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Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking Forward to Looking Back Vol 10

Well, it's Monday so I'm back with more goodies classic comic fans can add to their shopping lists for the year to come, and gee if this week isn't a doozy! Comic strip collections are the bulk of my news and the first items up are some collections of note from Fantagraphics Books.

In March, Fantagraphics will answer my prayers (and those of many other fans) with the release of Krazy and Ignatz 1916-1918. This softcover ($24.99) sees Fantagraphics finally going back and reprinting the strips from its beginning.

"When Fantagraphics launched its collection of Krazy Kat Sunday strips back in 2002, we picked up with the 10th and 11th years of the legendary strip (1925-1926) because another publisher had already collected the first nine during the 1980s and 1990s. But now, with that publisher long gone and their Krazy Kat collections fetching record prices (some over $100!) among collectors, it’s time to go back and get every one of these masterpieces back in print — re-scanned and re-retouched from original tearsheets, using 21st century digital resources. Fantagraphics will be collecting these first nine years of Sundays into three volumes comprising three years apiece, starting with the very first Sundays from 1916 through 1918, and incorporating all the added features from the first edition."

Look for this collection in the January Previews!

Word of a new Peanuts collection is always a treat and in April 2010, readers can expect to see The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976 by Charles M. Schulz. It's incredible how much ground this series has covered so far! This thirteenth volume will be a hardcover for $28.99. If you're like me and wait for the double book slip cased sets, then relax and let your anticipation go until an announcement comes for The Complete Peanuts: 1977-1978, which should follow for a release in September 2010.

Then in May 2010, we can expect to see Prince Valiant Volume 2 1939-1940 by Hal Foster, and there's adventure galore in this new volume!

"Prince Valiant helps his father reclaim his throne in kingdom of Thule, fights alongside King Arthur, and is made a knight of the Round Table in recompense for his bravery and wit. Bored by the peace he helped to create, Val decides to independently pull together the forces to battle the Huns’ descent on Southern Europe. When Val’s army breaches the Huns’ stronghold, however, he discovers that corruption reigns still further west in Rome. Thus Val sets off with Sir Gawain and Tristam of Arthurian legend fame, and the familial kinship of the trio sees them through chivalrous escapades, false imprisonment and daring escapes. By the end of this volume, they go their separate ways, and Val boards a ship to Sicily—yet a storm approaches, throwing him off-course, as adventure follows him everywhere."

This hardcover collection of art shot and restored from the original proof pages will run 112 pages for $29.99.

Also in May, Fantagraphics is releasing the important sequel to their 2007 release of cartoonist Bill Mauldin's Willie & Joe: The WWII Years collection. This new collection, Willie and Joe: Back Home follows the pair as they begin a new struggle: the readjustment to civilian life.

"WWII’s most famous soldiers return from the frontlines. In the summer of 1945, a great tide of battered soldiers began flowing back to the united States from around the globe. Though victorious, these exhausted men were nevertheless too grief-stricken over the loss of comrades, too guilt-ridden that they had survived, and too numbed by trauma to share in the country’s euphoria. Most never saw a ticker-tape parade, or stole a Times Square kiss. All they wanted was to settle back into quiet workaday lives without fear. How tragic that the forces unleashed by World War II made this simple wish impossible.

Willie & Joe: Back Home
brilliantly chronicles the struggles and disillusionments of these early postwar years and, in doing so, tells Bill Mauldin’s own extraordinary story of his journey home to a wife he barely knew and a son he had only seen in pictures. The drawings capture the texture and feel, the warp and woof, of this confusing time: the ubiquitous hats and cigarettes, the domestic rubs, the rising fear of another war, and new conflicts over Civil Rights, civil liberties, and free speech. This second volume of Fantagraphics’ series reprinting Mauldin’s greatest work identifies and restores the dozens of cartoons censored by Mauldin’s syndicate for their attacks on racial segregation and McCarthy-style “witch hunts.” Mauldin pleaded with his syndicate to let him out of his contract so that he could return to the simple quiet life so desired by Willie & Joe. The syndicate refused, so Mauldin did battle, as always, through pen and ink."

This will be a 288 page hardcover of black and white cartoons for $29.99.

In June, readers can expect to see a turn of the 19th century cartoonist get his due, as Fantagraphics releases, The Antic Cartoon Art of T.S. Sullivant. Sullivant (1854-1926) came late to cartooning at the age of 32, but before he was 40, he had helped "alter the face of comedic art in America, ushering it into the 20th century."

"Until Sullivant’s drawings of animals exaggerated facial and anatomical features to the point of caricature, most American cartoonists were more illustrators than cartoonists: they drew realistically and cross-hatched copiously. Sullivant (and Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman) changed that, inaugurating the typical caricatural methods of modern cartooning—big heads, big feet. Sullivant, famed for drawing animals, cave men (and women), rummy Irishmen, and Biblical characters with anachronistic abandon, did most of his cartooning for the old Life humor magazine (1883-1936), with a few years’ detour to a rival, Judge. During that period, Sullivant received the accolade of the age: he was employed briefly by William Randolph Hearst to do political cartoons for the New York Journal American."

