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.
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.
Only a few months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and the same year that Albert Camus offered the world his bleak vision of man’s existence by introducing his philosophical dictum of The Absurd, Virgil Partch burst onto the scene with his own twist on the phrase. Partch was a cartoonist who offered comic counterpoint to the grim headlines and a unique perspective on human nature in the pages of the nation’s most popular magazines.
Known to millions by his jazzy signature, VIP, this comic genius ushered in a new era of the gag cartoon — zany, sometimes surreal, always hilarious — that inspired a generation of fellow cartoonists starting in the 1940s and '50s. His madcap style of humor was reflected in the cutting-edge comedic sensibilities of Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, Ernie Kovacs, Bob & Ray, Stan Freberg, and Jean Shepherd, and would position Partch as one of the most prolific "gag-men" of his day. VIP contributed to an astonishing array of magazines, wrote gags for other cartoonists, illustrated books, album covers, and advertisements, and adorned merchandise including, appropriately, cocktail glasses.
VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch is the first time Partch's life and career has been treated in full, collecting amazing artwork from the entire range of his inspired career — reprinted from original art, primary-source publications, and collectors' and family archives — and featuring his own writings. VIP's place in the world of cartooning and humor can finally be fully appreciated in this beautiful coffee-table volume.
A boxed set of the nineteenth and twentieth volumes of The Complete Peanuts, designed by the award-winning graphic novelist, Seth. Shipping shrinkwrapped, with volumes 1987-1988 and 1989-1990 packed in a sturdy custom box designed especially for this set, it's the perfect gift book item. (For more information on the contents of each volume, see the individual product listings linked above.)
"The Complete Peanuts has framed Charles Schulz’s enduring masterpiece about as well any lifelong fan could’ve hoped." – "The Best Comics of the '00s: The Archives," The A.V. Club
"Charles Schulz was an American treasure — an artist, philosopher, and keen observer of human life." – Bill Clinton
Volume 8 of the collected works of underground comix legend Robert Crumb brings the series up to 1972. This was an era when fame and fortune were weighing heavily on Crumb, and his reactions to his celebrity produced some of his best and most fascinating strips! This volume includes several classic works, including the solo titles Home Grown (which includes the infamous 22-page sex story "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot"); Big Ass Comics #2 (which includes the controversial "Anal Antics" and "And Now a Word to All You Feminist Women" — not politically correct); Mr. Natural #2 (featuring the continuing adventures of one of Crumb's best-loved characters); and finally Crumb's scathing reaction to the Bakshi/Krantz Fritz the Cat movie and fame in general, People's Comics. This masterpiece includes "The Confessions of R. Crumb," "The R. Crumb $uck$e$$ Story," and "Fritz the Cat, 'Superstar'", wherein Fritz, now a burned-out, overstimulated, callous celebrity, gets his final, fatal comeuppance in the form of an ice pick (long before Fatal Attraction)! Add into the volume the usual slew of Crumb rarities — from The Whole Earth Catalog, Thrilling Murder, Bijou, Surfer Magazine, and Nostalgia Press — as well as another extensive color section, and an introduction by Crumb's missus, Aline Kominsky-Crumb — and you've got a collection that any Crumb fan must have. This volume contains material that sets the tone for the rest of Crumb's career — the retreat from the hurly-burly modern world, the ruralism, the nostalgia, the introspection... and let's not forget the wild weird Crumb sexuality! A must!
1993 Harvey Award Winner, Best Domestic Reprint Project
Fantagraphics is proud to announce the release of the first volume of another great, under-appreciated, quintessentially American cartoonist.
"Black as sin and decay and perversion" is how National Lampoon editor Tony Hendra described the work of Charles Rodrigues. By all accounts, this small, politically conservative, devout Catholic, was a good-natured dumpling of a man. But inside lurked an untapped vein of savage wit that only the National Lampoon saw fit to unleash. Given carte blanche by its young editors, Rodrigues produced a 20-year tsunami of hilarious self-contained comic strips, themed gag spreads, and serials that boggled the mind and challenged all sense of decency and propriety.
In this first-ever collection of his comics, readers are treated to the misadventures of conjoined twins The Aesop Brothers; Sam deGroot, a private detective in an iron lung (whose life actually gets worse when he is sprung from his enclosure); Deirdre Callahan, a girl so hideous that to look upon her causes madness and suicide; and the heartwarming (in relative terms) titular tale of Ray and Joe, the saga of a man and his dead best friend. Also included are his brilliant "biographies" of Marilyn Monroe, Abbie Hoffman, Eugene O'Neill, and others.
Rodrigues rendered his cast of grotesqueries and naïfs in a ragged, unpretty line within dense panels and pages, that perfectly reflects his uniquely bizarre, riotous and repellent world.
Charles Rodrigues may be gone and, if not forgotten, insufficiently remembered, and this collection will rectify at least one of those tragedies.
Camp X-Ray in the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, opened in January, 2002 in the wake of the 9-11 attacks to house alleged terrorists — off the American mainland, unaccountable to the U.S. judiciary — in "indefinite detention." Newer and more permanent prisons were later built miles away, and continue to house terrorist suspects today.
