You are currently browsing the fantagraphics category

That author is Alan Moore, in case you didn’t know or couldn’t guess.

§ April 9th, 2021 § Filed under collecting, fantagraphics, Uncategorized § 7 Comments

So when I crack open the shipping boxes from my distributor(s), it’s not often that I’m caught off guard by what I find inside. …Okay, wait, scratch that, I am frequently surprised by stuff like getting a single plastic Legion of Super-Heroes ring by itself in a full-sized box, or even this week, when I received 53 extra, unordered copies of a variant for the new Magic: The Gathering comic.

What I mean by “surprised” in this case is a good surprise, as I’d completely forgotten that I ordered copies of this for the shop:

This is a treasury-sized reprint of the classic story from issue #2 of the 1986 Anything Goes anthology. It was a surprise because I 100% forgot I’d ordered it and that it was coming.

The story itself is 13 pages, presented here in full color and looking possibly even more beautiful than it did in its original appearance. The rest of this 24-page publication is mostly text (with some illustrations), addressing the creation of the comic, what Anything Goes was for (raising legal costs for Fantagraphics), talking a bit about the fact The Author’s name isn’t on the cover, that sort of thing.

Now, to be fair, I haven’t read this yet. I mean, the original comic I read plenty of times since its initial publication, as I was one of those guys buying Anything Goes as it came out, and I was in the bag for anything The Author was writing (thanks to his Swamp Thing work, natch). But there are a couple of nice alternate covers for In Pictopia by the story’s primary artist, Don Simpson, in here, which apparently were art commissions or for a planned reprinting that didn’t happen.

I did catch somewhere in here where it said the story was “much anthologized,” which I wondered about. The only place I could come up with off the top of my head is the 1990 Fantagraphics collections Best Comics of the Decade (which I also own), and the Grand Comics Database entry I linked above mentions a 2016 collection. I don’t know of others, but honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me.

A quick Googling around seems to reveal at least some of the backmatter in this book had appeared on Simpsons’ own blog, but that’s fine. It’s nice to have a print copy in hand that I can still read long after the internet is destroyed for the good of humanity.

What’s funny is that I almost missed ordering this…it’s stuck in my head as being titled just “Pictopia,” and that extra preposition was enough to throw me off just a tad. Plus, not seeing The Author’s name in the credits also misled me to a degree…look, when I’m doing my orders, I have tons of different solicitations in the catalog all vying for my attention so sometimes even the most obvious things can take a moment to make it through my occasionally-working eyeballs and into my brain.

And then on top of that, once the hamsters started to turn the wheels in my head a little more quickly and I realized what “In Pictopia” was, not seeing The Author’s name made me think “wait, are they doing new Pictopia stories without him?” Yes, I actually thought that for half a second. Well, okay, maybe a full second. It just didn’t dawn on me that maybe Mr. The Author wanted his name off more than ancillary Watchmen products. (And actual Watchmen and other DC releases, too, but given the existence of Doomsday Clock it’s fair to say the “Keeping The Author Happy” boat has long sailed, at least for the comic books.)

Despite all that, this In Pictopia tabloid is a great looking package, presenting the comic in a good ‘n’ big size, with what looks like pretty dense discussion of it accompanying the story. The comic itself is an allegory for the comics medium and the crushing of the old in favor of the new…so on the nose that it barely counts as an allegory and is more an explicit description of what The Author thought was happening at the time. I suppose the follow-up I briefly imagined would involve a thinly-disguised Raina Telgemeier rushing in to save the day.

It still holds up a good, and melancholy, tale. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. It remains a concise, pointed masterpiece.

Should also note the contributions of Mike Kazaleh, Pete Poplaski and Eric Vincent, so that the guy who doesn’t want his name involved isn’t ironically the person I refer to the most here.

And a special Eisner for making up the word “Groo-tinuity” goes to….

