|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Seattle, Washington|
|Distribution||W. W. Norton & Company (United States)|
Diamond Book Distributors (Canada)
Turnaround Publisher Services (United Kingdom)
|Key people||Gary Groth|
|Publication types||Books, comic books, magazines|
Fantagraphics (previously Fantagraphics Books) is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, manga, magazines, graphic novels, and the erotic Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists have published 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.
Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 by Gary Groth and Michael Catron in College Park, Maryland. The company took over an adzine named The Nostalgia Journal, which it renamed The Comics Journal.
As comics journalist (and former Fantagraphics employee) Michael Dean writes, "the publisher has alternated between flourishing and nearly perishing over the years." Kim Thompson joined the company in 1977, using his inheritance to keep the company afloat. (He soon became a co-owner.)
The company moved from Washington, D.C. to Stamford, Connecticut to Los Angeles over its early years, before settling in Seattle in 1989.
Beginning in 1981 Fantagraphics (under its Redbeard imprint) published Amazing Heroes, a magazine which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view, as another income stream to supplement The Comics Journal. Amazing Heroes ran for 204 issues (plus a number of specials and annuals), folding with its July 1992 issue. The demise is traceable to the rise and success of Wizard. Kim Thompson joked later, "I don't carry a grudge or anything—it's the circle of life."
Beginning in 1979, Fantagraphics began publishing comics, starting with Jay Disbrow's The Flames of Gyro. They gained wider recognition in 1982 by publishing the Hernandez brothers' Love and Rockets, and moved on to such critically acclaimed and award-winning series as Acme Novelty Library, Eightball, and Hate.
The company moved operations to Greater Los Angeles in 1984.
Catron acted as Fantagraphics' co-publisher until 1985 (also handling advertising and circulation for The Comics Journal from 1982 to 1985), when he left the company.
From 1985 to 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. 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 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.
In 1989, Fantagraphics relocated from Los Angeles to its current location in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
In 1990, the publisher introduced Eros Comix, a lucrative line of erotic comics that provided a replacement revenue stream for Amazing Heroes and which helped the company again avoid bankruptcy.
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. Groth and Thompson acknowledged Reynolds was key to the company's rise to profitability.
Tom Spurgeon, later known as the publisher of The Comics Reporter, was editor of The Comics Journal from 1994 to 1999.
In 1998, Fantagraphics was forced into a round of layoffs; 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. One employee quit during the subsequent downsizing while denouncing Fantagraphics' "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.
In 2009, Fantagraphics ceased publishing the print edition of The Comics Journal, shifting from an eight-times a year publishing schedule to a larger, more elaborate, semi-annual format supported by a new website.
Starting in 2005, Fantagraphics began a European graphic novel line, 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.
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.
Co-publisher Kim Thompson left Fantagraphics due to illness in March 2013, and died of lung cancer a few months later. His absence left the company without a number of titles it had been counting on for the summer and fall of 2013; and, in November, Fantagraphics started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000, which it surpassed in four days.
In August 2020 the company rebranded, from Fantagraphics Books to just Fantagraphics, to reflect its status as a digital publisher also. At the same time it introduced a more compact logo featuring a stylized ink pen nib and a torch.
The Ignatz series is an international comic imprint. It is published by Fantagraphics (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, 81⁄2″ × 11″, with jacket, priced at $7.95.
The Ignatz collection is edited and produced by Italian artist Igort. Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson frequently provided translations.
Eros Comix is an adult-oriented imprint of Fantagraphics, 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 sold over 470 items, including adult comic books and humorous cheesecake-style comics often featuring pin-up girls like Bettie Page.
Writer-artist Tom Sutton contributed work to Eros titles under the pseudonym "Dementia".
To be released:[when?]
Note: In 1988, the Kirby Awards was disbanded and replaced by the Harvey and the Eisner Awards.
List of won Eisner Awards:
List of won Harvey Awards:
((cite web)): External link in