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|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Seattle, Washington|
|Distribution||W. W. Norton & Company (United States)|
Diamond Book Distributors (Canada)
Turnaround Publisher Services (United Kingdom)
|Key people||Gary Groth|
|Publication types||Books, comic books, magazines|
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.
Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 by Gary Groth and Michael 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 Fantagraphics (under its Redbeard imprint) published Amazing Heroes, a magazine which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view. The company decided to publish Amazing Heroes as another income stream to supplement The Comics Journal. Amazing Heroes ran for 204 issues (plus a number of specials and annuals), folding with its July 1992 issue.
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 Award
From 1985 to 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 Seattle
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, later known as the publisher of The Comics Reporter, was editor of The Comics Journal from 1994 to 1999.
Financial ups and downs
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 Graphic (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, two-color, saddle stitched, 8½" × 11", with jacket, priced at $7.95.
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 sold over 470 items, including adult comic books and humorous cheesecake-style comics often featuring pin-up girls like Bettie Page.
Comics anthology magazines
- 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 series
- 0: Babel #1 by David B. [France]
- Baobab #1 by Igort [Italy]
- Insomnia #1 by Matt Broersma [U.K./U.S.A.]
- Wish You Were Here #1: The Innocents by Gipi [Italy]
- Interiorae #1 by Gabriella Giandelli [Italy]
- Ganges #1 by Kevin Huizenga [U.S.A.]
- Chimera #1 by Lorenzo Mattotti [Italy]
- Insomnia #2 by Matt Broersma [U.K./U.S.A.]
- Babel #2 by David B. [France]
- Wish You Were Here #2: They Found the Car by Gipi [Italy]
- Reflections #1 by Marco Corona [Italy]
- Baobab #2 by Igort [Italy]
- Niger #1 by Leila Marzocchi [Italy]
- Delphine #1 by Richard Sala [U.S.]
- New Tales of Old Palomar #1 by Gilbert Hernandez [U.S.]
- Interiorae #2 by Gabriella Giandelli [Italy]
- Calvario Hills #1 by Marti [Spain]
- The End #1 by Anders Nilsen [U.S.]
- Reflections #2 by Marco Corona [Italy]
- New Tales of Old Palomar #2 by Gilbert Hernandez [U.S.]
- Delphine #2 by Richard Sala [U.S.]
- Sammy the Mouse #1 by Zak Sally [U.S.]
- Grotesque #1 by Sergio Ponchione [Italy]
- Niger #2 by Leila Marzocchi [Italy]
- Reflections #3 by Marco Corona [Italy]
- Insomnia #3 by Matt Broersma [U.K./U.S.A.]
- New Tales of Old Palomar #3 by Gilbert Hernandez [U.S.]
- Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga [U.S.]
- Baobab #3 by Igort [Italy]
- Delphine #3 by Richard Sala [U.S.]
- Grotesque #2 by Sergio Ponchione [Italy]
- Interiorae #3 by Gabriella Giandelli [Italy]
- Sammy the Mouse #2 by Zak Sally [U.S.]
- Grotesque #3 by Sergio Ponchione [Italy]
- Delphine #4 by Richard Sala [U.S.]
- Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga [U.S.]
- Niger #3 by Leila Marzocchi [Italy]
- Grotesque #4 by Sergio Ponchione [Italy]
- Interiorae #4 by Gabriella Giandelli [Italy]
- Sammy the Mouse #3 by Zak Sally [U.S.]
- Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga [U.S.]
To be released:[when?]
- XX: Babel #3 by David B.
- XX: Baobab #4 by Igort [Italy]
- XX: Calvario Hills #2 by Marti
- XX: The End #2 by Anders Nilsen
- XX: Wish You Were Here #3 by Gipi [Italy]
Classic comics compilations
- 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
- Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It edited by Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd, and Graham Kolbeins
- No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall
- 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 titles
List of won Harvey Awards:
- Our Publishers
- "Publishers Representatives | Publishers Distributors". Turnaround Publisher Services. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- ". . . transforming it from an adzine into a magazine of news and criticism that just happened to carry advertisements." The Comics Journal Message Board :: View topic – The Comics Journal #32 (January 1977).
