A Short History
A Short History of Fantagraphics Books
“Fantagraphics… has published and championed many of the finest cartoonists working today.” – John Hodgman, The New York Times
“…[O]ne of the foremost publishers of comics, graphic novels and related works in the world.” – Publishers Weekly
“[Fantagraphics] have consistently published America’s most important comix artists…” – Andrew D. Arnold, Time
“It’d be difficult to find more challenging and entertaining rabble-rousers amid the panorama of popular culture.” – The Village Voice
“…Fantagraphics [is] perhaps the country’s most critically acclaimed comics and graphic novels publisher…” – Austin American-Statesman
“Fantagraphics publishes the best comics in the world.” – Wired
“Fantagraphics aren’t pussies. They are raising bars and smashing boundaries with every mammoth step they take. BOOM BOOM BOOM!” – Vice
“These guys know what the hell they’re doing.” – Salon.com
“Fantagraphics is a national treasure, providing a much-needed poke in the eye for this country’s middlebrow and lamestream culture. Long may they thrive.” – HiLobrow
“It’s an indisputable fact that Seattle’s own Fantagraphics Books is the best comic-book publisher in the United States. It may even be the best comic-book publisher in the world.” – The Stranger
Fantagraphics Books has been a leading proponent of comics as a legitimate form of art and literature since it began publishing the critical trade magazine The Comics Journal in 1976. By the early 1980s, Fantagraphics found itself at the forefront of the burgeoning movement to establish comics as a medium as eloquent and expressive as the more established popular arts of film, literature, poetry, et al. Fantagraphics quickly established a reputation as an advocacy publisher that specialized in seeking out and publishing the kind of innovative work that traditional comics corporations who dealt almost exclusively in super-heroes and fantasy either didn’t know existed or wouldn’t touch: serious, dramatic, historical, journalistic, political, and satirical work by a new generation of alternative cartoonists as well as many artists who gained prominence as part of the seminal underground comix movement of the ’60s. Fantagraphics has since gained an international reputation for its literate and audacious editorial standards and its exacting production values.
The work of artists such as R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Dan Clowes, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, Carol Tyler and others has continued to gain commercial momentum and critical recognition over the last three decades by combining the social relevance of the previous generation of underground comix artists, attention to personal and psychological veracity, and formal experimentation and innovation.
Fantagraphics’ authors have garnered more favorable press attention than any publisher’s in the history of the medium. Recent books alone have received significant, positive coverage in TIME, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, and others. Fantagraphics was ranked among the top five most influential publishers in the history of comics in a recent poll by an industry trade newspaper; it was the only independent publisher on the list, and the only contemporary publisher named alongside corporate behemoths Marvel and DC.