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WE TOLD YOU SO Comics As Art

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WE TOLD YOU SO Comics As Art

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Closeout Price! An Oral History of Fanatagraphics Books. Recommended. By Michael Dean and Tom Spurgeon. In 1976, a group of young men and women coalesced around a fledgling magazine and the idea that comics could be art. In 2016, comics intended for an adult readership are reviewed favorably in the New York Times, enjoy panels devoted to them at Book Expo America, and sell in bookstores comparable to prose books. This impressive 696-page volume tells of Fantagraphics Books’ key role in helping build, shape and define an art movement--comic book art. They do it here in the way insiders share stories with one another: in anecdotal form, in the words of the people who lived it and saw it happen.

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In 1976, a group of young men and women coalesced around a fledgling magazine and the idea that comics could be art. In 2016, comics intended for an adult readership are reviewed favorably in the New York Times, enjoy panels devoted to them at Book Expo America, and sell in bookstores comparable to prose books. This impressive 696-page volume tells of Fantagraphics Books’ key role in helping build, shape and define an art movement--comic book art. They do it here in the way insiders share stories with one another: in anecdotal form, in the words of the people who lived it and saw it happen.

Comics historian and critic Tom Spurgeon and Michael Dean assemble an all-star cast of industry figures, critics, cartoonists, art objects, curios and groundbreaking publications to bring you a detailed account of Fantagraphics’ first 40 years. We Told You So is a detailed catalog of the look of a cultural awakening. It’s a story that includes appearances by Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Harlan Ellison, Jim Shooter, Stan Lee, Daniel Clowes, Frank Miller, Peter Bagge, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Dave Sim, Steve Geppi, Todd McFarlane and every other major figure in the arts or business end of modern comics. More than a corporate history or a fond look back, We Told You So: Comics as Art makes the warts and all case for Fantagraphics Books’ position near the heart of the modern reclamation of the comics art form.

Personal aside: I was already selling comics-related books, fanzines and underground comics through the mail when Gary Groth took over The Comics Journal. That's where, in 1977, as described in the book, "The Long Hard Struggle Begins." I also co-owned several comic stores, Comics and Comix, and was selling wholesale to other comic book stores nationwide and overseas. Gary came to me at that time and needing help with money and distribution, suggesting a partnership. I came back with the idea to guarantee purchasing several thousand copies of each issue, which I did along with friend and fellow-distributor Phil Seuling.

This gave Gary the seed money and circulation to get things off the ground, improving the magazine with more pages and color covers. The first such issue featured a Star Wars cover feature with art by Al Williamson, and first photos from the forthcoming Superman Movie with Christopher Reeve. The second sported a color cover and an excellent interview with Gil Kane, at the time drawing Star Hawks in the newspapers. This gave Seuling and me a quality magazine in a field that lacked anything like it. We sold the hell out of each issue and it all worked out. It's detailed here, in the generously titled "Bud Plant and Phil Seuling Save the Day,"  compiled from interviews with myself and Gary.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code WETYH
Publisher Fantagraphics
Publish Date 2016
ISBN 9781606999332
Binding Hard Cover
Dimensions 8x10
# Pages 696pg
Color Full Color
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