
75 film festivals around the world, won 25 awards, and was nominated for a 2015 Academy
Award for Best Animated Short. The Dam Keeper books will pick up some years after the
close of the short and will address two questions audiences were left wondering about following
the short film: What happened to Pig’s parents? How and why did this world come to be at the
mercy of this dark cloud?
Mark Siegel, Editorial Director of First Second Books, says, “There are many virtuoso artists in
animation today, and Kondo and Tsutsumi shine high among them. But they are also ultimately
storytellers, with inner wellsprings spilling over with worlds and characters and visions and tales
that need to be told. Their love and respect for books as well as animation is a delight to me, and
it’s a great honor for First Second to join forces with Tonko House and these superb talents.”
The book deal was negotiated by Siegel and, on behalf of Tonko House, by Kane Lee.
“It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to create a cinematic experience in the form of
illustrated novels, with the pacing and richness we have learned with film. Through these books,
we are challenging ourselves to take our concept art and storytelling to the next level,” said
“The reason to continue telling stories in the universe of The Dam Keeper is a deeply personal
story close to our hearts. We wanted to find a partner we could trust to adopt and protect our
characters and worlds, a team willing to take that journey with us to make our tales the greatest
they can be—and First Second were the people we fell in love with and hope to grow together
with. We are beyond excited, and slightly intimidated, to join their award-winning family of
innovative books and authors,” said Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi.