The creation of MAD would have been enough to cement Harvey Kurtzman’s reputation as one of the titans of American comics, but Kurtzman also created two other comics landmarks: the scrupulously-researched and superbly-crafted war comics Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. Here were finally war comics without heroic, cigar-chomping sergeants, wisecracking privates from Brooklyn, or cartoon Nazis and “Japs” to be mowed down by the Yank heroes, but an unflinching look at the horror and madness of combat throughout history.
Kurtzman employed some of the finest of the EC artists including Jack Davis, John Severin, and Wallace Wood, but his vision came through clearest in the dozen or so stories he both wrote and drew himself, in his uniquely bold, slashing, cartoony-but-dead-serious style (“Stonewall Jackson,” “Iwo Jima,” “Rubble,” “Big ‘If ’,” and Kurtzman’s own favorite, “Air Burst”) — as well as his vividly colored, narratively-dense covers, all 23 of which are reproduced here in full color in a special portfolio.
Corpse on the Imjin! is rounded off with a dozen or so stories written and laid out by Kurtzman and drawn by “short-timers,” i.e. cartoonists whose contributions to his war books only comprised a story or two — including such giants as designer extraordinaire Alex Toth, Marvel comics stalwart Gene Colan, and a pre-Sgt. Rock Joe Kubert... and such unexpected guests as “The Lighter Side of...” MAD artist Dave Berg and DC comics veteran Ric Estrada — as well as a rarity: a story by EC regular John Severin inked by Kurtzman.
Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Corpse on the Imjin! features extensive essays and notes on these classic stories by EC experts — but Kurtzman’s stories, as vital, powerful, affecting, and even, yes, modern today as when they were created 60 years ago, are what makes this collection a must-have for any comics reader.
World War II has ended, and with so many pilots mustered out at the end of the war, jobs for pilots are hard to find, and Buz’s record as a “hot-shot” pilot does not recommend him to commercial airlines. While looking for a job, Buz visits his old alma mater and spends time with glamorous Tot Winter and girl-next-door Christy Jameson. He finally finds the perfect job as a troubleshooter for International Airways, flying to trouble spots all over the world.
He encounters Sultry, the beautiful and dangerous woman he met on a Japanese-held island during the war, with fatal results for a major character in the strip. He travels to the arctic to stop the Mad Baron, an insane ex-Nazi trying to shoot down International Airways planes. And, in the only adventure to combine the daily and Sunday story lines, he teams up with his old pal Roscoe Sweeney to discover a fabulous ancient Mayan treasure. This book reprints the Sunday pages from this adventure in full color for the first time.
In the last adventure in our 2nd volume, Buz is kidnapped and flown to Africa by mysterious assailants. His friend Chili Harrison bets International Airways chief Mr. Wright $200 that even in this desperate situation, Buz will manage to get involved with a pretty girl. Long-time readers of the strip will have no trouble guessing who wins that bet.
Comic strip historian Brian Walker wrote, “Buz Sawyer combined fast-paced adventure stories…with authentically illustrated military equipment and real locations, which Crane researched during trips around the world.”
Roy Crane’s drawing and storytelling skills just get better and better. With this volume’s Buz reprints from 1945 to 1947, Crane hit his stride.
Readers of Shimura Takako's Wandering Son series are among the most vocal and devoted fans we have, and to reward your loyalty we're pleased to offer a special discounted subscription on the next three volumes (4-6) with FREE domestic shipping (and discounted foreign shipping rates)! Or, if you prefer, you can pre-order this December's Vol. 4 and/or next June's Vol. 5 separately right now. We'll start posting previews of Vol. 4 next month, so be on the lookout for that.
The debut graphic novel from Noah Van Sciver follows the twentysomething Abraham Lincoln as he loses everything, long before becoming our most beloved president. Lincoln is a rising Whig in the state’s legislature as he arrives in Springfield, IL to practice law. With all of his possessions under his arms in two saddlebags, he is quickly given a place to stay by a womanizing young bachelor who becomes his friend and close confidant. Lincoln builds a life and begins friendships with the town’s top lawyers and politicians. He attends elegant dances and meets an independent-minded young woman from a high-society Kentucky family, and after a brisk courtship, becomes engaged. But, as time passes and uncertainty creeps in, young Lincoln is forced to battle a dark cloud of depression brought on by a chain of defeats and failures culminating into a nervous breakdown that threatens his life and sanity. This cloud of dark depression Lincoln calls “The Hypo.”
