A Short History

A Short History of Fantagraphics Books

Fantagraphics Books got its start in 1976 by publishing The Comics Journal, an incendiary magazine of critical and journalistic advocacy that lambasted the comics industry for churning out mediocrity and squandering the potential of the medium. In 1982, fed up with a status quo consisting of superheroes and generic genre work, the company decided to enter the fray, publishing its flagship comics title, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets. Ever since, Fantagraphics has sought out and published the world’s greatest cartoonists from the beginning of the form to the present day, comprising:

  • classic comic strips artists (such as Hal Foster, Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Walt Kelly, and Charles Schulz)
  • underground cartoonists who pioneered the commix revolution in the ‘60s and ‘70s (such as R. Crumb, Spain, Diane Noomin, Bill Griffith, and Robert Williams)
  • alternative cartoonists who came of age in the 1980s (such as Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, and Carol Tyler)
  • international cartoonists (such as Jacques Tardi, Jason, Moto Hagio, Guido Crepax, and Olivier Schrauwen)
  • the latest generation of graphic novelists (such as Eleanor Davis, Cathy Malkasian, Emil Ferris, Simon Hanselmann, and Charles Forsman).

In over 40 years of publishing, Fantagraphics has archived the best work in the history of comics while simultaneously blazing a trail for new generations of idiosyncratic, innovative cartoonists. Along the way, the company has gained an international reputation for its literate and audacious editorial standards and its exacting production values, which it continues to uphold to this day.

“Fantagraphics has published and championed many of the finest cartoonists working today.” — The New York Times

“One of the foremost publishers of comics, graphic novels and related works in the world.” — Publishers Weekly

“Fantagraphics has consistently published America’s most important comix artists.” — 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

“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