“If you get a title that catches on, then add a few more, you’re in for a nice profit.”
“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).
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.
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!
Boasting one of the most PACKED signing schedules of SPX and Fantagraphics' we have FOURTEEN people signing at our table (and a few more Fantagraphics' cartoonists are tabling all by their lonesome) You can find all these sweet 'n' sassy cartoonists and book debuts at tables W57-6, along the very rightmost wall.
As usual we have an action-packed signing schedule for you at San Diego Comic Con. Keep your schedules open so you can stop by our magnificent table and get your signatures hot and fresh in your books at - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.199ZEXcU.dpuf
• Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor Yes yes y'all! This explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history will school you on the old school, taking you back to the early days of the music genre that changed global culture. Originally serialized on the hugely popular website Boing Boing, Hip Hop Family Tree is now collected in a single volume cleverly presented and packaged in a style mimicking the Marvel comics of the same era.
The only public visual record of the notorious, historic, carefully censored military trials at Guantanamo is Hamlin's courtroom sketches. This book collects her most potent and revealing sketches and chronicles her experience. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?keyword=sketching+guantanamo&search_type=titles&Search=Search&Itemid=62&option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse#sthash.xQzpBR6W.dpuf
Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013 - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/sketching-guantanamo-court-sketches-of-the-military-tribunals-2006-2013-oct.-2013.html?vmcchk=1#sthash.DF2ADBuc.dpuf
• Fran by Jim Woodring What is to become of the beloved trilobular chuckbuster Frank now that he has journeyed outside the Unifactor and met his soulmate, Fran? The answer is delivered here in devastatingly unpredictable fashion. Fans of Frank, connoisseurs of bizarre romance, and spelunkers in the radiant depths of graphic metaphysical psychodrama will want to add this singular cartoon adventure story to their lifetime reading list.
• Everybody is Stupid Except for Me (And Other Astute Observations) by Peter Bagge A decade of informed, provocative, cantankerous & hilarious cartoon opinion pieces from our favorite libertarian curmudgeon, on topics ranging from Stupid War to Stupid Sex and, of course, Stupid Politicians. BONUS: This new edition of the sold-out Everybody Is Stupid features an extra 32 pages of never-before-collected comics, including an epic biography of eccentric libertarian (and Ayn Rand contemporary) Isabel Mary Paterson.
• Treasury of Mini Comics Volume 1, edited by Michael Dowers Four decades of deliberate DIY cartoon rebellion! Collecting some of the best mini comics ever produced by some of the most creative artists in the world. In a do-it-yourself world, anything goes... boundaries are crossed, envelopes pushed, wounds opened. From the silliest fart or boob jokes to the most deeply felt "EMO" style poetry, mini comics creators have been uninhibited in their efforts to strive for something fresh, raw, and vital.
• Love and Rockets: The Covers by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (badass design by Jacob Covey) A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy and return home a hero.
A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy, get it signed and return home a hero. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.RzbNaI5J.dpuf
• Wandering Son Volume 5 by Shimura Takako In this volume of the acclaimed series about transgendered kids exploring their unfolding identities, we've reached a big event; the junior high school entrance ceremony. Envy and jealousy are prominent themes in Volume 5: Chiba-san is jealous of Takatsuki-san, for whom Nitori-kun still carries a torch. Maho envies Anna-chan's professionalism as a model. And Chii-chan's loyal sidekick, Shiri Momoko, is intensely jealous of anyone in whom Chii-chan shows the slightest interest. And so our protagonists set off on the journey to adolescence....
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain by Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge's first appearance, in one of Barks's funniest holiday stories! "Christmas on Bear Mountain" is one of Barks's funniest holiday stories and a true landmark in comics history, and offers a fascinating look at a rough-edged, genuinely nasty character whom Barks would soon soften... Journey to Volcania, "down under" and the West Indies with Donald and the nephews. Plus seven 10-pagers and abundant critical and historical notes. Not available in stores until NOVEMBER!
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck Christmas Gift Box Set by Carl Barks A double dose of Disney's Donald Duck! A thoughtful, memorable, can't-miss special Christmas item handsomely presented in an inviting gift box set that will delight readers of any age. In these twin volumes, you'll find page after page after page of intrepid quests, daring adventures, and breathtaking escapes. Readers will be spellbound by these timeless classics - with their engaging plots, clever humor, and heartwarming themes.
Ready for a detailed account of an often misrepresented slice of American publishing history and a revelatory examination of comics-industry lore that faces controversial topics head-on? Our downloadable sneak peek of Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo's new book The Secret History of Marvel Comics lets you read the Table of Contents, the authors' Introduction (in which they gut the 3 most common myths about Marvel), and the full first chapter ("The Way It Began," tracing the early life and career of Martin Goodman), illustrated with plentiful pulp covers by J.W. Scott and others.
This insightful tome arrives in or around late October and is available for pre-order right here.
