Checker Book Publishing Group
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|Industry||Publishers of Comics Reprints|
|Founded||2000 by Mark Thompson & Paul Dubuc|
|Headquarters||217 Byers Rd., Miamisburg, Ohio 45342|
|Mark Thompson, Publisher|
Jason Drury, Art Director
Sylvia Maye, Associate Editor/Publicity Dir.
Checker Book Publishing Group was an independent publisher of comics reprints, from newspaper strips to contemporary out-of-print titles and collections from defunct publishers. In 2012, they seemingly disappeared from the market. A few years later, they re-emerged as a presumptive publisher of projected role-playing super-hero board games. However, none of this seems to have materialised, and no more news of the company has been heard since 2017, which was the last time their company website was updated.
Based in Miamisburg near Dayton, Ohio, CheckerBPG was established in 2000 by Mark Thompson and Paul Dubuc with the intent to bring back into print "dormant, unpublished, and under-published serial comics and cartooning."
CheckerBPG's publisher, Mark Thompson, graduated from Miami University with a business degree, and worked for a newspaper before starting his first comics company - Checker Comics - in 1997. Based in the Oregon District, Checker Comics published original works including Danger Ranger and Mutator before becoming one of many victims of the collapse of the comics speculator bubble in the late 1990s.
Checker Book Publishing was incorporated in 2001. Over the next five years, Checker published 43 titles. Between 2004 and 2005, two of Checker's co-founders departed the company, and in 2010, Thompson joined with Josh Blaylock of Devils Due Publishing to create Devil's Due Digital Inc. The present state of the company is uncertain—it seems to again be defunct (the company webpage has not been updated since 2017).
Reprints and rights
Other reprint rights of older material secured by Checker included Dick Tracy, Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, the Gold Key Star Trek comics, and Johnny Hart's B.C. as well as works by Theodor Seuss Geisel.
CheckerBPG launched with its November, 2001 release of Chuck Dixon's Alien Legion: Force Nomad. Other early titles included Clive Barker's Hellraiser and his Eisner Award-nominated anthology Tapping the Vein.
CheckerBPG began reprinting out-of-print material in November, 2003 with their first collection of Winsor McCay's Early Works, Max Allan Collins' Dick Tracy work, and the first volume of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon (1947). By Summer, 2007, eight volumes of each were in print. Further volumes of McCay's works - including Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend and his Editorial Works were also published, alongside the first (of two) collection of his Little Nemo in Slumberland strips.
CheckerBPG released their first "of several" volume of Max Allan Collins' Dick Tracy works in November 2003 as Dick Tracy: The Collins Casefiles Volume 1, and a second and third volume followed within a year. Reprinted in the 'regular' trade paperback format, Checker's volumes print three daily strips per page, with the Sunday strips (in the first volume) "chopped up", losing the logo and "Rogues Gallery" headers (some of these were subsequently included as separate extras in Volume 2).
- Volume 1 (Nov 2003) collects Max Allan Collin's Tracy-writing debut, covering the rough period of January–December 1978.
- Volume 2 (May 2004) collects the Dick Tracy strips originally published during 1979.
- Volume 3 (Nov 2004) collects the strips from January 6, 1980 to January 17, 1981.
Between June 2004 and January 2007, Checker reprinted the complete Flash Gordon Sunday strips of Alex Raymond. These strips had been previously collected in colour by Kitchen Sink Press, but had been out-of-print for several years.
- Volume 1 (Jun 2004) collects Raymond's earliest Sunday Strips starting from the first, printed on January 7, 1934.
- Volume 2 (Aug 2004) collects strips from 1935 and 1936.
- Volume 3 (Mar 2005) collects the pages printed between October 25, 1936 and August 1, 1937.
- Volume 4 (Oct 2005) collects strips printed between 1938 and 1940.
- Volume 5 (Nov 2005) collects "The Ice Kingdom of Mongo", "Power Men of Mongo", and "The Fall of Ming"; 1940 to 1941.
- Volume 6 (Dec 2006) collects the pages printed from August 1941 to May 1943.
- Volume 7 (Jan 2007) collects the final strips from mid-1943, until the final Raymond issue from February 1945.
Little Nemo in Slumberland
In Summer 2007, Checker announced a two-volume hardback edition of Winsor McCay's landmark strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, claiming it to "provide the most comprehensive collection of the series ever produced".
CheckerBPG did not only publish old works. In addition to producing a collection of Johnny Hart's B.C. and two volumes of early works by Theodor Seuss Geisel, Checker also published (and re-published) works from defunct companies such as Awesome Comics, Epic Comics, Gold Key Comics, Malibu Comics, and Topps Comics.
- James Hannah (12 December 2003). "Publishers dusting off old-time comics characters". The Augusta Chronicle. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
- Checker's Steve Canyon 1954 (Vol. 8) Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 11, 2008
- Guns in the Gutters review of The Collins Casefiles Vol. 1 by Christopher Mills Archived 2010-10-20 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 11, 2008
- Checker's Little Nemo.. Volume 2 Archived 2008-03-11 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 11, 2008