FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS IS ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT. CONTINUE OUR LEGACY BY HELPING TO FINANCE OUR SPRING-SUMMER SEASON, AND BE A PART OF THE COMPANY THAT HAS PUBLISHED MORE GREAT CARTOONISTS THAN ANY PUBLISHER IN THE HISTORY OF COMICS.
2013 has been a particularly hard year for all of us at Fantagraphics Books. Earlier in the year, one of our founding partners, Kim Thompson, was diagnosed with lung cancer and died four and a half months later, on June 19. Because Kim was such an active part of our company, his death has had repercussions — emotionally, of course, but financially as well. Kim edited our European graphic novel line and as a result of his illness, 13 of his books scheduled for the Spring-Summer season had to be cancelled or postponed, representing the loss of nearly a third of that season. Our fixed costs stayed the same —because they’re fixed— but the income 13 books would’ve generated was lost, disrupting our cash flow, and leaving us in a tight spot. Many, if not most of them, will be re-scheduled (Jacques Tardi’s Run Like Crazy, Run Like Hell is scheduled for July 2014, for example) but in the meantime, we’ve suffered a severe shortfall that will impede our ability to produce next season’s books. That’s why we’re asking our faithful readers and new converts alike to help us recoup — and help finance our next season’s books. The money you contribute will go toward production, design, marketing, and printing our books.
OUR NEXT SEASON: April-August 2014
Our Spring-Summer season comprises 39 books by a stellar line-up of cartoonists. We’re biased, but we think it’s possibly our best ever. There are a number of books from names familiar to longtime Fantagraphics readers — do Peter Bagge, Dan Clowes, Joe Sacco, Drew Friedman, Michael Kupperman, Jim Woodring, Don Rosa, Tony Millionaire, or Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez ring a bell? —not to mention any number of other names that could anchor a comics Hall of Fame: Charles Schulz, Steve Ditko, Simon & Kirby, Hal Foster, Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson, L.B. Cole, Jacques Tardi, Joihn Severin, S. Clay Wilson, Wally Wood, and more. We also have one of our strongest seasons of original graphic novels ever, including new greaphic novels from Olivier Schrauwen, Simon Hanselmann, Esther Pearl Watson, Conor Stechschulte, Carol Swain, Lane Milburn, Eleanor Davis, and Ed Piskor.
From The Complete witzend to The Complete Eightball, Buddy Bradley to Megg & Mogg, and Don Rosa’s ducks to S. Clay Wilson’s pirates, not to mention new Peanuts, Disney, EC and Love and Rockets books, our 2014 lineup truly features The World’s Greatest Cartoonists.
And that's merely one publishing season of five months; we publish a virtual pantheon of cartoonists every season. This isn’t about a single cartoonist or book, but a critical mass of work by a group of utterly amazing intergenerational cartoonists. Help us keep this flag flying.
We don’t want to bore you with a list of what we’ve accomplished over the nearly four decades that we have been publishing. Many of you know who we are, but for those of you who don’t and those of you who have forgotten:
Gary Groth started co-publishing The Comics Journal, now the longest running print magazine about comics, in 1976. It was the beginning of a quixotic venture: Our immediate goals were to publish advocacy journalism and serious criticism, elevate the artistry of comics, and fight for creator rights. In short, to declare war on the creative mediocrity that dominated mainstream comics at the time as well as on the greedy corporate policies of the major companies. This was a time when artists had virtually no alternatives to Marvel and DC, when the underground comix distribution system had effectively collapsed, and when there were no alternative publishers.
After four or five years of encouraging independent and alternative cartoonists (and chastising mainstream comics companies), we took a big risk by putting our meager money where our enormous mouths were and published a number of emerging, then-unknown cartoonists in rapid succession throughout the 1980s: Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Peter Bagge, Dan Clowes, and Joe Sacco, among others. We wanted to complement our criticism of the status quo by publishing comics that reflected our commitment to the art form. We also began publishing collections reprinting newspaper strips like Popeye and Prince Valiant, and collections of work by such artists as R. Crumb, Jules Feiffer, Ralph Steadman, Spain Rodriguez, Vaughn Bode, and many others in the underground counter-cultural tradition. We have been unwavering in our devotion to honoring the history of cartooning and championing the next generation(s) of cartoonists.
