Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, magazines, graphic novels, and the erotic Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists publish their work through Fantagraphics, including Jessica Abel, Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Mary Fleener, Roberta Gregory, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, and the Hernandez brothers.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Seattle, Washington|
|Distribution||W. W. Norton & Company (US)|
Diamond Book Distributors (Canada)
Turnaround Publisher Services (UK)
|Key people||Gary Groth|
|Publication types||Books, comic books, magazines|
Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 by Gary Groth and Mike Catron in College Park, Maryland. The first act of the new company was the takeover of an adzine named The Nostalgia Journal, which was quickly renamed The Comics Journal.
As comics journalist (and former Fantagraphics employee) Michael Dean writes, "the publisher has alternated between flourishing and nearly perishing over the years." Kim Thompson joined the company in 1977, using his inheritance to keep the company afloat. (He soon became a co-owner.)
Beginning in 1979, Fantagraphics began publishing comics, starting with Jay Disbrow's The Flames of Gyro. They gained wider recognition in 1982 by publishing the Hernandez brothers' Love and Rockets, and moved on to such critically acclaimed and award-winning series as Acme Novelty Library, Eightball, and Hate.
The Kirby Award and the Harvey AwardEdit
From 1985–1987, Fantagraphics coordinated and presented (through their magazine Amazing Heroes) The Jack Kirby Award for achievement in comic books, voted on by comic-book professionals. The Kirby Award was managed by Dave Olbrich, a Fantagraphics employee (and later publisher of Malibu Comics). In 1987, a dispute arose when Olbrich and Fantagraphics each claimed ownership of the awards. A compromise was reached, and starting in 1988, the Kirby Award was discontinued and two new awards were created: the Eisner Award, managed by Olbrich; and the Fantagraphics-managed Harvey Award, named for cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman. Since their inception, the Harvey Awards have been presented at various comic book conventions, such as the Chicago Comicon, the Dallas Fantasy Fair, WonderCon, the Pittsburgh Comicon, the MoCCA Festival, Baltimore Comic-Con and their current venue, the New York Comic Con. The Harvey Awards are no longer affiliated with Fantagraphics.
Relocation to SeattleEdit
Longtime employee Eric Reynolds joined Fantagraphics in 1993, first as news editor for The Comics Journal from 1993, before moving to marketing and promotion in 1996. Tom Spurgeon, now publisher of The Comics Reporter, was editor of The Comics Journal from 1994–1999.
Financial ups and downsEdit
In 1998, Fantagraphics was forced into a round of layoffs; and in 2003 the company almost went out of business, losing over $60,000 in the wake of the 2002 bankruptcy of debtor and book trade distributor Seven Hills Distribution. One employee quit during the subsequent downsizing while denouncing Fantagraphic's "disorganization and poor management." Fantagraphics was saved by a restructuring and a successful appeal to comic book fandom that resulted in a huge number of orders. After restructuring, the company has had greater success with such hardcover collections as The Complete Peanuts, distributed by W. W. Norton & Company.
In 2009 Fantagraphics ceased publishing the print edition of The Comics Journal, shifting from an eight-times a year publishing schedule to a larger, more elaborate, semi-annual format supported by a new website.
Starting in 2005, Fantagraphics began a European graphic novel line, starting with the co-publication of the Ignatz Series, edited and produced by the Italian artist Igort. The publisher announced a deal with Jacques Tardi in March 2009, that would see co-publisher Thompson translate a large number of his books.
In 2006, Fantagraphics opened its own retail store, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.
Co-publisher Kim Thompson left Fantagraphics due to illness in March 2013, and died of lung cancer a few months later. His absence left the company without a number of titles it had been counting on for the summer and fall of 2013; and in November Fantagraphics was forced to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000. An outpouring of support from readers enabled the company to reach and surpass its fundraising goal in just four days.
The Ignatz Series is an international comic imprint. It is published by Fantagraphics Books (U.S.), Avant Verlag (Germany), Vertige (France), Oog & Blik (Holland), Coconino Press (Italy), and Sinsentido (Spain). It is named for Ignatz Mouse, a character in the comic strip Krazy Kat.
The books in the Ignatz series are designed midway between standard North American comic book pamphlet-size and graphic novel-size. Each title is 32-pages, 2-color, saddlestitched, 8½" × 11", with jacket, priced at $7.95.
The Ignatz series comprises the following titles:
- Baobab 1, 2 & 3 by Igort
- Calvario Hills Vol. 1 by Marti
- Niger 1 &2 by Leila Marzocchi
- Insomnia 1, 2 & 3 by Matt Broersma
- Delphine 1, 2, 3 & 4 by Richard Sala
- Ganges 1, 2 & 3 by Kevin Huizenga
- Grotesque 1 & 2 by Sergio Ponchione
- Babel 1 & 2 by David B
- Innocents (Wish You Were...) 1 & 2 by Gipi
- Reflections 1, 2 & 3 by Marco Corona
- New Tales of Old Palomar 1, 2 & 3 by Gilbert Hernandez
- Sammy the Mouse 1 & 2 by Zak Sally
- Interiorae 1, 2 & 3 by Gabriella Giandelli
- The End 1 & 2 by Anders Nilsen
Eros Comix is an adult-oriented imprint of Fantagraphics Books, established in 1990 to publish pornographic comic books. Eros Comix sells anime videos, DVDs, adult comic books, and books of erotic art and photography. The 2006 Eros Comix print catalog sells over 470 items, including adult comic books, and humorous cheesecake-style comics often featuring pin-up girls like Bettie Page.
The late writer-artist Tom Sutton contributed work under the pseudonym "Dementia".
Comics Anthology MagazinesEdit
- Anything Goes!
- Blood Orange
- Graphic Story Monthly
- Hotwire Comix and Capers
- Prime Cuts
- Snake Eyes
- Zero Zero
- Amazing Heroes – a defunct publication devoted mostly to mainstream comics
- The Comics Journal – magazine of comics news and criticism
- Honk – magazine of comics news and criticism
- Nemo, the Classic Comics Library – a defunct magazine devoted to classic comics
Comic book seriesEdit
To be released:
- IGNATZ XX: Babel #3 by David B.
- IGNATZ XX: Baobab #4 by Igort [Italy]
- IGNATZ XX: Calvario Hills #2 by Marti
- IGNATZ XX: The End #2 by Anders Nilsen
- IGNATZ XX: Wish You Were Here #3 by Gipi [Italy]
Classic comics compilationsEdit
- Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History by Fredrik Strömberg
- Blacklight: The World of L.B. Cole by Bill Schelly
- Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s & 1950s by Mark Fertig
- Laura Warholic by Alexander Theroux, 2007
- No Straight Lines
- Significant Objects edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker
- Tales of Terror! The EC Companion by Grant Geissman and Fred von Bernewitz
- Take That, Adolf! The Fighting Comic Books of the Second World War by Mark Fertig
Eros Comix titlesEdit
Note: In 1988 the Kirby Awards was disbanded and were replaced by The Harvey and the Eisner Awards.
List of won Eisner Awards:
List of won Harvey Awards:
- Our Publishers
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- Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 2016. ISBN 978-1606999332
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- Spurgeon, Tom. "CR Newsmaker Interview: Mike Catron" The Comics Reporter (February 5, 2012).
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- The Eye of Mongombo at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 26, 2016.
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- "Karate Girl (Volume) - Comic Vine". comicvine.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
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- "2000s". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
- "2010-Present". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
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