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Category >> Blake Bell

Spring-Summer 2014, part 8: Classic & Cutting-Edge Horror
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoKickstarterConor StechschulteComing AttractionsBlake Bell 15 Nov 2013 5:43 PM

Our campaign to support our Spring-Summer 2014 season on Kickstarter is ongoing, and we're continuing to spotlight the books in question, a couple at a time. We've also put our season catalog online for you to browse. (Please note that all artwork, contents, prices, specs, and release dates are preliminary and subject to change.)

The Amateurs prelim cover

The Amateurs
by Conor Stechschulte

72-page black & white (with spot color) 6" x 9" softcover • $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-734-5 

A local medical expert and sheriff are summoned to investigate a strange sighting that sets the stage for Conor Stechschulte's debut graphic novella: a severed human head that still seems to be talking. We flash back to a pair of butchers who arrive at work one morning to find not only that there is no meat in their shop but also that they have forgotten completely how to do their job. As customers arrive, they are too fearful for their livelihood to admit their dilemma, leading to increasingly disastrous events. But what has caused their strange amnesia? This often hilarious, enigmatic, and uncomfortable book will establish Stechschulte as an exciting new talent.

For a Kickstarter pledge of $25 or more, pre-order this book signed by Conor Stechschulte while supplies last! Also available: a limited edition silkscreen print for a pledge of $50 or more.

Strange Suspense cover

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 (Softcover Ed.)
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 6.75" x 9.75" softcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-739-0

 

Before Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in Oct. 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment, and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko's imagination. Strange Suspense features spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Edited by Ditko expert Blake Bell. Now in paperback!

For a Kickstarter pledge $200 or more, get a signed, limited edition print featuring a portrait of Steve Ditko from Drew Friedman's upcoming book Heroes of the Comic Books!



New Comics Day 10.30.13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Steve DitkoRobert CrumbNew Comics DayBlake Bell 30 Oct 2013 11:50 AM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.

Impossible Tales Vol 4

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-640-9

"I think [Ditko's] a foundational mainstream talent, and one of the interesting ones like Johnny Craig in that a lot of his influence is felt more directly in areas outside of conventional mainstream funnybooks. I could read him all day. And then the next day." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter 

"Ditko's distinctly off-kilter drawings and boldly potent composition" and the "meticulous restoration means that the stories look far better here than they did upon their original appearances." –Gordon Flagg, Booklist Online

The Complete Crumb Vol. 6

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 6: On the Crest of a Wave (New Printing)
by Robert Crumb

156-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $19.99
978-1-60699-683-6

"These are all must haves, and every positive vibe I emanated up the screen in the direction of Steve Ditko goes double for Mr. Crumb. This is pretty prime time material in terms of the material that made and kept him an icon in the 1970s, but then again, nearly all of these volumes has something. I admire Fantagraphics for their commitment to keep this material in print." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter

 

The Complete Crumb 8

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 8: The Death of Fritz the Cat (New Printing) by Robert Crumb

144-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $19.99
978-1-56097-076-7

"The Complete Crumb series is especially useful in reminding us that Crumb has continued to evolve through the sixties. His more recent work is quieter and more literary... The most recent installment, collecting material originally published in Weirdo magazine, contains some of Crumb's best work." –The National Post  




The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo - Photoset Preview
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under previewsnew releasesMichael J VassalloBlake Bell 22 Oct 2013 2:37 PM

“Fans are not interested in quality.”

“This field is full of pirates.”

“If you get a title that catches on, then add a few more, you’re in for a nice profit.”

—Martin Goodman

“No other field of endeavor is so populated with the get-rich-quick boys.” — Literary Digest

“[Martin Goodman] used to split my salary up into six different checks.”

“The guys who published were monsters.”

— Vince Fago, Timely Comics editor-in-chief

“We want plenty of sex, horror, and gore.” — Gene Fornshell, a Goodman editor

“I felt that we were a company of copycats.” — Stan Lee

Fans and the public have historically labored under three false impressions about Marvel Comics. First, that there actually was a comic book company named “Marvel” for its first 30 or so years. Second, that Goodman founded the company to produce comic books. And third, that star artists Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby — who famously quit the company in late 1965 and 1970 respectively — did so solely as a result of their clashes with editor Stan Lee.

