Fantagraphics Books

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Fantagraphics Books
Fantagraphics logo.png
FounderGary Groth
Michael Catron
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationSeattle, Washington
DistributionW. W. Norton & Company (United States)
Diamond Book Distributors (Canada)[1]
Turnaround Publisher Services (United Kingdom)[2]
Key peopleGary Groth
Kim Thompson
Eric Reynolds
Publication typesBooks, comic books, magazines
ImprintsEros Comix
Ignatz Series

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.



The Fantagraphics booth at the Stumptown Comics Fest 2006.

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.[3]

As comics journalist (and former Fantagraphics employee) Michael Dean writes, "the publisher has alternated between flourishing and nearly perishing over the years."[4] Kim Thompson joined the company in 1977, using his inheritance to keep the company afloat.[4] (He soon became a co-owner.)[5]

The company moved from Maryland to Stamford, Connecticut, and then Los Angeles.[6]

Beginning in 1981, and lasting until 1992, Fantagraphics published Amazing Heroes, a magazine which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view.[citation needed]

Comics publisher[edit]

Beginning in 1979, Fantagraphics began publishing comics, starting with Jay Disbrow's The Flames of Gyro.[7] They gained wider recognition in 1982 by publishing the Hernandez brothers' Love and Rockets,[8] and moved on to such critically acclaimed and award-winning series as Acme Novelty Library, Eightball, and Hate.

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.[9]

The Kirby Award and the Harvey Award[edit]

From 1985–1987, 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.[citation needed] A compromise was reached, and starting in 1988, the Kirby Award was discontinued and two new awards were created:[10] 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[edit]

In 1989, Fantagraphics relocated from Los Angeles to its current location in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.[6]

In 1990, the publisher introduced Eros Comix, a lucrative line of erotic comics which again saved the company from bankruptcy.[4]

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.[11] Tom Spurgeon, now publisher of The Comics Reporter, was editor of The Comics Journal from 1994–1999.[12]

Financial ups and downs[edit]

In 1998, Fantagraphics was forced into a round of layoffs;[4] 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.[13] One employee quit during the subsequent downsizing while denouncing Fantagraphic's "disorganization and poor management."[4] Fantagraphics was saved by a restructuring and a successful appeal to comic book fandom that resulted in a huge number of orders.[4] After restructuring, the company has had greater success with such hardcover collections as The Complete Peanuts, distributed by W. W. Norton & Company.[6]

In 2009, Fantagraphics ceased publishing the print edition of The Comics Journal,[14] shifting from an eight-times a year publishing schedule to a larger, more elaborate, semi-annual format supported by a new website.[15][16]

European line[edit]

Starting in 2005, Fantagraphics began a European graphic novel line,[17] 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.[18]

New challenges[edit]

Larry Reid (left), manager and curator of the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery with Martin Imbach, part owner of Georgetown Records, which shares the same storefront. 2016.

In 2006, Fantagraphics opened its own retail store, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.

In early 2012, Michael Catron returned to Fantagraphics as editor with the company he had co-founded 36 years earlier.[19][20]

Co-publisher Kim Thompson left Fantagraphics due to illness in March 2013,[21] and died of lung cancer a few months later.[22] His absence left the company without a number of titles it had been counting on for the summer and fall of 2013;[17] and in November Fantagraphics was forced to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000.[17] An outpouring of support from readers enabled the company to reach and surpass its fundraising goal in just four days.[23]


Ignatz series[edit]

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.

The Ignatz collection is edited and produced by Italian artist Igort. Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson frequently provides translations.

The Ignatz series comprises the following titles:

Eros Comix[edit]

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, including adult comic books, and humorous cheesecake-style comics often featuring pin-up girls like Bettie Page.

The late writer-artist Tom Sutton contributed work under the pseudonym "Dementia".


Comics anthology magazines[edit]


Comic book series[edit]

Ignatz series[edit]

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]

Graphic novels[edit]

Classic comics compilations[edit]


Eros Comix titles[edit]

MangErotica titles[edit]


Kirby Awards[28]


Note: In 1988, the Kirby Awards was disbanded and replaced by the Harvey and the Eisner Awards.

Eisner Awards

List of won Eisner Awards:

[29][30][31] [32]

Harvey Awards

List of won Harvey Awards:



  1. ^ Our Publishers
  2. ^ "Publishers Representatives | Publishers Distributors". Turnaround Publisher Services. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  3. ^ ". . . 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).
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dean, Michael. "Comics Community Comes to Fantagraphics' Rescue,", The Comics Journal, Posted July 11, 2003.
  5. ^ Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 2016. ISBN 978-1606999332
  6. ^ a b c Matos, Michelangelo. "Saved by the Beagle," Seattle Arts (September 15, 2004).
  7. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: The Flames of Gyro". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Schmidt, Joseph (January 18, 2017). "6 Alternative Comics Publishers You Need to Know — And Read". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  9. ^ Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
  10. ^ "Newswatch: Kirby Awards End In Controversy," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), pp. 19–20.
  11. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (January 4, 2008). "CR Holiday Interview #9: Eric Reynolds". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved June 3, 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Comics Reporter Blog Reaches Anniversary". Editor & Publisher. October 10, 2007.
  13. ^ Dean, Michael. "Seven Hills Follows LPC into Limbo, Marvel Abandons Diamond for CDS," The Comics Journal, Posted August 30, 2002.
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Phegley, Kiel. "Rethinking 'The Comics Journal'", Comic Book Resources, October 30, 2009
  16. ^ Spurgeon, Tom. "TCJ Moves More Dramatically On-Line; Print Version To Come Out Two Times A Year", The Comics Reporter, October 27, 2009
  17. ^ a b c Kozinn, Allan. "Fantagraphics Seeks Support With a Kickstarter Campaign," New York Times (November 6, 2013)
  18. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (March 9, 2009). "CR Newsmaker: Kim Thompson On Fantagraphics Publishing Jacques Tardi". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  19. ^ Spurgeon, Tom. "CR Newsmaker Interview: Mike Catron" The Comics Reporter (February 5, 2012).
  20. ^ Baehr, Mike. "Welcome back Mike Catron & Preston White!" The Comics Journal Blog (February 6, 2012).
  21. ^ Ulin, David L. "Jacket Copy: Fantagraphics' co-publisher Kim Thompson has lung cancer," Los Angeles Times (March 7, 2013).
  22. ^ "Obituary: Kim Thompson, 1956-2013". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  23. ^ Melrose, Kevin. "Fantagraphics surpasses its $150,000 Kickstarter goal," Robot6 (November 12, 2013).
  24. ^ The Eye of Mongombo at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 26, 2016.
  25. ^ Fantagraphics Looses the Beasts Again, Comic Book Resources, November 13, 2008
  26. ^ Jason Brice. "I Killed Adolf Hitler Review - Line of Fire Reviews - Comics Bulletin". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  27. ^ "Karate Girl (Volume) - Comic Vine". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  28. ^ "1980s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
  29. ^ "1980s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
  30. ^ "1990s Recipients". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
  31. ^ "2000s". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
  32. ^ "2010-Present". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 2, 2012.
  33. ^ "Previous Winners". Harvey Awards. October 5, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°32′57″N 122°19′01″W / 47.549167°N 122.316885°W / 47.549167; -122.316885