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 1981, and lasting until 1992, Fantagraphics published Amazing Heroes, a magazine which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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".
To be released:
Amazing Heroes was a magazine about the comic book medium published by American company Fantagraphics Books from 1981 to 1992. Unlike its companion title, The Comics Journal, Amazing Heroes was a hobbyist magazine rather than an analytical journal.BLAB!
Blab! is a comics anthology edited by Monte Beauchamp. Though its primary focus is comics, it regularly features articles with non-comics illustration and graphic design. The first two issues (1986-87) were published by Beauchamp's own imprint, Monte Comix. Kitchen Sink Press took over with issue #3 in 1988, through #8, also publishing 2nd editions of #1 and 2 along the way. Issues #9–18 were published annually by Fantagraphics Books in a 120-page, 10" x 10" square format featuring both black-and-white and color art.
In 2003, Chronicle Books published the book collection New & Used Blab!. As the title suggests, one half of the book consists of selections from previous issues while the other half (bound dos-à-dos style) features new works by frequent contributors.
Several solo books by individual Blab! contributors have been published with the subtitle "A Blab! Storybook."
2007's issue #18 was the final edition of Blab!; in 2010, Last Gasp published the first issue of the hardcover Blab World, which replaces Blab!Bête Noire (comics)
Bête Noire is an international comics anthology published by Fantagraphics Books. While planned to be four issues, only the first issue was published.Charles Burns (cartoonist)
Charles Burns (born September 27, 1955) is an American cartoonist and illustrator.
His early work was published in a Sub Pop fanzine, and he achieved prominence in the early issues of RAW.
His graphic novel Black Hole won the Harvey Award.Critters (comics)
Critters was a funny animal anthology comic book published by Fantagraphics Books from 1985 to 1990 under the editorship of Kim Thompson.
Prior to Furrlough and Genus, this was the longest running funny animal anthology comic book series. The title lasted for 50 issues. Furthermore, it served as the flagship title of Fantagraphics' line of funny animal series in the 1980s.
The last 12 issues were switched to revolving features of issue-long stories, rather than the anthology format. Declining sales, due in part to the 1980s black-and-white comics market overload (many titles of which were funny-animal comics aiming for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles market) led to this title's cancellation.
Alan Moore released a single "March of the Sinister Ducks" as a flexi disc in the comic issue 23.David Gerstein
David Gerstein (born February 6, 1974) is a comics author and editor as well as an animation historian. Gerstein has five books and countless comic book credits to his name. He has written many Disney comics stories. Past employments include Egmont Creative A/S, a Danish comics studio, and Gemstone Publishing. His current work is with IDW Publishing, various affiliates of Egmont, and Fantagraphics Books.Doofus (comics)
Doofus is an American alternative comic book character created by Rick Altergott. In the low-brow, scatological strip, Doofus and his sidekick/pal Henry Hotchkiss are two foolish creeps who have adventures in the fictional Flowertown, USA. Fantagraphics Books published two issues of the series from 1994 to 1997.Drew Friedman (cartoonist)
Drew Friedman is an American cartoonist and illustrator who first gained renown for his humorous artwork and "stippling"-like style of caricature, employing thousands of pen-marks to simulate the look of a photograph. In the mid-1990s, he switched to painting.
Friedman's work has appeared in such periodicals as Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Observer, Esquire, RAW, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and Mad. His works have been anthologized in seven collections, and he has illustrated a number of books, including Howard Stern's Private Parts and Miss America, as well as books of portraits released under his own name.Gary Groth
Gary Groth (born September 18, 1954) is an American comic book editor, publisher and critic. He is editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal and a co-founder of Fantagraphics Books.Ignatz Award
The Ignatz Awards are intended to recognize outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning by small press creators or creator-owned projects published by larger publishers. They have been awarded each year at the Small Press Expo since 1997, only skipping a year in 2001 due to the show's cancellation after the September 11 attacks. As of 2014 SPX has been held in either Bethesda, North Bethesda, or Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Ignatz Awards are named in honour of George Herriman and his strip Krazy Kat, which featured a brick-throwing mouse named Ignatz.Jim (comics)
Jim is a comic book series by Jim Woodring. It began in 1980 as a self-published zine and was picked up by Fantagraphics Books in 1986 after cartoonist Gil Kane introduced Woodring to Fantagraphics co-owner Gary Groth. The publisher released four magazine-sized black-and-white issues starting in September 1987. A comic book-sized continuation, Jim Volume II, with some color, began in 1993 and ran for six issues until 1996.
