After the first printing, released in Fall 2010, sold out in a matter of months, we went back to press with a brand-new cover design for the 2nd printing!
Of the myriad genres comic books ventured into during its golden age, none was as controversial as or came at a greater cost than horror; the public outrage it incited almost destroyed the entire industry. Yet before the watchdog groups and Congress could intercede, horror books were flying off the newsstands. During its peak period (1951-54) over fifty titles appeared each month. Apparently there was something perversely irresistible about these graphic excursions into our dark side, and Four Color Fear collects the finest of these into a single robust and affordable volume.
EC is the comic book company most fans associate with horror; its complete line has been reprinted numerous times, and deservedly so. But to the average reader there remain unseen quite a batch of genuinely disturbing, compulsive, imaginative, at times even touching, horror stories presented from a variety of visions and perspectives, many of which at their best can stand toe to toe with EC.
All of the better horror companies are represented: Ace, Ajax-Farrell, American Comics Group, Avon, Comic Media, Fawcett, Fiction House, Gilmor, Harvey, Quality, Standard, St. John, Story, Superior, Trojan, Youthful and Ziff-Davis. Artist perennials Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Jack Katz, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, and Wallace Wood contribute both stories and covers, with many of the 32 full-sized covers created by specialists Bernard Baily, L.B. Cole, William Eckgren, and Matt Fox. (See below for a link to the full Table of Contents.)
Editors John Benson and Greg Sadowski have sifted through hundreds of rare books to cherry-pick the most compelling scripts and art, and they provide extensive background notes on the artists, writers, and companies involved in their creation. Digital restoration has been performed with subtlety and restraint, mainly to correct registration and printing errors, with every effort made to retain the flavor of the original comics, and to provide the reader the experience of finding in the attic a bound volume of the finest non-EC horror covers and stories of the pre-code era.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 26-page PDF excerpt (19.4 MB) featuring four complete stories: "The Corpse that Came to Dinner" by Reed Crandall & Mike Peppe; "The Maze Master" by Lou Cameron; "Swamp Monster" by Basil Wolverton; and "Discovery" by Manny Stallman & John Guinta. Also, click here to read the Introduction by John Benson and see the full Table of Contents with story titles and artist credits.
• Review: "In the serialized adventures of Buz Sawyer, ace World War II Navy pilot and clean-cut ladies man, Crane expertly mixes high action in the Pacific with just the right amount of romance, creating a storytelling engine as sturdy and reliable as Sawyer’s SBD Dauntless. Crane’s gorgeous art, with cleanly drawn figures, extensive shading, and a slightly cartoonish style, took full advantage of the space provided comic strips back in the day. [...] Rating: 9.0 [out of 10]" – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "Depending on who you are and your social outlook this final collection [FUC_ __U _SS __LE] is as brilliant or as appalling as the previous three so if you’re prudish, sensitive or concerned about moral standards – don’t buy this book. There’s plenty of us who will." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Sergio Ponchione’s conclusion to Grotesque returned to the mind-bending storytelling of the first issue, tying together loose story threads in a manner that treated those threads as tangible objects. [...] There are echoes of R.Crumb, Elzie Segar, Charles Burns and Kim Deitch in his work, creating a lush, bizarre world that he doesn’t quite allow the reader to get lost in. Indeed, if the past two issues (the 'Cryptic City' story) felt a bit more conventional than the more expansive first issue, the finale not only fully fleshed out the first issue’s themes, it gave the last two issues a new context." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Interview: Joe MacLeod of the Baltimore City Paper talks to their erstwhile cartoonist Tim Kreider about his new book Twilight of the Assholes: "In principle I subscribe to the Kubrick policy about discussing your own work, to wit: Do not. It can only ever limit and diminish it. I tried not to explicate my own cartoons, just use them as starting points for tangential rants, occasions to say things that the cartoon form didn’t allow for. Still, it makes me squirmy whenever artists hold forth about their own work, and I still second-guess myself about having included the essays."
• Interview: The third part of Ian Burns's chat with the creators of "The White Rhinoceros" serial from Mome at The Comics Journal shifts to artist Josh Simmons: "I was trying to capture a certain look; I was thinking very loosely (I didn’t look at a lot of these comics, but the Disney comics from the ’60s or so — very nice, smooth, rubbery, cartoony line and bright colors) but trying to draw it somewhat realistic too. Not too cartoony. For me the main influences would be those kind of comics, and fantasy epic stories like Narnia, Lord of the Rings. And Shaun [Partridge] is a huge Narnia fan. That was a large jumping-off point for him."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater continues his chat with Stan Sakai: "...I read through the old Fantagraphics stories, and I’m really happy with how it all holds together, and how it flows into the current continuity. The characters mature, but they pretty much stay in character. So, I’m really happy with that. And the types of stories that come about, I think I’ve matured as a storyteller. And Usagi has matured as a character, so I’m quite pleased."
In addition to the inductees selected by the judges, the nominees to be selected by voters and announced at Comic-Con this summer include comics scholar Bill Blackbeard, who edits our Krazy & Ignatz series, and Kim Deitch. You can also find the work of nominee Harvey Pekar in our Complete Crumb Comics series. Eligible voters can cast their ballot right here.
Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi has confirmed Tim Kreider as a Justice in his newly-formed Supreme Court of Assholedom, an august body that will hear cases and judge, once and for all, who is an asshole. Kreider, of course, knows a thing or two about assholes, having just published a whole book of them, which, conveniently, Taibbi wrote the introduction for. We look forward to the Court's rulings.
(As a reminder, we have a full portfolio of Facebook pages for ourselves and various related artists and projects, as well as other social networking destinations where you can connect with us, links to all of which can be found here.)
First released in 2000, Safe Area Gorazde confirmed Sacco as one of the pre-eminent journalists of his time, and earned him a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship. Now for its 10th anniversary, Fantagraphics is releasing an expanded hardcover edition which, much like 2007’s Palestine: The Special Edition, supplements the original work with page after page of special features, listed below.
In the wake of his acclaimed Palestine, Joe Sacco spent four months in Bosnia in 1995-1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories rarely found in conventional news coverage. The book focuses on the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, which was besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war; Sacco spent four weeks in Gorazde, entering before the Muslims trapped inside had access to the outside world, electricity or running water.
Features of this special deluxe edition include:
• A lengthy illustrated essay by Joe Sacco on how the project came together.
• A side-by-side comparison of Sacco's reference photos and the final comics panels drawn from them.
• A "Where Are they Now?" update on Gorazde's most colorful characters.
• A long interview with Sacco on Safe Area Gorazde from The Comics Journal.
• Plus of course the complete Safe Area Gorazde including Christopher Hitchens's introduction from the first edition.
2001 Eisner Award WINNER: Best Graphic Album - New
"Of the myriad of books that have appeared about Bosnia, few have told the truth more bravely than Sacco's. He is an immense talent." – The New York Times Book Review
"Harrowing and bleakly humorous, Sacco's account of life during the Balkan conflict is a timeless portrait of ordinary people caught in desperate circumstances. It's also a work of genius in an unlikely genre: journalism in comic book form." – Utne Reader
"Sacco's detailed, personal reporting captures his subject matter more convincingly than photographs or Christiane Amanpour." – Time
"Graphic in every sense of the term, Sacco’s account of everyday life in a city under siege puts one of the twentieth century’s least understood catastrophes in perspective; it’s the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium." – GQ
Free Bonus: This book is available with an exclusive signed bookplate (pictured above) at no extra charge! See product description for details.
• Review: "Anyone who ever got into fantasy role-playing games during their early adolescence no doubt remembers how those early forays into heroic adventuring could be fraught with profane characters, ludicrous moments during breaks from the quest at hand, and the strange, often puerile creations of a hormonally charged dungeon master. All of those elements fuel the entertaining world that Daly drops readers into with [Dungeon Quest Book 2]... There are encounters with monsters, violent battles, magical items to be gathered, eerie dungeons, and so on, but we are also treated to a hilarious bit where the characters get zooted on weed and cocaine while spouting drug-appropriate dialogue. With a visual style that’s a gene-splicing of Charles Burns’s Lynchian creepiness with an 'underground' sensibility, this quirky work is every bit as entertaining as it sounds, spouting anarchic humor in every direction." – Publishers Weekly
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks to Alexander Theroux about the new edition of his book The Strange Case of Edward Gorey: "Gary [Groth] asked me to expand on the paperback. I didn't know I was going to add to that. I originally typed that manuscript. I got the paperback on-line, and started to see where I would expand it. That's why it's occasionally repetitious. If there was a paragraph on what Gorey collected, I would build on that for the hardcover. So we never really foresaw that it was going to be a much longer book. But once I got the bit between my teeth in looking at him, I had remembered a lot of things and interviewed a lot of people... it just builds. Since the hardcover has come out, I had about 20 new thoughts about him. Recollections, new things, that come every day."
• Interview: At Words Without Borders, the Amazon-supported Online Magazine for International Literature, Dot Lin talks to our own beloved Co-Publisher Kim Thompson about our line of Franco-Belgian all-ages comics: "I don't know how they'll be greeted by American audiences, but I'm in a position now where I can force them down people's throats. The fact that I seem to have succeeded with Tardi where everyone else failed has made me a bit cocky, I'm afraid."
• Interview:The Comics Journal presents the second part of Ian Burns's Q&A with Shaun Partridge, writer of the Josh Simmons-drawn Mome serial "The White Rhinoceros": "Me and Josh, we always know something is good when we feel we didn’t do it. When I do a painting, if I look at the painting and go, 'That’s a cool painting! Oh! I did that! How weird.' That’s when I know it’s good and that’s why I think we know The White Rhino is really good. I’m connected to it in a way. I am. I wrote it; Josh is illustrating it. But we stand back from it and we’re like, 'Wow, this is really far out and fun.' And we just laugh."
Daily OCD Extra: At Publishers Weekly, John Seven writes about Wilfred Santiago's new graphic biography 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente and talks to Santiago about the creation of the book: "'I tried to look from the outside,' said Santiago. 'I wanted to tell the story as if you asked me about somebody that I knew and I just started rambling and telling you about him. I wanted the book to have that free flow to it.' In doing so, it gave Santiago a chance to look back at his culture and realize that the distance between it and life on mainland American provided some clarity about the culture in Puerto Rico and how it shaped Clemente." Our own Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds also provides commentary. Read the whole thing here.
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