All of those popular beliefs are factually incorrect. Martin Goodman formed the company that would one day become Marvel Comics in 1933 — six years earlier than is commonly supposed. And he formed it, really, to sell magazines. Cheap magazines. Cheap magazines printed on cheap paper. And “it” wasn’t just one company. Oh, and Ditko’s and Kirby’s beefs were more with Goodman than with Lee (more on that later).

— from the Introduction

The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire
by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo

304-page black & white/color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-552-5

Available now! Click the thumbnails for larger versions; get more info, see more previews and pre-order your copy here:

http://www.fantagraphics.com/tshomc

The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo - Video/Photo Slideshow
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesMichael J VassalloBlake Bell 21 Oct 2013 6:21 PM

The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire
by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo

304-page black & white/color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-552-5

See More Previews / Order Now  

Marvel Comics is home to such legendary super-heroes as Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, all of whom have spun box office gold in the 21st century. But Marvel Comics has a secret history hidden in the shadows of these well-known franchises.

The Secret History of Marvel Comics digs back to the 1930s when Marvel Comics wasn’t just a comic-book producing company. Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman had tentacles into a publishing world that might have made that era’s conservative American parents lynch him on his front porch. Marvel was but a small part of Goodman’s publishing empire, which had begun years before he published his first comic book. Goodman mostly published lurid and sensationalistic story books (known as “pulps”) and magazines, featuring sexually-charged detective and romance short fiction, and celebrity gossip scandal sheets. And artists like Jack Kirby, who was producing Captain America for eight-year-olds, were simultaneously dipping their toes in both ponds.

The Secret History of Marvel Comics tells this parallel story of 1930s/40s Marvel Comics sharing offices with those Goodman publications not quite fit for children. The book also features a comprehensive display of the artwork produced for Goodman’s other enterprises by Marvel Comics artists such as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, Alex Schomburg, Bill Everett, Al Jaffee, and Dan DeCarlo, plus the very best pulp artists in the field, including Norman Saunders, John Walter Scott, Hans Wesso, L.F. Bjorklund, and Marvel Comics #1 cover artist Frank R. Paul. Goodman’s magazines also featured cover stories on celebrities such as Jackie Gleason, Elizabeth Taylor, Liberace, and Sophia Loren, as well as contributions from famous literary and social figures such as Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and L. Ron Hubbard.

These rare pieces of comic art, pulp and magazine history will open the door to Marvel Comics’ unseen history.

View Video & Photo Slideshow Preview in New Window

The Secret History of Marvel Comics cover photo

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 - Video/Photo Slideshow Preview
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoSteve Ditkopreviewsnew releasesBlake Bell 18 Oct 2013 1:33 PM

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-640-9

See More Previews / Order Now

Five years before Steve Ditko began work on his now legendary co-creations for Marvel Comics, the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, he was pro- ducing some of his best work in near anonymity for Charlton Comics. Like its predecessors, Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 features over 200 meticulously restored full-color pages of Ditko in his early prime — stories that have never seen a proper reprinting until now, thrilling stories of suspense, mystery, haunted houses, and unsuspecting victims all delineated in Ditko’s wildly idiosyncratic, masterful style.

This fourth volume ranks as the best in the Steve Ditko Archives series to date thanks in large part to the inspiration Ditko took from comics derived from the classic host-narrated radio shows, which gave an extra oomph to his creepy yarns. Moreover, comics such as This Magazine Is Haunted and Tales of the Mysterious Traveler bore witness to a veritable explosion in Ditko’s ingenuity in terms of manipulating the traditional comic-book page layout. This new level of excellence also manifested itself in his work on other books, such as Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Out of This World, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unusual Tales, all of which are amply represented in this volume.