The United States government does not allow photographs of the military trials at Guantanamo, but beginning in 2006, Janet Hamlin went to Guantanamo as a courtroom sketch artist to serve as a visual witness to the courtroom proceedings and provide worldwide media with artwork drawn during them. She has been the only sketch artist covering these trials from 2006 to the present time.
Sketching Guantanamo is both a collection of her most potent and revealing sketches drawn during this period, as well a chronicle of her experience at Guantanamo.
Before entering the viewing booth behind multi-paneled soundproof glass in the back of the court, Hamlin is daily subjected to thorough searches, wanding, and metal detecting in three separate checkpoints. The U.S. government and even detainees can demand that certain details be "smudged" or even changed. When one detainee who had just pled guilty demanded that sketches of him not be released, Hamlin staged a four-hour sit-in until the authorities relented.
Hamlin's drawings and her accompanying text provide rare insight into the military courts of Guantanamo. The trials are considered notorious and historic, among the most carefully censored trials in recent U.S. history, and sketches are the only visuals the world is allowed to see.
Sketching Guantanamo features nearly 150 drawings, as well as photographs of the surrounding facilities that enhance the artist's illustrations and her running commentary. It also includes a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award winner Carol Rosenberg, a member of a reporting team that won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize.
Love and Rockets enters its fourth decade with this installment of its acclaimed graphic novel-format iteration, featuring both old friends and new faces, and some genuine surprises...
The cover shows Gilbert's new star Killer in a pose and milieu that will bring back memories for long-time fans — imitating the hammer-wielding Luba in her adopted Palomar. That’s because Killer has discovered that her great-grandmother Maria (Luba's mother) starred in a late 1950s crime movie, and begins to delve into the details of her family's twisted history. Complicating things is the fact that Luba's half-sister Fritz played Maria in an amped-up bio-pic version of her life, creating a postmodern alternate version of the classic "Poison River" which originally told Maria's story (in a tie-in release, see the graphic novel version of this movie, Maria M. Book One)! In the other half of the book, Jaime continues to explore his intriguing new character Tonta: In "Fuck Summer," Tonta is talked into joining the summer swim team but can't figure out why the brand new swim coach knows her — so, with help from friends, she sets out to find the answer. Meanwhile, something far more sinister is brewing behind the scenes...
Veteran Joe Krueger is drifting in 1950s California, looking for work wherever he can find it. Tired after a long drive, he stops at a boardinghouse and meets sweet — and sexy — Ida, who rents him a room. That very night, Ida tells him "Mother" and "Father" have run their auto over a cliff, then seduces him in the teary aftermath. Smitten now, Joe starts helping out around the boardinghouse, and the two marry. The honeymoon is over when a shocking series of events force the Kruegers down to San Francisco, where Ida is injured in a bus accident. Soon enough, insurance investigators have chased them out of the city to another town where Ida schemes to swindle a motel owner out of her property. Next, the motel owner and her crippled husband are missing, a water softener salesman is shot, and workmen are digging holes in Joe Krueger's basement.
Schulz shifts gears from his recent Jazz Age Trilogy, combining the exquisitely wrought language of those novels and a straight-for-the-throat pulpy narrative. Imagine the pathology laid bare in Don DeLillo's Libra fused with the sordid and desperate criminality of Jim Thompson's The Getaway, and the black humor of Bruce Jay Friedman.
Based on the true story of Iva Kroeger and her husband Ralph, who were indicted for the murders of Mildred and Jay Arneson in 1962, Naughty culminates in a trial: Ida, whose crimes have (only just) begun to catch up to her, is at her zenith, pleading insanity and playing the part to the hilt. The reader learns Joe's and Ida's fates via excerpts from authentic court documents. Naughty explores exactly what happens when "a swell-looking babe" is unleashed on real life, leaving marks, patsies, and bodies in her wake.
This 20th volume is particularly dense with romantic intrigue, as Marcie and Charlie Brown end up at camp together, sending Peppermint Patty into mad jealousy (especially since Marcie can't resist teasing her)... and an old friend of Charlie Brown's attempts to look him up again but confuses him with Snoopy and goes on a date with him instead.
But the most crucial event in romance is Charlie Brown's romance with Peggy Jean — even though he's so flustered in his first conversation with her that he ends up stuck with the name "Brownie Charles" for the duration of her relationship ("I kind of like it...").
This volume also introduces yet another Snoopy sibling, Olaf, who is humiliatingly invited to enter an ugly-dog contest (and, even more humiliatingly, wins). Plus lots of Zen-like Spike-and-cactus strips, Sally Brown non sequiturs, D-minuses for Peppermint Patty, and wise thoughts from Franklin's grandpa... Snoopy treks through the wilderness as the Beagle Scoutmaster and through the desert as the World Famous Sergeant of the Foreign Legion, Woodstock takes a whack at being the King of the Jungle, Lucy enjoys Michael Jackson on her boom box, Marcie's perfectionism leads to a crack-up, Pigpen runs for class president, Snoopy gets called to jury duty... and for a change, Lucy pulls the football out from under Charlie Brown.