Marvel Comics would probably prefer that their origins go unremembered, but comics historians Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo are here to rain on that parade with their new book The Secret History of Marvel Comics, which traces Marvel's roots in the sordid, exploitative pulp publishing empire of Martin Goodman. You'll also be treated to a bounty of rare, never-before-reprinted artwork by such comics legends as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, Alex Schomburg, Bill Everett, Al Jaffee, and Dan DeCarlo, plus top-tier pulp artists, including Norman Saunders, John Walter Scott, Hans Wesso, and L.F. Bjorklund.
This essential exposé on early comics history is due in late October/early November; we'll have more sneak peeks for you as always, and you can pre-order your copy right here.
• Richmond, VA: Don't miss this! Dash Shaw brings his animation and comic slideshow presentation to Velocity Comics tonight -- his talks are always compelling and fascinating, so get there on time! (more info)
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in March 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
The first Online Commentary & Diversions post of the year might very well end up being the longest:
• List: Humorist and television personality John Hodgman, asked to name his 5 favorite comics in an open Q&A session on his Tumblr blog, says "Love and Rockets: I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet."
• List:Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks is #39 on The A.V. Club 's list of "most anticipated entertainments of 2012": "Only a Poor Old Man will bring Scrooge McDuck, possibly Barks’ greatest creation, into the spotlight. The bespectacled miser will dive around in his money bin and burrow through it like a gopher, and his timeless adventures will get the treatment they deserve."
• List: Tucker Stone, whose Best of 2011 previously appeared at comiXology, presents a slightly modified list for Flavorwire's "10 of the Year's Most Buzzed-About Comic Releases":
"Last year’s Love and Rockets was a huge deal, but this year’s installment is arguably even better.... Comics has yet to provide Love and Rockets with anything approximating 'competition,' but it doesn’t appear that the Hernandez brothers have any reason to be concerned about that quite yet. They’re still way better at this than everybody else on the planet."
"The big thing this year was watching all the great young cartoonists of the early 2000s carving out their places in the pantheon. Huizenga’s a perfect example — he’s been regularly turning out excellent comics for years now, and yet Ganges #4 still reads like a revelation.... It’s a fascinating experience reading these comics, and they’re gorgeous to boot."
"The continuing adventures of Johnny Ryan’s most violent fantasies run amuck, [Prison Pit] is rapidly becoming the comic that I look forward to the way a fat kid looks forward to syrup-encrusted cake. There’s no getting around the hoary old cliche — 'these aren’t for everybody' — so God help you if you can’t figure out a way to enjoy these books."
• List: The prolific Sean T. Collins, after having contributed to CBR's Top 100, runs down his personal 20 Best Comics of 2011 on his Attentiondeficitdisorderly blog AND at Robot 6, withGanges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #15...
"Huizenga wrings a second great book out of his everyman character’s insomnia. It’s quite simple how, really: He makes comics about things you’d never thought comics could be about, by doing things you never thought comics could do to show you them. Best of all, there’s still the sense that his best work is ahead of him, waiting like dawn in the distance."
"...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."
"Religious fundamentalism... has worn a thousand faces in a millennia-long carnevale procession of war and weirdness, and David B. paints portraits of three of its masks with bloody brilliance. Focusing on long-forgotten heresies and treating the most outlandish legends about them as fact, B.’s high-contrast linework sets them all alight with their own incandescent madness."
"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'"
"...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."
"The hype and acclaim surrounding Xaime Hernandez’s conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. A moving, thoughtful story of missed opportunities, loss and eventual reconciliation that provides in many ways a fitting conclusion to all of Xaime’s 'Locas' stories. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year."
"More than the new Carl Barks collection, more than the return of Pogo, the resurrected, re-appreciated comic strip I found myself falling in love the most with this year was Gottfredson’s plunky, adventure-loving mouse, a scrappier version of Disney’s iconic creation. More to the point, I was completely taken with the stunning packaging and background information Fantagraphics and the books editor put together for this series. It’s new benchmark for reprint projects."
"Three volumes into this grand guginol series and it continues to surprise and delight, this time introducing a new character and suggesting via an end sequence that Ryan has been reading a lot of Fort Thunder comics."
"Incredibly inventive, Schrauwen, like Yokoyama, seems intent on pushing the comics medium into new and interesting directions. But where Yokoyama is concerned mainly with motion and exploration, Schrauwen is concerned mainly with perception and the interior world of the mind. This is great, mind-blowing work."
• List: Also on Robot 6's roundup of best-of lists from its writers, Tim O'Shea ranks Pogo Vol. 1 at #9: "Damn if this was not worth the wait... Volume 1 of the complete syndicated daily strips of Pogo would be enough to put this book on my list. But the fact that Fantagraphics has a foreword by Jimmy Breslin; an introduction by Steve Thompson; a piece on the Pogo Sunday Funnies by Mark Evanier; and Swamp Talk (R.H. Harvey annotations on the strips) is just icing on the cake."