View Video & Photo Slideshow Preview in New Window

Impossible Tales cover photo

The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo - Now in Stock
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releasesMichael J VassalloBlake Bell 16 Oct 2013 7:04 PM

Just arrived and shipping now from our mail-order department:

The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo

The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire
by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo

304-page black & white/color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-552-5

See Previews / Order Now  

Marvel Comics — home to virtuous heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers - has a hidden sordid past, stretching back to long before the first Marvel Comic rolled off the presses.

Authors Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo pull back the curtain on the real-life characters who built the publishing empire that became Marvel Comics, document their shady practices, and reveal how it all shaped the Marvel we know today.

Lavishly illustrated and wildly revealing, The Secret History of Marvel Comics discredits long-held myths about Marvel and bursts open a treasure trove of lost artwork by comic book legends Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Alex Schomburg, and dozens more. none of this art ever appeared in any comic book!

Includes early writings by Stan Lee plus a rare Human Torch escapade — published here in color for the first time!

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 - Now in Stock
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve Ditkonew releasesBlake Bell 16 Oct 2013 6:53 PM

Just arrived and shipping now from our mail-order department: 

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-640-9

See Previews / Order Now  

More great 1950s shockers from the co-creator of Spider-Man! Steve Ditko's prolific work for Charlton Comics in the years before his legendary stint at Marvel has never been properly reprinted — until now! The Steve Ditko Archives series keeps getting better, with more thrilling stories of suspense, mystery, haunted houses, and unsuspecting victims, all given extra oomph by Ditko's increasingly ingenious layouts and wildly idiosyncratic, masterful style.

Over 200 pages from such titles as This Magazine Is Haunted, Tales of the Mysterious Traveler, Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Out of This World, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unusual Tales have been meticulously restored in full four-color glory. Don't miss this essential collection of creepy classics from one of comics' most innovative and individualistic artists!

This Week in Fantagraphics Events: 10/7-10/14
Written by janice headley | Filed under Michael J VassalloJim WoodringeventsDanny BlandBlake BellAl Jaffee 7 Oct 2013 1:13 PM

The Secret History of Marvel Comics Book Release in NYC!

Saturday, October 12th

New York City, NY:  Authors Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo celebrate the release of The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire at the Society of Illustrators, with very special guests Al Jaffee and Stan Goldberg! Wow, wow, wow! All those in attendance will receive a special limited edition, tipped-in plate for the book, signed by the authors, and the cost of admission also gives you access to an exclusive signing session and catered reception afterwards (with cash bar). (more info)

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery presents Jim Woodring: Fran

Seattle, WA:  Join visionary artist and cartoonist Jim Woodring at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for an exhibition and book signing commemorating publication of his latest graphic novel Fran. The event features works created with his giant quill pen and musical entertainment by K Records artist Stephen Steinbrink. (more info)

In Case We Die by Danny Bland

Seattle, WA:  Victory lap! Seattle's own Danny Bland returns from his cross-country tour to present a hometown reading of In Case We Die at Elliott Bay Books, starting at 7:00 PM. (more info

• San Francisco, CA:  Fantagraphics is heading to APE for the weekend! Stay tuned to the FLOG for exciting signings, debuts, and more details!

The Secret History of Marvel Comics Book Release in NYC!
Written by janice headley | Filed under eventsBlake BellAl Jaffee 2 Oct 2013 11:13 AM

The Secret History of Marvel Comics Book Release in NYC!

It's no secret -- The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire is a thrill! 

Come celebrate the book release with authors Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo on Saturday, October 12th at the Society of Illustrators, starting at 7:00 PM.

Also joining the authors will be special guests, famed artists Al Jaffee and Stan Goldberg to discuss their memories of working for owner Martin Goodman during the halcyon days of Marvel Comics in the 1940s and 50s! 

All those in attendance will receive a special limited edition, tipped-in plate for the book, signed by the authors, and the cost of admission also gives you access to an exclusive signing session and catered reception afterwards (with cash bar).

Tickets are $20 non-members, $15 members, $10 students/seniors, and are available online here. The Society of Illustrators is located at 128 East 63rd Street.  

