This month I've mostly been home with my six-month-old daughter, which doesn't leave a lot of time for heavy reading (or watching, for that matter). Short attention span entertainment is where it's at. To the point where I've found myself doing something I haven't done in years: re-reading a bunch of old (mostly Marvel) comics from my youth that have been gathering dust in the basement for 20 years. Comics by John Byrne, Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, etc. I think I was partially inspired by Frank Santoro's effusive love for the comics he grew up with. He and I are about exactly the same age, I think, so a lot of what he writes about 1980s comics resonates with me even when I disagree with him. One of the 'runs' I just (partially) re-read was a true favorite of my childhood: John Byrne's Fantastic Four (from somewhere around issues 220-something through 293). I was surprised to enjoy these comics again (as long as I don't read most of the dialogue and just skim things rather briskly, anyway), because I don't think of Byrne with the same reverence I do of other mainstream creators of that era, even though at the time I thought he was the greatest. Yeah, he's got a total tin ear for female characters, his inking is pretty lousy, etc., but he also came closest to the high-adventure, soap-opera spirit of the original Lee-Kirby FFs as anyone ever has. He got the gist of what made the FF tick, in a way that kids could totally dig. Anyway, a few random things I particularly enjoyed from this run:
1) The Jerry Ordway inked issues in the 280s-290s. Seriously, these were very cool looking superhero comics for the era:
Byrne seemed to have a little more free-reign than a lot of writers/artists behind the Shooter Curtain of Marvel 1980s. Not that he used it as innovatively as, say, Miller and Mazzucchelli, but lately I've been enjoying goofy stuff like the panel above, depicting a scene of a Connecticut dinner party attended by Reed and Sue as their short-lived alter egos, "Reed and Sue Benjamin" (the most believable alter-ego since Superman put on glasses), with guests named "Hi", "Lois," "Walt," etc. This all no doubt flew completely over my 13-year-old head.
Anyway, let this post be a loud rejoinder to the notion that we at Fantagraphics are a bunch of elitist jerks. I've been reading 1970s/1980s Fantastic Four, Moon Knight, Master of Kung-Fu, The 'Nam, and Defenders comics all month, fer crissakes.
Oh my word, you have just a few hours left to get in your order and save 25% by using the coupon code 25OFF08, plus get free standard U.S. shipping! End your year right: with an orgy of comics shopping! Click here for more details about the sale.
Note that new comics are scheduled to arrive in comic shops on Friday this week, rather than the traditional Wednesday, due to the holiday. From us you can expect the new softcover edition of Beasts! Book 1 -- as always, you can find more info and previews of the book at the link.
After selling out two hardcover editions, Beasts! returns in a beautiful new softcover edition. Beasts! is a classic mythological menagerie, comprised only of creatures that were thought at one time to actually exist, depicted by about a hundred of the most acclaimed artists and cartoonists coming from the most avant-garde ambits of the art world. The Beasts project has fired the imaginations of luminaries such as Tony Millionaire, Souther Salazar, Jeff Soto, Dave Cooper, Tim Biskup, Seonna Hong, Jeremy Fish, James Jean, and Jay Ryan, who will present never-before-seen art completely original to this book, superbly laid out in breathtaking, full-color two-page spreads. Beasts! collects many of the best visual artists from the worlds of comics, skateboarding, rock graphics, science-fiction, children's books, commercial and fine art. The book is conceived and designed by Jacob Covey, lead art director for Fantagraphics (Dennis the Menace, Popeye, Willie & Joe, etc.) and a well-regarded designer and artist in his own right in the Northwest rock and arts community. Other contributors include: Amanda Visell, Anders Nilsen, Andrew Brandou, Art Chantry, Brian Ralph, Bwana Spoons, Dave Cooper, Deth P. Sun, Esther Pearl Watson, Jason, Jesse LeDoux, Johnny Ryan, Jordan Crane, Keith Shore, Little Friends of Printmaking, Marc Bell, Martin Cendreda, Martin Ontiveros, Mat Brinkman, R. Kikuo Johnson, Richard Sala, Sammy Harkham, Seonna Hong, Stan Sakai, S. britt, Stella Im Hultberg, Steven Weissman, Tom Gauld, Tyler Stout and many more.
Attention customers: Be advised that our warehouse has begun their annual inventory count and therefore we will not be able to ship any orders until next week. Please keep this in mind before you select rush shipping!
To help take the bite out of any potential delays, remember that we are currently offering FREE Standard U.S. shipping (UPS Ground or USPS Media Rate to P.O. Boxes) through the end of the year! And of course, don't forget to use the 25OFF08 coupon code for 25% off your order, also through the end of the year!
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!