|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Seattle, Washington|
|Distribution||W. W. Norton & Company|
|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 adult-oriented Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists publish their work through Fantagraphics, including Jessica Abel, Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Roberta Gregory, Joe Sacco, and Chris Ware.
Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 by Gary Groth and Mike Catron at College Park, Maryland. Kim Thompson joined the company in 1977, and soon became a co-owner with Groth. Catron acted as Fantagraphics' co-publisher until 1985, also handling advertising and circulation for The Comics Journal from 1982–1985, when he left the company.
Fantagraphics publishes The Comics Journal (TCJ), a magazine that covers comics as an art form from a critical perspective. From 1981 to 1992, Fantagraphics also published Amazing Heroes, which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view.
Since 1982, Fantagraphics has also published critically acclaimed and award-winning series and graphic novels such as Acme Novelty Library, Eightball, Ghost World, Hate, and Love and Rockets. In 1990, the publisher introduced Eros Comix, a lucrative line of erotic comics. Since 2005, Fantagraphics has been co-publishing the Ignatz Series, edited and produced by the Italian artist Igort.
In 2003, comics journalist (and Fantagraphics employee) Michael Dean summed up the economic history of the company this way:
The publisher has alternated between flourishing and nearly perishing over the years. It would have been out of business as long ago as 1978 if Kim Thompson hadn't poured his inheritance into the company's survival. In 1991, Fantagraphics was saved from closing its doors by the launching of its relatively lucrative erotic comics line. As recently as 1998, the company was forced into a round of layoffs.
In 2003 Fantagraphics 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.
The Kirby Award and the Harvey Award
From 1985–1987, Fantagraphics coordinated and presented (through 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 fan conventions, such as the Chicago Comicon, the Dallas Fantasy Fair, WonderCon, the Pittsburgh Comicon, and the MoCCA Festival. In 2006 the awards' presentation was moved to the Baltimore Comic-Con, where it has been held ever since.
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.
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, mostly adult comic books.
Comic book series
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]
Eros Comix Titles
- Aunts in your Pants by Enrico Teodorani
- Birdland by Gilbert Hernandez
- Elizabeth Bathory by Raulo Cáceres
- Ironwood by Bill Willingham
- Karate Girl
- Omaha the Cat Dancer by Kate Worley (story) and Reed Waller (art)
- Ramba by Rossi, Delizia, and Laurenti, whose protagonist is an erotic Italian hitlady
- Small Favors by Colleen Coover
- Sticky by Dale Lazarov and Steve MacIsaac
- Submit! by Silvano & Enrico Teodorani
- Tales from the Clit by Enrico Teodorani
- Tijuana Bibles
- Untamed Love by Frank Frazetta
- Vladrushka and Rosa & Annalisa by JLRoberson
- Wendy Whitebread by Don Simpson
- Wheela, Biker Bitch of the Apocalypse by Enrico Teodorani
- Bondage Fairies (1996)
- Hot Tails (1996)
- Spunky Knight (1996)
- Super Taboo (1996)
- Countdown: Sex Bomb (1997)
- Misty Girl Extreme (1997)
- Silky Whip by Oh! great (1998)
- New Bondage Fairies: Fairie Fetish (1998)
- Slut Girl (2000)
- Pink Sniper by Kengo Yonekura (2006)
- Domin-8 Me! by Sesshu Takemura (2007, original title: Take On Me)
- Milk Mama by Yukiyanagi (2008)
- Love Selection by Gunma Kisaragi (2010)
- Too Hot to Handle by Jogi Tsukino (2010, original title: ♭37°C)
- Love & Hate by Enomoto Heights (2011)
- A Strange Kind of Woman by Inu (2011)
- Anything Goes!
- 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
- King by Ho Che Anderson
- Pixy by Max Andersson
- Ghost World by Dan Clowes
- Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Dan Clowes
- Beasts by Jacob Covey
- The Wipeout by Francesca Ghermandi
- Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez
- Locas by Jaime Hernandez
- I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason
- Anywhere But Here by Miki Tori
- Palestine by Joe Sacco
- Safe Area Goražde by Joe Sacco
- Harum Scarum by Lewis Trondheim
- The Hoodoodad by Lewis Trondheim
- Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality by David Sandlin
- Weathercraft and Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring
Classic comics compilations
- The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library
- Captain Easy
- The Complete Crumb Comics
- Dennis the Menace
- Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse
- Feiffer: The Collected Works
- Krazy Kat
- Little Nemo
- Little Orphan Annie
- The Complete Peanuts
- Poor Arnold's Almanac
- The Complete E. C. Segar Popeye
- Powerhouse Pepper
- Prince Valiant
- Sam's Strip
- Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History by Fredrik Strömberg
- Tales of Terror! The EC Companion by Grant Geissman and Fred von Bernewitz
- Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics. (forthcoming) ISBN 1-56097-738-8
- Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Matos, Michelangelo. "Saved by the Beagle," Seattle Arts (September 15, 2004).
- Comics Community Comes to Fantagraphics' Rescue. By Michael Dean, The Comics Journal, Posted July 11th, 2003.
- Seven Hills Follows LPC into Limbo, Marvel Abandons Diamond for CDS. By Michael Dean, The Comics Journal, Posted August 30th, 2002.
- Spurgeon, Tom (March 9, 2009). "CR Newsmaker: Kim Thompson On Fantagraphics Publishing Jacques Tardi". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- "Newswatch: Kirby Awards End In Controversy," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), pp. 19-20.
- Karate Girl at Comic Vine
- Fantagraphics Looses the Beasts Again, Comic Book Resources, November 13, 2008
- Review of I Killed Adolf Hitler, Comics Bulletin
- Official website
- Fantagraphics Books at the Grand Comics Database
- Fantagraphics Books at the Comic Book DB
- Fantagraphics Books at the Big Comic Book Database
- Fantagraphics Books at the INDUCKS
- Ignatz Series
- Coconino Press