Due to a recent USPS postal rate increase, we have had to raise our shipping charges for international Air Mail delivery by approximately 10 percent. You can see the new rates on our Shipping Charges & Information page. Charges for DHL Global Mail delivery have not changed and remain the most economical option for our overseas customers.
As with every year we've been diligently compiling our books' appearances on end-of-year lists and for your browsing and shopping reference we have created a handy page of 2012 Critics' Picks, listing books that are being chosen by critics, fellow artists, readers and other comics professionals as the Best of 2012. (See also the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 lists — these lists can also be found under "Award Winners" in our "Browse Shop" navigation tab.) This page will continue expanding as the year winds down and into the new year and more lists are announced.
If you're a critic, blogger, pundit and/or enthusiast who's putting together your own Best of 2012 list and need to be reminded which of your favorite Fantagraphics titles were released this year (and there's a lot of them), by all means use our complete and up-to-date 2012 Releases section as your guide. (Note that this list includes multipacks which may contain previous years' releases.)
Arriving in mailboxes imminently: the 2013 edition (we've lost count of how many of these things we've put out) of the Fantagraphics Ultimate Catalog of Comics! It's jam-packed with our 2012 releases, a few upcoming 2013 releases, and a bunch of backlist stuff. It also has an update on our FBI•MINI mail-order bonus program and some surprise exclusive money-saving offers! And, of course, there's a handy order form for ordering everything.
If you're not already on our mailing list, contact us to request your free copy, and if you just can't wait and/or want to have it on your computer or mobile device, we've also made it available as an 9 MB PDF download.
R.C. Harvey, who seemingly knows everything about everything, once again shared the expanse of his knowledge in his annotations for our latest collection of Walt Kelly's Pogo strips and once again we had to bleed the red pen dry and carve Harv's original text down considerably from the original 10,000 (or so) words to print it in the allotted space in Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 2 - Bona Fide Balderdash. But again, since the internet knows no such space limitations, we are pleased to present the unadulterated, unedited Harv here on our website. (And if you've just picked up the new box set of Vols. 1 and 2, you can find his unexpurgated Vol. 1 notes here.)
So get comfy, maybe fix yourself a nice mug of cocoa. We'll start with the intro here, and then you can carry on to the notes themselves. If you know Harv, you know that his loquaciousness and erudition is matched only by his delightfully readable prose. Enjoy! – Ed.
Swamp Talk Annotations and Historical Data By R.C. Harvey
lthough celebrated for his political allegory and satire, Walt Kelly laced Pogo with allusions to other aspects of contemporary life in America, plus literary references and snatches of poetry. In our less than literate society of 140-character communiques, many of Kelly’s nods at literature are obscure to the point of irrelevance, and the targets of much of his political sniping are no longer visible: sixty years after the fact, the events he so gleefully mocked have long been forgotten. My assignment here at the back of the book is to pull back the veil that the passage of time has drawn over the Pogo proceedings by reminding us of some of those things we’ve lost sight of.
Harmless drudgery though it is, I take heart at the words of comics afficionado and cartooner Clay Geerdes, who once said: “Probably only a handful of people, cartoonists among them, understand the many levels Kelly worked on in a single strip. He was to comics what William Faulkner was to the psychological novel” — an insight that doubtless justifies a few more generations of copiously footnoted articles about Pogo.
And so I plunge once again to a swirl of elucidation (clarifying explanation) the tedium of which will no doubt yield an ennui (listless boredom) greater than the enervating (paralyzing) effect of the bafflement that might otherwise prevail.
The period embraced by this volume (1951-52) provides a happy sample of the sort of crowd-pleasing antics that Kelly was staging in those days just before he turned the spotlight on political commentary; instead, we have unrelenting vaudevillian nonsense, mostly untinged by any topicalities whatsoever. His objective, he said, was to be funny. "I come from a school of old-time cartooning," he went on. "In the old days, we tried to make a buck out of drawing. I go after whatever seems funny to me."
In his pursuit of funny, Kelly eschewed plots. Plots, to Kelly, were not realistic. "The plot is an invention of storytellers," he said. And if none of his characters ever accomplishes anything or achieves whatever goal may have inspired the commencement of an action, that's realistic. "There are no pay-offs in real life," Kelly explained. "Besides, it always rings untrue when you try to wind up with a specific conclusion."