§ July 28th, 2014 § Filed under adam west, cheese dip, fantagraphics, swamp thing § 4 Comments

So I haven’t really sat down and just written about comics and related topics in a while, so I’m going to see what I can get out of my system in, oh, the next fifteen minutes or so and then crawl off to bed.

Glad to see that Groo Vs. Conan #1 has finally hit the stands…it’s certainly not your typical issue of Groo, not only mixing the world of Groo with the world of Conan, but the “real” world of Mark and Sergio as well. The conceit of the series is that Sergio takes a knock to the noggin, leading him to imagine a story in which the two characters (Groo and Conan, not Sergio and Mark) meet. Thus is an extra layer of fictional reality added to the proceeding, basically making this a Groo “What If” or “Elseworlds” or what-have-you, and not part of regular Groo-tinuity. The Official Handbook of the Groo Universe surely will make note of the story’s non-canonical status.

Ah, I’m just being silly, of course…it’s all a lot of fun, and it’s good to see Groo back on the stands. The Conan material by Tom Yeates and the regular Groo art by that other fellow mix together about as well as you’d expect; it’s jarring, but intentionally and humorously so, and I suspect once we actually get some Groo versus Conan action, it’ll be quite the hoot. Sadly, Stan Sakai didn’t contribute his usually fine lettering job to this issue, likely given current circumstances I believe, but Richard Starkings’s lettering is a reasonable substitute.

Completely changing the subject, the San Diego Con just came and went, which I can tell by the number of people who dropped by the store looking for back issue “keys” over the last few days, and I haven’t really gone out of my way just yet to see what, if any, comic news has emerged from that fire pit. Casual exposure via Internet news sites and YouTube and TV and so on reveals a whole lot of TV show and movie news, naturally, and of course everyone knows about the new Wonder Woman in that forthcoming Superman/Batman movie nobody likes already (I think she looks great, though I couldn’t avoid making the obvious joke because I enjoy being a problem).

Two bits of comic news I particularly enjoyed hearing…well this first one isn’t comics as such, but it’s about the ’60s Batman TV show’s home video release which is vitally important news as far as I’m concerned. The $200 or thereabouts price for the Blu-ray edition of the complete series is a bit dear, and while they’ve announced a stand-alone Season One on DVD, there doesn’t appear to be a Blu-ray equivalent. Can anyone point me in the direction of further information about individual Blu-ray releases for the seasons, or am I just going to have to bite the bullet and grab that complete set? BECAUSE I WILL.

The other big news is Fantagraphics republishing the work of Vaughn Bodé, starting with a big ol’ collection of Cheech Wizard. I do love me some Bodé, as I’ve noted in the past, but oddly enough I don’t have much Cheech Wizard represented in my collection. I definitely look forward to this release.

Oh, and the other news I heard this week was about a reference to a certain swampy friend of ours when you call John Constantine’s phone number. Haven’t done it yet, myself, but I guess I’d better or I’ll have to turn in my fanboy card.

There’s stuff about new Star Wars comics, too, but I’ll get to that later.

And that’s about fifteen minutes of typing (and virtually no proofreading), save for the minute or two scanning the pic. And don’t forget to go read my latest End of Civilization post…and remind me to post the one Diamond Previews listing I accidentally forgot to include this time around!

Kim Thompson.

§ June 24th, 2013 § Filed under fantagraphics, obituary § 6 Comments

As I’m sure you know, Fantagraphics mainstay Kim Thompson has passed away at the far too young age of 56. I was a fan of Thompson’s work on The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes, and of course have enjoyed many comics that he helped along the path of publication. Tom Spurgeon gathered together lists of some Thompson-related publications from fans here, and gives a more general overview of his contributions to the comics world here.