SPX 2013 Photo Rock Show
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Tom KaczynskitattoosPeter BaggePeanutsPaul HornschemeierNoah Van SciverNo Straight LinesMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLeslie SteinKen ParilleJoseph LambertJeff SmithJanet HamlinGeorge HerrimanGary PanterGary GrothFloyd GottfredsoneventsEd PiskorDash ShawChuck ForsmanCharles M SchulzCharles ForsmanCarol TylerBlake BellBen Catmull 27 Sep 2013 11:37 AM
SPX
Holy yes-more-please, SPX rocked us. Jacq Cohen, Gary Groth and I traversed across the country for one of the single best comic books shows that exists. We knew it was going to be quite the fun time when we boarded the plane and saw Joseph Remnant. A small favor to stranger later and he was TRAPPED between us for 4+ hours.
Jen, Joseph and Jacq
SPX is that magical place where we stay in the same hotel as the convention so you run into people all the time. We found a Ben Catmull by the elevators right away! Maybe he was haunting the place (NOT COOL, BEN)
Ben Catmull
SPX had Ed Piskor draw the badges for the show this year and they were pretty bitching! Melanie Gillman models:
SPX badge by Ed Piskor
Early morning rise and shine, all the books were out in their deliciously intimidating stacks including all sexy color Peanuts Every Sunday.
Peanuts Every Sunday
Speaking of Peanuts, kids are attracted to it like a magnet. Yes!
Peanuts
Sketching Guantanamo also debuted at SPX and Janet Hamlin, the military tribunal artist for the last seven years showed up with some new sketches. This book is very important, not just to Janet or us but to the United States as a form of public record.
Sketching Guantanamo
Janet Hamlin
Here Hamlin and Justin Hall, editor and one of the cartoonists in No Straight Lines sign books.
Janet Hamlin and Justin Hall
Ed Piskor's new book Hip Hop Family Tree sold out early in the show along with Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life. Ed signs while dressed to the nines.
Ed Piskor
Ed signed alongside Fantagraphics' veterans Leslie Stein drawing in Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 and Michael Kupperman. T. Edward Bak gives them a pleasant earful.
signing
Speaking of debuts, The Secret History of Marvel Comics edited by Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo was very popular amongst the small press and indie fans. Chip Mosher of comiXology and Max Robinson have a mug off plus show off fun 'demonstration hands'!
Secret History of Marvel Comics
Meanwhile, one of the best dressed men and micropublishers in comics, Ryan Sands of Youth in Decline SHOWS OFF not one but two amazing tops before grabbing The Dan Clowes Reader (edited by Ken Parille).
Ryan Sands
While we're on the subject of fashion this lady's TEZUKA shirt blew me away, especially with its little added on pockets. 
Tezuka
Dash Shaw and Charles Forsman signed copies of their new books, New School and The End of the Fucking World respectively. 
Dash and Chuck
Ulli Lust signs Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life and Marc Sobel (editor) signs Love and Rockets: The Companion. (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
ulli and marc
So many of our cartoonists were on panels and luckily Meredith Rizzo was there to take photos while we sold books! Dash Shaw and Frnak Santoro.
Dash and Frank
Gary Panter and Bill Kartalopoulos (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
Gary and Bill
 Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, Ed Piskor, Seth and R. Sikoryak.  (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
Ed piskor panel
And then people started drooling over Love and Rockets! Adam Staffaroni and Andrew Arnold (of Roaring Brook) ohh and ahh over Love and Rockets: The Covers.
Adam and Andrew
Joseph Lambert took it upon himself to get dangerous with hydration in a live appropriation of the Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 cover.
Joseph Lambert
Annie Mok and Phil Jackson totin' around some of The End by Anders Nilsen and Hernandez Brothers!