• List: David McKean's Celluloid gets a "See Also" shout-out on Cyriaque Lamar's list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Comics of 2011 at io9: "A decidedly adult erotica graphic novel with no dialogue, this is the famed Sandman cover artist going at page after page of a sexy hallucination, whipped up by a magic porno movie projector. Dreamscapes with boners."
"After 'Browntown' in last year’s installment of New Stories, there was a worry that Jaime might have peaked — how on earth was he going to top that story? The achingly beautiful conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in this volume was the answer. Pulling together strands from Maggie’s entire 30-year history in two pages was nothing short of stunning, with his art as cooly confident as ever, making it a real emotional sucker punch. Gilbert’s work developing Fritz’s movie back-catalogue is a real mind-bender, too, weaving inter- and meta-textual strands together that lets his characters say so much, while saying so little. It is terrifying how talented these guys are."
"Forget Pogo and Carl Barks — we already knew they were classics — the real reprint revelation of 2011 was good ole' Mickey Mouse.... To read these strips is to rediscover a love for Mickey and marvel at Gottfredson's amazing grasp of storytelling and humour, as well as his flawless artwork. Naturally, with Fantagraphics overseeing the reprints, the design, packaging and presentation is gorgeous — a real worthy successor to their Peanuts series."
• Plug: "I’m a little mortified to admit that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is my first exposure to Carl Barks (after decades of being interested in finally seeing why he’s so revered as a comic creator), but it definitely won’t be my last. Fantagraphics’ first volume of Barks material is a great place to start; a mixture of epic quests, short stories, and gag strips that are all impressively funny and awesome." – Greg McElhatton, Robot 6
• List: On his Domino Books blog, Austin English explains why Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is his favorite comic of 2011: "Farmer's cartooning allows for her characters to act out their illness and struggles in front of the reader. Farmer's drawing of her aging father is something to behold — it's not Farmer saying 'here is what my sick father went through.' Instead we see a drawing age and wither in front of us, and speak to us with both intelligence and dementia. I’ve never seen anything in comics done with such skill — let alone see a graphic novel (often the territory of poorly conceived topical heart wrenchers) speak about tragedy with so much depth and clarity."
• List: Comics writer Vito Delsante declares Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Single Issue of 2011 on his Best of 2011 blog post: "The Hernandez Brothers, since New Stories 3, have really created the most important mythology in comics since Stan and Jack (and Steve).... Jaime Hernandez should win every single award in comics in 2012."
• List: We rank 4 entries on Renee Lott's Top 10 Comics of 2011 at her Blogwithfeet
• Review: "I've been digging the new Fantagraphics release Jason Conquers America which commemorates ten years of the venerable publisher's relationship with the Norewegian artist.... My favorite story in the collection revolves around a crow who naps in a bed in a field and wakes up obliviously in an entirely new life. (Telling any more would spoil the revelation.) In 23 short wordless panels, Jason creates a powerful and compelling commentary that proves how powerfully expressive comics can be." – Stray Riffs
• Review: "A new comic from the top humorist in comics is always welcome. This issue [of Tales Designed to Thrizzle] is the usual combination of dada and surprisingly tightly-wrapped narrative gags surrounding the sort of cultural detritus mined by Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden.... 'Quincy, M.E.'... is one of Kupperman's best strips because he keeps adding new layers of plot to an already-ridiculous story.... I still miss the sheer density of detail in Kupperman's older work that made reading it almost exhausting, but the avalanche of ideas remains intact, as does his ability to elicit laughs." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Review: "...Prison Pit... [is] a marriage of pro wrestling, manga, bromance and filth.... Johnny Ryan has an almost Kirbyesque level of character design, but with obviously more genitalia, and it can at times be a joy just to see what is going to come on the next page.... Johnny Ryan is a cartoonist at the top of his game right now and he may just be the closest thing the comic world has to marmite." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Todd DePastino, biographer of Bill Mauldin and editor of our Willie & Joe books. Spurgeon says Willie & Joe: Back Home is "one of my three favorite comics-related books from 2011, and, I think, one of the year's best." From DePastino: "When I look at these cartoons, I think of literary critic Dominic LaCapra's claim that some books are good to think about and a very few are good to think with. Mauldin's postwar cartoons are good to think with. They not only provide a window to the times, like, say, good photographs or reporting might, but they also raise fundamental questions and issues that are with us still."
• Review: "These comics are beautiful. Each single-panel comic is blown up to a full page, so that Mauldin’s artistry can truly (and easily) be admired without squinting. The sentiments expressed are astonishing and bravely progressive for the time.... I’d never thought or heard about the poor reception combat vets received after WWII. (I mistakenly thought that only happened to our soldiers after the Vietnam War.) I wish I knew what they experienced. I’ll settle for giving [Willie & Joe: Back Home] to the next WWII vet I meet and hope that it sparks a conversation." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
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