A few comics from the archives that have Thompson credited as editor:

Critters was Thompson’s funny animal anthology, containing a high-quality selection of material throughout its run. This issue, near the end of its run, was a follow-up to Mike Kazaleh’s sci-fi comedy Adventures of Captain Jack, catching up with a couple of cast members after the end of that series in a decidedly down-to-earth non sci-fi story. I see in one of the above links that Spurgeon mentioned Thompson’s dismay that Kazaleh didn’t have more exposure in the industry…well, I found Kazaleh thanks to Fantagraphics, and I’ve been a fan since. Once, at a local convention, Kazaleh was a guest, sketching Ninja Turtle after Ninja Turtle for kids, since that’s what he was working on at the time. I asked for a Captain Jack drawing, and he was so happy he almost insisted I take it for free!

I’ve spoken about Eye of Mongombo before…a bizarrely hilarious adventure book in the style of Carl Barks’ duck books, kinda sorta. Still not complete, but still completely great. Thompson is listed as editor, and if he was responsible for getting this published under the Fantagraphics banner…oh, man, thank you.

I miss seeing the occasional J.R. Williams comic from Fantagraphics, but I’m grateful for the ones we got.

I honestly don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said more thoroughly and more eloquently by others about the passing of Kim Thompson. All I know is that his name was on a lot of comics and magazines I enjoyed, and I’m thankful for his efforts in bringing them to us.

So long, Kim.

There is an index entry for “angelfood cake with seven minute frosting.”

§ August 29th, 2011 § Filed under fantagraphics, peanuts § 4 Comments

So I just finished reading Fantagraphics’ The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982, and again, like I explained last time, the vast majority of this book was new to me, having not read previous reprintings of the strips from this period (as opposed to the near-memorization of the reprint books from the late ’70s and earlier).

One of the great new features of this particular reprint series, aside from, y’know, the whole completeness of the strips reprints and all, is the index in each volume. Sometimes humorously exact (like the breakdown of which Beagle Scouts are mentioned by name on which page), sometimes helpful (the “psychiatric help” listing helped my research in writing this Content Farm gag), sometimes facilitating celebrity spotting (oh, hey, namecheck of Carl Sagan in this volume)…

…And sometimes it’s a useful tool in documenting character appearances in the strip. Like Violet…in this 1981-1982 volume, Violet only appears on one page, versus (pulling out an earlier volume at random) 1961-1962, where she appears on about 30 pages. Yes, I know it’s no secret that some characters fell by the wayside as time went on (alas, poor Shermy), but it’s still a little…sad, I suppose, to see once prominent inhabitants of the strip only pop up once in a blue moon in the latter part of its run, if at all.

By the way, in the earlier volume, Violet was listed in the index under “Violet,” but when I couldn’t find her in the 1981-1982 volume’s index, I realized that she was probably listed under her last name, which I could not remember for the life of me. A quick Googling took me to her Wikipedia page, revealing that her last name, appearing once in a strip in 1953, is “Gray.” Also, I learned that “her birthday is unofficially celebrated by Peanuts fans on June 17,” so only about 10 shopping months left, friends. Apparently, according to the Wiki entry, this contradicts previous information placing her birthday in other parts of the year. Hey, reader De, remember when you joked about Peanuts canon arguments?

By the way, the index to her Wiki entry reveals her to be a monster:

• • •

In other Peanuts-related news, Tom Spurgeon reports on the possible loss of the Charles Schulz Library at the Center of Cartoon Studies due to storm damage.

Soon perhaps to be the #1 Google result for Teaser and the Blacksmith.

§ September 20th, 2010 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, fantagraphics § 11 Comments

Some of you may have noticed that I had sort of an impromptu Low Content Mode on the site last week, aside from Thursday’s post when I just kinda went on and on. No particular reason for it, other than, you know, having some other things to occupy my precious, precious free time. Like doing a little interior house painting. Or shooting people getting shot repeatedly on Red Dead Redemption. Or actually reading the occasional comic book. Or getting my usual daily dosage of five hours of sleep.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to ease off a bit to recharge the batteries. I have been doing this daily for nearly seven years, when, after working all day slinging funnybooks at customers, I come home and write about funnybooks on the internet for free (well, mostly free, he said, gesturing desperately at his Amazon links). Please don’t begrudge me doing some “easy” posts once in a while. (And I put “easy” in quotes, because sometimes the simple posts end up taking as much time to put together as the more content-ish posts.)