In a world of throw-away art, filled to overflowing with comics that are trite, jejune, juvenile, and thoughtless, we’ve always wanted to publish comics that will endure, and have consistently published cartoonists who pushed the boundaries of the expressive possibilities of the form.
We have been waving the banner of cartooning for almost 40 years now, and our always believed in its artistic potential— in its power and subtlety, its vast capaciousness and intimate smallness, its ability to transport us to different worlds or express the human heart in conflict with itself, its ability to vivify political and historical events or reveal intimate autobiographical truths, its hilariously vulgar humor or its moving urban dramas.
THE PERENNIAL STRUGGLE
We are not going to bullshit you. If we were a big corporate publisher (or perhaps an avaricious smaller one), we’d have plenty of money to weather this temporary crisis. But, we’re not. Ours is and always has been an intrinsically difficult commercial enterprise, and we have survived due to a combination of good taste, sheer will, good luck, and reasonable business acumen. Still, it has never been easy. Fantagraphics has always been a guerilla publisher — lean and mean. In order to do what we do, we’ve always kept our overhead low and our lifestyle modest. No fancy offices, no limousines, no frills. We publish 100 books a year with a staff of 20 — a level of efficiency unheard of in corporate publishing. We work hard! We would never be mistaken for a bottom-line oriented, bean-counting commercial publisher with their blockbuster mentality, bloated budgets, and eagerness to pander to the lowest common denominator of consumers. We pride ourselves on taking risks, publishing work based on merit, and a commitment to serious artistic standards.
And we take pride in our professionalism; we are a publisher with a highly skilled, dedicated, and passionate staff, who shares our values and the values of our authors, believes deeply in what they do, and who edits, designs, and markets our author’s books with great love and care. We have created an infrastructure that is specifically tailored to sell the kinds of books we publish — great works of comics, art, and literature. But, this infrastructure costs money and it’s not always commensurate with the fluctuations of income from selling books. Our fixed costs stay the same throughout the year: rent, payroll, health care premiums (over $1 million paid over the last 15 years!), utilities, etc. But, the postponement or cancellation of so many books in a single season causes a precipitous drop in income.
We have always managed to weather the lean times. Sometimes wealthy patrons have loaned us money and on one or two occasions we have campaigned directly to you, our readers, pre-Kickstarter, and asked you to buy books when we were on the edge. We have throughout our history flirted with the idea of looking for an investor, but rejected it on principle: unless someone invested in us in the spirit of being a patron of the arts —highly unlikely— that way leads not only to madness but to the slow erosion of the core principles the company was founded on. (Does everyone remember what happened to Kitchen Sink Press when investors got their claws into them?).
We’ve has never existed comfortably within the traditional capitalist model— ruthlessly competitive, obsessed with growth and the endless accumulation of surplus money. Our artistic values have always tempered our profitability. Fantagraphics has always managed to scrape by, but we realized that with the advent of crowd sourcing, we are in a position to make an end-run around the most brutish strictures of the marketplace and appeal directly to our readers. We now live in a world where artists as diverse as Spike Lee and Amanda Palmer can ask their fans to help finance their art and, in that same spirit, we are asking you to help us continue this quixotic enterprise.
Please visit the catalog over at the Fantagraphics website for a more in-depth description of each book!
Newest premiums added at the top!
COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS SIGNED BY R. CRUMB: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13 and 15 are available signed by R. Crumb. $30-35 each.
HOWARD CHAYKIN FOLIO: a black and white folio of 6 plates, signed and numbered 839/1000, 1978.
ESTEBAN MAROTO FOLIO: a full-color 12 plate set, signed and numbered 462/600. 1978.
NEAL ADAMS FOLIO: a COLOR folio of 4 plates, 1978. Framable quality.
JERRY BINGHAM FOLIO: a black and white folio of 6 plates, 1982. Framable quality.