This will be the first extensive collection of his drawings and cartoons published until now and offers a healthy sampling of his Life cartoons from his debut in the magazine in 1888 to his last cartoon in 1926, published posthumously; a healthy helping of his 1905-1909 work for Judge; and a short biography and evaluation by compiler R. C. Harvey and an appreciation by Richard Marschall. Color and black-and-white cartoons throughout.

Also for June 2010, I can update an earlier column with information that we'll see the release that month of Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s, edited by Greg Sadowski and John Benson. This is the first book in the company's partnership with historian Greg Sadowski, offering a massive $29.99 paperback collection of never-before-collected pre-Comics Code horror comics of the 1950s.

It looks like Fantagraphics couldn't let Drawn & Quarterly have all the fun with reprints of Nancy, so in July 2010, the publisher has their own collections of Nancy on the slate but focusing on the work of Nancy's creator, Ernie Bushmiller. Their first collection, Nancy is Happy: Complete Dailies 1942-1945, will reprint four years worth of material and its release with be complimented with the book, How to Read Nancy by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden. This new expansion of the classic 1988 essay reads as "the ultimate comic-strip deconstruction/tutorial. Everything that you will ever need to know about reading, making, or under- standing comics can be found in the three panels of a single comic strip published on August 8, 1959: Nancy, by Ernie Bushmiller." This should be an enlightening read for anyone interested in the technique and wonder of comics as an art form.

Fantagraphics also has the book, From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin, on the schedule for July. The publisher states:

"From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin is a coffee table art book and critical biography of one of the twentieth century’s most influential comic book artists. Meskin’s career spanned both the Golden and Silver ages of comics, from the 1940s to the 1960s. His drawing, chiaroscuro technique, and storytelling are considered by connoisseurs of the form to be among the most sophisticated of his time. His passion for his artwork was equaled by his skill, and the quality of his overall oeuvre blurs the artificial distinction between high and low art. Yet he is known mostly among hard-core aficionados today, eclipsed by many of his peers, some of whom he profoundly influenced. Among Meskin’s fans and admirers are Jim Steranko, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, Steve Ditko, Jerry Robinson, and Jack Kirby. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin will finally give this neglected artist the recognition he’s due."

August will see two more release of the classic variety with not only another Krazy & Ignatz volume, in Krazy and Ignatz 1919-1921: A Kind, Benevolent and Amiable Brick, but that month also will bring the start of Fantagraphics' efforts to reprint more of the excellent comic strip work of Roy Crane with the release of Buz Sawyer Volume 1: War in the Pacific. In this strip, Crane sought to give readers tales of a more realistic fighting man, John Singer Sawyer, a Navy pilot who fought in the Pacific Theater from 1943 until V-J Day in 1945.

"This book, the first in a series reprinting the Buz Sawyer strip, reprints all of the daily strips published during World War II. Buzz serves aboard an aircraft carrier, flies combat missions against the notorious Japanese Zeros, crash lands behind enemy lines, and is captured by a Japanese submarine."

Considering Mr. Royston Campbell Crane is one of the founding fathers of the adventure strip with the 1920s strip Wash Tubbs, it's great to see Fantagraphics bringing not only Buz Sawyer but also Captain Easy out in hardcovers collections such as they deserve! Hopefully Wash Tubbs collections are on the horizon too! Hint hint!!!

Finally, Drawn & Quarterly has a nice offering I didn't think readers would see anytime soon, but June 2010 should see the release of Walt & Skeezix Book Four: 1927-1928. Glad to see D&Q clearer up some rights issues and continues their long tradition of affectionately reprinting the Gasoline Alley strips.

So how's that for an incredible release schedule? I think I'm going to need more bookcases going into next year!

Well, that's enough for this week! Until next time...



At 12/14/2009 11:24 PM, Blogger Coolguy 2004 said...

That Nancy book looks excellent!

At 12/15/2009 9:42 AM, Blogger tom said...

Once again, a fantastic entry, Joe. I wish I was made o' money, because so much of what you cover looks awesome. Krazy and Ignatz? Prince Valiant? T.S. Sullivant? Buz Sawyer? AND probably some of the best Willie and Joe work by Mauldin? Man!!!

At 12/15/2009 11:48 AM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

"Ernie" Bushmiller, not John.
-Ye Olde Editor

At 12/15/2009 10:20 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I don't know where that name goof on my part came from... yikes!

Thanks, Editor!

At 12/19/2009 8:01 AM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

Great post nonetheless.

At 1/23/2010 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buz Sawyer I got to get that


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