Annie Mok and Phil Jackson
Paul Hornschemeier, Ben Catmull, and Peter Bagge signed at the table (Gary Panter presiding behind them)
signing comics
At Bar Con in the evenings, things are heating up. Pete Bagge discusses things with Publisher Gary Groth, apparently it made Terry Nantier from NBM giggle.
SPX
Heidi MacDonald of The Beat, Peter Bagge, Terry from NBM and Noah Van Sciver make the flying Mighty Ducks 'V'.
Bar
Roger Langridge talks to Aussie Chris Breach.
Roger and Chris
At the Ignatz ceremony, they remembered our late, great Kim Thompson (photo from last year's convention)
Ignatz Kim
Ulli Lust (not pictured), Carol Tyler and me (!) all presented awards at the Ignatz ceremony.
Carol Tyler and Jen Vaughn
Two Fantagraphics' cartoonists won Ignatz bricks! Ulli for Best Graphic Novel and Chuck for issue 16 of his TEOTFW installment.
Ulli Lust and Charles Forsman
The brick for Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life.
Ulli's brick
Special guest Gary Panter and Jacq look great!
Gary and Jacq
Chuck Forsman and his BRICK!
Chuck!
Jacq and me with our roadie, Jeff Smith.
Jacq Cohen, Jen Vaughn and Jeff Smith
On Sunday more cartoonists stopped by the table to grab their favorite titles from us like Gene Yang picked up Ben Catmull's Ghosts and Ruins.
Gene Yang and Ben Catmull
Gary Panter asked Paul Hornschemeier to sign a book for him (bawww!)
Gary Panter and Paul H
Then Koyama Press' Cole Closser, Linda Walker and D&Q's Rutu Modan stopped by to talk to Gary Panter and grab Dal Tokyo.
Gary Panter and fans
Andrew Arnold and Sean Azzopardi flex with The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso and Dash Shaw 's Unclothed Man.
Andrew and Sean
Alec Longstreth and Greg McElhatton model books Mickey Mouse: Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson and Love and Rockets: The Covers!
Alec and Greg
Adriana and Tara
Joseph Remnant and Noah Van Sciver pay their respects to Schulz and the Peanuts Every Sunday Vol. 1 book. This picture is way cute and may or may not be my desktop background.
Joseph Remnant and Noah Van Sciver
Noah's gonna give you the hard sell, "LOOK at how color affects the tone of this comic!" Too true, it's way more whimsical!
Noah Van Sciver and Peanuts
Dan Stafford, SPX staffer and owner of Kilgore Books & Comics, gives us his best "don't murder me face". But it wasn't enough, story at eleven. Fall Guy for Murder by Johnny Craig gets 'em every time.
Dan Stafford
Former intern Lars got a copy of Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics (that he worked on!)
Gahan Wilson
Justin Hall and Carol Tyler of the infamous You'll Never Know series.
Justin and Tyler
Peter Bagge signs some books for fans! (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
Peter Bagge
Zak Sally took a break behind our booth to do some sweet sketches.
Zak Sally
The last thing to do at a con after packing up some unsold books and labeling boxes is EAT COOKIES. SPX social media coordinator and crazy busy man, Michael David Thomas, is the stuff fucking dreams are made of my friends.
MIchael David Thomas
More excellent fashion: Tom Kaczynski's TV Terminator shirt.
Tom K
Three cheers for Eden and Greg! Farel Dalrymple and Noah Van Sciver twerk and smirk below.
people
Jacq hugs Jason Leivian of Floating World/Press Gang
Jacq and Jason
I'm so pissed I forgot to show off my '90s HIP HOP socks to Ed while he was signing Hip Hop Family Tree. See those smiley faces and peace signs? The kind of socks you keep for the rest of your life! Eden Miller, Ignatz organizer, also showed off her own foot related fashion---an Ignatz tattoo pulled right from the pages of Herriman's comic!
Socks tats
Back on the plane ride home, Jacq took a photo of me working on comics. 
Jen comics
We had SUCH a great time at SPX, thank you so much to Warren Bernard, Michael David Thomas, Dan Stafford, Eden Miller, Sam Marx and the many, many, many other staffers and volunteers who made the show rock. Our bags are already packed for next year. 
SPX ready