Dense crosshatching and an attention to detail help bring together this completely original telling of a man driven by an irrepressible desire to pull himself up by his bootstraps, overcome all obstacles, and become the person he strives to be. All the while unknowingly laying the foundation of character he would use as one of America’s greatest presidents.
"Noah Van Sciver has brought new soul to this hard, weird time in Lincoln's life. The Hypo is a story of suffering & yearning, artfully told." — Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincoln's Melancholy
"Noah Van Sciver has developed a storytelling style that I find enormously appealing. In this book he's used that style to create a vivid and engaging portrait." — Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel
We have lots of post-SPX catching-up to do but first and foremost congratulations are in order to Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez who swept their Ignatz Award categories and came away from the ceremony lugging 3 brick trophies: Outstanding Series for Love and Rockets: New Stories, Outstanding Artist for Jaime, and Outstanding Story for Jaime's "Return for Me" from Love and Rockets: New Stories #4! Outstanding indeed, and a perfect way to usher in the new issue by capping off a year of universal and thunderous acclaim for the previous issue. We'll hopefully have a first-hand report and photos from the scene once our away team gets settled back in here.
We are excited to present an all-new, all-original 40 page comic by Mark Kalesniko for FREE, exclusively here on the Fantagraphics website! "Tarantula" is a hair-raising, funny, exciting, creepy-crawly tale which pits Mark's protagonist Alex against an unwelcome 8-legged home invader. Enjoy this fun and fast-moving tale right here!
The 20th century had hit its exact midpoint. Social upheaval — sexual, social, racial, cultural — was in the air; and the fledgling EC comics line was about to become a vital part of it.
Working within the horror, war, crime, and science fiction genres, publisher William Gaines and editor/writer Al Feldstein combined a deliciously disreputable, envelope-pushing sensibility with moments of genuine, outraged social consciousness, which shone a hard light onto such hot-button topics as racism, anti-Semitism, mob justice, and misogyny and sexism.
The 1950s were also a launching pad for some of the greatest comic book artists in history, many of whom worked for EC — including Wallace Wood, whose hypnotically detailed, lushly expressive brushwork brought to life menacing thugs, ominous cityscapes, and small-town America, as well as Everymen grappling with profound moral issues — not to mention some of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful women ever to sashay across a comic book page.
Came the Dawn collects all 26 Wood-drawn horror and crime stories — including the full baker’s dozen of EC’s most courageous and politically charged dramas.
Taking its title from one of Wood’s all-time classics, the evil little paranoid thriller “Came the Dawn,” this collection features page after page after page of Wood’s sleek and meticulously crafted artwork put in the service of cunning twist-ending stories, most often from the typewriter of EC editor Al Feldstein. These tales range from supernatural shockers from the pages of Tales From the Crypt and The Haunt of Fear (“The Living Corpse,” “Terror Ride,” “Man From the Grave,” “Horror in the Freak Tent”) to often pointedly contemporary crime thrillers from Crime SuspenStories (“The Assault,” “The Whipping,” and “Confession,” which was singled out for specific excoriation in the anti-comics screed Seduction of the Innocent, thus giving it a special cachet), but the breathtaking art and whiplash-inducing shock endings are constants throughout.
Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Came the Dawn features extensive essays and notes on these classic stories by EC experts — but the real “meat” of the matter (sometimes literally, in the grislier stories) is supplied by these ofted lurid, sometimes downright over-the-top, but always compelling and superbly crafted, classic comic-book masterpieces.
At 3:29 AM EDT on Tuesday, Michael Kupperman completed work on the new material to be included in the second hardcover collection of Tales Designed to Thrizzle! It's the equivalent of a full new issue of the series, in addition to the material compiled from issues 5-8. It's all in our hands now to be laid out by our art department and shipped off to the printer for a December release. Above, a tiny taste posted by Michael on Twitter.
"I made a serious mistake in editing Captain Easy Volume 3: an older strip appeared where the July 3, 1938 strip should have been. I apologize for my error. The missing strip will appear in Captain Easy Volume 4, and can be viewed now [above]."
Click the image above for a much larger and more legible version. Believe us, we are taking steps to ensure we don't miss any more misplaced pages in the proofreading process!
The first physical copies of Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4 have crawled up on our shores, and more copies will be infecting Small Press Expo this weekend (where you can get an exclusive bonus signed bookplate) in advance of oozing into stores in November. This volume features the most hideous transmogrifications, the craziest foes, and the most brutal trials yet for our antihero Cannibal Fuckface as he seeks to free himself from the mysterious Caligulon. Plus a chainsaw on a stick. Get a taste with a 14-page excerpt and pre-order your copy right here.
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