Dean Mullaney

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Dean Mullaney
Dean Mullaney Steve Gerber.png
Dean Mullaney (left) with comics writer Steve Gerber in 1982
Born (1954-06-18) June 18, 1954 (age 61)
Nationality American
Area(s) Publisher
Notable works
Eclipse Books
The Library of American Comics
Awards 2008, 2010-11 Eisner Awards

Dean Mullaney (born June 18, 1954)[1][2] is an American editor, publisher, and designer whose Eclipse Enterprises, founded in 1977, was one of the earliest independent comic book companies. Eclipse would publish some of the first graphic novels and was one of the first comics publishers to champion creators' rights. In the 2000s, he established the imprint The Library of American Comics at IDW Publishing, to publish hardcover collections of comic strips. Mullaney and his work have received seven Eisner Awards.


Dean Mullaney and his brother, rock musician Jan Mullaney, are the sons of early electronica musician Dave Mullaney of the band Hot Butter.[3] The brothers founded Eclipse Enterprises in Staten Island, New York City, New York, in 1977,[4][5] and the following year published one of the first original graphic novels, Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species. Written by Don McGregor and drawn by Paul Gulacy, Sabre was additionally the first graphic novel sold through the new "direct market" of comic-book stores.[6] Eclipse went on to publish the anthology magazine Eclipse and the color-comic anthology Eclipse Monthly, the first of an Eclipse Comics line that eventually included such titles and creators as The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens; Zot! by Scott McCloud; two volumes of Detectives Inc. by McGregor and artists Marshall Rogers and Gene Colan, respectively; Stewart the Rat by writer Steve Gerber and artists Colan and Tom Palmer; and the U.S. reprints of Miracleman by Alan Moore.[7] Eclipse also brought out graphic novels featuring opera adaptations, such as The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell, and children's literature such as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.[8]

In the early 1980s, Mullaney met writer-editor Catherine Yronwode, who was working for cartoonist and entrepreneur Will Eisner. Yronwode recalled that Eisner and his wife Ann "hosted a party for me with all these comic book men I was flirting with. All these men came up; they all wanted to meet Will. One of them was Dean Mullaney, the co-owner of Eclipse Comics, a small independent publishing house. He was the most flirtatious." At some point afterward, once Yronwode finished her work organizing Eisner's archives, she and Mullaney became engaged and moved to California, where they were married.[9]

By the late 1980s, Eclipse was selling a half-million comics a month, and was the third largest comics publisher after Marvel Comics and DC Comics.[10]

In 1986, Eclipse lost most of its back-issue stock in a flood.[11] This event, along with the repercussions of Mullaney's divorce from Yronwode, by then his partner at Eclipse, and the mid-1990s collapse of the direct market distribution system, caused the company to cease operations in 1994,[12][13] and file for bankruptcy in 1995.[14] The company's intellectual property rights were later acquired by Todd McFarlane.[15] Mullaney also attributed the company's demise to a problematic contract with the book publisher HarperCollins.[16] Eclipse's last publication was its Spring 1993 catalog, which was a complete bibliography of its publications.

In the mid-2000s, Mullaney approached IDW Publishing with a proposal to publish hardcover reprints of American comic strips. This became the IDW imprint The Library of American Comics, which debuted with the 2007 book The Complete Terry and the Pirates, Vol. 1: 1934-1936, by Milton Caniff. As Mullaney described, "Terry's always been my favorite strip, and I was going to publish it in the early '80s (through Eclipse Comics), but Terry Nantier at NBM beat me to it. Luckily, I've lived long enough so that 25 years later I'm in a position to release new editions of Terry.[17] With Mullaney as its creative director, the imprint has gone on to published collections of strips including Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Bringing Up Father, Family Circus, and Bloom County.[18]

In 2014, Mullaney added another imprint at IDW, EuroComics, in order to publish new English translations of the European comics, including Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese, Paracuellos by Carlos Giménez, and Alack Sinner by Muñoz and Sampaya.[citation needed]


As creative director and editor of The Library of American Comics,[18] Mullaney has won seven Eisner awards and one Harvey Award. Eisner source unless otherwise indicated:[19]

Mullaney won a 2012 Harvey Award for Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation for Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth.[22]

Additionally, Mullaney received the San Diego Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 2013.[23] The following year, he was inducted into editor-publisher Robert Overstreet's Overstreet Hall of Fame.[24]


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (November 22, 1991). "Despots & Crooks: Collect 'Em All". Entertainment Weekly (93). Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ Gulacy, Paul (2008). Untitled, unnumbered introduction page, Sabre: 30th Anniversary Edition (Dallas, Georgia: Desperado Publishing). ISBN 978-0-9801-4791-9.
  4. ^ Mullaney, Jan; Mullaney, Dean (August 1978). "A Word from the Publisher". Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species (Staten Island, New York City, New York: Eclipse Enterprises). p. 1 (unnumbered). 
  5. ^ McGregor, Don (August 1978). "Afterword". Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species (Eclipse Enterprises). pp. Afterword 2–3 (unnumbered). 
  6. ^ Gough, Bob (2001). "Interview with Don McGregor". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ Catherine Yronwode. "Eclipse Comics Index". Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  8. ^ Rockwell, John (April 5, 1990). "Conan in Comics? Yes. Hulk? Sure. But Fafner? Wotan?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. 
  9. ^ Andelman, Bob (2005). Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Milwaukie, Oregon: M Press. p. 220. ISBN 1-59582-011-6. 
  10. ^ Overstreet, Robert M., ed. (2015). Overstreet Comic Book Marketplace Yearbook 2015-2016. Gemstone Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1603601801. 
  11. ^ Yronwode, Catherine; Yronwode, Nagasiva (2002). "The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: A Companion to the Dr. Strange Comic Books". Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "Newswatch: Business News: Eclipse Copes with Divorce and Back Debt". The Comics Journal (165): 12. January 1994. 
  13. ^ "Comics Publishers Suffer Tough Summer: Body Count Rises in Market Shakedown". The Comics Journal (172): 13–18. November 1994. 
  14. ^ "Newswatch: Eclipse Files for Bankruptcy". The Comics Journal (174): 25. February 1995. 
  15. ^ "McFarlane Buys Eclipse Assets at Auction". The Comics Journal (185): 14–15. March 1996. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (March 30, 2007). "Mullaney on Eclipse". "The Beat" (column), Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. 
  17. ^ Lorah, Michael C. (November 25, 2008). "Dean Mullaney on IDW's Library of American Comics". Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b The Library of American Comics (official site). Mullaney listed as creative director at site's "About" page
  19. ^ "2010s Eisner Award Recipients". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ "2000s Eisner Award Recipients". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Saga, Lumberjanes, Little Nemo Are Top Winners at 2015 Eisner Awards". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  22. ^ Tree, Brad (September 9, 2012). "Congratulations to the Harvey Award Recipients!". Harvey Awards. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Inkpot Awards". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  24. ^ "The Overstreet Hall of Fame: Dean Mullaney". Gemstone Publishing. 2014. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 

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