I’m overreacting…it’s not like anyone really complained or anything, and traffic on the site has been up, and it seems like a lot of you folks have enjoyed the last week’s worth of entries…so consider my behavior encouraged. But I sometimes do feel like I’m skimping a bit when I do a lot of scan-heavy posts in a row, so…well, there you go. I’m a victim of my own guilt.

By the way, remember how like every year I say “okay, I’m going to stop updating every day” and yet I still keep posting every day? There’s something wrong with me, man.

BOO HOO I DON’T WASTE TIME ON THE INTERNET PROPERLY. Okay, enough of that, let’s move on to this:

I’ve been trying to use the category/tagging function of this site a little more frequently, mostly because I’m tired of seeing all my posts read “filed under Uncategorized” and, okay, fine, to make things easier for the readers, too. I’ve been a bit silly with some of the tags…I don’t know that I’ll ever use “worm-suit” again, but I’m sure someday I’ll once again find use for the “tampons” tag. I think my favorite category is “freak-out”…be sure to click that and scroll down for an old favorite of mine (after the much more recent post).

• • •

So Tom Spurgeon did one of his regular “Five for Friday” polls where he asked folks to list five favorite Fantagraphics publications that weren’t by Chris Ware, the Hernandez Brothers, Charles Schulz, Dan Clowes, and Peter Bagge. For once I managed to participate in the poll, and you can see my entries about a third of the way through this list of results, somewhere.

I found myself wanting to list far more than the five allowed…I did mention in a note accompanying the list I emailed Tom that the only reason I didn’t list James Sturm’s The Cereal Killings was that he’d already used it in his example list. (And come to think of it…has The Cereal Killings ever been collected? I can’t recall that it has. (For those unfamiliar, it’s sorta like the Watchmen/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of cereal mascots, only far more low key and melancholy than those comparisons may suggest. Also, it’s brilliant.)

One title I did mention was the sadly uncompleted Eye of Mongombo, but when I Googled it up just to make sure I had the spelling correct, I found the blog for Mongombo creator Doug Gray! Specifically, this post featuring newly (as of 2009) commissioned Mongombo art! Pretty cool. Gray also mentions trying to work on the book again, and I sincerely hope he does.

There were several Fantagraphics publications I wanted to mention, like their excellent Popeye collections, or their Zippy books, or any of their Kim Deitch releases, or the pure evil of Scott Russo’s Jizz, or the assorted J.R. Williams magazine one-shots — but I did list his series Crap. Yes, that’s right…Jizz and Crap. Ask for ’em by name! I also thought about mentioning Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories but wasn’t sure if that counted…but looking at that entry which lists Fantagraphics as the publisher, yeah, I guess it would have.

And then I saw other people mentioning Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal in their lists, and I was thinking, damn, why didn’t I think of that?

Oh, man…and there’s Real Stuff, and Anything Goes, and Schizo, and….

Anyway, not sure what the point of all that was, other than “I like a lot of stuff from Fantagraphics and should talk about them more on the site.”

Didn’t see anyone mention Teaser and the Blacksmith, a comic that was…certainly something. Not even sure how to begin describing it, and given the Googling I just performed, if I did describe it I’d become the go-to source on this book and I’m not sure if I’m ready to shoulder that responsibility. (EDIT: Ah, here’s a brief article that notes the premise of the story.)

I was also genuinely surprised no one listed Wendy Whitebread, from Fantagraphics’ Eros division. C’mon, the thing went through multiple printings, and I know I sold a ton of them…some of you have this comic. Don’t deny it.