At London Super Comicon last month, Koom got to sit down with Paul Gravett, a comics journalist and exhibition curator. Gravett is currently preparing the touring Asian comics show Mangasia, which will debut in Rome next month. This is a guy who’s read a lot of comics; do they all become a blur after a while? Koom asks him about avoiding burnout, the amount of progress comics have (or haven’t) made toward being accepted by the “art world”, and much more.
Fantagraphics is a comics publisher that got by on a shoestring for decades, in service of its mission to prove that comics could be equally as literary and adult as film, novels, or any other storytelling medium. Eventually, Fantagraphics’ flagship publication, The Comics Journal, became the go-to magazine for reviews of noteworthy comics and hard-hitting interviews of their creators.
After more than a decade of work, Tom Spurgeon and Michael Dean have published (through Fantagraphics, of course) a history of the company, called We Told You So: Comics as Art. This week Tom, himself the former Managing Editor of The Comics Journal, is here to talk about Fantagraphics and the work and decisions that went into writing its history.
Galaxy Express 999 is one of my all-time favorite manga. Some day we are going to cover it on the podcast, I swear.
When you are not listening to Deconstructing Comics, I highly recommend you check out Gary Groth’s interview with Todd McFarlane from the early days of Image. Hilariously and predictably, within months of this interview McFarlane began engaging in various business practices which contradicted much of what he states here. He did, however, stand firm by his word that there was no point in him trying to improve as an artist:
While he’s never stopped working, Steve Ditko’s most celebrated work was done decades ago, and he’s slammed the door on many opportunities for further success. If sticking to your principles prevents fame and fortune, is your career a failure or a success? Tim and Paul discuss the Fantagraphics coffee table biography “Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko” by Blake Bell.
Is the hysteria over Diamond’s sales $1000 sales threshold increase founded? Tim talks to two publishers, a retailer, and a Diamond VP and finds that, while the seas are not always smooth sailing, the ship that is the U.S. comics market does not seem to have too many leaks.