RICHARD HESCOX FOLIO: a black and white folio of 6 plates, signed and numbered 513/1200.
FRANK CIROCCO FOLIO: a folio of 7 plates (6 b/w, 1 color), Signed and numbered, 1980.
JOHN BOLTON FOLIO: a black and white folio of six plates, 1985. Framable quality.
BRIAN BOLLAND FOLIO: a black and white folio of six plates. 1985, framable quality.
MICHAEL ZECK FOLIO: a black and white folio of six plates featuring The Punisher. 1986, framable quality.
NESTOR REDONDO FOLIO: "Men, Maiden and Myths" a black and white folio of five plates from 1979. Signed and numbered 179/1000. Framable quality.
VAL MAYERIK FOLIO: "Obsessions" a signed black and white six plate folio from 1988. Signed and numbered 193/1200. Framable quality.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL FOLIO: "The Curse of the Ring"a black and white six plate folio from 1980 inspired by Wagner's Ring Cycle. Numbered 403/1200. Framable quality.
SIGNED BOOKS! We have many, many, many signed books from previous years just waiting to make their new home on your bookshelf.
More signed books!
SIMON HANSELMANN SHIRT: "Blacklight Ecstasy Kickstarter Party! Status: FUNDED!" and at the bottom "Commemorative, celebratory casual garment. SEE YOU AT THE DOG TRACK!" $40
WANDERING SON VOL. 7 pre-order: The gender-identity-based and critically acclaimed manga from Shimura Takako (200 page) follows the crew into high school, theater club and even acne! $40
NIJIGAHARA HOLOGRAPH pre-order: pre-order a copy of Inio Asano's epic manga (200 pages) that takes place over 10 years. Translated by Matt Thorn, $40
SPIEGELMAN #11: Vian 8 "A Snake for Everyone (librettos, songs and scenes), signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1985 ($80)
SPIEGELMAN 10: Vian 7 Vercoquin and the Plankton, signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1982, ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #9: Vian 6 I Wouldn't Want to Croak and Other Poems, signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1985 ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #8: Vian 5 Dead Men All Have the Same Skin signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1980 ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #7: Vian 4 "The Commissar and the Green Panther, signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1984 ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #6: Vian 3. Hundred Sonnets, wrap around cover from a Boris Vian volume, signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1989 ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #5: "Vian 2" proof for Vian's collected short stories volume1, signed by Spiegelman. Circa 1986 7 3/4 x 11" ($80)
SPIEGELMAN #3: Printers proofs of wrap-around cover to Paul Auster's New York Trilogy novels signed by Spiegelman, size approximately 18 3/4" x 9 1/4" 2006. ($100)
SPIEGELMAN #2: Artist proofs 2 color print, circa 1994. Size approximately 18 1/2" x 21" ($150)
TIM LANE DUST BOWL LINOLEUM PRINT: "Congress Created Dust Bowl" linoleum print approximately 6.5x5.75" printed by the cartoonist himself, signed and numbered.
TIM LANE COWBOY LINOLEUM PRINT: "Congress Created Dust Bowl" linoleum print approximately 5x7" printed by the cartoonist himself, signed and numbered.
SIGNED OPUS + A B&W SKETCH ($500): A copy of the hardcover memoir/coffee table book (224 full color pages) with a signed black and white sketch by Barry Windsor Smith.
COLOR SKETCH IN UNCLE SCROOGE AND DONALD DUCK "The Son of the Sun": Don Rosa will draw a color head shot of a character of your choice with an expression of your choice that will be tipped-in to your copy of the book. Signed (and dedicated to you if you choose).
CATHY MALKASIAN SOAP ($30): A set of three handmade soaps based on characters from Malkasian's comics, created by the cartoonist herself.
LINDA MEDLEY COLOR SCREENPRINT: "Bonne Lecture" screen print 13.25 x 18. Numbered and signed by cartoonist, 2008.
LINDA MEDLEY BLACK & TAN SCREENPRINT: "Bonne Lecture" screen print 13.25 x 18. Signed by cartoonist, 2008.