- Dean, Michael. "Comics Community Comes to Fantagraphics' Rescue,", The Comics Journal, Posted July 11, 2003.
- Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 2016. ISBN 978-1606999332
- Matos, Michelangelo. "Saved by the Beagle," Seattle Arts (September 15, 2004).
- Amazing Heroes #7, December 1981, p. 5 indicia
- "'Everything Was in Season,'": Kim Thompson: "We decided to do a magazine that would cover the mainstream in a more fannish manner."
- "'Everything Was in Season,'" The Comics Journal (DEC. 08, 2016): Kim Thompson: "If you want to look at it cynically, we set out to steal The Comic Reader's cheese. Which we did."
- "Newswatch: Amazing Heroes Folding," The Comics Journal #149 (March 1992), p. 22.
- "GCD :: Issue :: The Flames of Gyro". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- Schmidt, Joseph (January 18, 2017). "6 Alternative Comics Publishers You Need to Know — And Read". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Olbrich, Dave (December 17, 2008). "The End of the Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards: A Lesson in Honesty". Funny Book Fanatic (Dave Olbrich official blog). Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- "Newswatch: Kirby Awards End In Controversy," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), pp. 19–20.
- Spurgeon, Tom (January 4, 2008). "CR Holiday Interview #9: Eric Reynolds". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2011. External link in
- "Comics Reporter Blog Reaches Anniversary". Editor & Publisher. October 10, 2007.
- Dean, Michael. "Seven Hills Follows LPC into Limbo, Marvel Abandons Diamond for CDS," The Comics Journal, Posted August 30, 2002.
- The 300th and final magazine-sized issue of the Comics Journal Archived April 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine The Comics Journal No. 300 free and online
- Phegley, Kiel. "Rethinking 'The Comics Journal'", Comic Book Resources, October 30, 2009
- Spurgeon, Tom. "TCJ Moves More Dramatically On-Line; Print Version To Come Out Two Times A Year", The Comics Reporter, October 27, 2009
- Kozinn, Allan. "Fantagraphics Seeks Support With a Kickstarter Campaign," New York Times (November 6, 2013)
- Spurgeon, Tom (March 9, 2009). "CR Newsmaker: Kim Thompson On Fantagraphics Publishing Jacques Tardi". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Spurgeon, Tom. "CR Newsmaker Interview: Mike Catron" The Comics Reporter (February 5, 2012).
- Baehr, Mike. "Welcome back Mike Catron & Preston White!" The Comics Journal Blog (February 6, 2012).
- Ulin, David L. "Jacket Copy: Fantagraphics' co-publisher Kim Thompson has lung cancer," Los Angeles Times (March 7, 2013).
- "Obituary: Kim Thompson, 1956-2013". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- Melrose, Kevin. "Fantagraphics surpasses its $150,000 Kickstarter goal," Robot6 (November 12, 2013).
- Tom Sutton interview (February 2001). "An Odd Man Out: Tom Sutton". The Comics Journal (230). Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012.
- The Eye of Mongombo at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 26, 2016.
- Fantagraphics Looses the Beasts Again, Comic Book Resources, November 13, 2008
- Jason Brice. "I Killed Adolf Hitler Review - Line of Fire Reviews - Comics Bulletin". comicsbulletin.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- "Karate Girl (Volume) - Comic Vine". comicvine.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- "1980s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
- "1980s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
- "1990s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
- "2000s". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
- "2010-Present". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Previous Winners". Harvey Awards. October 5, 2018.
- Spurgeon, Tom with Michael Dean. "'Everything Was in Season': Fantagraphics from 1978–1984: Amazing Heroes," The Comics Journal (DEC. 08, 2016).
- Fantagraphics Books at the Grand Comics Database
- Fantagraphics Books at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Fantagraphics Books at the Big Comic Book Database
- Fantagraphics Books at Inducks