Consequently (in case you haven't noticed already), in Pogo things happen in much the same fashion as a ball of yarn unravels if rolled across the floor by a playful kitten. Pogo and the rest of "nature's screechers" that populate the swamp may begin with one thing in mind, but they are easily distracted (by misapprehended speeches or actions, by puns or other word play, by the arrival of a newcomer in their midst) into following an internal logic of their own that bears little or no resemblance to the meaning the rest of us fabricate for the world around us. And all the time, Kelly was honing his skill at political satire — as we can see in the pages to the fore, illuminated, we trust, by these notes at the aft. We begin with the daily strips; then, the Sundays.
Hello, loyal mail-order customers! Just a friendly reminder that in order for your shipment to be delivered in time for the Christmas holiday, we must receive your order before 5 PM Pacific time on the following dates (note that these are guidelines and not a guarantee of delivery):
International – Global Mail: Tuesday, November 27 International – Airmail: Monday, December 10 Domestic – Media Rate/UPS Ground: Friday, December 14 Domestic – Priority Mail: Monday, December 17 Domestic – 2nd Day UPS: Thursday, December 20
Just a quick note to say that we've removed the comments here on Flog due to the unmanageable volume of spam. We're sorry if your searing insight or witty bon mot has been lost to the ether. If you have questions or remarks to share with us, in lieu of leaving a comment please join us on Facebook and Twitter, or just send them via good old-fashioned email. Thanks for reading!
I'd like to take a rare personal moment here on Flog for a public service announcement: I walked away from this with a few minor scrapes and bruises yesterday. The other guy's OK too. Wear your seatbelts, folks.
This is also to explain why we've been relatively quiet the last couple of days as I've been taking some time off and to let you know we might miss posting some news and announcements in our usual timely-ish fashion for a little while as I try to catch up.
We've got our new Nicolas Mahler Angelman page for you! And in lieu of a new Up All Night strip Michael Kupperman has provided a rarity from his vaults.
And a note on a change here: I've greatly enjoyed bringing you weekly roundups of comics by our artists from elsewhere around the web, but putting them together here on Flog has proven to be labor-intensive, so from now on I'll be posting those strips on our Tumblr blog when appropriate, because that's easier. Of course I strongly encourage you to go through previous posts, link through to the sources of those strips and add them to your bookmarks and/or RSS reader, if you like 'em.
We are proud and pleased to be publishing our first Nicolas Mahler book (a full-color hardcover, no less) this coming April: ANGELMAN. As a special blog bonus, we will serialize the first quarter of the book with the rest of our weekly digital comics, beginning this Friday... at the end of which, you will be so absorbed in Angelman's travails that you will have no choice but to pick up the book. Enjoy! Here is the title page of the book, to further whet your appetite.
Between this and Jaime Hernandez's GOD AND SCIENCE, Fantagraphics' 2012 goal will be to remind everyone that the super-hero comics genre isn't completely played out.
There are many ways to describe R.C. Harvey, but, as anyone who has accidentally dropped his nearly-1,000-page opus Meanwhile... A Biography of Milton Caniff on his or her toes can attest, "man of few words" is not necessarily one of them. (I say this as someone who read each and every word in Meanwhile... with delight and fascination.) So it should have come as no surprise to us when Harv, commissioned to write a set of elucidatory notes for the first Pogo volume and given no word limit (as is our jauntily laissez-faire method here at Fantagraphics), turned in a 13,000-word monster of an essay entitled "Swamp Talk." Given available space, it was a bit too much, and Harv and contributing editor Mark Evanier had to go in with a machete and whack it down to size (less than half—and still not short by any means, as those who are enjoying the book already know).
But the fact is, Harv's original full-length "Swamp Talk" has plenty of delightfully chewy bits in the parts that were cut, so with the kind permission of Harv and Pogo co-editors Evanier and Carolyn Kelly, we're pleased to present the unexpurgated "Swamp Talk" in digital form here — perfect for perusing with the book on your lap.
And if you don't have the book yet, well... Rowrbrazzle! What are you waiting for?
Should Harv feel the need to ascend into the quintuple digits on "Swamp Talks" in future volumes, the "shortened version in print, full version on the internet" template seems like the way to go so far as we're concerned.
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