Blighted Eye JUSTIN GREEN PRINT ($150): The iconic cover of one of the seminal 1972 autobiographical underground comics: Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. Signed by Justin Green.
Blighted Eye KIM DEITCH PRINT ($150): “Hell.” Giclee print from a 25” x 18 ½” ink & watercolor masterpiece, 1985.
Blighted Eye GARY PANTER PRINT ($150): Six-panel painted comic strip titled “Henry Webb” (1992), starring Panter’s every-idiot; a stand-alone painting. Signed.
Blighted Eye ROBERT WILLIAMS PRINT: Entitled “Gaudi,” celebration of the architect Antonio Gaudi, originally published in Gothic Blimp Works, 1970. Signed.
Charles Burns 12 Set of Special Edition Elysian Beer Bottles ($250): Twelve empty bottles from the Elysian's 12 Beers of the Apocalypse (2012) with art by Charles Burns.
Eleanor Davis 2 Print Set ($100): Two limited edition signed prints by Eleanor Davis.
Conor Stechschulte Print ($50): One limited edition silkscreened signed print by Conor Stechschulte, from his new book The Amateurs.
R. Crumb prints ($1000): Four covers of WEIRDO (#4, 8, 10 and 11), each suitable for framing, in a folio. Includes a plate signed and numbered by Robert Crumb.
Jack Davis Signed Print ($25): "BOO" A signed 9x12 print by THE Jack Davis
Signed Jim Woodring Print ($200): A hippocamp fighting (or loving, you decide) a scolpendra as seen in BEASTS 2. Size? Huge. Measurements to come.
Signed Kim Deitch (and Simon Deitch) Print: A warehouse find dating from sometime within 1988-1992. Approximately 28" x18"
Signed OMAHA THE CAT DANCER PRINT: a huge, beautiful screen print titled "Afternoon of a Feline". Signed by Reed Waller and Kate Worley (RIP). Approximately 35" x 25" Warehouse find!
Signed Usagi Yojimbo Print ($60): From 1988, a bitchin' warehouse find! Signed and numbered
Hooked on Comix DVD Package: Get all three DVDs of documentary series on alternative contemporary cartoonists, Hooked on Comix Volumes 1-3. Interviews done in the cartoonists' home or studio. For a larger description: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
Signed Dave Stevens King Kong Print: A beautiful screen print by the late, great Dave Stevens, approximately 16.5 x 23.5.
Arnold Roth Print: Featuring a comic about Abraham Lincoln, signed and numbered by Arnold Roth.
Tim Lane Print and Tim Lane Print #2 Train Hopping ($150 each)
Dense infographic posters featuring only the best Americana drawn by Tim Lane. Size approximately: 18" x 24"
ORIGINAL DRAWING BY PAUL KARASIK & MARK NEWGARDEN + NANCY PROOFSHEET: Original vintage slick-stock proof sheet for a week of 1960s NANCY dailies! These are printed directly from the original metal plates and were distributed to subscribing newspapers by United Features Syndicate to print their daily funnies from. Approx.10 x 17" excellent. They come with an original drawing by Karasik and Newgarden.
Gilbert Hernandez Print: This new print features the moody landscape that is the background to the 2013 release of The Children of Palomar (and once Old Tales of New Palomar) drawn by Gilbert Hernandez. Size approximately: 17"x22"
Drew Friedman Print ($200): A new print featuring a portrait of Steve Ditko from Friedman's new book Heroes of the Comic Books. (And Ditko just turned 85 this year!). Size approximately: 17"x22"
Film Noir 101 Print ($75): A limited edition print.Size approximately: 17"x22"
Film Noir 101 Print: MURDER MY SWEET ($75): A limited edition print. Size approximately: 17"x22"
Risks and challenges
Risks: It's possible that a few books will be late (we already buffered the delivery months!), because printing relies on cartoonists who deliver books on time, printers who use the correct materials and US customs to give our books a patriotic thumbs-up. If it happens, it won't be long and we'll stay in contact with you, dear reader.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter