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Fantagraphics Books
Founded 1976
Founder Gary Groth
Mike Catron
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Seattle, Washington
Distribution W. W. Norton & Company
Key people Gary Groth
Kim Thompson
Eric Reynolds
Publication types Books, Comic books, magazines
Imprints Eros Comix
Ignatz Series
Official website Fantagraphics Books

Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, magazines, graphic novels, and the adult-oriented Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists publish their work through Fantagraphics, including Jessica Abel, Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Roberta Gregory, Joe Sacco, and Chris Ware.


The Fantagraphics booth at the Stumptown Comics Fest 2006.

Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 by Gary Groth and Mike Catron at College Park, Maryland. Kim Thompson joined the company in 1977, and soon became a co-owner with Groth.[1] Catron acted as Fantagraphics' co-publisher until 1985, also handling advertising and circulation for The Comics Journal from 1982–1985, when he left the company.[2]

Fantagraphics moved from Maryland to Stamford, Connecticut, then Los Angeles, and finally in 1989 to the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.[3]

Fantagraphics publishes The Comics Journal (TCJ), a magazine that covers comics as an art form from a critical perspective. From 1981 to 1992, Fantagraphics also published Amazing Heroes, which examined comics from a hobbyist's point of view.

Since 1982, Fantagraphics has also published critically acclaimed and award-winning series and graphic novels such as Acme Novelty Library, Eightball, Ghost World, Hate, and Love and Rockets. In 1990, the publisher introduced Eros Comix, a lucrative line of erotic comics. Since 2005, Fantagraphics has been co-publishing the Ignatz Series, edited and produced by the Italian artist Igort.

In 2003, comics journalist (and Fantagraphics employee) Michael Dean summed up the economic history of the company this way:

The publisher has alternated between flourishing and nearly perishing over the years. It would have been out of business as long ago as 1978 if Kim Thompson hadn't poured his inheritance into the company's survival. In 1991, Fantagraphics was saved from closing its doors by the launching of its relatively lucrative erotic comics line. As recently as 1998, the company was forced into a round of layoffs.[4]

In 2003 Fantagraphics almost went out of business, losing over $60,000 in the wake of the 2002 bankruptcy of debtor and book trade distributor Seven Hills Distribution.[5] One employee quit during the subsequent downsizing while denouncing Fantagraphic's "disorganization and poor management."[4] Fantagraphics was saved by a restructuring and a successful appeal to comic book Fandom that resulted in a huge number of orders.[4] After restructuring, the company has had greater success with such hardcover collections as The Complete Peanuts, distributed by W. W. Norton & Company.[3]

In 2006, Fantagraphics opened its own retail store in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.

The publisher announced a deal with Jacques Tardi in March 2009, that would see Thompson translate a large number of his books.[6]

The Kirby Award and the Harvey Award

From 1985–1987, Fantagraphics coordinated and presented (through Amazing Heroes) The Jack Kirby Award for achievement in comic books, voted on by comic-book professionals. The Kirby Award was managed by Dave Olbrich, a Fantagraphics employee and later publisher of Malibu Comics. In 1987, a dispute arose when Olbrich and Fantagraphics each claimed ownership of the awards. A compromise was reached, and starting in 1988, the Kirby Award was discontinued and two new awards were created:[7] the Eisner Award, managed by Olbrich; and the Fantagraphics-managed Harvey Award, named for cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman.

Since their inception, the Harvey Awards have been presented at various fan conventions, such as the Chicago Comicon, the Dallas Fantasy Fair, WonderCon, the Pittsburgh Comicon, and the MoCCA Festival. In 2006 the awards' presentation was moved to the Baltimore Comic-Con, where it has been held ever since.


Ignatz Series

The Ignatz Series is an international comic imprint. It is published by Fantagraphics Books (U.S.), Avant Verlag (Germany), Vertige (France), Oog & Blik (Holland), Coconino Press (Italy), and Sinsentido (Spain). It is named for Ignatz Mouse, a character in the comic strip Krazy Kat.

The books in the Ignatz series are designed midway between standard North American comic book pamphlet-size and graphic novel-size. Each title is 32-pages, 2-color, saddlestitched, 8½” × 11", with jacket, priced at $7.95.

The Ignatz collection is edited and produced by Italian artist Igort. Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson frequently provides translations.

Eros Comix

Eros Comix is an adult-oriented imprint of Fantagraphics Books, established in 1990 to publish pornographic comic books. Eros Comix sells anime videos, DVDs, adult comic books, and books of erotic art and photography. The 2006 Eros Comix print catalog sells over 470 items, mostly adult comic books.

The late writer-artist Tom Sutton contributed work under the pseudonym "Dementia".


  1. Spurgeon, Tom and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics. (forthcoming) ISBN 1-56097-738-8
  2. Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Matos, Michelangelo. "Saved by the Beagle," Seattle Arts (September 15, 2004).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Comics Community Comes to Fantagraphics' Rescue. By Michael Dean, The Comics Journal, Posted July 11th, 2003.
  5. Seven Hills Follows LPC into Limbo, Marvel Abandons Diamond for CDS. By Michael Dean, The Comics Journal, Posted August 30th, 2002.
  6. Spurgeon, Tom (March 9, 2009). "CR Newsmaker: Kim Thompson On Fantagraphics Publishing Jacques Tardi". The Comics Reporter. http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_newsmaker_kim_thompson_on_fantagraphics_publishing_jacques_tardi/. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  7. "Newswatch: Kirby Awards End In Controversy," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), pp. 19-20.


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