Jim, which Woodring described as an "autojournal", contained comics on a variety of subjects, many based on dreams, as well as surreal drawings and free-form text which resembled Jimantha automatic writing. Besides dreams, the work drew on Woodring's childhood experiences, hallucinations, past alcoholism, and Hindu beliefs. It also included stories of recurring Woodring characters such as Pulque (the embodiment of drunkenness), boyhood friends Chip and Monk, and, in Volume II, his signature creation Frank.Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco (; born October 2, 1960) is a Maltese-American cartoonist and journalist. He is best known for his comics journalism, in particular in the books Palestine (1996) and Footnotes in Gaza (2009), on Israeli–Palestinian relations; and Safe Area Goražde (2000) and The Fixer (2003) on the Bosnian War.Kim Thompson
Kim Thompson (September 25, 1956 – June 19, 2013) was an American comic book editor, translator, and publisher, best known as vice president and co-publisher of Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books. Along with co-publisher Gary Groth, Thompson used his position to further the cause of alternative comics in the American market. In addition, Thompson made it his business to bring the work of European cartoonists to American readers.List of Harvey Award winners
The following is a list of winners of the Harvey Award, sorted by category.Lloyd Llewellyn
Lloyd Llewellyn (sometimes abbreviated LLLL) is a comic book by Daniel Clowes. The black-and-white series, published by Fantagraphics Books, ran for six issues from April 1986 to June 1987. A final "special" issue was published in December 1988.
The series' title character is a detective who has humorous adventures inspired by film noir and stereotypical 1950s lounge culture. Llewellyn has a sidekick who goes by the name of Ernie Hoyle. The series' police sergeant is called "Red" Hoerring. The series' visual style is influenced by lowbrow art.
The story "The Nightmare" from Lloyd Llewellyn #6 foreshadowed the approach of Clowes's next comic, Eightball, by breaking the conventions of the series' crime setting and turning to social satire. Also in that issue, the author announces:
... And who knows ... somewhere along that lonesome road we might see a new LLLL mag with a brand new format so dazzling, so breathtaking, so monumentally fantastic that I haven't even thought of it yet!
Early issues of Eightball included several additional Lloyd Llewellyn episodes. The character also made various cameo appearances in other Eightball stories.Notes from a Defeatist
Notes from a Defeatist is a collection of short journalistic comics by Joe Sacco. It was published in 2003.Palomar (comics)
Palomar (subtitled The Heartbreak Soup Stories) is the title of a graphic novel written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez and published in 2003 by Fantagraphics Books (ISBN 1-56097-539-3). It collects work previously published within the pages of Love and Rockets (volume one). Palomar is the fictional town in Latin America where all the stories presented are set. Palomar is included in Time magazine's Best Comics of 2003 list, and in 2005 was one of Time's 100 best graphic novels of all time.The Complete Peanuts
The Complete Peanuts is a series of books containing the entire run of Charles M. Schulz's long-running newspaper comic strip Peanuts. The series was published at a rate of two volumes per year, each containing two years of strips (except for the first volume, which includes 1950–1952). Slipcased sets of two volumes are also available. The series comprises a total of 26 volumes, including a bonus book with sketches, interviews, and other extra material. These hardcover books were first published between 2004–2016. Later Fantagraphics Books also began publishing the series in a softcover format. A companion series titled Peanuts Every Sunday, collecting only the Sunday strips of the Peanuts series, was launched by Fantagraphics in 2013 and is scheduled to run until 2022.
Schulz began to discuss an anthology of his work with Fantagraphics Books in 1997. The idea of a complete compendium of all published Peanuts strips was long resisted by Schulz; he did not want some early strips reprinted as he felt they were not as good as the ones he drew later in his career. Approximately 2,000 of the 17,897 strips had never appeared in a previous U.S. collection.
The first book in the series was published in April 2004 and topped the New York Times Best Seller List.The EC Artists' Library
The EC Artists' Library are a series of books released by Fantagraphics Books, collecting anthologies by artists and themes of the comics originally published by EC Comics.